dating, mating, and flagellating

I meant to write a fuller post this weekend. About the filing, the clerk, the experience of that, the days since. About the letting go and the internal goodbyes and the part of me that lags behind them.

But I don’t have time.

K. didn’t show up at noon today. He called at 12:30, having just woken up, and I let it go to voicemail. He left a message saying he’d just woken up and would be over as soon as he could (but since that was on public transit on a Sunday, it wouldn’t be quick). I waited until 1:20 and called him, figuring he’d be en route and could give me an ETA. Instead, I woke him up.


“Hi, where are you?”

“Oh god. I fell asleep again.”


“I’m getting up.”

“Send me a text when you have an ETA.”

I took the kids to a friend’s house to distract them and got a text at 2:37 that he was (finally) waiting for the train. So yes, he was three hours (at least; we got back around 3:30) late today (and would have been more if I hadn’t inadvertently furnished a wake-up call). And I have no work time. I am at a café and I should have left already.

I’m surprised. I’m not surprised. I wonder if he sees that his priorities are showing. And they don’t look good.

Tomorrow we file for divorce.

The “document review” appointment is at 10:45, and there was some question over whether we both had to be there. I followed up with the office I’d originally called (why am I doing the administrating of the divorce? K. is the one who wants it) today and learned that we should really both be there to sign papers.

Throughout my life with K., waking him up so that he could get somewhere or do something on time was a recurring theme. Maybe the recurring theme. And I think tomorrow morning might be the last time I do it. I think I’ll end up calling him at 9:30 or so just to make sure he’s actually going to make it. And I will feel funny about intruding, even telephonically, into the sleepy haze of his morning when I am so clearly not invited, and I will know, practically, that it’s worth any embarrassment to circumvent the very real risk that he sleeps through it, and I will do it.

When I sensed, in the last weeks of November, that things were going downhill, that K. was receding from me, I took some pictures of him. Sleeping. The sweetness of the sleeping form of the person you imagine you will always love. The quietude of the beloved face at rest. The intimacy of the camera’s gaze because it is an invited one, because your place, as you watch that person’s breath rise and fall, is there, and you alone are allowed to look.

I did not think, then, that it would ever be painful to look at them. And yet something must have told me, because I took them not playfully but wistfully. Because in that gaze, there is hesitancy, and a little fear.

There’s the subtle:

“So what day should I come this week?”

“You only want to come one day?”

“Well, I don’t want to come two days in a row.”

And the not-so-subtle:

“So, do you want to spend one day a week for the foreseeable future? Or more than that?”

“One day. I guess so.”

The superfluous:

“Can you please tell me before you take things out of the house?”

“What are you talking about?”

“The glasses. The DVD player. Etc. I want you to show enough consideration to tell me BEFORE you take them out of the house.”

“What’s the problem?”

“It’s rude.”


The disappointing:

“So, we talked about how we believed that the children’s standard of living should be consistent with our own.”

“Yeah. Of course.”

“And we talked about agreeing to pay more than the state-mandated child support if we make dramatically more money.”


“So I’d like to make an agreement now that if in the future we do make more money, our percentage of child support will not go down as far as the state calculator might suggest. As a commitment to the kids.”


“Why not?”

“Because there might be money that could be better allocated elsewhere. The foundation of my life for the next ten years is entrepreneurship. I’m not going to commit to that.”

“But don’t you think the children have a right to our support beyond the paltry amount that the state mandates? Like for college funds? We could make an agreement, say, to not go below 35% of our incomes in child support and to put an extra beyond the state mandate into a college fund. And it’s not just you; if you had the kids half-time and I made a lot more, then I would be paying more child support.”

“I’m not going to make an agreement. I will always support them, but I’m not going to make an agreement.”

And the ill-advised:

“Is it that you were never the person you said you were? Or did you just stop?”


“Did you just stop. Being him.”

“I don’t know. I don’t know who that was. Or if I’m not.”

