I spent much of a recent weekend at a basketball tournament my girls were playing in. I started out tired because I worked Friday night. I got home, showered, ate and we were on our way. The day was filled with watching basketball and quick trips to the store for food or other essentials. We were running late and got there just before it started. I hadn’t been seated very long when I noticed a friend of the girls walk into the gym. I was very surprised to see her as she lives out of town but happened to be here for the holiday weekend. My girls posted on Facebook when their game was and the friend saw it. She decided to come watch. How nice is that?! Well being that she’s only 12, she needed someone to bring her. So the friend, her dad and sister decided to surprise my girls and came to watch one of their games. A dad walking in a gym with his two young daughters is not an uncommon thing to see. Being a little bashful, though, or maybe its just what I noticed, but as I looked up it was the dad who smiled and waved at us. Certainly not a scandalous move, though, mind you my ex is sitting next to us. I think he knows of the girls, but probably wouldn’t remember them. I’m sure he wouldn’t remember their dad. They walk across the gym with a large Christmas gift bag in hand and sit down next to us.
“Merry Christmas!”. they say.
I was a little shocked. Speechless. I’m sure it showed on my face. They totally surprised us and came with a giant gift in hand!
“Oh its something from the church,” they say as they hand us the gift. Their grandparents, my good friends, go to my church and sent the gift along to give to us.
I happen to catch the look on my ex’s face and am surprised again. I am not a mind reader but I’m pretty sure I know what was going through his mind at that moment.
The look said “what is going on here or who is that guy?”.
I don’t think it took long before he put it together or my older daughter told him it was the girls friend. I am pretty sure for a brief moment I caught a glimpse of actual emotion. Anger. Jealousy. Those are the only two emotions I’ve seen in a long time. He is an expert at not showing emotion, turning off all feeling. “Stoic east coast type” he muttered during one of our few discussions after I found out he wanted a divorce. “Oh brother” was my thought at the time. Today, though, he let down his guard for a brief second. I could be imagining things, but I don’t think so. I know him too well. He was not a jealous person when we were married but I do know his angry look. It was ever so brief that had I not looked at him at that moment I would of missed it.
So during the game the dad chatted with me the entire game. It was a quiet chat, so not everyone could hear what was being said. We were focused on the game and conversation was kind of secondary. He never said anything to my ex. I’m not sure he knew he was there or even knows who he is. I never introduced the dad or kids to my ex either. I think my older daughter told him who they were.
I have thought about this interaction a lot since then and am still surprised at his reaction. He has not shown any emotion during our divorce and has refused to discuss just about anything I’ve tried to talk to him about. He never really even said he wanted the divorce (not sober anyway); I found out he wanted a divorce when I found the paperwork he had filed in his car. He would barely talk about it or discuss any of the settlement details. He still won’t talk about anything difficult. He says he will talk to me about something and never does. We still have some financial issues together and I have come to the realization that he won’t ever talk to me. He is unwilling. He is incapable. How did he get like this? He wasn’t this extreme the 20 years we were married. It seems like once things got to a place where he felt he could no longer cope (or stuff it inside) he just is refuses to deal with anything. He’s been unemployed for 2+ years now and I know his efforts at becoming employable have been minimal. what happened to the man I knew?
The glimpse into his soul that I caught this weekend let me know that there is still some life left in him. I have accepted his decision to end our marriage so its not that I think he’ll come running home. I have worried about him a lot over the past 2 years. His drinking has really consumed him and the denial of this is a demon I’m not sure he’ll ever recognize.
I will continue to pray for him. For our kids and for family. I will pray for continued guidance on this journey.