I love my husband. I do. And I love my son. He means everything to me. But sometimes I think I am a bad wife and mother. I leave. On purpose. Very pre-meditated. I tell my husband that I made plans with girlfriends, I kiss my snuggly son goodbye and I go away.
I never go far. But I always go somewhere new. And just far enough that my husband won’t run into me if he’s doing errands. It would be too hard to explain myself. I am not running away to meet up with a lover. Although if anyone knew what I did, they probably would think that anyway; that I am skipping off to some seedy motel to meet up with a colleague or a friend’s husband for some physical fun and to escape my problems. But that’s not where I go.
I go wherever I end up. Sometimes a mall, sometimes a tiny out-of-the-way bookstore, sometimes a deserted beach. But I guess I lied. I do meet up with someone at my rendez-vous. I meet up with myself. I run away to a quiet place where I can be alone with my thoughts. Where I can take a minute to breathe deeply.
Wherever I end up, there isn’t someone asking me where his clean underwear are (in the drawer where they always are). Or a baby who wakes up in the night, screaming, seemingly for no reason (what can I do to help? Nothing is working. I just want to help). Wherever I end up is quiet. Everything is still around me but my thoughts. Even if I end up amongst bustling shoppers with their own precious loads, or at a park with children running and laughing. My own daily duties are silent.
I am anonymous. I answer to no one and no one expects answers from me. I’ve dropped off into nowhere.
And after awhile – the amount of time I am gone depends on just me – I return. To my home. Where, really, I don’t have that many problems in the grand scheme of things. To my husband who is happy to have me back and to my son’s thrilled face and outstretched arms. And I am happy. I really am.
But I will never give away my secret place.