I love you as the mother of my child”: the kiss of death.Mother of His Child: demotion. I am beginning to see this truism: Mothers are not always wives. I have been stripped of a piece of self.
To keep myself from harming or calling N and to stave off the rage and despair, I focus on my extraordinary son, drink midrange Chardonnay every night after he is asleep, and make a barrage of late-night mail-order retail purchases placed from the couch. The couch has officially become my second battle station. I am angry and I have credit And I´m all blackened inside; I should wear a pointy witch hat around Larkspur as I go to the bank and drop A off at day care. It would be more honest.
There is that, and there is also the Irreconcilable Differences line. It seems so catchall, so vague. You could say that about anyone, any man and woman at all. Jesus and Mary Magdalene: "Irreconcilable Differences." JFK and Jackie, anyone at all. It´s built into the man-woman thing. What kind of paltry reason is that? "Insanity" is another box to be checked on the divorce petition, the only alternative to "Irreconcilable Differences." I would like to check it.
This does not escape my notice, it is a context. I resent the fact of a context; my social status has shifted and no one is going to acknowldege it, that´s certain. I´m expected to be Brave and Rise Above. I dress for the role; I must look far better now that I did when I was married. I must look pulled together into a nice tight Hermès knot of self-containment. I don´t make the rules; I just do my best to follow them.
You get what you give," we will tell his sorry, selfish ass." The Betty Lady has spoken. I detect a Bronx accent."But," I demur, "it will make the other woman say, ´See? She IS a jealous and paranoid and pushy wife.´"The Betty Lady rips open a cell phone statement with a nail file and, without looking up at me, says, "Let me tell you something, honey. In my experience? The only thing they care about is what they see in the mirror each morning and WINNING...or their perception of winning.
I´m just not sending out the right vibe lately. Perhaps the fact that I wear stained sweatpants and free T-shirts is holding me back. I just can´t seem to get back into the intelligent-slut-for-hire outfits that lure men; even shoes with laces evade me. Plus my hair is Fran Lebowitz-esque. I think my eyes are getting closer together. I don´t know.
I am replete with stamina in finding out every single fact I can about this whole affair.Yet, I think, do I want to pull that thread? Do I want to unleash the truth, unravel deceit, and kill reality as I´ve known it? It is irreparable, if I do, from the moment we met until now. It is long. If I discover too much that is false about what I thought my past was, Time will be skewed even further. I already have a poor connection with the present. Example: I have no sense of what day it is. It´s better.
How could you do that to me?" I repeat. I don´t have to itemize. He knows what I speak of.Eventually N produces three answers, in this order:1. "Because I am a complete rotter." I silently agree, but it´s a cop-out: I have maggots, therefore I am dead.2. "I was stressed at work and unhappy and we were always fighting...and you know I was just crazy..."I cut him off, saying, "You don´t get to be crazy. You did exactly what you chose to do."Which is true, he did. It is what he has always done. He therefore seems slightly puzzled at the need for further diagnosis, which may explain his third response:3. "I don´t know."This, I feel instinctively, is the correct answer. How can I stay angry with him for being what he is? I was, after all, his wife, and I chose him. No coincidences, that´s what Freud said. None. Ever.I wipe my eyes on my sleeve and walk toward the truck, saying to his general direction, "Fine. At least now I know: You don´t know."I stop and turn around and fire one more question: a bullet demanding attention in the moment it enters the skin and spreads outward, an important bullet that must be acknowledged."What did you feel?"After a lengthy pause, he answers. "I felt nothing."And that, I realize too late, was not the whole truth, but was a valid part of the truth.Oh, and welcome to the Serengeti. That too.
Daily I walk around my small, picturesque town with a thought bubble over my head: Person Going Through A Divorce. When I look at other people, I automatically form thought bubbles over their heads. Happy Couple With Stroller. Innocent Teenage Girl With Her Whole Life Ahead Of Her. Content Grandmother And Grandfather Visiting Town Where Their Grandchildren Live With Intact Parents. Secure Housewife With Big Diamond. Undamaged Group Of Young Men On Skateboards. Good Man With Baby In BabyBjörn Who Loves His Wife. Dogs Who Never Have To Worry. Young Kids Kissing Publicly. Then every so often I see one like me, one of the shambling gaunt women without makeup, looking older than she is: Divorcing Woman Wondering How The Fuck This Happened.
Someday I will have revenge. I know in advance to keep this to myself, and everyone will be happier. I do understand that I am expected to forgive N and his girlfriend in a timely fashion, and move on to a life of vegetarian cooking and difficult yoga positions and self-realization, and make this so much easier and more pleasant for all concerned.
So many events and moments that seemed insignificant add up. I remember how for the last Valentine´s Day, N gave flowers but no card. In restaurants, he looked off into the middle distance while my hand would creep across the table to hold his. He would always let go first. I realize I can´t remember his last spontaneous gesture of affection.