It's been 180 days since the last time I wrote. To you. Maybe at all?
A lot has happened since then.
Each of my kids had a birthday. One started high school. Another started middle school.
I got shingles. I recovered.
I made a silly TikTok video, and 12,000 people liked it enough to follow me.
I spent several dozen hours spread out over six months feeling very anxious about having so many followers.
I interviewed two photographers and three poets.
I watched 16 seasons of various anime.
I got on the dating apps.
I got off the dating apps.
I made some new friends. I spent some time with old friends.
I read 9 books.
I met a woman and fell in love.
I went to sleep on 180 nights and woke up on 180 mornings. Or, sometimes, I woke in the afternoon. I got out of bed 180 times.
I signed my divorce papers this morning.
It's been 561 days since our separation began. It will be another few months before everything is final. But, for me, at least, there's nothing more to do but wait.
Afterwards, after smiling and thanking the paralegal and exiting the conference room, I sat in my car for a few moments in the parking lot. The shadow on the fence in front of me caught my attention, as did the plastic sign it fell beside. The mind wants to see symbols and signs, make meaning. We are just visiting. This is temporary.
Things are better for me than they were before. I am happier now than I have been in years. I wouldn't go back to my old life if I could. But I still miss it a little.
I'm not sure what I expected to feel. One of my best friends cried after signing her divorce papers. I mostly just felt tired and heavy, though since I had stayed up to read the night before, it was hard to ascribe that to the moment.
My girlfriend and I have been dating for 97 days. For 97 days, I've been learning what it means to be in a relationship in which I am not afraid. To share time with a person who desires me as much as I desire her. To delight in someone who also delights in me, exactly as I am.
I still have trouble believing, sometimes, that this is how my life has turned out. But I'm okay.
I wonder how you are, though. We don't talk a lot, you and I. What are you dreaming about right now? What have you struggled with? What made you happy most recently? What mattered to you today? What are you proud of? What do you wish could have turned out differently?
It's none of my business, really. But I do wonder. I know you're doing your best, wherever you are. I am, too.