Independence day


Every year about this time, my company passes out new desk calendars for the next year. Shortly after, they release the list of upcoming company holidays. In addition, our company has a nice little bonus policy of closing the office at 1:00 on the day before a holiday.

Each year, I have my routine. I take out a pink highlighter, and make a big, cheerful hot pink “H” on all the days that I get paid not to come to work. Something about doing that makes me feel really good. Then I write “close @ 1:00” on all the early closing days. Today was the day I picked to do this little task, and I followed the normal routine. As I wrote on the days in my calendar, one date in particular caught my attention: July 2.

July 2, 1993 was the day I got married. A day that I liked less and less as the years wore on. It became a reminder to me of all that my marriage wasn’t. The proposal that wasn’t. The flowers, the dinners, the trips that never came. The meager celebrations dwindled through the years to just a card; and for the last few years, I would even resist doing that until the absolute last minute. It was the only day worse than St. Valentine’s Day. It was sheer torture to read through all those cards about how grateful people were for the love and devotion they had felt and received for the past year, and how they hoped there were many more in the future. It was painful. No one makes a card that says what I felt:

“You really suck at this!
You promised last year that this one would be better,
and instead it’s been worse.
You treat me like I’m not even here,
and now I have to buy you some mushy card
and have sex with you tonight.”

That may be a whole new market for greeting cards… Anyway… As I wrote on July 2 “close @ 1:00”, it slowly dawned on me: I DON’T HAVE TO DO THAT THIS YEAR!

I can’t describe the feeling of elation and freedom that slowly came over me, as a smile broke wide across my face. I felt like jumping up and down! Probably would have if I hadn’t just spent the last week getting over a back injury! I have spent the rest of the night smiling, and singing in the car on the way home, and looking forward to the time next year when I will gain my legal freedom. When I will finally be free to be myself again.

And hopefully, I will find the man with whom I will look forward to truly celebrating every anniversary.

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