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  • Austin Hamblin


Entry #0: How did we get here?

I choose for this not to be my first entry because the rebuilding hasn’t started yet. I just want to assess the events which lead me to be here. Before I get down to business, I should tell you the basics of who I am. I guess I’m not writing this to anyone, nor will anyone read it. I just want to hold myself accountable for my rebuilding. My name is Paul Wims. I’m 32 years old. I work at a bank helping people with mortgages and loans. I was married to my highschool sweetheart Kim. I met Kim my freshman year because they both assigned us the same locker and we couldn’t get it fixed right away, so for the first week we had to share a locker. I remember the exact look on her face the first time I saw her. She smacked me on the arm and had this “I’m going to kill you, but you might like it” look on her face. She yelled at me for digging around in her locker. Well, actually, it's more like “Hey creep, I don’t have any gym clothes in there, so can I ask you what the hell you're doing in my locker?” It wasn’t love at first sight for her and I was a scared shitless freshmen. so about two years later I finally asked her out. This sounds like one of those love stories where we were meant to be. I actually told this story at my wedding. Unbeknownst to me, it would be far from a fairytale. I thought everything was great in life for me. I had a good paying job and we had been trying to start a family.That is, until one phone call opened my eyes to a bunch of things I hadn’t seen. While at work one day, I got a text from my buddy Jay telling me to call him when I got off work. I didn’t think anything of it. I figured he probably wanted to grab a beer or needed money. It is almost always one or the other with Jay.

Don’t get me wrong, Jay is a good guy. He has a heart of gold, but he’s a fucking moron. He would do anything for you, but sometimes it amazes me how he can function as an adult. He once asked a gas station clerk if he could scratch the lotto tickets off before he bought them. He also thought he was going to become rich by buying Girl Scout Cookies, putting them in a freezer, and selling them with an insane markup when they were “out of season.” I need to stop shit talking him; I’m actually living with him right now. He might not always understand what I’m talking about or going through, but he tries, which is way more than most people. When my dad passed away, he called to check up on me almost everyday for two weeks and would drop off some grilled food for myself and Kim. I might give him $20 I would never see again, but it’s worth it to have a friend like Jay. So when I, got off work I called Jay and he asked me if I had ever been on the “sex section” of Craigslist, as he called it. After telling him I’ve never had a reason to, I asked him why he was on it. Ultimately that information was deemed unimportant. He asked me if Kim had a tattoo just above her vagina of a winky emoji face -- she did. Long story short, Kim had been cheating on me.

I confronted her about it.I was ready to lay into her for what she had done, but that wasn’t exactly what happened. Instead, it ended up being her digging in to me about all the things I had done wrong. Why my actions had led her to do this. She said she felt trapped only having been with one other guy before me and that she loves me, but she wishes she would have met me later in life. She wants to live a little. I became the reason for all the failures, all the things she hadn’t done. I was really upset, and for a long time I believed her. We will get into this more in the later entries, but let’s just leave it at that for now. The worst part of it all was I thought we both wanted a family. We had been trying. As it turned out, she had no interest in kids. She had actually been getting birth control shots. I really beat myself up over the fact we couldn’t seem to get pregnant. This is an unforgivable act to me. Just thinking about it makes me feel bad inside. So here I am: 32 years old living with my forever bachelor friend and I haven’t been on the dating scene for over 14 years. This is going to chronicle the rebuilding of my life. I will not only get my shit together, but I will thrive. Most importantly I will be happy again.

Entry #1: Small things

I have many things I want to fix and make better. I need to avoid getting overwhelmed at all costs. I need to focus on a few small things and work my way up. It’s been a few weeks, but I can’t say I’m back to normal. Instead of waking up next to a woman, I am now usually getting my face licked by Jay’s dog. I’ve got to say, it is a more frisky way of waking up then I am used to. It’s not bad living with Jay. He takes great pride in his house so it’s always clean. No random trash or clothes on the floor. He won’t take any money from me (at the moment) but I’ve got my own room with a full bathroom attached. If you go into the fridge, it is filled to the brim, though you will only find two things: beer taking up about 95% of the fridge, and one spot where he can bring meat out of the freezer to defrost for supper. He has a six foot long deep freezer in the basement and it is all just meat. Pork, beef, dear, chicken, turkey, and a few others I don’t even want to think about. He doesn’t believe in wasting animals, so there’s quite a few vermin he’s either hit with his truck or found on the side of the road. If you look into his pantry he has spices/rubs. Chips, jarred salsa, and, yep, that’s it. His house is a mix between a bachelor pad and mountain man.

