Wrong Way Up

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A New Routine

Life was falling into a new routine, and I can not say that I was all too happy with the way things were going. Kendra was working but was still not helping much with the bills. She was going out a lot more too, and although I did not feel like I had a say in her personal life it was quickly impacting my life. Instead of helping to pay the rent, or the electric bill, she was more worried about her party life. She was coming home drunk, stumbling over furniture and being very noisy. Often times her racket would wake either me or the kids. When her children would visit on weekends, I would find myself cleaning up after them, and ensuring that they ate. Kendra was spiraling out of control, and I was not sure what to do about it.

I tried to talk to Kendra about the bill situation, informing her that she needed to start paying to live there or she needed to go back to Kelly’s house. Kendra would make promises that she would get some of the money to me as soon as she got her check. I also spoke to her about her drinking, and she also promised to tone it down.

I was seeing Jayce about three times a week, sometimes less if I picked up more shifts at work. Jayce helped me relieve stress. He was a very attentive lover ensuring that I always left satisfied. I was becoming bolder in our secret trysts, and I loved that I was learning new things with Jayce. We continued to meet up in the bathroom stall, and although I did not mind it the cold tile was a pain in the rear to deal with. I tried combatting this problem by bringing blankets. In a small way I was proud of myself for being able to carry on a relationship that just revolved around sex. There was something very freeing about it. There were times that I was tempted to ask Jayce questions about his life, but I refrained scared in a way that doing so would shatter what we already had. Those moments of carefree passion, and raw sensuality were one of the few things getting me through my weeks.

The situation with Donavon had not improved at all. If anything, he was even more withdrawn from the children. As my financial situation began to get precarious, I had called and asked him for money, like child support. That conversation did not end well at all. Even though Donavon knew that he had done wrong by cheating on me, somehow in his mind it was my fault. He now held a personal hatred for me as the woman that ruined his life and made him homeless. He painted me to be a monster to his family. It was like somehow everyone completely forgot the fact that I had tried to make this marriage work for years, and instead readily accepted that I had cruelly kicked him out of the house. None of this helped my depression.

The stress of my life was quickly crippling me. It was like I was in the middle of the ocean, drowning slowly and everyday the water was rising more rapidly. The problem was I did not know how to handle any of it. I had no idea if I could apply for child support against Donavon because we were not actually divorced. I wanted to start the divorce, but I knew that it would cost money and I did not have any money. Every month that was passing I felt like I was robbing Peter to pay Paul. I was doing an insane juggling act of paying bills right before they would get shut off. I was trying to find any way to cut corners, and I even applied for food stamps. I felt like a failure in life, and worse I felt like I was failing my kids. I had to take my daughter out of dance because I could not afford it. My son could not play football because I could not afford the fees. I felt like I hardly seen my children because I was working so much. The cycle was brutal, and I did not see a way out.

The stress itself was taking a dramatic toll on my body. I was rapidly losing weight. My eyes had constant dark rings under them. My fingernails were abysmal because I was chewing them from all the anxiety. My hair was falling out in clumps because of the stress. My body could not stay still, even if I were sitting my leg was constantly bouncing up and down. It was almost as if my body was trying to keep up with the nonstop static in my head. I could not sleep more than three hours straight because I was having nightmares. I was snapping at everyone, and more than once thoughts of suicide had crept into my brain. I was breaking mentally, and physically.

In a last-ditch effort to make money, I started looking into getting another job. I scoured newspaper ads, and internet job sites. I updated my resume, flaunting some of my skills. Surely someone had to see that I was a hard worker and never missed days at work. Someone had to recognize that I was dying to just survive in this world. Living in a small town was proving difficult to find someone though.

Thus, life moved forward, and endless cycle of no sleep, and high stress. I kept powering through with the insane belief that someday this is going to get better. Somehow this is going to get easier. Until then Jayce was my stress relief, my place of sanctuary. When I was in his arms, the static in my head was gone. I lived for those moments.

I will never forget the night that Jayce and I broke our original pact. We had just had mind blowing sex. The kind that makes you want to call all your girlfriends and brag cause your legs are still shaking sex. Something was off though, there was a weird energy in the room and Jayce looked like he was a million miles away. Looking at his face I could tell that he was going through some stuff. Perhaps it was because I was going through so much on my own that I reached out and hugged him.

“Are you ok?” I asked him. I knew that I was breaking the rules, but he seemed so lost.

“Yeah just been going through a lot of stuff lately.” Jayce started to toe that invisible line too. The one that we were not supposed to cross. The line that firmly kept this just pleasure, nothing more.

“I fully understand that my life is a mess.” I crossed over that line first. Maybe I just needed someone to hear me, or maybe I was purposely trying to see if things could be more with Jayce. I do not really know.

Jayce propped his elbow up on his knee as he leaned back against the wall. “Tell me about it, your mess.”

