Things had not been going well for a long time. It seemed that time only exacerbated the issue instead of fixing it. Even when we dealt with the problems head on, we didn't seem to come to a compromise. He wanted more of this and I wanted more of that, but neither of us wanted to budge.
As I was clearing out a shelf on a bookcase, I came across a journal from six years before that discussed the same problem. It was a moment of clarity for me. One that helped me become brave and say the words that I'd been needing to say for years: It's time we go our separate ways.
Saying these words to him made me sad and angry. I'd put all my chips on this guy, and he failed to believe in the hope I had in him. In the hope that we could make it work and be those people that stay together forever because, despite his fear of marriage, I hung around. Eventually though, those words made me feel brave and liberated, like a true-life feminist.
Telling people about the break up resulted in heads cocked to the side and looks of pity because most people knew we'd been together for so long and imagined we'd be together forever. I'd always give them my best smile and tell them I was fine.
When he finally moved out, I stopped by to pick up the key from under the mat before going back to my sister's for the weekend. There were tears when I read the heartfelt note his mom had left, but then, much like Mrs. Mallard in a Story of an Hour, I took a deep breath and imagined the possibilities my life held again.