For the entire four-hour drive to my daughter’s rhythmic gymnastics competition, we rode in absolute silence. I sipped my Diet Coke and prayed for the man I married to come back, even though he was sitting right next to me. Two months. It was the longest Harry and I had gone without speaking a single word to one another, and it was becoming torturous. The inciting argument is and was irrelevant; we were fueled only by anger, pride, and caffeine. I felt like I was about to burst.
If only I had known: I was about to burst.
Two hours into the trip, we made a pit stop at 7-Eleven. I should have gone to the bathroom. I had just downed a two-liter bottle of Diet Coke. But I couldn’t. My bladder was full, but my heart was so very empty. Harry hastily gestured at the restroom sign, as if to say, “Well, are you going to fucking go or what?” Just another chance for him put me down. I would not give him the satisfaction.
I made my way over to the Slurpee machine, not breaking eye contact. 44 ounces of cherry Slurpee later, I staggered over to the cashier, each step closer and closer to the brink. I slammed down my Amex and blacked out.
The next thing I remember is standing in the center of the 7-Eleven parking lot with an empty cup in my hands and a ring of sticky redness around my lips. I looked up and saw Harry, who was aghast. I knew in that moment that we were at a crossroads. The decisions we made would change our life journeys irreparably. I could feel the weight of society (and urine) pressuring me to hold onto our marriage (and my urine). It would be wrong to let it slip away (and to pee my pants as an adult when I was near a bathroom), but sometimes in life you gotta take a chance.
And so, I let go.
I felt a euphoric trickling down my legs, tiny, webbing rivulets that seemed to shout, “I am stronger than you! I am strong enough to save us!” I watched Harry’s eyes widen as the steady stream of piss began to puddle at my feet, and a single tear ran down his cheek.
“Why, Melinda, for the love of God, why?!” he shouted, sinking to his knees.
I just smiled, serene and relieved. The Zen masters were right: The truest path to happiness is release.
As Harry sobbed quietly in the parking lot, I bent over him, kissing the now plentiful tears off his cheeks. He looked me dead in the eye, and at that moment I knew that I had won and he had lost and that our marriage was saved. We made love passionately in that parking lot, bathed in our own mingled tears and urine. It was our second chance. Our little miracle.
Anna sat in the car, oblivious. She missed her competition and she seems different now.
Today, Harry and I are better than ever. I blush furiously every time our eyes meet, we can’t keep our hands off each other, and I’ve only had to resort to wetting myself to win an argument three times since. I guess the moral of the story is: You gotta do what you gotta do for love.