I lie in bed, groping for sleep. Rosie snores gently beside me. My mind refuses to shutdown, so I watch three episodes of the IT Crowd instead, hoping to dispel the rumours in my head. I think I have discovered something. It is the uncertainty that makes it rumour.
I can’t tell you what it is.
I can tell you it’s about Ben.
I’ve noticed a gradual detachment since the beginning of this year. It is inevitable, of course, given we are separated. Separation means not needing to know what the other person is doing, or having to explain where you’re going. We don’t owe each other explanations any more. Not for the mundane day-to-day. Or the intimate parts of our lives.
Two days ago, I saw something that put the last several months into perspective. I saw something I wasn’t meant to see. I deliberately looked even though I knew I shouldn’t have.
A few nights before that, I tried to access his email account. He’d given me his passwords before he went into rehab. I tried because I wanted to know what was going on. I was convinced that he was hiding something from me. I’d had vivid dreams of him with someone else. I kept telling myself that we are separated, and that he is entitled to his own life. But if there was a change to his personal circumstances, then it was something I had a right to know. After all, nothing has been said. Nothing has been announced or decided. We are still legally married.
So I tried his gmail account, and failed. He’d changed his password in January. I tried another account. This time I got in. But there was a block there which prevented me from going further into his mailbox. I stared at the panel obscuring his inbox and logged out. Then I logged in again. I did this a number of times – logging in and out, but going no further.
I rebuked myself for being pathetic and controlling. How would I react if he did that to me? So I left it.
And then this weekend I saw this thing, and I went back to a different kind of zero. We talked about it, I told him what I thought was happening, and he denied it. I’m sure he lied to me. I’m sure he lied because what I saw doesn’t tally with what he said, and because he has been dreadfully kind to me since we spoke. I can’t look him in the eye any more.
You see, he’s lied about this sort of thing in the past. This thing – this thing I can’t tell you about – It was one of the most hurtful things he could do to me. He is particularly adept at finding new ways to hurt me. Even he said he thought I deserved more.
I know I do.
Tonight, I will lie in bed like so many nights before, groping for sleep. Rumours will fly into my face like moths. And as slumber reaches a hand to me, I will stumble on an inescapable certainty.