When my firstborn had learned to walk and I was working two jobs just to scrape by. 9-5 all week as a sales rep, trying to pedal a product I had no faith in. Then a sixteen hour shift in a truck, giving me time to reflect on all the bad choices and mistakes I’d made during that week.
I was twenty one years old with a wife I didn’t deserve and a son who loved me because he didn’t know any better.
was a girl I called a friend when I was fifteen because she was way out
of my league and I didn’t dare fantasise she could ever be more. I
hadn’t heard from her since I first got engaged. She picked the worst
time possible to come back into my life.
She’d been to Europe.
Become a successful manager in hospitality.
Lived with her boyfriend in London.
Got a tattoo.
Had an accident which rendered her barren.
Said she loved me all those years ago.
Asked if I ever felt the same.
That’s when the depression hit me hardest.
believed I loved her more than my wife. Thought I would be so much
happier with her. But my marriage vow was too sacred to me. Till death
do us part. I couldn’t break it.
I began to wish for horrible
things. Car accidents that would leave me free. Free to love another.
Free from the pain in my head.
I hated myself. I would stand
under the shower and slowly turn off the cold water, scalding myself as
punishment for thinking so selfishly.
Eventually, I decided to do nothing. I would stay loyal and miserable.
depression got worse. So many times I would almost drive into a tree,
swerving at the last second when I thought of my son.
carving a pattern into the forefinger of my left hand with a rusty
pocket knife, which ended up resembling a flame. On my first visit to
my psychologist she asked if it represented an old flame.
More like a flame which never caught but refuses to go out.
I tried to quit my job as the sales rep, but my boss talked me into staying on.
He fired me a month later.
stopped talking to my old friend. Stopped imagining how good life
would be with her and started to realise how good my life could be as it
My wife stayed by my side the whole time, even though I’m sure I broke her heart. My son never stopped loving me.
He’s almost twelve now and still tells me he loves me every day.
So do my other three children.
So does my wife.
my mind starts to wander and I wonder what if. I usually end up under
the scalding shower again punishing myself for thinking like that before
I get depressed again.
I’m not perfect.
But I’m happy.
I don’t know where my old friend is now.
She got married and had kids.
She had lied to me.
Was she really ever my friend?
An Edith Piaff quote comes to mind.
Farewell my heart
You are lost to despair
I will not
Give you my eyes
When you die.
" I've taken the low road and if you've done the same meet me down there by the train " Tom Waits