Wednesday, March 12, 2008
While most brides wear "something blue," most ex-wives wear something heavy, necklaces made of roughened stone that can only be seen by other divorced women, at least sometimes, but not always. Each stone is a marital grudge, a slight, a transgression, an outrage. We try to let them go...and sometimes we succeed. Sometimes not. Sometimes, we pick up more stones. Men might wear these necklaces, too, but really I can't say.
I discovered this truth in the throws of my divorce, when strangers, women I didn't know, stepped up to help me because they recognized a new, dazed and completely inept member. The banker at Wells Fargo who frantically tried to get me a short term loan. Watching her thin mouth, her furious fingers, I knew she understood what it was like to discover your bank accounts empty, your credit cards cancelled. My insurance agent. When she asked where I was headed in my fast car, packed to the roof, and I told her I had no idea, she smiled, handed me a pocket flashlight and a road map of the U.S. "Good luck with that."
It seems so unfair to be living in the blush of new love while carrying such weight. I've flung my necklace at the Ranger many times and told him, "Go away. I come with baggage. I'm mean and bitter and when you tell me you've had a shitty day, I won't care. Because all that's behind me." He always shakes his head, grins his youthful optimism and says, "Ah Hon, now don't start talkin' crazy."
But sometimes you get lucky. Last week, I got an email from a friend happily returned from a yoga retreat in Mexico. She sent photos of the luscious week and one was a group shot of all the students, including my X. He looked thinner, more muscled and deeply tanned. Happy. And in that moment, I was happy for him. Twelve years together and an easy friendship evades us. But this I can give. I can be happy for him.
And there. Right then. A stone fell away. Not two or three. Just one. But spring is young and I'm feeling pretty good about myself. So, who knows. Maybe soon, I'll stop sticking needles in my little ex-husband doll.