50,000 Steps

This past Thursday marked the end of my marriage to Reiko. The following morning, I went out for a walk at dawn with the intention of leaping from a tall balcony while Reiko emptied the house of anything that would fit in the car. As one would expect, the boy is gone. Nozomi, too. In the space of just a few hours, several lives were completely uprooted. And it was completely my doing.

A rapidly-emptied house is an eerie thing. Echoes are different. Neighbours are easier to hear. Various detritus covers the floor and tables. Despite the amount of clean-up work ahead of me, staying just didn't seem like a viable option. For the vast majority of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, I was out; sitting in parks, walking the paths, and otherwise making myself scarce. I didn't want to be seen. I didn't want to be spoken to. With headphones in my ears, I did what I could to blend into the background. Every seven or eight hours, though, I'd make the a trip back for some additional water and a little bit of cleaning.

By Sunday night the house was mostly organized. I had a small dinner consisting of rice with tuna and mayonnaise — a staple meal when I was living single in Vancouver — and a cup of coffee. I decided to get the dishes done early and get some sleep, as the weekend had been quite exhausting.

This morning I followed the same pattern as the weekend, waking up at 4:00 am and leaving the house within an hour. The main difference was that I brought with me a noose made from a rather long power cord. On the hill where I like to sit there are a number of utility poles that run through a thin forest of leaved trees. This mostly-concealed area is an excellent place to sit undisturbed for an hour or two while listening to podcasts and, because the utility poles have pegs allowing technicians to climb up, there's a strong place to mount a rope.

Sunrise took place at 5:30 and I was already sitting on the hill to see the morning light start to break through some light cloud cover. An episode of Irreverend was playing through my headphones and my mind was struggling with the weight of what was expected to come. Some messages were sent to people just to see if anyone was awake. My sister replied almost immediately.

There is a certain amount of comfort when talking to a family member that likely comes from lots of shared experiences. We exchanged messages for over an hour, talking about what had happened, what's going to happen, and when things are going to happen by. I didn't have any decent answers to offer, but my sister didn't press. She listened, offered a suggestion or two, and listened some more. Eventually she had to stop in order to get some sleep before her work shift, so we said our goodbyes with a promise to catch up later in the day.

Naturally, she didn't know about the noose.

Joggers and early-morning walkers started making their way through the park and its trails below the hill by this time. These people were in decent shape and enjoying their Monday morning far more than I. After checking on the electrical cord, I went back to the phone to see if I could get in touch with somebody else. At this point I wasn't looking for a specific person, but any person to talk to. A distraction was required.

A colleague was online. We started talking. For over an hour we discussed our weekends, possible next steps, and options. At some point, I mentioned what I was planning on doing; something that I wasn't going to burden anyone with. As one might expect, the order came that I was not to use the noose followed by a number of reasons why it would be a bad idea. It is because of his words that I am still here to write this post, nearly 12 hours later.

Despite the emptiness of the space, I am now spending more time in this house that was once a home. More cleaning has been done and I've started to tend to some of the plants in the yard. Tomorrow I don't think I'll head out to the parks unless absolutely necessary, though. Since Friday afternoon, it seems I've clocked well over 45,000 steps. Including the steps I would have recorded in the morning had the phone come with me, the total is over 50,000; approximately 40 km.

While there is still a great deal to do regarding paperwork and other necessary discussions, I hope the divorce proceedings can restore some stability in our lives.

As one would expect, this will be an ongoing topic for a while.