The Expert told me yesterday that he wanted a divorce.
I was not surprised.
We were riding in the car on the way to pick strawberries with the kids when he told me. As we pulled up to the strawberry farm, he stared at me when I didn’t leap out of the car.
“Are you coming?” he asked.
I looked at him like he was stupid. I want a divorce. I want out. Are you coming to pick strawberries?
The kids were studying me, wondering why I was sitting motionless. I had my camera draped in my lap, and thought, well, I guess I ought to get pictures from our lasting outing together as a family. So I went.
I walked 20 yards behind the three of them, because my boot was slowing me down. Strawberry field terrain is not exactly ideal for Wilson, the boot. I tripped over everything in sight. I was wearing my Peachtree Road Race shirt, and someone said, “Heh heh, guess you’re not racing this year with that foot, eh?” The dude was so funny. I couldn’t stand it.
I looked through the lens of the camera at the Expert, our little family. The last four years for us has been extremely difficult, probably more tough than we realized. Two kids, fourteen months apart, job changes, job stress, travel, more things than even I would post on a blog….
But as I watched him pick strawberries with our kids, I knew there was more to our family than just stress.
The Expert and I have almost fourteen years of relationship history together, and nineteen years of friendship. Obviously, sometimes history sucks. Bad history is like a bad race. You may have prepared the best you thought you could… but the build-up of the pain, dehydration, cramps and a flat tube may end the day.
At the same time, I have always found extreme peace in the raging pain of running, of triathlon. I find joy in the sweaty, crusty smell of old running shoes. I like the zinging ouch of sweat in the eyes.
I’m stubborn. I did not want to DNF this marriage. At least not without a fight.
I slung my camera around my shoulders and hobbled over to him. “Whatever you decide is okay. I understand all this. This has felt impossible for awhile. We will always be friends. We are good friends. It’s okay,” I said.
I saw it in his eyes in that moment. That our history was worth keeping, worth remembering, worth continuing to build.
The Expert did not want a DNF on his record either.
Last night, before we went to sleep, he asked me, “You are planning to blog about this…aren’t you?”
“Only if you say I can.”
“You can. Plus, only you can figure out a way to tie in the events of today with triathlon.”
“Well, marriage really is like a race… You have to make sure you have the properly fuel and energy and rest and recovery in order to keep going and….”
He smiled as I rambled on.