I need to start small, like I said. First thing is less pop and beer. I said this would be starting small, but living with Jay, it might prove to be more difficult. It’s not so much the beer for me. I can live without that. It’s the caffeine I need to get through the day. I usually drink at least 2 energy drinks a day and that doesn’t even include the soda. My job at the bank isn’t any crazy manual labor, but it can be fucking mentally draining. Having to tell a customer something 5 times before they finally understand gets old and makes me want to just crawl into bed and take a nap. I need to start getting some exercise, so I’m just going to do some stretches when I wake up and before I go. I know it’s not much, but it’s a start. This is exactly why I am writing these rebuilding entries, so I can hold myself accountable. Besides, writing things down always seems to make me feel better. I won’t be writing everyday. As of right now, the plan is to do this twice a week and maybe more if needed or something happens. I got a text from Kim today telling me I won’t have to worry about running into her, since she is moving in with some guy she had been seeing (yeah while we were married) about an hour away. I’m glad I won’t have to worry about running into her or having her come into the bank while I’m working. She no longer has to work as her new “friend” is rich. Over the past few weeks she would come in to drop off her “allowance” into her account. It’s more than I make in a month and for her, it’s weekly. He let some people go ahead of her in line so I had to be the one to help her. I’ll be back in a few days with how I’m doing. I need to start looking for an apartment, but if I’m 100 percent honest I don’t want to live on my own. I’m 32 years old and I’ve never lived by myself. I won’t lie. I am a little bit scared.

Entry #2: Trashed

Since I’ve last written, I have had two things happen. One of them is good, one of them not.. One night after work I came home to Jay watching baseball, so I sat down and watched it with him. I have always loved baseball and played all the way through high school. I was a big Twins fan, but Kim thought it was a waste of my time to watch baseball, so over the years I just stopped watching. She never forced me to stop, but if I did I would get a lecture and several dirty looks. So I sat down and watched baseball for the first time in years. I know it’s going to take me some time to get over Kim and our relationship, since this is such a huge life change for me. It won’t all be bad and it won’t all be good. Jay never got out of baseball and I told him how much I missed it watching baseball. He went down into his basement and got out all of our old baseball cards. I gave him mine when I stopped watching, but man did it bring back memories. We ended up buying tickets to a Twins game next month.

The second thing I did was I got trashed.. Jay was at work on Friday so I had the house to myself. I started to watch a romantic comedy on cable and I lost it. I started drinking heavily. It’s probably confusing. Why do you care so much about Kim when all you do is shit talk about her? I still love her. I’ve had more years with her than without her. If I build her up to be a monster, it will make it easier to accept I won’t ever be with her again. I’m usually a really chill drunk; this time I became a crying drunk. I haven’t cried much. I’ve been keeping how I felt about everything inside. I don’t think getting plastered was the right way to get my feelings out, but I’m glad I did. I’ve been mostly doing my stretching...and obviously I haven’t started drinking less. Fuck. This is going to be harder than I thought.

Entry #3: Family

I had to go to a birthday party for my nephew Timmy today. Don’t get me wrong, I love the kid, but man I hate children’s parties. Screaming and crying kids running around with parents who can’t seem to talk about anything unless it’s parenting, and no beer. Plus, everyone had to come up to me and ask me how I was doing and told me to stay strong. I’m trying to keep Kim out of my mind as much as possible and I had to deal with this. After everyone had left and we started to clean up, my mom had to give me her two cents on the matter.

“Have you tried to work things out?”

“Yes, mom.”

“You need to keep trying and don't give up on love. If I just left your father when times got tough, you wouldn’t be here.”

I know she’s trying to help, but that might be the most shit advice I have ever heard. I went over to my brother Bart’s after Timmy passed out from his sugar high. He offered me a beer, which I turned down. I know it’s nothing huge, but I’ve got to appreciate the small victories. Hanging out with Bart was like hanging out with Jay. He didn’t want to talk about Kim or any of that stuff. We just chilled out. Flipped through the channels and just talked. His wife told me about a nice apartment complex which had some vacancies. I told her I was going to look into it, but I’m just not ready to live by myself. This is probably an irrational fear for a grown man, but things have changed. I’m not sure if it’s for the better or not, but things have definitely changed. I stayed for supper and, man, it was great to have a home cooked meal. When I left, Bart gave me a hug (we don’t do that in our family) and he told me what happened was out of my control, but what happens from this point is up to me. This is stuck in my head. I’m not sure how to feel about that. I know it is at least half right. What happens from here was all up to me, but was the failed marriage my fault? I had been thinking I was the victim. I mean she cheated on me, but what events lead her to cheat? I don’t think I will be able to sleep tonight.

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