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  • It’s Friday. His Friday. The Friday that my 4 children go live with their father for the next week.

    Today is an unusually difficult Friday. I don’t want to leave my children or to be left.
    I see the sadness on their faces as I drop them off in front of their school, knowing we won’t see one another for a week, until next Friday. Their lips quiver and tears fall from their eyes. The guilt is ablaze, but I lift my voice through it. I have to give them this, let them know they aren’t doing something wrong by being with their father and to know I am ok when they aren’t with me. After all, they are only children.

    After hugs, kisses, they step out of the car and I watch them walk the sidewalk and enter the double doors of their school. I can't bear to pull away in my car until they are out of sight, completely inside the building.

    The swelling sadness is overwhelming. I don’t want to go to work now, I don’t want to think, perform. I just want to crawl in bed and cry. If I were to let it, this would be the type of sadness that rolls, washes over my soul, destroying by flood the fortressed empires of my heart.

    But I can’t, it can’t. Not now. Maybe later, if I let the swell seize me in my thoughts of my children later tonight…. wondering if they’ve brushed their teeth or are they wearing clean socks? Wondering.

    I am in a daze as I drive to work. A haze of conflict readjusts my bearings and I am not quite sure how I arrived from point A to point B. In the car, I turned off the radio, and recalled 3 years of facts; the math just doesn’t add up. I had hoped we would be free, worked for justice and believed in truth. Infuriating lies are blunter instruments of destruction and have left me dizzy and dumbfounded, circling my staked ground. After all, facts can’t set you free, only truth can do that.

    This statement turns into a question and recoils again and again in my mind.

    Entering the glass doors of work, I sense the reflection of a woman who looks familiar out of the corner of my eye. I follow her to the break room, to get a morning cup of coffee and refill my water bottle for the day.

    I see her smile, a large smile followed with a convincing laugh and a fond greeting to a coworker in passing. The sound rings with familiarity, like I have heard this tone of voice before.

    As she speaks there is a strain to her voice as she feigns her attention to the pouring of coffee to proclaim in an upbeat way to another coworker who has joined her: “Well, it is TGIF after all! I never thought Friday would come!”

    The two speak in broken, short strokes about their plans for the weekend. Gotta mow the grass, soccer has started and then there is the birthday party at 3:00 and Oh, My… and then the woman, the one who seems so strangely familiar to me, excuses herself to the restroom, leaving her coffee cup on the side of the laminate countertop.

    Inside the bathroom, behind the locked wooden door, I watch her wash her hands. She bends over the sink to knead the lather between her fingers and palms, then, lets the water push the soapy foam down the drain. When she looks up, my eye catches this stranger in the mirror. I look at her, allowing her to see me for the first time. I notice she has a black river of mascara that has dried and stained her cheek from what must have been earlier in the morning.

    I look deep into her reflection in the mirror and whisper, “You weren’t fooling anyone, after all.”
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