The X called yesterday to say he's back in the country. Even though I didn't really know he was out of the country. We don't keep track of each other, or enjoy friendly conversations about anything other than say, mutual funds, so most likely this polite checking-in is part of his new commitment to me.
You see, his job now is to kill me. Should such a need arise. Who better to pull your plug, I ask, than your former spouse, who will most certainly be motivated and will not suffer from "oh, but she might wake up some day and respond droolingly to a balloon bobbing above her head, if we just keep her on life support a little longer. Just a little."
Shortly after my brother died, the rest of us got busy planning our own deaths. One thing I knew for sure from Edward's funeral...I did not want an open casket where friends and relatives could stroke my waxy cheek, fluff my molded hair and wiggle rosaries between my fingers. I needed someone who could follow my wishes without faltering, who wouldn't buckle under the pressure of my Crisis-Catholic family and who had the medical knowledge to bully other doctors into cashing in the chips. I needed a real son-of-a-bitch. Of course, I knew just the man.
"Wouldn't you rather give this kind of power to someone who's actually in your life?" he asked.
"That's exactly it. You won't be sentimental about it. This will be just another medical decision."
"Well, I don't know about that."
"You don't have to give me an answer now. Just think about it."
He joked, "Your family is pretty persuasive. Maybe I'll just leave you as a potted plant. Ever think of that?"
I had thought of that. What sweet revenge, that special prison -- making someone live inside a body that can't possibly house them. But I know, as only a wife can, that above all else, the X is a doctor, an excellent doctor, more comfortable with the dirty work of death than the slippery slope of life. That's one oath I know he can keep.
What's the Ranger think of this? Frankly, he's relieved. At night, when he's sound asleep and I'm still staring at the ceiling, he wraps his arms around my waist and mutters, "goodness gracious" and in that moment of pure unconscious love, I know he could never let me go.
One holds tight. The other releases. I am so grateful. For both.