Sharing is good. At least that's what my Mom said soon after she rewrote her will and left everything to my niece. So here's a bacon, mushroom swiss burger just for you. With a side of chips. And a nice, hoppy beer I invented in my spare time. Of course, I named it Fish Tale. Sweet, huh.
Exactly three years ago today, I ate a similar hamburger with my husband except that one enjoyed a generous slathering of New Mexico green chile, which I miss almost as much as the sun, and the IPA we were drinking was called Jack Rabbit. When I asked the Surgeon why, after a bout of gloom, he suddenly seemed much more cheerful, willing to consider the glass half full rather than a urine sample left behind by one of his ungrateful patients, he chewed thoughtfully and answered, "Now, I can finally lift my head up and see a long, happy life stretching out in front of me...it just doesn't include you."
So we got a divorce. And I stopped eating hamburgers. I was embarrassed, you see, that a 10-year marriage should crash and burn in such a pedestrian manner. Why not foie gras and champagne or at the very least, steak frittes? But no. I suppose that, at the end of the day, after you stripped away the fancy Nob Hill house with custom bathroom fixtures, foreign cars with leather upholstery, catered dinner parties with open bar and French cuffs with ketchup stains, our life together was merely...hamburger.
Oddly, that was the last serious discussion we ever had regarding our marriage. No huge blow-ups or pronouncements, no long, tearful nights hashing out the woulda, coulda, shouldas, no sorry-ass declarations or promises to do better. Just burgers, beer and polite conversation. I think we even ordered dessert.
So yeah, I've wrestled with the idea of "closure" since Labor Day of 2005 because well, that's what years of therapy teach you, but also because something so defining, so huge as deciding to end a marriage should really require a bit more discussion, or at least a bottle of tequila and a box of tissues. In fact, when they issue marriage licenses, this should be a requirement outlined in fine print. No mutilating or destroying until extreme measures to resuscitate have been exhausted. No littering or lawyers, judgments or judges until you've each written a thousand word essay outlining, refining, and properly submitting your complaints. At the very least, attempt a pillow fight.
In three years, this is what I've learned about closure: Life is not a zipper. Or a row of pearly buttons. You can't simply open or close the book. As the Buddhists would say, "It's your own fucking fault for getting attached to something or someone in the first place. This life is an illusion anyway so yeah, shit happens, so why ask why?" Okay, maybe the Buddhists wouldn't have said it exactly like that, but I think my loose interpretation is pretty right on.
Basically, I'm no wiser about why my marriage ended than I was when all that stood between us was a plate of french fries. But I do eat hamburgers again. And I enjoy them now, more than ever. Is it the wild harvested mushrooms, artisanal cheese, organic beef? Naaahhh. I think it's the company I keep. Next.