Oh, you’re not. The lack of resemblance is striking. My husband, that guy I loved, who loved me, the one who fathered my children, the one I believed in enough to create those two children with and carry them in my body despite grave reservations about the process and its prospects?

He’s dead.

Or maybe never was. And I guess I don’t get to know which.

I’m a fatalist, but not a patternist. I don’t really buy the whole “God has a plan” idea, or at the very least I don’t think that god’s plan, if there were a god who had a plan (as opposed to no god, or many different gods, or some amorphous godlike force whose plans are totally unintelligible to us, or some amorphous godlike force that is itself totally unintelligible to us) can be understood logically.

But it does often seem to me that there is a hidden order, or some kind of pattern, into which our lives fall.

This week I had a dream about Shannon. I don’t remember it well — that morning was a rushed one, as every morning when I haven’t prepped with what seems an inordinate amount of late night lunch-making, clothes-selecting, house-cleaning and such is — and by the time it resurfaced in my head, it was twenty-four hours old. But two things about the dream stand out: Shannon was dying, but not yet dead; she was there; and she had something she wanted to tell me that I knew I had to get around to hearing before she went.

Classic, I know. She died and I’m here and her kid went away with her ex and her dad is still living across the street and I didn’t get to say goodbye. Of course I’m dreaming she had something to tell me. But I don’t know: for one thing, my dreams tend to be alarmingly prophetic. I’m not going to tell you about the precognitive dreams I had about deaths and divorces, because then y’all might start emailing me hoping for a direct line to the oracle. And I’m no oracle; my dreams are rarely clear. But when they are clear, they tend to be quite strikingly relevant.

Anyway, so I had a sense of lingering unfulfilled duty to Shannon for the last couple of days. I thought about the plans I’d made — I want to plant a tree to remember her and make a wire dragonfly, sort of a totemic animal for her, to hang on it. I want to have her daughter over for a playdate. I was pretty sure none of these were what my dream referred to.

Today was K.’s first day since last Sunday. I was wondering if he’d be late again, but I was pretty sure he wouldn’t. For one thing, the last few weeks had been so egregious that pattern had to break. For another, he’s not going to just drop off; it’s not his style. Slow erosion and inconsistency is more his style; as my stepfather would say, “he’s always an hour late and a dollar short,” but he does eventually show up and he does have the other $2.99. So it’s hard to completely give up on him. And sure enough, he came walking up the steps right at noon.

I’ve been thinking a lot about K. lately. My friends say I’ve been sounding better. My friends say, in fact, that I sound great, and I’m pretty sure they’re all breathing sighs of relief and raising vodka shots to each other thinking ‘thank GOD she’s not calling us every day crying anymore!’ I mean, I love my friends, and I know they love me. But we all have our own dramas, right? And I’m sure it gets old, listening to your jilted pal moan over the loss of some dude you never really got to know anyway and are now convinced was a total loss.

Anyway, I have been doing better, at least in the ways that can be observed. And yet “doing better” is a strange phrase, one that seems almost to mean that I am succeeding at distancing myself from my own life. For example: music. I have several songs on my player that remind me of, or refer to, K. One of them is “I Thought I Held You,” by Wilco; the other is “Nobody Knows Me,” by Lyle Lovett. Both invoke the closeness I thought we had and the betrayal or abandonment of it. And for the last few weeks I’ve been skipping over them in the player, going directly from MC Solaar to more MC Solaar, which is safe ground because it is never plaintive and never specifically about love, but more about how ridiculous social behavior and mores are. I’ve been listing to a lot of Solaar and precious little else in the car, which I guess is good insofar as it’s probably safer not to drive while sobbing.

