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There’s the Door.

September 10, 2013

There I was standing at the end of the bar at Pamplona’s, watching my friend Tina who was visiting from out of town talk to Pickle when Mike walked up to me on his way to the restroom.

He seemed surprised to see me. Mike was my ex’s long-time friend and once right-hand man. I hadn’t seen him in a long time. Not since the Christmas party when he had trash-talked my ex and his girlfriend. I thought about him after my ex told me that he had sold the company. I knew there was a back-story and I knew Mike would know what really happened. But I wasn’t going to ask him. I didn’t want to put him in that position. And I didn’t want to admit that I was really curious about it.

My son was at the bar, too. I invited him to come and say hi to Tina. We had all lived on the Mississippi Gulf Coast together. Tina hadn’t seen him in years. He was telling her, Pickle and Mike a story about how he saved someone’s life on a recent rock-climbing trip, stopping a rope with his hand. He had the bandages to prove it.

After some polite catching up Mike eagerly spilled the beans about how my ex ended up leaving the company. He had told me that he sold the company back to the previous owners.

That’s not what happened. He wasn’t making his payments to the previous owners and they took the company back from him. There was a meeting and he was told he was out. Mike used words like “arrogant” and “delusional.” He was angry and hurt. Watching him speak about my ex-husband it occurred to me, I’m not the only person left with scars from this venture. There are some hurt and angry people out there. Mike said he had met with my ex on a Sunday afternoon at the office, transferred files over to a hard drive and had to tell him it was time to get his stuff and go. He was kicked out of the company.

While my son listened to this he couldn’t help but laugh and I don’t blame him. My ex treated him like shit. The parenting of our son was one of the biggest issues of our marriage. We fought about it all the time. His attitude towards him was so different than the way he saw our daughter. I never understood why. The way he treated him, the way he talked to him the last two years or so was just awful. So, it’s not surprising that our son sees this as karma biting his father in the ass.

I listened to what Mike was telling me in disbelief. I was picturing my ex reluctantly gathering the few things that actually belonged to him and being asked to leave by the guy he hired. His friend and perceived protégé. Most of what he owned was the company’s. The car he drove. His phone. His computer. An expensive set of tools, according to our son. He probably walked out with just files on a hard drive.

Everything was about image him. The expensive suits and ties. The post-divorce, orange-tranny-inspired make over. The sponsorships and events. It’s like he wanted to be the owner of a company. He wanted the perks of owning a company but he didn’t know how to run a company.

A year ago I would have reveled in this bit of information. I would have swam in the glory of vindication, pointing out to anyone who might listen the points of extreme hypocrisy this situation so clearly illustrated. As I stood there watching Mike’s expressions, I just felt sad. Not sad for me. But sad for my ex.

Mike said he asked the previous owners if he could tell people he had sold the company back to them. They didn’t care what he told people. But Mike was angry. He wanted people to know the truth. He said he often thought about calling me to talk about it.

I was with Tina when I heard this information so I couldn’t really process it. We were mid-way through a Kitten and Pickle night on the town. Tina is still friends with my ex and they’ve kept in touch. She used to work for him. We were very close when we all lived on the Coast and I used to confide in her about my marriage all the time. She’s one of the few people who knew both of us really well.

I told myself I wouldn’t bring him up with her while she was visiting but inevitably his name came up. We were eating sushi and talking about relationships in general when I confided in her my take on leaving him. I told her I had read a book that changed the way I looked at my marriage and my divorce. I told her that I had been dealing with some guilt over the fact that I had left him. “I can see now that that was one of the bravest things I’ve ever done,” I said. I told her that it was the right thing to do for both of us. I told her that I’ve never felt happier or more like myself.

She leaned in a bit and looked me in the eyes and said, “You’re taking it better than he is.” I didn’t know what to say. She said that my leaving him had hurt his pride and he never got over it. I looked at her and said, “Well, that’s too bad. But there’s nothing I can do about that.”

His pride. That’s what it came down to. When I left him, it wasn’t about why I left or why I was unhappy or how our relationship could be fixed. It was about his image. I made him a man whose wife left him. He was angry at me for that. What I might have been going through was not as relevant as was his image, his pride. I’m sure it’s not that simple but her words didn’t surprise me.

Having time to process this information, I’m once again filled with relief. I remember having a panic attack in the park after deciding to settle with him and not to try to take half the company. He took all of our personal debt, including my student loans. Knowing how things ended, I feel like the smartest woman on the planet. I think about the emotional anguish I would’ve gone through if I had still been his wife through all of that. He would’ve found a way to blame it all on me. Hell, he probably blames me now. He probably blames the divorce on his failure and therefore, me.

I was on the phone with my daughter Lori yesterday and I told her what I had found out. “I’m not surprised,” she said. I asked her why. She said that every time she talked to him on the phone, all he said was how great everything was, how happy he was and how well he was doing. She said he sounded fake and disingenuous. He was putting up a front. She said she avoids calling him and talking to him because she can tell that he’s not being honest.

I never talk to him so I have no way of seeing any of this. Her admission shocked me a little.

I don’t know what’s going on with him. I don’t know if he’s really happy with Orange Tranny. I don’t know if he’s recovered from the trauma he must have gone through after losing the thing he put his whole life into, the thing he sacrificed his family for. All I know is I can’t worry about that. That’s not my job anymore.

I worry about the view from where I’m sitting. And though it’s far from perfect, it’s honest and free. I find myself once again filled with gratitude for what I’ve accomplished and who I am.

Tina went to meet him (and probably Tranny) for lunch when she left my apartment Sunday. I’ll admit, I kind of like that she spent a whole weekend with me and she got to see me as I am now. Calm, fun, easy. (At least I hope that’s how she saw me.) When I talked about my ex, it was without disdain or bitterness. We went out to Pamplona’s and the Moon. She saw me dancing and laughing and greeting lots of people that I know. She watched me flirt with one of my many crushes at the sushi place and talk about Z. I’m still human. There’s a part of me that wants him to know that I’m more than ok, that I’m thriving. But it’s ok if he doesn’t. Knowing Tina, she’ll be diplomatic. She’ll make small talk with Tranny. She’ll say she’s glad my ex is doing so well and if asked about the weekend, she’ll say, “Yeah. It was fun. Marie’s doing fine.”

That’s as it should be.

It seems like the process of complete separation doesn’t seem to end. There’s always one more paper to sign. A new piece of information. I guess 26 years of life together can’t be forgotten in one year. I feel like, this final piece of the puzzle might be the last morsel of closure. I hope so, anyway. I hope he finds a new way of being. I hope he finds peace and I hope he’s happy.

I am.


From → Rantings

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