I deleted music files from my iTunes library that included a love song to me from my husband. He raps. He never understood how time has made me hate rap music. I can listen to older songs that I loved when I was younger, but there’s something in the sound that hurts my ears. There’s something in the culture that makes me hate being female. It’s the idea I’m only good for sex and life is only about making money and hate. It ties me to the memories of the boys I wanted to love, that worshipped the music that idolized misogyny and abuse. The lyrics are no longer about political change and empowerment. I started shuffling music on my laptop and old songs that got me through previous breakups would hit me and it was heavy with nostalgia. I then got in my car and when my phone started shuffling through music I deleted off of my laptop, I realized I need to go through every library on every device to remove him. That was a bit much, so I listened to Lorde for most of the day instead. I may have thrown in a little Blu Cantrell to make me laugh, and DJ Quick because he reminds me of a certain boy that wanted to treat me like the song and I wanted to remind myself why I’m not that person anymore. I will never again be “Down, Down, Down,” no matter how much I loved the beat. Nothing creates distance and disgust faster than the music that boy loved.
I started my day by visiting my father in law. When we first married, my mother in law gave me a bracelet that belonged to her first mother in law and was intended for me, before my husband was born. When my husband left he asked for it back. I’m sure it was his mother’s suggestion because he never thinks that far ahead. At first I was certain that we would reconcile and I said no. It was my right. I had earned it. When I decided I was done, it felt right to give it to my father in law when it was his mother’s. He and his wife greeted me with hugs and love. He wanted to see it, and remembered he had given it to his mother. I told him I wore it to family gatherings and weddings to feel as though she was with us in spirit. He insisted that I keep it. His thoughts were he loved me and I’m his daughter. He understood my value of family which is why he asked me to stand in as a family representative for his late brother. He loves me in a way that his own kids could never feel and I’m so blessed in having that honor. My husband asked him to remove our family photos from his walls, and that request was denied. I’ve only known him 16 years, and I know that once he claims you as his family, nothing can change that. He kept apologizing for his son, and I told him it wasn’t necessary. Then he tried to give me his impressions of my husband’s girlfriend, and the fact that she’s still with her husband. I needed to excuse myself then, because it’s too easy to jump on that train and it never leaves me in a good place.
I got home and when the kids arrived after school I told them what I had told their grandfathers. They don’t do well with surprises and I try to give them as much warning and preparation as possible. They’re kids, and in their hopes and dreams their family will one day be restored. I pointed out that their Dad is already acting like we’re divorced. They took that news better than they did when I told them I wasn’t working again. It was crazy the way my oldest railed that he couldn’t believe I lost my job. In that moment I could see his father in him. I could see the eggshells before me and calmly pointed out I worked for a temp agency and I’m between assignments. I didn’t get fired. Then I pointed out I had a crush on my boss and it was probably for the best. He then said, “it’s okay mom. It’ll work out,” and I could see he has his mother’s eyes. I did laugh at his miraculous turn around though. I woke up to sounds of my kids gaming and singing. This is that adjustment I keep hoping will settle around us with seamless regularity and hopeful optimism.