Had Katelyn made a huge mistake? She often wondered this on the bad days. On the good days, she was less likely to fall into this negative thinking. Part of her felt so stupid and naïve for thinking this new life would be easier. What a joke. Life was harder now than it had ever been and didn’t show any signs of getting better. Every day was a struggle. Katelyn had grown resentful of giving up the career she wanted so she and Heidi could be together. One of them needed to make decent money, and Katelyn’s experience as a programmer meant she had the most earning potential. Too bad she kept getting stuck at jobs that paid shitty salaries. The job market was bad and getting worse because of a failing economy. She was lucky to even have a job under the circumstances. But that didn’t stop her from hating her job most days.
Katelyn had made the decision 10 years ago to leave her career and pursue teaching. She wanted to do something to give back to the community and she felt the best way for her to do that was to teach English. It was something she loved and she felt it was in her blood to do this. She didn’t want to spend the rest of her life behind a computer. And if she had stayed married, she could have pursued her dream. But teaching at a community college doesn’t pay well and she needed something that did. She went back to work and eventually finished her Master’s degree, but there wouldn’t be any teaching. Every time she brought up trying to teach just one class in the evening, Heidi would start complaining about how she wouldn’t be able to finish her own degree if Katelyn wasn’t home to watch the kids. Nevermind that for the first year they were together, Heidi kept dropping her classes because she was too stressed and depressed to even go to school. Or that Heidi’s parents lived 10 minutes away and could have watched the kids on the nights Katelyn was teaching if Heidi had class. No, Heidi didn’t want Katelyn to have anything that would make her happy if she wasn’t happy herself.
Katelyn kept going back to her email and reading Heidi’s message. And the more she did that, the more furious she got. She just wanted out right now. Out of this relationship. Out of this job. Out of this life. She wanted to disappear and start over where nobody knew her. She wanted to be free to pursue her own happiness. She wanted the freedom to do whatever the hell she wanted, when she wanted. That freedom was gone now and she hated that. She never thought she would lose her freedom. She remembers her parents going out with the kids and doing things for just them. Heidi didn’t seem to believe in that. As much as she complained that she needed a break from the kids, she never actually wanted to go anywhere without them. Katelyn needed that break. She needed time alone with Heidi so they could work on their relationship. They rarely had that opportunity. There was always someone eavesdropping or interrupting. They couldn’t have serious discussions without at least one of the kids walking into the room to see what was going on. They couldn’t even enjoy five minutes alone in their room to just talk about the day without a third or fourth party cutting in. If Heidi was giving Katelyn any attention, the kids would find a way to steal that moment. They hated not having their mother’s attention 24/7. It was neurotic and Katelyn didn’t know how to address it. She tried talking to Heidi about it, but Heidi usually got defensive. She had told Katelyn on many occasions that the kids would always come first. Well, what the fuck?
Sometimes the adults need to come first. Katelyn was tired of it all right now. She was tired of feeling like she didn’t matter to anyone. She was tired of feeling like she was nothing more than someone to bring home a paycheck, cook, and clean. She was tired of being a convenience for someone who didn’t have the emotional stability to sustain a real adult relationship. Maybe she should end it. But would that push Heidi over the edge again? That was always the question. She didn’t want something to happen to Heidi, but she also didn’t want to feel trapped anymore. It was a no-win situation. Her train of thought was broken by the buzz of her cell phone. It was Heidi.