But this week I managed to listen to both of those songs. Not without a little catch in the voice, it’s true, but without falling to pieces. And I made a semi-jesting list of qualities of the ‘ideal man’ and circulated it on Facebook. And I told some people that I thought I should go out on a date when the divorce is final, which may be very soon as we’re filing on Wednesday and asking for a waiver of the ninety-day waiting period. And, after I’d complained about the prospect of spending ten days with K.’s family in Hawaii this June (family reunion; the kids should go, and the grandparents are of course adamant that I’m family too, more power to them; the fact, however, remains that it’s going to be my first interaction with the extended family since the split and there will be side-taking, unwarranted and -wanted judgments, and tactlessness, and it’s probably going to be frustrating for me from an interpersonal perspective), a friend of mine came forward with the contact info of a friend of his on the island, with the idea that I could slip away for an evening. I’m now thinking that might be a good plan for at least half the evenings there, and might keep me sane enough to stand the loneliness and the frustration/irritation and the humiliation (yes, humiliation; I don’t like it, but I feel it) at being there in my status as K.’s cast-off wife and potential Antagonist to the Family Interest. Particularly when they find out my thoughts about the name thing.

So anyway. I’m normalizing. I’m coping. I’m acting like a person who has perspective, who is healing, and who doesn’t find the idea of sleeping with someone not my husband scary and abhorrent. And Ron told me that she knew a guy who sort of fits my idea of the ideal man, and did I want her to introduce me?


But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to see K.

My feelings about him are complicated and cause my stomach to start jumping about twenty minutes before he’s due. There’s the fear he’ll not show. There’s the fear he’ll be late. There’s the fear of how the kids will take to him. And there is the personal sense of dissonance: K. is not the person I expect to see. He looks different, he acts different, he smells different. He is puffier about the face. He is scrupulous about never brushing against me, as I am him. He is messy-haired. And the look in his eyes is unfamiliar to me.

Right now, writing about it, I’m wishing for a cigarette more than I have in the two weeks since I haven’t smoked. It is umheimlich in the worst sense of the word. What was homely, familiar, lovely, safe is now unrecognizeable, and yet eerily the same.

Ron says that K. is dead and I am dealing with a zombie. That sentiment rings true at times like this. And yet I am careful — I try to be careful — not to let my feelings of alienation from him color my observations of how he is with the children.

Anyway, today K. showed up on time. He was puffy and unkempt. He was also apparently glad to see the children. I found myself thinking that maybe once a week is perfect; maybe that’s the amount of time that causes him to actually appreciate his afternoon with them. We’ve done three times a week and twice a week, and it just seemed like he viewed it as a chore; perhaps this new interval, should it become permanent, would at least allow him to be happy to see them. On the other hand, it also sets him up as something of a rock star, and I don’t much care for that: the weekend dad who, when he shows up, is flocked to by children showering affection and looking for approval. They should be able to depend on him more. He should have to be present enough to — to put it baldly — become pedestrian.

Anyway, today things were going pretty well. Thing Two was happy to see K., and Thing One, despite having told me he didn’t want Daddy to come, seemed eager to play with him. K. got coffee and Thing Two finished her eggs. I set Thing One up with a game. All seemed proceeding well, so I went to get ready to go. And just then, there was a knock on the door. It was Shannon’s father with her daughter, Hana, wanting to drop her off to play.

I should explain that Hana is almost seven and has a forceful personality. She can be great with Thing One, who’s half her age; she can also be easily offended and combative. And the last couple times, before the wake, they saw each other, there were some clashes. And of course right now she’s probably not at her best. So I told John that we were happy to have her, that K. was there but that I’d stick around to get everyone settled, and that I’d have him call when it was time for her to come home.

That delayed my departure a bit. There was game-playing to be managed, skirmishes to be broken up, faux pas to be smoothed over (Thing One had the bright idea to say, “Your mom died!” to her, which she took pretty well, considering), and personal space to be managed. There were rules to be set and fruit leathers to be distributed. There was my own checking in and noticing and comforting of Hana, including the worrisome fact that she seems to have gained quite a bit of weight, and was never a skinny child — he dad is quite overweight (Shannon was not, and part of their divide always seemed to be that she fell on the health nut/raw foods and he on the Jack-in-the-Box side of the spectrum) and I worry that she’ll be allowed to grow up unhealthy.

