Tuesday, October 8, 2013
What's the waiting period for writing about divorce?
What's the waiting period for writing about a divorce?
I don't want to write a memoir. Just something. Some words put down on paper or hammered out on the keyboard. I'm not looking to pen a nonfiction retelling of the past twenty years and all the ways I fucked up. No, I much prefer weaving bits and pieces of myself into my fiction, hidden carefully so no one who knows me will suspect the neuroses belong to me.
Thankfully, He doesn't know my pen name, so I suppose I can write whatever I please, whenever I like. Let's start now.
He and I signed divorce papers on Wednesday, September 25th. 61 days later, we'll be divorced. Happy Fucking Thanksgiving, to me.
Twenty years of marriage deleted, splattered with Wite Out, bleached out like a blemish on His finely lined forehead. When I asked him if it felt like a big deal...signing away twenty years of our lives, he replied, "No, not really. But then I don't get all emotional about stuff."
Too true. And I, of course, am too emotional: one of the reasons he wanted a divorce in the first place. I believe his words were something like, "I'm sick of riding the *emotional roller coaster. I want off."
What I didn't understand was the timing. Why live with an emotional roller coaster (me) for twenty years then suddenly decide you want to hop off the ride?
Did you guess "shiny, new girlfriend?" If so, you're our winner! Ding! Ding! Ding!
So you know, I'm not usually this cynical, but if I don't learn to laugh at myself and scoff at his reasoning, I'll go insane.
Then there is his choice of new woman. One of my best friends. Or, so I thought.
Let's call her Bambi.
Bambi and I became fast friends at age twelve on the first day of that well-known horror called junior high. For the next eight years, we shared crushes, cookie dough, and clothes. We fixed each other's hair and make-up. We argued over who was the hottest New Kid on the Block. When one of us asked if the new dress our mom bought made us look like the world's biggest nerd, we lied and said, "Of course not! You should be on the cover of Seventeen."
We exchanged secrets and vowed to carry them to our graves. She's the only person who didn't think my infatuation with and determination to marry Him was a futile quest. She believed, right along with me, that one day he'd be standing at the altar watching me walk up the aisle. We both knew he would totally rock a tux. I met Him in seventh grade study hall. We were twelve. I had bad hair, bad skin, and braces. He had the most amazing hazel eyes I'd ever seen. Then, he smiled. And I fell.
Four years later, he succumbed to my charms. Okay, so more likely, he was simply tired of saying, "Please stop following me around like a puppy dog." Yes, I was that pathetic. He was my first boyfriend and my last. My first kiss and my last.
Three years later, the **monster I called, "Daddy," walked me down the aisle. Bambi was my bridesmaid. Two years later, I was hers.
Funny thing is, I'm not hurt by his choice of shiny new girlfriend. I'm hurt by her choice, her decision to set aside the sisterhood of friendship and fall into his arms.
You see, friendships became my life raft over this past year. On October 6, 2012, I decided to die. Why? Because he said we were never, ever, ever getting back together. I told myself a dead mother is better than a depressed mother, and I started writing letters. I prepared myself to walk away from life, my kids, everything, because He walked away from me.
Yeah, I know I was stupid, but thanks for verifying it.
I swallowed every pill I could find. In the backyard, He had set up a tent to test its waterproof-ness. I climbed inside and laid down, presumably for the last time. I don't remember anything else. I'm told he came home with our kids. They saw me weaving through the house. Next stop: ER. I recall drinking charcoal. Beyond that, I have no recollection of October 6-9th. My first moment of clarity came in the hospital on October 10th: "Well, damn. Guess that didn't work."
A few days later, still in the hospital, I began to feel grateful. I couldn't fathom why I was still here, but I decided to have a go at the Life thing one more time. And here I am, one year later, still giving Life a go.
*emotional roller coaster - His term for bipolar disorder, which I have.
**monster - the man who abused me sexually, physically, verbally, and emotionally