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My not-so-married life

This month, September, in fact today, is the anniversary of my divorce. I’ve been divorced twice as long now as my marriage even lasted. And yet, I found myself thinking of my brief experience of being a married woman last night and again this morning.

The night I said goodbye to my husband, my ex-husband by then, I met him for a drink at a swanky place in downtown Boston. I was leaving the next day to move back to my hometown of Sarasota, to be closer to family, start my life over, and build a career as a writer.

I was already there, seated, when he walked in the bar with his inimitable walk. Not a swagger, really. Just a kind of confident push. My ex-husband is a tall man, with an imposing figure, and always impeccably dressed. Looking at him that night, after not having seen him for quite some time, I was flooded with impressions of all the reasons I had fallen in love with him — a man full of talents, creativity, a natural and wonderful cook, a photographer with a discerning eye for capturing fascinating angles and views that most of us miss — a very sexy man, who, for all his bravado, I knew, or sensed, from our earliest dates, was just as vulnerable as I was. It was only later I learned that we dealt with our vulnerabilities in diametrically opposing ways that would eventually drive us apart.

Love notwithstanding, my marriage had failed beyond repair. I had pulled the trigger. I had left him. And now here we were, saying goodbye.

We had a drink and looked out at the view before us. Faneuil Hall. Horse-drawn carriages. Glittering lights. Passers by. We’d sat in those precise seats years earlier and fallen in love. Or at least I had. And to be fair, maybe he did as well. But if he’d ever fallen in, he’d certainly also fallen out.

Marriage is a funny thing. Nothing compares to it. There’s no dating, no living together, no long-term relationship that is what a marriage is. Or what it becomes. For better or worse. And there’s a good deal of both. I’d wanted my marriage to be a meeting of the minds and of the hearts. I’d wanted it to be a balls to the wall kind of “you and me against the world” kind of fabulous-ness. The thinking of ourselves as being both the shelter and the storm for each other. Calm and excitement. Yin and yang. Man and woman in the most primal and most evolved sense.

Marriage is a bond that intertwines so intimately, so completely, that when you try to undo it, a part of you goes with it. And a part of me went that night. Of course, the majority of me had already gone — my heart, my physical self, even a bit of my sanity had disappeared during my marriage. It was brain trauma to love someone so much and yet decide to give up on him. It confounded everything I believed about commitment and marriage vows and faith that people could change. Faith that love was enough. Which I learned, most certainly, that it is not. Ever. Enough.

What was left to go that night? Only everything.

But I’m no dreamer. I’m a ruthless realist. And when I realized I was in a war and that my own weapon — love — was simply not capable of outgunning his — which felt like the opposite of love — I left.

I think we had two drinks that night. Not enough to be sentimental. Not enough to forget. Just enough to remember.

After he paid the bill, we walked together toward City Hall — situated between his office in the federal building and mine nearby on School Street. A place where, coincidentally, we’d unexpectedly run into each other nine or 10 years earlier on the eve of our very first date.

We stood there in the street. Dusk, nearly dark. People passing by and their snippets of conversation just a low background to the sound of the silence in between us as we stopped and stood — just looking at each other.

Finally, I stood up on my tip toes and kissed his cheek, then turned and walked away. I imagine he turned and walked away too, headed back toward his car.

My knees didn’t fold. My heart didn’t heave through my chest. I didn’t even cry. I kept walking and never looked back.

I never knew — never will know — if he watched me walk away, or if he turned back to take a last look at me leaving him.

In the final analysis it doesn’t matter … last looks are about regret, anyway, and you know what I say about those — Je ne regrette rien.

Posted on September 22nd, 2010Comments RSS Feed
4 Responses to My not-so-married life
  1. Great writing MC.Thank you for sharing your raw emotions with us….. Do you know how your ex is doing now or no curiosity?

  2. MC – I didn’t realize your hometown was indeed Sarasota (before Boston).

  3. Yup! I’m a Florida Cracker! :)

  4. I want to apologize for saying I didn’t consider you a native Floridian because you had been in FL “only” the last 9 years. Was I wrong!!


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