5 Years Ago on May 5th

May fifth. Cinco de Mayo. A day of celebration throughout many Mexican homes. But, not in our home.

Five years ago. May 5, 2009. I hadn't slept well and when I woke up, had gotten a toddler and a newborn to the car, and was ready to leave, I was greeted with a unpleasant surprise. A large chunk of wood was protruding from the sidewall of my rear passenger side tire. Realizing that I was going to be late to work, I panicked, running across the street and asking my neighbor to help me get the spare tire onto my car.

As he was working, I texted my husband, Jose, asking if he knew what happened to my tire. "Was probably just some punk kids" was his response.

The neighbor saved me and quickly, I was on my way. I delivered the kids at daycare and got to work. I continued texting Jose, stating that the flat tire made no sense. Around approximately 9:45 AM, life as I knew it ended.

Hold on, now let me back up. Life hadn't been amazing. And for a few months, things were not adding up or making sense. Jose would come home the wrong direction from the store or would "get lost" on the way back from a friends' house. His text conversations were missing chunks of messages and his demeanor was different.

Two days before, on May 3rd, Jose had announced that it simply wasn't working out. He made the choice to leave and told me that he was done. He packed a bag and drove off. The next day, after work, he came back to apologize and said that he had made a huge mistake. He said that he had slept in the car, in Walmart's parking lot. My heart broke for him and I told him that I wanted to try to work it out. However, he still didn't seem like the man I married. That night, while he slept next to me in bed, I texted his friend, asking if she knew what was going on with him. She just told me to get him to tell me.

So, back to May 5th. I was at work and my phone went off. I remember looking at it, reading it and not understanding. When I began to make sense of it, I walked out of my office and it was like everything was in slow motion. The world around me was blurry and I could only hear my own heartbeat echoing through my ears. I took three steps past my office door, made eye contact with my boss, then realized that I could go no farther. I retreated, closed my door, and crumbled upon the floor. My body began to tremble with life-shattering sobs and my boss, the woman that I thought I despised the most in the whole world, entered my office and held me in her arms. She rocked me as I tried to explain, but I am not sure that the words ever quite made it out of my mouth.

Jose cheated. She was pregnant.

At some point, I drove myself home. I don't remember much of the day, to be quite honest. I know that my mom came and cleaned up the dining room floor where shattered photo frames littered the floor. She scolded me gently about the broken glass with the concern for bare baby feet. My mom picked up my kids from the sitter and kept them for the night. When Jose got home from work, every single possession that he owned was packed in garbage bags and stacked on the couch. He tried to talk to me, but all I remember is literally seeing the entire world through a red screen. I threw a glass at him at some point. I slapped him.

Then, I made him call her, his "friend", and tell her to come to our house to talk. She agreed so long as I promised to not punch her in the stomach, but truthfully, I didn't want to fight. I demanded that he, for the first time, be a "fuckin' man" and stand in front of both of us and explain himself. I told him to be honest, for once. And he did. I sat in one chair, facing his pregnant girlfriend, as he stood next to the garbage bag filled couch and spoke. I asked about the "getting lost" and wrong directions. I asked about the late nights with friends and the times in which he wasn't answering his phone. He admitted that he went to her house instead of sleeping in the parking lot. Then, when it was all said and done, she and I spoke on the front sidewalk leaving him inside, alone.

I don't remember how the rest of the night went. I don't remember much of the weeks that followed. But I will forever remember May 5, 2009. Cinco de Mayo. The fifth of May.

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