fill your paper with the breathings of your heart

I've been busy lately, intentionally. As the seasons change and November looms closer, the loss of Chris is compounded by missing him anew. I need him, now, and he's gone! What do I do with that? And so, I do things. Whatever fills the space. At the moment, it's tidying up my incredibly convoluted computer hierarchy. What had been a desktop computer and, uh, five laptops is now (for all intents and purposes) one laptop with three profiles (temporarily) and a very large external drive, being whittled down into just one profile + guest profile. At the rate that I'm working through it, it ought to be done in approximately 2019. Still, it's progress, and it keeps me distracted and busy and accomplishing something when otherwise I'd be staring at the wall feeling sorry (i.e. more sorry) for myself and moping.

One of the amazing discoveries that I've made, though, during this process, is a cache of unposted blog writing from the very early days. Or, prehaps it was posted elsewhere, only to have been dissolved with the demise of previous blogs? In any case, the writing is...wow. And too good not to share (painfully unedited).

This was written on December 7, 2004. Three days before my divorce.

“And so I do the only thing that seems available to me under the circumstances, if I intend to go on living. I get up and walk away.”
[John Burnham Schwartz]

Just finished watching a movie --Riding in Cars with Boys. K would be pleased, because I haven’t regularly watched movies at all in the last several years. He’s constantly amazed when, during conversation, he’ll ask, “Have you seen -- ?” and name a movie, and I’ll say, “No,” and he’ll roll his eyes and explain whatever the point was that he was trying to make. He’s very much a movie person. I used to be. I went all the time when I was in high school and college. Just stopped going once I got married. I guess it was a money thing at first. Eventually, though, it was probably an unspoken intimacy thing. Sitting alone in the dark with someone with whom I didn’t want to be close was something I avoided, naturally. I avoided a lot of things.

“Every so often I caught myself, pining for this person who was absent on purpose, no matter how richly ardent she acted in my daydreams, and I felt foolish and lame and way, way off the right track.
“I really did not want to be humiliated by hope. I waited for it to leave me, and I did my best to fight it off.”
[Joan Silber]

Spent my lunch hour today taking care of business, same as yesterday. Yesterday’s business, though, was emotional. I signed the lease and paid the deposit on the new apartment. I met H at the bank and co-signed the check from the title company from the refinance of the house. We joked with the teller that we wanted to cash it and get it in quarters, and even did the Blazing Saddles line: “We’re gonna need a shitload of dimes.” It’s times like that when it’s really bittersweet, you know? We have so much history together. So many things that come up where we share a brain, where no one else would get it, with one look, that it’s absolutely ridiculous that the teller asked, “You want to deposit the whole thing?” No shit, moron. It’s a check for $--,---. We’re not going to walk up in the middle of the day on a Monday and expect to just cash it!

After we deposited the check, we figured out how much I would withdraw today to start my account. H had to stay after that and deal with some other things, and I went back to work. I spent most of the rest of the day while at work talking on the phone with my attorney. We talked four times, I got 2 voice-mail messages from him, and I was at the office twice. I’m starting to feel a bit like a law junkie. It’s not a good feeling.

Today’s errands were of a less emotional nature, but still pretty jarring. I started off at the bank, where I set up my new accounts. Nothing like removing half of our checking account in one motion and launching my own life. Odd how it simultaneously felt like I was stripping H of his financial future, yet starting out with almost nothing.

After the bank, I went to the insurance agent. I cancelled one life insurance policy (a term policy which had been set up specifically because of the mortgage), changed beneficiaries on the other, put the car insurance in my own name solely, added renter’s insurance for my new place, and set up the billing to my new account. It took a really long time, but it should be all set. That was actually pretty traumatic, if only because the agent was overly sympathetic about the situation. “We were all very saddened about your news. You and [H] were such a nice couple --both such nice people. Blah blah blah.”

I’m like, “Yeah. Thanks. Now I feel like crap.”

“That’s the thing about sacrifice: sometimes when you think you’re losing something, you’re really just passing it on, to someone else.”
[Mitch Albom]

So the movie. Riding in Cars with Boys. It was good. Sad and emotionally draining, but good. Miles and tons better than The Five People You Meet in Heaven, for chrissake, but that doesn’t take much. Holy fuck, what a lame movie. I hadn’t read the book, and I think I’m glad --it seems like a drug trip gone horribly awry. But I did like the line quoted above. I’m comforted by the idea that sacrifice means something, that it has some greater purpose than just giving up something. The concept of martyrdom or altruism hasn’t rung true for me, and now I know why --there must be a point of passing it on. A purpose.

Naturally, this has something to do with K. Yes, I do think about him an inordinate amount. Part of the reason for that is that my job is very solitary right now and involves too much time where my hands are busy but my brain is left alone to wander, and why not wander back to its favorite place?

So sacrifice. And K. He asks me, more often than I can accurately express, what it is about him that makes me stick around. (He puts it in a more succinct fashion, but I need to lay it out in a different manner here.) He’s not looking for compliments --he’s looking for an explanation. He wants it to make sense to him. Not as if it’s likely. I think it’s just that I feel it, you know? But anyway. I’m not going anywhere, and he knows it. So that’s a sort of sacrifice. And maybe I think I’m losing something –time, or energy, or faith. Or maybe he thinks I’m losing those things. But maybe I’m passing them on, to him. At least the energy and the faith. Maybe by sticking this out, by being there when he turns around and says, “Are you still here?!”, he’s coming to realize that he’s worth sacrificing for. And he’s not going to be quite as willing to run the next time.

But maybe I’m on crack. Maybe he’s the same person, regardless of what I do or don’t do. Maybe I’m utterly delusional, and maybe he’s just tired of it all. Who knows?

“Nature has a way of letting beauty disappear.”
[Mary Kay Andrews]

I don’t want to miss anything. I’m trying to remember every single moment that I have of this. It means that much to me.

[the title quotation is by William Wordsworth]


  1. And how does this feel 12 (!!) years later?

    You do write so well. This brought me right back to reading your posts at the time and feeling your confusion, pain...joy?

    1. Primarily, I'm ever more aware of how different our divorce was from most others. We were good to each other throughout that time, and took care to make sure that 'our' sides were not taking sides against each other, too. I wish we were friends (or at least civil) now, but it was most important then. We had reason to be proud of ourselves and each other for treating the end with dignity, too.

    2. Indeed. I haven't seen many separations that went as "friendlly" as yours. The opposite is definitely more the norm.

  2. This is moving & poignant. Maybe a good opening chapter for your novel?