Now, what was I saying again? Something about being truly content and happy? Knew I’d spoken too soon. But after fourteen years of marriage, one tends to assume it’s safe. I monogrammed the sheets and even had return address labels designed for our first house. Maybe it was all too much for the thirty-five year old brain of my husband to take in. This ‘settled’ feeling had definitely ‘unsettled’ him.
In March I was told that he was unhappy in our marriage and had been for some time. Blimey I thought. What does that mean? Since he couldn’t articulate it himself, we started going to marital therapy. All was well, so I thought. Bit of irony for you…after attending a couples workshop called getting the love you want and spending the day out in our glorious city and booking hostels for our upcoming September trip to Europe, my husband told me he wanted a divorce and to move out. That he would not be going on the trip with me. And then he grew a beard. Poor darling, I thought, it would be classic if only there was a secretary to bang and a convertible in the drive.
So I went to London, Paris, and Amsterdam without him, attended instead by my nephew (dear nephew). Just last Thanksgiving we had played host to one of my sisters whose husband had also gone off his head with mid-life crisis, and I had remembered mentioning to my brother that if my beloved did such a thing to me, I would clean out the bank account and wander the cobbled streets of the Marais in Paris until I could wrap my mind around it. Well, I took a good chunk at least, and did wander, sat through a service in St. Sulpice and sob, but wrap my mind around it I’ve yet to do.
My husband had in the meantime decided to try (at my suggestion) an in-house separation first. Try he did not, but we were living in the same house until he finally got enough courage to tell me that he was terribly sorry but really did want a divorce. That he sees what can be done in the relationship but doesn’t want to waste his life energy on it. He just wants to be alone. Play his guitar. Ride his bike. Come and go as he pleases. Make his own decisions. Insert stereotype. Insert stereotype. Insert stereotype. And so, looking like the cat that got the cream, he began looking for apartments the week of Thanksgiving, had found one by the next week, and moved just one week later. If you find all this unbelievable, do try to imagine how I am feeling. Suddenly I find myself resembling a Woody Allen character, toggling between therapy and support group.
As the only control I have over the situation is how I react and roll with it, I decided to throw a little party the day he moved out. Not because I was happy about it mind you, but because I didn’t want to be at work all day and come home to a silent empty house alone on this most egregious of days. And so friends came together to help me celebrate a rechristening of the house. (I’ve named it Vesta Cottage. Vesta is the Roman goddess of the hearth and home.) Those kind people also put up the tree and decorated every bit of it. Then, in a true stroke of genius, they went through the house gathering up pictures of the two of us together, took them all out of the frames and put them into a book I’ll not be reading soon. And then, we all took photos together to replace the empty picture frames.
And so, from Vesta Cottage to You….Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for 2012….
It’s gotta be better than this one.