I opened up to Jayce about everything. Spilled it all out, including everything about Donavon. I told him about the cheating, and not seeing the kids. Jayce voiced his own frustrations about not being able to see his eldest daughter. I talked about Kendra and the bill situation and how that was frustrating. Jayce could also understand because he was paying a tremendous amount in child support, and barely being able to survive himself. It was crazy all the similarities we had, just in different scenarios. It was great just getting to talk with Jayce. He let me vent all my frustrations about life, and he shared his with me as well. We talked, laughed, a few times I got misty eyed. It was amazing being able to let it all out. Jayce and I finally walked together outside, and I had every intention of leaving.

When we got to my car though we continued talking. It was like the universe knew that we were both bottling everything inside and needed an outlet. We talked for hours about kids, family, jobs, and the town we lived in. He told me a little about his ex-girlfriend, and I told him more about Donavon. We talked about how we were both scared that we were somehow screwing up our children’s lives. We talked about food, music, and how cell phones rapidly changed the world. I probably said six times that I really should be going, but I never did.

Jayce and I talked all night long. Before we knew it, the sky was streaked with pink, and orange rays as the sun began to rise in the sky. We were both surprised that morning had already come, shocked that we had spent hours just talking about life. I knew that our time had come to an end, we both had kids that needed to get up for school. Jayce held me close, and we had a small make out session before I actually climbed in the car and drove home.

Driving home I knew that Jayce and I had crossed a line that we would never be able to put back in place. We knew too much about each other now. I worried over how this was going to affect the original relationship that we established. Would sex be weird now? Were we friends? Could friends with benefits work for us, or is our play time over?

I try not to think about Jayce as I get the kids ready for school. Once they are out the door I finally collapse in my bed, utterly exhausted. Evidently purging my soul to Jayce was great because I was sleeping like a baby in no time. For the first time in what felt like months, I finally got some great sleep free from nightmares.

By the time, the kids are out of school I am up and setting up a snack for them. We all talk about how they are doing in school, and their current projects. We laugh and joke around a little bit as I clean up the dining room. My son kind of shocks me when he tells me that he is happy to see me really smile again. His words make me realize that I have been a depressed mess for a while. It is sad to realize that my children have seen me like this.

That thought is running through my mind over and over as I fold laundry and get ready for work. I knew that I had been on edge and I knew that I was not happy, but I was hoping that I hid it well. Evidently, I was not a great actress and my children could see right through me. It has me wondering if they were understanding more about our new situation with their Dad than I previously thought. I wondered if I should get the kids into some counseling, it would not hurt to have an outsider’s opinion. I wondered when I would have time to take them though. I was already stretched for time as it was.

The job I was going to was a caregiving position. Normally on an overnight shift the residents are sleeping and calm. Tonight, was not a normal night though, and I was running my butt off. Call lights were going off like crazy, residents were having behavioral issues, and to top off the night the computers crashed. I figured this was karma for having such a good night with Jayce. Thinking about how well we got along outside of sex brought a smile to my face.

By the time I got off of work I was dead on my feet. Work was horrible, and I was ready to keel over. I drove home, got the kids off to school and crashed. I was awakened less than two hours later by my phone ringing; it was the power company letting me know that if they did not receive a payment within two weeks, they were shutting off the power. Great as if my night were not bad enough, my day did not seem to be going well either. I need to talk to Kendra; she needs to be helping or I need to find someone that can. I shift in my bed trying to go back to sleep, depressive thoughts clouding my mind.

I woke up later than normal probably due to the depression, and the hard night I had at work. I was in a foul mood and was not looking forward to confronting Kendra about the bills. I begrudgingly get dressed and head downstairs expecting to find her on the couch. To my surprise she is not home. I shrug it off thinking that she is working a little overtime, and begin preparing the kids a snack, and looking in the fridge for dinner ideas.

By four in the afternoon I am officially worried about Kendra. She has not texted me back or called. There is very little chance that she is working this late. The kids are already home from school and have eaten their snack. I am getting things ready for dinner and worrying about the fact that I still have not heard from Kendra. This behavior is not like her. I start pacing in the dining room wondering where she is.

Finally, Kendra comes strolling in the door a little after eight at night. She reeks of alcohol and tobacco. She is talking so loudly that she is practically screaming, and I can not understand anything she is saying. I am extremely upset with her. She knew that I had to work tonight, and yet here she is drunk as can be. I have no choice but to help her get undressed and put her to bed. Now I am left trying to figure out who I can get to help watch the kids while I go to work. I do not trust leaving them in Kendra’s hands because she is wasted.

With no options left, I break down and call Donavon. I roughly explain to him what is going on and how I have to work tonight. I can not miss this shift, especially with the power bill being do. Donavon complains and tells me he has no gas. In desperation I offer him twenty bucks, and even tried bribing him with the roast I made for dinner. Reluctantly he agrees and lets me know that he will be there in about thirty minutes. I heave a sigh of relief and begin to get ready for work, hoping that tonight is better than last night. I am a little sad that I have not heard from Jayce, but I keep reminding myself that even though we talked we are not a couple.

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