Anyway, it finally seemed OK for me to go. During this time K. had absented himself from the child management and gone out to smoke a cigarette. I know he’s not overfond of Hana, so that’s one thing; another is that he maybe doesn’t want the challenge of having to manage a sometimes contentious playdate. But there it is: that’s part of parenting, too. I felt that I was observing something: he was happy to see the kids, more playful and connected to them than he had been, but when Hana stepped in, he disconnected again, seeming put out at the concept. You could almost see the cartoon bubble above his head that read, “not in my job description!”

But I did make it out, an hour later. And I stopped by Hana’s and talked to her ex-husband and father, who were both there, about the set-up (that K. might not be the most competent at managing the dynamic and might bring her home) and also about her news: that she and her dad would be moving into the place across the street, where she’d lived with her mom and that John, her grandfather, had been in the process of closing down and moving out of.

Apparently there was a roommate/childcare swap share her dad had set up that wasn’t working out. And apparently they needed somewhere else to live. And the apartment across the street from us, where Shannon had lived, is roomy and affordable and in a community full of parents (mostly single moms) and kids, all of whom Hana knows. I think it’s a great idea. Hana’s dad said to me, “It’s going to be hard since I work nights, but we’ll definitely have a good support system.” And I thought, maybe that’s what Shannon had to tell me: that there is still work to be done here, more actively than perhaps I had envisioned or, if I am honest with myself, wanted. Maybe I have a bigger role to play. And maybe the glancing connection Shannon and I had before she died will turn out to be just a part of the story.

Maybe. But it’s a story I’ll always be telling Shannon, without words.

There’s me being cosmic. It happens.

Hana’s dad also asked me how I was doing. I told him that K. and I were filing for divorce this coming Wednesday. He said he was sorry, and that four years ago it was him and Shannon doing the same thing. I told him that it seemed as though K. had just disappeared, and also that I felt like I was pulling all the strings because K. didn’t want to — that I had had thoughts along the lines of “what’s the minimum the kids can see K. and still feel they have a good relationship with him,” and that I hated having those thoughts, but at the same time, K. seemed neither able nor especially willing to be the equal parent I had always hoped he would be, and instead seemed like a pretty negative role model. He sympathized, saying, “It sounds like he’s scared. Of all of it.” Then he said that Shannon had wanted to be the primary parent and he had wanted to share equally, and that they had just, before she’d died, gotten to where Hana was with him three nights a week.

At the wake, John had told me that he’d been unimpressed with Hana’s dad for a long time, but had grudgingly allowed that he had been there every afternoon after school (because he worked nights and Shannon days) for Hana and had been a pretty involved dad. And now he’s moving in with his ex’s father, at least for the time being, and, in a very real way, into his ex’s life and surroundings and support network. He will, I imagine, be sleeping in the room where she died.

There are all kinds of models. I don’t know who K. will turn out to be, as a person or a father. I don’t even really know where he is right now, though if pressed I’d say that he’s up for 10-15% parenting his kids and doesn’t want to deal with the details of their lives, like playdates or relatives or social events or the like. I don’t know where he’s going as a person, though I have felt, not just for a little while, that part of this whole shift is that he is letting go of the self-image and ambitions that he crafted when I met him, and which bound us together — to be someone who created things and who was a powerful force for that, making and doing in an elemental and essential way, in the world; his new ambition, as he said to me in December, “is to own a bar. I know it’s not much of an ambition, but that’s my ambition. That’s all.” And so it seems that the furniture of his life is bar stools and a track between his sister’s house and his job, with stops at the movie theatre and the smoke shop, and that he works long, plays a bit after, is tired, and has no room or energy for anything else.

If I sound dismissive or belittling, I don’t feel so. I am just increasingly reminded that the K. I see now, the life he is making, is not the K. who married me or who shared my ideas and ideals. Maybe he never was. Maybe I was too much the leader. Maybe he needed to grow up by himself. Maybe, maybe, maybe. It makes me sad to mourn that man whose own — I thought they were his own — future plans I also loved and respected. His constancy and his ideals were a huge part of what bound us together. In a week he revoked his allegiance from me; I don’t know how long it took for his ideals to lead the way or to follow suit.

