Where we left off:
I'm in love with The Boy! He's in love with me! This is a world that I never thought existed, could exist, and it felt like a tragic fairy tale. I'm listening to Coldplay like I love hot bathwater.
I saw myself differently. I felt like a woman again. I was walking on clouds AT ALL TIMES. This boy who had been almost a permanent part of my psyche, like a microchip in my brain, LOVED ME! He loved me, you guys!
The wind would blow on my face, and it would whisper things to me, "Ashleeyyy...he loves you..."
When the sun would set, its fading rays would sing unto me, "And you want her/And she wants you," by Howard Jones.
When strangers would smile at me, I saw them saying in their minds, "He loves you! Yay for you!"
And so I asked myself for the first time ever, "What the hell am I doing in this marriage?!"
I told Matt everything I was feeling. I remember feeling so sick to my stomach, a sense of impending doom. Matt's reaction was what one would expect- a mix of anger, shock, hurt.
My testimony of my Mormon beliefs decreased considerably. Isn't it interesting how that happens? When you see your greatest life investment (temple marriage at a young age, children very quickly, a family built around an ideal that has defined you your whole life) start to crumble, you start to question the credibility of the path you took that got you to that point. For some, they can pick up the pieces and continue down that path. For others, we see the path differently all of the sudden and want a new one.
We worked through stuff, though. Our friendship was always lingering, waiting for us to pick it up again. We couldn't escape it. Thankfully. I was pregnant with Timothy, not to mention Hana and Emma and their tiny preciousness needed the two of us to be friends.
Friendship and healing with Matt didn't change me wanting to be with The Boy.
The Boy emailed me a few weeks later. Just a quick message. He said that he was trying not to love me desperately.
When Timothy was born several months later, I kinda fell in love again with the idea of our family and what it was becoming.
So I emailed The Boy to tell him I had no plans to get a divorce, but "you are the love of my life."
This emailing business was all in Illinois, where we went after England.
Two years after that last email, I was sitting down at my computer one morning in Cedar City. I opened up my inbox, and there he was. "The Boy".
The feeling I had at that moment was like the one you get when you go over that first major peak on a roller coaster.
The subject line said, ashley ashley ashley ashley. Gaining speed down that slope.
Hana, who was about 7 or 8 at the time, was standing next to me. I put on my syrupy sweet voice, "Um, sweetie, go in the kitchen. I'll be right there, okay, darlin'?" If Mommy doesn't liquidate into a puddle.
His email said something like this:
I am in Japan. I was sitting at my window watching the snow and writing. And there you were.
I just needed you to know that you always will be there. Always in my thoughts.
On top of how screwed up things were already with him always being in my thoughts and my day-to-day struggle in a marriage to a gay man, this screwed me up that much more. So things were all screwed up real nice.
I emailed him a photo of myself. He replied saying it took his breath away and added that he didn't use phrases like that often or ever.
We didn't pick up emailing each other regularly again. These few emails felt much more scandalous to me this time around. So it stopped quickly.
Then, 5 years later, the year of my 11th wedding anniversary, I got frighteningly depressed. I'd had several bouts of depression during the marriage. Lots of therapy. (I love therapy. I think everyone should try it.) Did the Zoloft thing. You know how it is with those types of meds, though. Your body acclimates so you have to up the dose, and that cycle repeats itself until you realize the size of your cute Zoloft pill has become a Zoloft brick.
Matt had taken me on a surprise trip to San Francisco for our 11th anni, and we had a blast. Matt always surprised me with awesome things like that. And we always had a great time. But right around this time, I hit a wall. Imagine the claymation Ashley walking along the road of life, looking up at the sky and all around for things of beauty to keep her going, and she runs smack into a brick wall. She is stuck to said wall for a bit before falling backward like a sequoia, her face smushed flat.
This time was the first time I ever felt like I wanted to die.
This whole wanting-to-die-feeling scared the shit out of me. I went back to my amazing therapist, and we started some incredible art therapy that pulled me right out of these new depths of depression that I was in- not out of it completely, but enough to feel like I could go on living.
So I'm feeling better. I also start reading the Twilight books (that's important to know for later).
One day, I was taking a walk (a literal one), and ran into another albeit different type of brick wall (figurative). And instead of being smushed and prostrate on the ground, I had a major Coming to Jesus moment, as it were. It went something like this:
"WHAT THE FUCK AM I STILL DOING IN THIS MARRIAGE??????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
So thus ensued the 2nd go around of actively wanting a divorce- yes, telling Matt as much. The horrificness of the next few months is a post unto itself, if I ever have the stomach for writing it.
And I know what you're wondering now.
Yes, I did email The Boy...
End of Part 3