My Biggest Mistake
by Leddy Harper
Published July 9th 2015
Edie had spent her whole life planning her future, imagining her husband, her kids, and even which minivan she’d drive. Lucky for her, she didn’t have to wait long, marrying her high school sweetheart right after graduation.
All of Edie’s dreams had come true, until they were no longer her dreams. Unable to deal with the lingering depression caused by having children, she left her whole life behind, walking away from the one thing she’d always wanted.
Donovan Leery loved his wife with everything he had and could never imagine life without her. Until he came home from work one day and found a letter from Edie, explaining she needed a break. Not only leaving him to live his life without her, but alone to raise their three small children.
But what happens when Edie is ready to come home? When she’s ready to fight for it all back? She knew it wouldn’t be easy. But she didn’t care. After spending years getting her life back together, she was ready to fight for her family. And a fight is what Donovan would give her.
She’d fight to make up for her Biggest Mistake.
He slapped his palm against the door behind my head, interrupting me and causing me to flinch. He boxed me in with the door to my back and his solid form in front. His forearm was so close to my face I could feel the heat radiating off it. My already clenched heart grew even tighter in my chest and I had a hard time breathing, as if the world had lost its supply of oxygen and I had to fight in order to find some. I’d never seen Donnie like this before and it both scared and saddened me.
“No…you don’t know, Edie. You don’t know a damn thing. I thought maybe you’d be gone a day and then come back. That didn’t happen and so I thought maybe a week. After a week, you’d surely come to your senses and be ready to come home. A week came and went and you were still gone. You were still not answering my calls, my messages, or my emails. So, okay…a month. A month is a really long break, but who knows, maybe you just really needed it.“The kids asked about you every single day for that month. Every. Fucking. Day. I tried like hell to spare them from knowing you had abandoned them because the last thing I wanted was for you to come home and have them look at you differently. Yeah…I’m that fucking pathetic that after you ran away, I still tried to spare your feelings. Shortly after a month, they’d go a day or two without talking about you or asking where you were. I’d lie in bed at night and realize they hadn’t mentioned you, and it broke my heart. But do you know the moment in time when my heart stopped beating? When it ceased to beat in my chest? When my life went from falling apart to being completely obliterated?” he asked through tight lips that only grew tighter with each following question.I shook my head, unable to answer. I didn’t want to hear it, the truth. I had asked him to talk, but I hadn’t been prepared for what he’d say. I wasn’t ready to hear about the pain and anguish I had inflicted upon the people I loved more than anything. But I’d asked for it, so the only thing I could do was stand there and bear it.“Mikey was at the kitchen table coloring while I was making dinner. This was somewhere between month one and month two. Livvy was helping me, watching the water to let me know when it started to boil. Mikey brought over his piece of paper with random marks of green crayon and held it out to me. He was so proud of it.” Donnie’s voice had grown quiet yet remained hard as he retold a story I was sure I didn’t want to hear. “As always, I asked him what it was, preparing to give him my usual praise about how amazing it was and how I had a little artist on my hands. He pointed to a particular line and said, ‘me’ and then pointed to another one and said ‘mama.’ I hesitated for a moment since I hadn’t expected that—his usual art at the time had been unrecognizable doggies and trucks. Nothing more than scribbles of crayon that he believed to be something else. In the time I hesitated, Livvy decided to tell him that his mama was gone. She told him that his mama didn’t love him anymore because she left and wasn’t coming back. She was two and a half, Edie! Two years old, telling her little brother that their mother didn’t love them anymore!”I gave in and succumbed to the grief that his words inflicted. Without moving, I allowed my tears to run free, to flow without a fight. I couldn’t help the feeling of complete inadequacy that filled me and poured out of me with every tear that made its way down my face.“So now that I’ve talked to you, is there anything you want to say? Because once I turn around and walk away from you, there won’t be any more talking.”