So yeah. I’m supposed to go on a date. I’m supposed to escape to witty adult company in Hawaii. I’m able to retain composure while Jeff Tweedy sings, “I thought I held you/by the hand…”. And I’m seeing double right now because of the tears.

I am the master puppeteer, and I never wanted to be. And K. is, perhaps, just a tired young man who hasn’t realized that dragging himself out of bed a little earlier, planning a little better, seeing his children a little more, would have immeasurable benefits for them and him.

I understand tired. I was up all night Friday after Thing One climbed in bed with me, then threw up all over. I was up last night taking Thing Two to the E.R. and then waking up to make sure her head injury, though apparently mild, wasn’t worsening (it didn’t).

And I am tired every time I have another “first since,” every time I go or do or see somewhere or one or thing that I last experienced with K., in my life with him, in the life that belonged to us both. I am tired of pulling that invisible carapace over my head and greeting the world with a gaze that does not betray the last time I did this or hear it or saw it I was a woman who loved a man and had committed her life to him. A woman who was loved. A woman who held and was held, who believed and was believed in.

Now I am a woman who doesn’t know what to believe.

Tonight we filled out the divorce paperwork.

I had asked that we do it, and K. came over at three (well, 3:20; he was late) to see the kids, so after they went to bed, we planned to sit down.

It was hard watching him with the kids today. He was passive and not especially impressive, lounging on sofas and chairs and deferring to me whenever I was around, but he was reasonably nice. Thing One seemed happy enough to play with him. At one point I suggested he take K. upstairs to play with the train tracks, and he excitedly said, “Dad, we can go upstairs! Mom says so! Let’s go do that! Mom says we can go!”

Odd, but not exactly discouraging. At least Thing One is making progress. Of course, he did say a bit later, “Now Daddy’s going to go home to his other house and you can read me a book!” when it was K. whose “turn” it was to do so, but there you are. Really, the adjustment is probably less jarring for him than it is for me; K. used to work four nights a week, and though the kids would see him a lot more in the late morning/early afternoon, he was barely present on those four days/nights. Now he’s over here two afternoons a week (the last three weeks) and he’s definitely nicer to them, certainly nicer than in fall ’08, just before he moved out, when he was frequently spanking Thing One and calling him an “asshole” and seemed put out by the children more than anything (he doesn’t seem overjoyed to see them now, but at least he’s not actively annoyed).

Anyway, I don’t know what I was expecting. I had been crying on and off some of the day. I was sitting there filling out form after form and wanting to ask “Why are we doing this? What happened?” — not rhetorically — but K. had expressed his impatience and irritation, and had done that thing he does where he first tries not to clean up any of the kids’ dinner mess (from the dinner I cooked and he served them) and then, at my reminder that we would have room after he cleaned up, had done at exceedingly half-assed job — but I knew that to ask those questions was pointless and probably counter-productive. So I bit my tongue and we filled out paperwork and I sat next to the man who’d promised to love and honor me for the rest of my life and thought how easy it is to let go of promises that no longer seem convenient.

He didn’t dispute anything. We filled it out (mostly). He left. I finished wrapping the presents (Thing One has two birthday parties to attend this weekend) and icing the cupcakes (Thing One’s allergies mandate that I bring egg- and dairy-free alternatives to such occasions). I thought about how I learned in the country mandated parenting class that such expenditures (birthday presents, music and sports lessons, field trips, after-school activities, etc.) were not part of the child support and how, really, K. should contribute to them, but how he probably wouldn’t because he would not see that by not contributing he was limiting his son’s activities; he would only see that he wasn’t with Thing One at the parties and so any presents or treats were immaterial.

In other words, for K. things are ending. He’s signing this papers — and disputing nothing, really — and he’s done.

For my children and me, things are just beginning.

