What’s the hardest journey you’ve ever made?
A trip across the desert?
A trip up a mountain?
Or maybe it was just a trip across the country?
For me the hardest journey I have ever made is the twenty five steps it took me to walk from the shed, my man cave, back into the house.
Let me explain.
We’d been married twenty seven years. The kids had long since moved out of the family home and started their own lives. Each of the three girls was happily married and raising their own broods just as we had years before. But as the house became emptier the void that appeared between my wife and I grew larger and larger however the most concerning thing was that neither of us realised it.
Having decided to retire from my career as a computer programmer and semi retire into home based business of computer repairs and servicing so that I could spend more time with my wife and less time working for someone else I built a large shed/workshop in the backyard.
What I didn’t realise until it was too late was that as work slowed down my man cave became a place of solitude. I bought a beer fridge, a microwave, a large screen TV, a massive surround sound stereo and a couch and before I knew it I was spending nearly every waking moment in the shed doing less work and ignoring everything outside the four tin walls.
I’d wake up in the morning, eat breakfast as quickly as I could, dump the dishes in the sink and then head outside. At first I was going inside to eat lunch and dinner, then after several months that changed to going inside to prepare a meal only to take it back to the man cave to eat it. Then, and I don’t know exactly when that was, I started buying my own food and storing it in the shed, which of course meant I wasn’t even going inside for meals. I’m sure if the couch had been more comfortable I’d have slept in that bloody shed.
While I was hibernating in my man cave my wife was doing exactly the same inside the house, she refurnished, and set up her own computer and media room and eventually she even stopped cooking for me.
I can’t pinpoint the time when we stopped actually talking to each other because I’m sure even in the days where I was still getting my lunch from inside we’d make small talk as my meal was prepared. However what I do know is that before the man cave came along, before I moved such a large chunk of my life into the shed we rarely fought, we rarely even raised our voices to each other. The other thing I know for certain was that neither of us seemed to notice what was happening between us.
Of course our friends, even our daughters tried to speak to us, both individually and together but for whatever reason neither of us wanted to see what we were being told. In part I think both of us could see the errors of our ways but neither wanted to admit.
I still don’t know what it was that kick started my brain and made me realise just how stupid I was spending all that time in a tin shed while I could be spending it with my wife but I’m so glad it arrived.
Truth be told I actually wanted to burn down the shed, demolish it, destroy it so that it would never have the pull on me again but there was still some moments of rationality in my mind. Instead I simply got up off my couch, walked to the door, turned off the mains power switch and stepped outside.
Once the shed door was locked I turned around and looked at the house, the same house we’d spent nearly thirty years in. I took a deep breath and started the hardest journey of life, the walk back into my life. Walking along the concrete path with my eyes down on the ground I wondered what would be there to greet me when I walked inside. I wondered just how much damage had been done because of what I thought initially was a good idea to separate work and life. I also wondered if it was too little too late.
I was less than five steps from the steps when I looked up at the door and suddenly I was wondering no more. At exactly the same time as my head was being kicked by something unknown, forcing me into make the arduous journey back to my life, the exact same thing was happening to my wife and she was standing in the open door way.
We met at the bottom of the steps, embraced and then walked inside without even saying a word, but for the first time in months the silence wasn’t as a result of not wanting to talk it was as a result of not needing to talk because we both knew what the other was thinking.
I won’t lie to you and tell you everything was rosy or that everything just clicked back into place because it didn’t it took effort to make things work again but thanks to that arduous journey that both of us started there is now further journeys to be had.