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I’m Tired of Being the Divorced Dad

serge_selfie

Every day, I kill a few minutes Instagramming snapshots of a touched-up me supposedly holding my own damn world together.

Check it out: here I am holding my baby son in the Bjorn. We’re both smiling in the mirror — golden and perfect. And look! Here’s me staring the world down, my selfie squint just the right combination of sexy and tender-eyed invitation.

Well, that’s what I was thinking anyways after I finally got sick of taking like 40 different versions of the stupid thing.

No one cared though. No one cares.

People are starting to see through the jig. We can only pretend that we’re all living the dream for so long, you know? We can only lie about ourselves to a certain extent before the world starts to catch on.

With the divorce papers getting signed and the whole thing slamming into my skull like a cannonball coming down out of the sky, I’ve been super desperate to be someone else for a while now. I’m tired of being me. My life, this gargantuan mess, it’s wearing me out. Down to my bones, I’m riddled with weakness and blues and there’s no Instagram filter I can find that cleans all of that off my very real face.

Most days I try to find my way to something better — some notion of where the hell I’m going to end up in this world. But I just end up standing there in the kitchen, blowing on my kids’ steaming hot microwave lasagna, and I can’t hide it anymore. Sometimes while I’m doing that, I put some of it in my mouth even though I know it’s scorching. It’s almost like some weird penance I make myself pay.

I picture women coming to my door sometimes.

I dream of girls I have no right dreaming about, not at this stage in the game. They show up alone, one at a time, right when Charlie, 8 months, has just blown his diaper out and he’s crying and rolling in his own filth. Meanwhile his brother Henry, 3, is whining at his sister, Violet, 5, because she is messing with his Legos.

I hear her on the porch, this stranger, and I see her through the glass, too. Oh snap, she is sexy. And what the hell?! She just walks through the front door, swoops down and picks Charlie up and she doesn’t care about the mess. She just starts changing his diaper and staring into my eyes and smiling and she tells Violet and Henry to pipe down and they do, right away (they never do, right away!).

I must be dead. I must be dead and this must be an angel. I don’t even believe in angels, but I do now, man.

I’ve been so broken and now what? Who is this? Am I allowed to fall for her? Is that cool? Anyone have an opinion on that? I need to know because she is walking over here with my kids following her like the friggin’ Pied Piper and I think she wants to kiss me hard on the mouth and I am ready to be saved in every way, shape, and form.

Yes, I want someone to save me. I want a foodie, a traveler; someone hot/funny/stylish/gentle/confident/not crazy/awesome with kids to show up at this drafty old rented duplex Hall of Averageness we live in and save me.

I am, as you can tell by now, a shattered little mess of a man.

There is never anyone really at the door. There is only Divorce sitting on the kitchen island like a 400-pound tankard of useless ass. There is no one coming around to help me change the diapers and blow on the lasagna. No cute miracle cures, no irresistible angels of mercy and lust and motherly instincts in motorcycle boots and pigtails showing up to save me. No one in the entire galaxy is even wasting a split second of their Tuesday night thinking about me at all.

I am alone. I am on no one’s mind but the three kids in front of me here in front of the black hole of Sponge Bob we’ve been living in. I want someone perfect for them. I miss that so much: someone else, someone who digs me and who digs them, too.

The whole thing is exhausting.

Divorced people know what I’m saying. Divorce leans in and licks your neck and you feel a little kinky from the hot prospect of everything you’ve been missing for so long. But then, just as soon as you start to bump and grind to the whole notion of unlimited freedom and liberation and proving how strong you are to all your friends on Facebook, Divorce sets her dirty fangs in to the side of your throat.

My daydreams, they’re ridiculous. But it doesn’t matter because I need them to get me though. I need to believe that I will be okay, for these kids and all. And forever, too.

At night, when they’re here and not at their mom’s place, Charlie sleeps hard and fast in his portable pen over by the wall. I let the older two crash in bed with me. When I finally hit the lights and the darkness fills the room, I reach out with my arms and slowly pull sleepyhead dreamers across the mattress, back to me. I run my fingers through their hair and I kiss warm cheeks and I wish I could change everything for them even though they really don’t even care, I don’t think.

They’re fine.

They feel the love coming at them from two different hearts in two different places. That’s when it dawns on me that maybe what I want is what I already have. Them. This. The bed, the heat rising up out of the dusty vents in the floor, the novels on the nightstand that I’ll get to when I get to. Everything in it’s time.

Image: S. Bielanko Private

Read more of Serge and Monica’s story here.

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