This is not how this week was supposed to go.
Way back in March Melissa and I sat down with a calendar and figured out that this Saturday, December 3rd, was going to be a very special day. A day that would define us for the rest of our lives. A demarcation between the present and the possible. A day to celebrate. Instead, I have spent most of this week cold and depressed. Sick and full of heartache. Solitary, wandering the floors of an indian casino in Kansas, instead of surrounded by family in a maternity ward.
To say that this is a curveball is to underestimate it. This is 10 tons of TNT, tearing down every notion about what I thought life was supposed to mean. In an instant, on an otherwise meaningless Tuesday afternoon in July, the path I was following diverged into that deep, dark, wood. There is no way to get back onto that other path now. Its direction and destination are lost. This is one tragedy among many because I was so looking forward to where that path would lead.
There are a lot of mixed emotions. I am so completely heartbroken and confused on this new road that I don't really know where to begin. There is a part of me that wonders what would have happened if Melissa had not gotten pregnant, whether she would be here with me tonight instead of across the universe. It is easy and convenient to blame the pregnancy, but that is not the true reason. The true reason is that there is no reason. It happened and no explanation is ever going to fit. Placing any amount of blame on Matthew can only detract from the love I feel for him, and leave the memories of his unrealized hope and joy diminished.
I knew that this week was coming. I have been anticipating this stretch from Thanksgiving to my birthday in mid-January with dread and hesitation. I have been attempting to avoid it, first by going to Texas to see my sister, and more recently by scheduling a work trip to Wichita this past week. It is all in an attempt to "stay busy", to not think about the calendar. Except the calendar travels with me. It does not matter where I am, time continues its inexorable march onward. First up to the dates that matter, and then adding distance between me and the things that mattered the most.
What I did not anticipate was getting sick, and how much misery being sick by yourself can add to your life. Somewhere along the way, between being stuck on airplanes, tailgating in the cold and rain, and hanging out with my baby niece, I picked up a bastard of a head cold. I'm hoarse, my sinuses are clogged, and tired all of the time. Still, life must go on. There are miles to go before I can sleep.
On Tuesday night I found myself staying at an indian casino outside of Wichita for work. This was a conscious choice. If you've ever been to Wichita, you know how quickly it can get boring. Everything closes early, leaving nothing to do after about 9:00p. In anticipation, my colleagues and I decided we would stay where there was something to do; an excuse to have some fun and generate some stories. Which we did. We all walked away in the black, happy and ready for a productive rest of the working week.
Despite winning, and enjoying their company, the feeling that this is not where I thought life would take me is impossible to shake. As I looked around the casino floor that Tuesday night, close to midnight, fighting the urge to cough and sneeze, surrounded by cigarette smoke, I could only think about how completely unprepared I was for that moment. How completely unprepared I have been for everything these past five months.
This is not how this week was supposed to go, but this is how it went. Strength is continuing to get back up. Two roads diverged, and though I continue to venture down this road not traveled, not chosen, I am forever thankful that the other was there and that I was able to travel on it but for a little while.