I Fantasize About Being Single (Even Though I'm Happily Married)

Photo: courtesy of the author
I Fantasize About Being Single (Even Though I'm Happily Married)
Self

The night before I was supposed to catch a flight to New York for my dad's 50th birthday party, my five-year-old daughter was throwing up. We played musical beds for most of the night, switching to a clean bed each time she vomited.

At 3 AM I emailed my husband, who was away on business. I didn't want to wake him, so I wrote:

"Lila is throwing up exorcist-style. FML. Keeping her home from school. I don’t want to leave a puking kid with the babysitter. What time r u landing tomorrow? If I have to change my flight LMK ASAP —  I can take the last one out."

Send.

We live in Atlanta with one of the largest airports in the world. Sure, I could have changed my flight, that was not a huge deal logistically, I would have still made it in time for the party. But that $500 change flight fee? Ouch... that was not something I was looking forward to.

"Why must he make things so difficult?" I thought. And so expensive.

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I checked my email as we woke up at 8:30 the next morning. No response.

I checked my missed calls and texts. Nothing.

I texted my husband: “Did u get my email bout Lila being sick? We need plan B. Call me!!!”

I never make my husband feel bad about his 85 percent travel schedule because we like that he travels. His constant travel saves us from the daily drudgery and routine that many married modern couples bemoan.

I don't have to argue about who's going to take out the trash, do the dishes, or make the kids lunches because there's only one person to do that: me.

My husband and I have strong identities outside of our roles as spouses and parents. We both work, I'm involved in volunteerism and activism, we both have hobbies, friends, and obligations to our extended families.

There is a common thread running between us, but we're not tethered and intertwined with one another.

The art of being apart is our preferred method of being together in marriage. But at that moment, the art of being apart was feeling really bad and I wanted to strangle him.

My husband was unreachable and not responding. I oscillated between being genuinely worried that something awful had happened to him, and full-on rage.

I never asked anything of him. Ever. I always just handle my business and keep on stepping. I don't rely on him because, frankly, it's just easier not to. It's more efficient that way.

I asked him months before if the timing for my dad's big birthday party was OK and he said, "Go ahead and book it. We might need a sitter in case I get delayed, but it's cool."

We had it all planned out: Google invitations, alerts, alarms, and all. We just never planned on our kid getting full-on puke-sick.

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My plane was taking off in mere hours. I was supposed to be at my dad's big five-oh in less than 24 hours. I still had no idea where my husband was or when he would be home.

I was annoyed and frustrated that I counted on him in the first place. If I wasn't married, I could have just relied on myself.

It's moments like these that I started fantasizing about what single life looks like. I knew there'd be days when I'd be annoyed with my husband, but no one told me there'd be days I'd be rage-filled and thinking about not being married. No one makes that kind of candid wedding toast at your reception.

I pictured my small apartment in New York City with my girls. Me as a single mom, writing in the Sex and the City-esque way Carrie Bradshaw did. I'd write memoirs all day (because let's face it, I'd have to sell my soul to make it as a single mom in NYC).

Ideally, me and my husband would live in the same city, just different living spaces. At the end of the day, the only people I'd have to be concerned with are me and my two daughters.

I wouldn't be riddled with guilt over not being the proper wife. I wouldn't have to be "on" or "perform" for another being. I wouldn't have to coordinate my comings and goings constantly.

I called him at 1:45 PM. No answer.

I texted, "What the f***?" Now, I felt like a psycho stalker.

I seethed and brewed over my husband's lack of consideration minute by minute. The only positive was that the color was returning to my little one's face and she started to eat again.

I took comfort in her slow recovery, but the texts and phone calls from my sister and mother were pouring in, unnerving me. 

"Am I still picking you up from the airport 2nite? What’s ur flight #?"

"Are you still going to be able to help set up for the party?"

I started to feel slightly panicked. I texted the sitter and asked if she can come.

"Lila is still sick, but she hasn't puked in 24 hours, r u OK with still coming? I know it’s a lot to ask."

"Yes, no worries."

"I honestly don’t know when or if my husband will be coming home. I won't leave unless I hear from him. See u @ 6 PM."

The sitter arrived and I lugged my packed suitcase down the stairs. Each stair, the suitcase went thud, thud, thud. I placed it in front of the door — wishful thinking probably.

I sat down at the dining room table with the sitter and said, "Here’s the deal: my husband is supposed to be here by now. I haven't reached him yet, so I don't know if he’s actually coming. I won't leave unless I hear from him."

A knock came at the door. It was my husband who was rummaging in his laptop bag for house keys he didn't have (he left them on his nightstand upstairs the week before by mistake... again). I wondered what he would've done without keys had I not been home.

I tried to conceal how mad I was in front of the sitter. She didn't need to see me go ham on my husband.

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"All day I’ve been trying to reach you. Do you know how frustrating it is to not have a plan?"

I paid the sitter for three hours even though she was there for 15 minutes and sent her on her way.

"The sitter had to drive all the way here to not work. We don't all bow down to you and your schedule. Do you think I'd be comfortable leaving my sick kid with a babysitter?! I could've changed my flight, but I had no way of knowing. What if there was an emergency?!"

"I'm so sorry, but my phone died this afternoon. I think something's wrong with it."

"You were at the airport, there are payphones!"

"I didn't want to waste time. I knew we’d be cutting it close."

Absence had made the heart grow incredibly frustrated. Our art of being apart was falling apart and I was angry.

I shook my head and got in my Uber. He begged me to make up with him before I got on the plane.

I'm not the type that believes you can't go to bed angry or get on a plane angry. You absolutely can, and his attempts to prematurely jolly me up only made me more annoyed.

On the hour-long ride to the airport, my Manhattan apartment was still on my mind. It's not fancy, because truthfully if I was divorced I couldn't afford a nice one. But I'd just pay my inflated rent and for my own mistakes, instead of someone else’s, and be blissfully happy. And single.

That’s how it played out in my head anyway when I wished I was single.

There are days like this when we fight over lack of communication or bad communication or whose engagement out of town is more important. And yet I stay. Not out of pity. Or guilt. Or for my kids.

I stay because he’s my person. My husband makes me laugh, we dance to the same music, we get each other, and he doesn’t care that I’m not this quaint and doting wife.

I texted him the morning after my dad's party.

"Bout to get on my plane, holler."

He texted back, "You’re not leaving me?" (happy emoji face)

"Hah, not today."

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Sarah Hosseini's work has been published in Cosmopolitan, Redbook Magazine, Good Housekeeping, The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, and Bustle. Visit her website for more.