When the taxi left

When the taxi left I walked to our apartment building. It started to rain. In the taxi he had turned his head back and waived at me, and I tried to keep my face still. I was crying. I have cried the previous night too.

He arrived home from his trip late at night. It was the first time we saw each other since we separated. He sat on the kitchen and ate the soup I have cooked earlier that day for our son. It had piston pasta and it took forever to boil the pasta for the soup. Both of us stood in the kitchen waiting for the pasta to be cooked. Then he ate. It was well after midnight.

I asked him how his trip to Rome went. And he told me it was fine. He said he was blessed to have met some very kind and beautiful people there. He also said that he knew that the God would help him and that everything would be fine.

I started to tell him about the children, and how our son did something funny last night. And he asked me not to talk about the children. And I stopped.

“Even though I think you are making a huge mistake now, I am thankful to you for breaking this marriage,” he said after a while. He spoke slowly, keeping the words calm. “When you told me that you wanted to separate, I felt liberated. For the first time in my life I suddenly felt free from my fears. Since I got to know you and to love you I feared you would leave me. Since the first day of our marriage everything I did was done out of fear. I tried to guess your smallest wishes and to give you everything you had ever asked for, because I told myself that if I did so you would love me. And then I always feared losing you. I became nervous, I got our family in debt, I had anxiety attacks, I built a life that was guided by my fear of you leaving. I could not sleep, I could not act as a person should, I loved you so much. I still do.”

I was quiet. My body hurt from a cloud of pain. It was everywhere. A cloud much greater than me. I started to cry. First silently, then abruptly, choking with my own breath.

“I think you are committing a huge error in breaking the family. And still I respect your decision. And I admire your strength and your guts. I am thankful. I know you are doing it out of the best intentions for both of us and our children. In Rome, I met some nice people. I had the best time in my life despite the separation. I told them everything and they behaved like people I knew for ages. We became friends. Fourteen years admiring you I forgot how easy it is to get a woman. In Rome every day women would want me. On parties girls would try to make it with me, on a bus station a beautiful Italian started to talk and gave me her phone number. The world is full of women. Of amazing beautiful women who would love to spend their time with me. I am not going to lead a lonely life. The darn thing is that I have seen it all. And there must be no more than two women worth to live or die for. And one of them is you.” He paused, and then added, “And the second one is probably our daughter.”

“I talked to a friend about our separation, and I told her that the life will still be beautiful. It will be a very different kind of beauty though.”

“Everything will be fine. I know you will have an amazing career. I know that it is career that you are leaving me for. You will go to USA and have all these amazing things like cars, books, clothing, good schools, all the fluff of the Bay Area, men, everything. This is why I tried to run away from it all. I wanted to live in Sicily, to have a simple life, just you, our children and our life. But you do not want it. I do not blame you. I am thankful to you for giving me the freedom. Freedom from my fear of losing you. You do not know what it is to suddenly live without fear. Until the last month I did not know it either.”

I was not feeling well. I could not breath. I did not argue because there was no point in it. It did not matter if what he said was right or wrong. I went to sleep. It was 3am and I lay in my bed trying to keep my back straight, but it curved, as a sign of protection or weakness. I have never realized how our relationship has been piloted by fear. Fear is the only thing I hated with all my heart now. I rejected it with my body, I fought it with my mind. “Whatever will be, I am not going to live out of fear,” I said to myself. “Never fear anything.”

He was packing his suitcases in the guest-room. His plane to the new place was leaving next morning. I listened to his fingers typing and then I heard our daughter moving in her bed. I did not realize when I felt asleep.

Kids were excited to see him in the morning. We had breakfast as usual and we took the children to school. He kept a little bit apart when I talked to our son’s teacher about a boy in a class that kept beating our son. I asked the teacher to encourage our son to reply, to say “no”, and to hit back if needed. I did not want him to just run away. Then we left.

We went to a grocery store and he got all the things to make a tiramisu. There was a big party at his work that night and he was making tiramisu for forty people. He told me we did not have much money and I should ask my family to help with my and children’s expenses this month. I told him I would.

We went back to our apartment. He packed the tiramisu things in his carry-on, took his two suitcases and we went downstairs. He got a taxi on the street corner, put the suitcases in the trunk, and told the taxi driver to go to the airport. We hugged. When the taxi left I walked to our apartment building. It started to rain.