The papers came in the mail, but it turns out that I've been divorced since July 8th. I was walking around all this time, not knowing I was divorced, and yet, I was. Schrodinger's marriage, and now the waveform has collapsed.
Most of you probably don't even know I was married and have been since December 2002. My ex-husband never met any of you. He was never part of the world I live in--a large part of the problem. I've made reference to an Ex in interviews and my former life as a Navy wife, but it's just a story I tell, you know? It seems like so long ago. It seems like another woman. Like a rhymey joke with some sad fucking punchline. The choices I made then seemed like the right ones all along, until they were the wrong ones. So it always goes.
For a long time, after we separated, I thought that when the divorce finally went through, I'd want to have a party. Like a reverse wedding. I'd wear a black dress and we'd dance and play the wedding march backwards or something. I wanted to mark it somehow, I wanted to have the dissolution of my marriage take some sort of physical form. My ex--wasband, as my friends like to say--was the first man I ever slept with, I was with him from age 16 to 28. That has to feel like something when you lose it, right?
But the divorce took forever thanks to an inept lawyer and now I just feel empty and you can't have a party to mark emptiness. It's been almost three years since the "it's over" phone call. Because of course it would be a phone call. He left me alone for five years and expected me to be waiting, with his life on a silver platter, when he deigned to show up again.
I guess I do still have some anger about it. I guess I'm not totally free of it. Maybe I still need that party.
In the end, my unmarried life will be brief. I've been engaged almost as long as the divorce has taken--and yes, you can probably do the math on that and figure out the fine print. I don't feel, in some sense, like I've ever really had the space to breathe to process my divorce--or maybe the five years of my marriage was one long, slow processing of my divorce. I don't know. I never had a proper wedding. I never had a proper ring, even--my mother bought me one, because he did not. It's like it never happened. How can I have a divorce before I ever had a marriage? I bought a dog right after I got married, so I'd have someone to talk to. It's so pathetic I can't believe it was ever my life. I have recurring nightmares where I have to go back to him, to that old awful world, and I claw and fight but I can't get back to Dmitri, or my island, or the life I love.
I want to mark all this somehow and I don't know how. I've never known how.
I am the child of a spectacularly broken home. I thought, all the days of my childhood, that I would do it right, that I'd never get divorced the way my parents did. I'd find someone and love them forever and that would be it. And for my 30th birthday I got cake and a divorce.
It doesn't feel any different. Like when people ask you on your birthday if you feel any different, but you never do. I'm still the same person I was yesterday--I was even divorced yesterday, I just didn't know. I took off my engagement ring to dry my hair this morning and forgot to put it back on, so I went around with a naked finger. That's all.
He emailed me today to tell me it was final. He was gracious as he rarely is, he thanked me for our lives together, despite how much pain was involved with its ending. I want to say the same, but I just can't. I can't thank him for our lives together. There was pain for him at the end, but for me, it was agony, for twelve years. I just didn't know life could be any other way, so I thought agony was love. I can't thank him for that, I just can't. I know it's vicious of me, as September would say, but I can't help it. I have no graciousness for him. Just a young girl who used to be so bright and earnest and magical, and the cynical old bitch he turned her into.
I never thought, when I first laid eyes on him, and thought he was the most beautiful boy I'd ever seen, that it would end this way--I guess that's a cliche. What I mean to say is that it is possible to leech all love away until there is nothing left, and look at divorce papers and feel nothing for a person who was once your world. I don't want that to be possible. I don't want to have done it. I don't want to have dropped out of grad school for him or come back from Europe for him. I don't want to have made such spectacularly bad choices. I don't want to feel nothing right now. But that's what I've got.
I don't even think I have a black dress.