by: Donnie Casto II
Our fifth wedding anniversary as man and wife would’ve been in four days. Looking back, those shiny red warning flags were there all along. Reflection can be a funny byway of would’ve, could’ve, or should’ve beens. I know I can’t forgive or love the addict she is now. The wife I loved more than any other no longer exists. She never did.
Is Hell a literary or physical place? People have argued this for centuries. I’ll tell you what Hell truly is; Hell is loving someone more than you have any other while you watch them, deep-dive, into the bowels of depression, anxiety, and addiction. It is the place where no amount of love will fill the void in their soul. In the end, you lose yourself trying to love for the both of you. One day you realize… they aren’t capable of loving you back.
Dani is reckless, careless, and very confused. Simply put, she is a heartless meth addict who loves her Fentanyl cocktails. Three years she spent smashing belongings, destroying her family, and retreating into drugs, drama, and compulsive lies while she let others who loved her, clean up her mess. She confuses love with compulsion. The bottomless void where the heart normally resides, is why Dani drains the hope of others until they are bone dry of it.
So many memories and moments of love were destroyed in the heat of a choice. So many times, I wanted to rip my heart from my chest, cram it down her throat and watch her choke on the reality of destroying everything she should have treasured. Instead, I kept on the rose-colored glasses and continued to love her and her alone.
When she left ten months ago, I thought she would only be gone for a few days to see her oldest son. The past year and a half of her illusions and baseless accusations had begun to take a toll on our marriage. Then I started getting messages and notifications from her family, our friends, and coworkers asking “Is everything ok?” and “Have you seen Dani’s Facebook posts?” It was the beginning of the end of our marriage I hadn’t accepted but knew whose time had finally come.
Tragedy in a life of addiction is inevitable. The tragedy of being at work, getting on your phone, and reading the love of your life has changed her name, her marital status, and proclaiming how happy she is to be “free, single, and available to mingle” is another kind of tragedy. It’s the tragedy where time, along with your beating heart stops, and you can do nothing while your coworkers stand in pitiful silence as they know good and goddamn well your whole world just fell apart.
The subtle signs were there other men were beginning to take her attention. She was receiving random messages from ‘guy friends’ that I had never heard of or met. Her damaged logic led her to think she was the only woman that hundreds of random men in a two hour radius were gravitating to, due to the Machiavellian plots of her ex who subsided on allegedly selling meth out of his apartment while living of their son’s SSI check. He was a combo prototype of a ‘Scarface’ Tony Montana wannabe and looks like a methed out Keebler Elf that had missed the tragic irony of ‘Breaking Bad’. He’s a mutant too stupid to learn and too arrogant to change.
Dani and I lived a Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald relationship. Our better angels sang songs of glory and beauty. A piece of me will always hope that some of it, may have been true. When our evil demons came out, and they did, those memories were erased by some of the most vicious, callous, and hateful venom two people who had sworn to love each other could ever utter.
Along with the plastic gram baggies with the broken glass residue of crystal meth that I found scattered in our room or that our son found in her purse that she swore people planted to stir drama, there was the pictures of her and various men she called “her king”, “her world”, or “her soul”. There was conversations she had with friends on the phone describing how her bed was getting broken by these men. It’s these memories of verbal pain that cuts deeper than anything. It’s the quiet nights when our son is asleep that the highlight reel of the devastation of her lies catching up in her baby blue eyes that haunt me the most.
Someone once said that when a person leaves your life, they either bring peace from their absence or the absence shows the value they made in your life. The serenity of not being on a roller coaster with a bipolar, drug-addicted compulsive liar has been a blessing. It’s one thing to accept the reality of how an addiction destroyed my marriage. It’s another to sit helplessly trying to comfort a four year old who doesn’t understand why his mother hasn’t called or come home. What is the peace or value in that?
I’ve had many people say to me ” Just tell your son the truth.” No child should ever have to hear “I’m sorry, but mommy put her meth lifestyle in front of our family.” Sure, it would feel good to say it. Hell, it would be the stone cold truth. The closest Dani ever came to being a mom, was the ink of their names on her skin. But sometimes kids deserve to have the hope and faith that their mother or father is the one constant; the North Star in their life that they can believe in.
My wife Dani no longer exists. Our son’s mother is a ghost of this house, a shadow on the wall. For now, I want him to keep his faithful four year old innocence. Ending it was the hardest but most liberating thing I’ve ever had to do. To finally tell her “Dani, I don’t love you anymore.” To say to her “I don’t want this marriage or this life anymore.” Slowly, the healing has begun. For the days I’m not sure it can, I get on the floor to play with our son. And to quote The Beatles, “When the night is cloudy there is still a light that shines on me.”