I wish it would stop hurting so much. I try to be philosophical. I try to believe that things are better this way. But mostly I hate having to live in a world where your husband, the person who was your main support and confidant and safety, can betray and abandon you so totally. Having to live in this world is a hell I never imagined. Having to see his vague impatience and total lack of regret or compassion or empathy, having to see him not seem to care about anything but his exit strategy, having to clean up his mess and look at his impassive face without shaking him and crying, “what happened to you? What happened to us?” — this is more painful than anything I could have imagined.

Having to understand that I can never again take refuge in his arms when I feel this way, nor offer him mine, is still worse. Having to think about the break of faith with my own promise and desire to forsake all others that I will inevitably make in order to continue living is equally bad.

And having to do all this and watch him so often neglect and withhold and fail to respond to his children, watch him show up late and cancel and gradually let his time be eroded, and realize that he is teaching them that a father is someone who has better things to do, is more painful even than that.

I’ve been meaning to write a little about the relationship – independent of the children. I have a lot of anger and disappointment and, most of all, hurt. But I don’t flatter myself that I was a perfect wife or that I did no damage to the relationship.

I have so many regrets, and since K. left I’ve second-guessed myself so many times. If I had praised him more, I think. If I had asked for less. If I had told him, when he told me the joke about how a woman introduced her partner as “my first husband” at a party, that I would never say that, instead of just laughing along. If I had nagged less. If I had appreciated more. If I hadn’t thrown out the word “divorce” in moments of anxiety and frustration. If I hadn’t made him feel that he couldn’t keep working nights forever. If, if, if. If I had invited his friends over more (even though he didn’t). If I had been less critical, not just of him, but in general. If I had gone right down to the bar where he works and made friends with Jezebel when I sensed something was up instead of never meeting her. If I had encouraged him to go out to shows more instead of encouraging him to stay home with me. If we had gone on that honeymoon (our first was canceled by his grandmother dying). If I had gotten someone to take the kids for a night and taken him to a hotel. If.

It’s not that I didn’t want to do these things. It’s that I thought we had time, I thought we understood we were in it for the long haul, I thought that the demands of having two young children and jobs and an old house that’s falling apart were enough. And sometimes, yeah, I lost my sense of humor. But I never lost my sense of love, not for more than a moment.

We used to talk about the things we’d do when the kids were older, the traveling when they graduated from high school. All of the fun we would have together.

And then in November, when things started getting hard, I realized how much fun we could have right now, how much fun we were having, how our children and our lives and each other, even though taxing, were also delightful and serendipitous and beautiful, and how lucky we were to be able to share them.

Sometimes I have moments when I think that if K. really didn’t want to do it — the work of parenting, of being married — (and there was plenty of indication that he didn’t, or at least that he didn’t understand what it entailed) then I’m better off losing him. The situation reflects the reality. Any of these ifs I’m entertaining — they might have prolonged his sticking around, but they wouldn’t have made him do so with grace and love and understanding.

And then there are the moments like now, where I am playing with Thing Two on the bed and she is doing her new game of rolling over and hiding under the covers and laughing, and I marvel at how wonderful it is to have her and to be with her, and then I am overcome with grief at the knowledge that K. and I will never share this moment, or any other like it, again.

Today I am in a crappy mood.

I shouldn’t be in a crappy mood. I got up, got the kids fed, read them Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi, reflected on how charming the pictures are and how exuberant the little boy looks when he’s flushing. I got them dressed in the clothes I’d laid out the night before, put some finishing touches on their lunches, warmed up the car, which was frosty, and was on the road by 7:15.

Why so early? Because today is the signing day for the refinance on the house, which means two things: 1)the monthly payment will go down by approximately $400, and 2)K. will sign the house over to me.

At least, he’s agreed to. We don’t have a lot of equity, we didn’t put money down, and the kids should stay in the house: that we agree on. In a lot of ways, he gets his freedom this way, and it makes the divorce paperwork much, much simpler.

