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A Year Ago I Left You and You Divorced Me

November 2, 2012

Halloween was yesterday. It caught me off guard. I used to love Halloween. When I had young children. When I was the host of a big Halloween event at the city I worked for. At the job I left to move here. For my husband. For us. Because we were going to build a new life together.

Last year on October 15 I had enough and left. By that Halloween I was carving a pumpkin at my Dad’s house with a sacred heart on it. I wanted to put in on my mother’s grave for the All Saint’s Day mass at the cemetery. My Dad thought it would be sacrilegious. Mom would’ve loved it.

I don’t think I’m going to be able to handle the upcoming holiday season. My kids are grown. I have a grandchild but he’s in Hawaii. Might as well be on Mars. Holidays have been torture since my Mom died. Now, I have the divorce trauma to add to it.

With Mom, it had all started at Christmas. She couldn’t eat her food. It felt like it was getting stuck in her throat. By that New Year’s she gave us the news. It was cancer. A giant tumor in her throat. From December to July it’s just a series of reminders. Tulips. My sister used to bring her tulips in the hospital room. Easter. We had a big family reunion that year with crawfish. It had been weird in the house. Nothing was the same without her there. She was in the hospital. Mother’s Day. Torture. Then July 29, the day she died.

July is also when my husband and I moved back to Lafayette. By October our marriage was dead. November 1, he filed for divorce. By February I was back in Lafayette, desperately trying to make a new life and treading the horrible waters of the divorce process.

I look at myself now and I wonder: Am I doing OK? I’m doing better than a year ago. That’s certain. But am I doing OK? I see him out in his nice suits and expensive ties. Skinny. Aids patient skinny. With that thing always at his side. That poor child. I have not met one person who doesn’t think she is uglier than sin. (I’m a recovering ex-wife. Give me some leeway. Besides, it’s true.) I’ve known many people in my life who were less than beautiful but they make up for it with style and grace. With clothing that suits their body shape and tasteful makeup and accessories. This poor child dresses like a two-bit hooker.

But at least he has a girlfriend. He’s not alone. He’s eating out and attending events. His lifestyle hasn’t suffered. He claims the business is not doing well but if he manages to pull it off, he’ll have a retirement. The retirement that was supposed to be ours.

I’m alone. These blogs have cataloged the weird train wreck that has been my single life the past year. Liars. Players. Foreigners. Too young. Moving away. One night stand. Charming friends turned arrogant asses. And the only one of the bunch that I actually pursued openly myself….I haven’t written about him…..that one won’t give me the time of day.

I ask myself: Why is he with someone and I’m still alone. I’m attractive. I have no problem getting attention from men. Why haven’t I been able to attract just one who wants to get know me before he has sex with me? Who wants to buy me dinner(s)!? One who will stick around and not go away to India or Mexico City or just drop me like a hot potato?

My support group gives me the answer: He latched on to the first thing that came around. It’s a rebound. It won’t last. He’s not growing and changing and doing the personal work that needs to be done. You are. You’re changing by leaps and bounds from week to week. You’re growing and it will pay off. It’s just hard to see that when I’m sitting at my favorite place, alone, again and he’s at a table with her, again and plates full of expensive food all around them.

Then there’s my future. This job. It’s a temporary position. No benefits. The pay is criminally low. Slightly more than half what I was earning at the city I worked for. I’m doing in-house graphic design. Photography. Research. Writing. I’m curating the next exhibit. And I’m excited about it. I love the work. My boss says when this assignment expires, he’ll reassign me at a higher rate. OK. Great. But that doesn’t give me security or benefits. I have exactly 32 more installments of spousal support and then my income will be cut in half. I’m not making ends meet now. I’m scared.

I feel like Charlotte in Pride and Prejudice when she explains to Elizabeth why she agreed to marry Mr. Collins. “I have no money. No prospects. I’m already a burden to my parents and I’m frightened. So don’t you judge me Lizzy. Don’t you dare judge me.” (Ok, that might be from the movie and not the book.)

I think about my future a lot. I walk every day and sometimes my feet hurt and cramp up. I wonder what I’m going to do when I’m too old to walk every day. As it is I can’t afford to see a chiropractor about my neck. If I had any kind of health issue right now, I’d be up shit creek. How is aging going to look for me. I might have to just end it one day. Not out of depression or because I don’t want to live. I just think I’m not prepared to age. I don’t have any way of taking care of myself when I’m old. I’m going to be a burden to my children at some point. I often think that it might be best to just end it at some point. When I run out of the means to care for myself which may be in as little as 10-20 years. Is that crazy? To just want to stick my head in an oven one day and go to sleep before it all gets to be too difficult?

Recovering from this divorce is like raising children. Just when you think you’ve gotten through the worst of it, the challenges just change. The day you don’t have to buy diapers anymore seems like such a relief, then they pee on everything. Those first few months after we split up were hell. I really didn’t know if I had the strength to get through it. Then I met Liz and made friends and got a job and an apartment. The divorce went through and I started having fun.

I thought I had gotten through the worst of it. But it’s not getting easier. The challenges are just changing.

It’s not fun anymore. It’s scary and lonely. This is going to be harder than I thought.

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From → Rantings

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