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Another letting go

“The one that got away.” The fish that broke free
of the hook. It’s a powerful cliché. It’s the perfect
crushed-into-scrap-metal metaphor for what we all
feel, deep down, how much we worship and long
for whatever we’ve lost. It’s seldom the one who
stayed whom we love most, but the one who, like
the prodigal son, escaped us. My husband got away.
He got away, perhaps, for good. He’s sitting five
feet to my left, reading a book about the Middle
East, but he’s lost to me, and I to him. Not that
I’ll ever tell him this. No, we’ll go on, and we’ll
be happy. Still, it’s a sad thing to give up on
someone, to leave him to drown. But it’s what
you have to do in the end. Henry and I had no
other choice. On his side: I’ve become crazy,
or at the very least, incomprehensible. On mine:
I had to let my husband go because I could see,
far too clearly, that he had already gone. (Yes,
yes, but how arrogant I am to assume he’ll
drown. Everyone knows that fish swim fine.)

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