But I have lingering anxiety that he won’t show up for his noon appointment and that he’ll get angry and use this against me. I shouldn’t, I know. He’s been quite reasonable about financial issues, for the most part. He acknowledges his responsibilty to pay child support, we split up our joint bank account without too much trouble, etc. The only thing he’s been unreasonable about (if you exempt the whole issue of his life decisions/behavior toward his marriage and former life from consideration and accept the current scenario, which I guess I have just betrayed I am doing) is seeing the children, by using it as a way to get back at me. Hopefully, we are moving beyond that.

So I got Thing One to school before the teacher was even in the classroom, at 7:30, and then trundled Thing Two off to the First American Title office for our eight o’clock signing appointment. Everything was going perfectly. We were even early enough that I stopped at my favorite greasy Mexican drive-through and got an order of huevos rancheros. I was looking forward to signing about fifty pieces up paper and then getting to work, where Thing Two would attend her happy daycare and I would get some long-overdue grading done.

Then we got to the office and every little thing began to shred away at my contentment: our officer was late. Thing Two pooped her pants, and I had left the diaper bag in the car. She freaked out, crying and bucking and flinging apples and pens about the room while smelling, er, aromatic. He was visibly nervous and not a little annoyed by this. I was incensed that he had the nerve to be annoyed when, if he hadn’t been ten minutes late, we could have avoided most or all of the meltdown.

And then I looked at the papers and became aware of what a huge responsibility it is. One that I’m now shouldering all alone. And yes, I’m lucky that K. doesn’t want to try to make things difficult, but I didn’t sign up for this. I never wanted to do any of this all alone.

We got out of there. I changed Thing Two’s diaper on the sidewalk (the passenger seat of the car was too laden with crap), in full view of the woman removing the money from the “Pay to Park” machine, which she appeared to appreciate minimally. Thing Two howled and howled and then fell asleep.

I got to work and everything was late, slow, behind, absent, disorganized, and annoying. Including me. And I somehow opened up my iPhoto to some pictures from Thing Two’s first birthday, which will be the last we spent together as a family, and which featured K., looking on at some presents, his wedding ring prominent on his hand.

So my initial exuberance at having managed time and details so well is on the wane, and instead I’m trying not to think of the hand I loved and the ring that symbolized our life together and how it is no longer and all I have is a guy who has plenty to say about his 2 a.m. trips to Voodoo Doughnuts and not much to say about anything at all that matters. And a lot of details to work out about the divorce papers that I’m now filling out. And a lot of apprehension about the potential for future disagreement on those points. And I have several hundred thousand dollars’ worth of debt that I am now solely responsible for. Which seems an accurate reflection of the situation, in general. On a metaphorical level.

I am trying to accept the signs from the universe. And I got some more pretty clear ones today, in the form of the local paper’s daily horoscopes (I never read the local paper unless I’m waiting in a title company office, where they have that sort of thing).

Mine said:

Relationships are like Humpty Dumpty. Once broken all the king’s horses and all the king’s men are of no help at all.

And K.’s said:

Don’t be so desperate to win attention. What you imagine is hidden is quite obvious to others, and what you think is clear may be obtuse.

I can only guess at the meaning of his, though it does seem apt. But mine is crystal clear.

Postscript: K. called me, as I’d asked him to for practical reasons, to confirm that he’d finished the signing. “Yeah, it was funny,” he said. “The guy was like, ‘I should have asked you this before…are you two still married?’ And then he looked at my ring finger.”

My mortgage broker had asked us to keep the impending divorce on the down low, lest it prejudice the loan against us. And K. seemed to find all this very amusing. And we hung up the phone and I felt that cannonball of sorrow hit me again. Because he thinks it’s funny, but I am feeling the gravity of this, the first Official Step towards total separation (and the one that was, early on, a source of hope that K. might come around, because we had to wait until the refinance went through before filing any divorce paperwork). He thinks it’s a scream, but I — I miss my husband. As foolish as that is. I miss my life. And I don’t know when I’m going to be able to pick up the pieces.

I’ve got to stop doing those tearful drives down I-5. One of these days I’m going to crash.

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