You are at your 4 year old’s Karate class. He is taking his test to earn his first Karate belt. Your 3 week old newborn is strapped to your chest in a carrier, nestled into your warmth and asleep. It is the day before your husband’s 35th birthday. But he is not here. He is in Florida. You are trying to pay attention to your son’s Karate test, but your phone is clutched tightly in your hand and you can’t drag your eyes away. You are waiting for a message from the private investigator. You are giddy with anticipation. You are not disappointed. Your phone buzzes three times. Three pictures have arrived. They are of your husband. But who is that with him. Who is that with her arm tightly snaked around his body? Who is that whose collagen filled lips are meeting his? He’s with another woman. Your suspicions confirmed. He is cheating.
Your heart stops. Your heart is free falling. It take a few minutes but you finally hear your heart shatter into a million jagged pieces on the floor. Your head is exploding. You feel the room collapse around you. A fat, hot tear rolls down your cheek and you wipe it aside quickly so the other mothers around you don’t know that your entire world has imploded. You know then and there that you will divorce him.
The next few days are agony. You can’t tell your husband you know. His birthday passes without you saying a word. He is still in Florida. You go to Home Depot and purchase a big box of contractor trash bags and new locks for the doors. You chuckle to yourself that they should market the items together and call it the “cheating ex starter kit”. You change the locks on your doors. You put some of his things in the garbage bags and leave them in the garage.
His flight is delayed. You text him that he should find somewhere else to stay when he gets back. You tell him you changed the locks. You send him a picture the PI sent you and tell him to stay with the collagen lip girl. You leave his stuff in the garage. He breaks in anyway.
A fog descends on your world. Nothing is easy. Your husband moves out. The next few months are a blur of tears and pain and caring for a newborn and a four year old, alone.
3 months pass. You feel better. You decide to try your hand at dating. You join Tinder. You heard that its known as the “hook up app” but you don’t care. You just want to flirt and feel like a woman… not just a mom. You start swiping, mostly left but here and there you swipe right.
You go on a date. You clutch the steering wheel. Your palms are sweaty. You walk in the door of the restaurant. He greets you with a warm smile. You order a glass of champagne. You don’t drink. The bubbles go straight to your head. “You’re kind of brilliant” he tells you as you part ways. You throw your head back and laugh partly because the bubbles are hitting you and partly because you believe him.
6 months pass and your first date is your boyfriend. You are at the courthouse where you got married to your husband. Now, you are getting divorced. The judge asks you questions. You answer with a straight face. You tell her about the pictures you got from the PI, your heart does not shatter, your head does not explode, the room does not collapse. The judge pronounces you divorced. You are surprised that instead of sadness or anger you feel peace and relief.
Your boyfriend takes you out to brunch to celebrate. They don’t have eggs so you order fish. And champagne. You still don’t drink. It is delicious. The bubbles go straight to your head. They fill up the space where your heart was. You can’t believe you are this happy. You close your eyes and smile, because you realize that in the aftermath of destruction, space is created: space for bubbles, space for opportunity, space for hope and space for love.