The Empty Home of a Heart in Trouble* (love has nothing to do with it)

The Empty Home of a Heart in Trouble

I had everything. I no longer have anything. Well, that’s not completely true. I have my health, the love of two young children, and a former wife who seems bent on destroying me, regardless of the collateral damage that hurts all of us. But, this isn’t a story about her. This is more about… More focused on my mood problem. That’s what I call it now. A Mood Problem. Depression or Bipolar are too overused these days, I mean, everyone has a little bipolar, right?

It is fine to find yourself in a divorce you didn’t want, excommunicated from the home you financed for nearly ten years, ousted from your comfy bed and intermittently comfy partnership, and saddled with a full mortgage payment due each week before you can begin to think of shelter and food for yourself. This one wasn’t about me. Okay, that’s also partially false.

I didn’t think the marriage was dreamy. I knew my wife was struggling. But, there is only so much one person can do to encourage and support another person. Even if you love them completely, it is ultimately their actions and their decisions that exacerbate the unrest. First, it was life and work she was mad about. Then it was my “big job” deciding to lay off thousands due to the economic collapse in 2009. The straw that splintered the last toothpick of respect she had for me.

And, just like that, I’m a deadbeat dad fighting to keep my visitation rights, fighting to find a new job so I can pay for my old house and my new crappy apartment. I recall the rental agent trying to fill out my application.

“You don’t have any rental experience.”

“I was a homeowner.”

“Yes, but we need rental experience. It’s kind of like your credit rating but for apartment management companies.”

I was forced to pay for three months in advance plus a deposit of one more month, just to get into a middle-floor apartment nearer to my job as an Apple Store specialist. After child support cut my average wage in half, I didn’t have enough money to justify the monthly rent. Fortunately, I was able to cash in some of my retirement 401k (at only 25% loss) to pay for food and the difference. I did have a pool now, and a tennis court, and an electronic gate to keep out the riff-raff.

Read more Short-Short Stories from John.

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