Posts Tagged ‘divorce’

Fondly: This is Exposition

October 16, 2014

fndlygrphc

How did I get here?

How did I end up in a van full of sideshow freaks and burlesque girls? I wasn’t a part of this world—I wore suits and manipulated the public’s idea of needing.

Of wanting.

I was neither artist nor musician, my wife made sure of that.

But there was something about her. I was attracted to her; less like a bee to a flower, more akin to a moth to the flame.

So I got in.

Work would understand, my wife would not.

I didn’t really understand it either.

Truth be told, I was just happy to feel something again. Something other than remorse and loneliness. Something other than resignation and defeat. Even fear felt better, at least when coupled with big blue eyes and a smile that worked more effectively than a cattle prod turned up to eleven.

How quickly and easily the unassuming romantic can be swept away by a soft pair of lips—wrapped up between the legs of an idea far more pure than any one person.

The moment I got in that van I knew; I had a lot of decisions to make—a lot of changes to contend with, save for one.

One choice was made obvious and clear, for once you jump down that dark deep hole you simply must chase the rabbit all the way to the bottom.

Jumping head first ensured I would fall, never once thinking about the abrupt landing waiting just below.

I was too busy feeling weightless to notice my stomach drop.

Just where were we going, anyway?

Fondly: Table for one.

September 18, 2014

fndlygrphc

In my reckless youth, living up to the cliche by searching the vast map of Europe for myself, I never had a problem being alone, free to witness or interact as I pleased.

More to wit, I once relished such exercises.

I could fall in love with a stranger and live out my life without saying a word or lifting a finger. I could fall into the shadows and watch stories unfold, or develop my own.

Somewhere along the line that stopped. With little warning and even less fanfare, going out with others became a chore, unthinkable alone.

The outside world didn’t change, but sadly, I had.

But then, lets be clear about something; having worked so diligently at honing my skill and rank of functioning alcoholic, sitting alone at a dark bar, staring into my old fashioned, was an entirely different exercise.

I could drink alone like a professional. What I could not do is sit down at a table for one and dine alone.

When I sat at a bar I was never alone. I wasn’t in a bar, I was in my drink—in my mind. I was at home.

Dining alone, however was an altogether different thing.

Perhaps it harkened back those lonely moments, sitting at a high school locker, a brown paper bag and book my only lunchtime companions. Such invisible spotlights can be rather blinding.

Perhaps I didn’t like the reminder that I was, indeed, alone. The reminder that the only better half I possessed was merely the left or right side of myself.

Or perhaps I simply didn’t like eating alone.

“How many will be dining tonight?”
“One.”

Fondly: Catch and Release

June 17, 2014

fndlygrphc

 

 

 

It was the same every summer.

From our first to our last.

It didn’t matter where we were. It didn’t matter who was watching or what lengths she had to go through to do it.

It wasn’t officially summer until she did it.

I remember one in particular. It wasn’t at the beginning, nor close to the end. It was nestled somewhere in the middle, when things could go either way.

Before they went this way.

We sat on the back porch of our home.

It wasn’t the first summer evening we sat out there, drinking good beer and scratching our dog.

Then she saw one.

And then another.

Suddenly our yard was an all-natural, eco-friendly dance club.

There were lightning bugs everywhere—some call them fireflies, but we never did.

I watched her jump out of her chair, and run down to the yard, barefoot and in her PJ’s. She lunged, and then paused. She waited and watched for them to show themselves for that split second.

And then she caught one.

I watched from the porch as she whispered something into her hands, occasionally illuminated through her fingers by the nervous blink of a captive audience.

And then she let it go, watched it fly away and came back to the porch.

As she sat down, she told me, “I named him Herbie. Summer can begin.”

She took a drink, and I looked at her.

This was the part of her I fell in love with.

Sadly, it was just one of many pieces, and we had become very different puzzles.

I still catch a lightning bug every year, whisper a name and let it go.

Sometimes, that’s all you can do with something so wonderful.

 

newestrings

Fondly: Spoonman

May 29, 2014

fndlygrphc

 

My wife didn’t like us to touch when we slept, or most any time we were awake for that matter.

She insisted we buy the largest bed possible to avoid such atrocities as one of my legs drifting over.

I had no idea what I was missing, until her. As we laid in my much smaller queen sized bed, she whispered quietly in my ear nine words I never knew I even needed to hear, until she said them. Nine words my wife would never say, at least not to me.

“Do you want me to big your big spoon?”

I said nothing more than a faint, barely audible “yes.”

Then I felt her leg wind into a tangle with mine, an arm tucking gently around my torso. I felt her beautiful, young body press against mine, until I could no longer tell where I stopped and she began.

Her breath was warm; steady, soft—a lullaby sweeter than music.

It really felt like she wanted to be there, melting into me. I believed it with all of my heart, as my brain screamed obscenities and called me a fool.

But to be loved in such an open, warm way made my mind’s opinions moot.

It was everything I ever craved in my previous life.

Everything I never had.

I never wanted to sleep any other way ever again so long as I lived.

I did my best to enjoy the warmth and intimacy of the moment; I tried to ignore that nagging feeling in my gut that there wouldn’t always be a spoon to help reassure me of my choices.

But there was for now.

Fondly: Awake

May 29, 2014

fndlygrphc

 

I used to lay awake…in a cold bed, next to an even colder woman. I would lay there and think about everything. I would think until my mind was overwhelmed and confused—turned inside out and tangled up.

It always started with the same thought:

I should leave.

This isn’t my beautiful wife. This is not my beautiful house.

How did I get here?

More to wit, what would happen if I left?

I would lose my house, my TV, my couch and over-priced dining room table.

I would lose 13 years of memories shared.

I would lose my dog.

I would be alone.

Possibly forever.

 

Alone.

 

What is alone like?

I wondered, and then pondered…

And then I had an anxiety attack.

I had never been alone. Not really.

Siblings and parents, roommates, a girlfriend and then a wife.

What if this was my one and only chance? What if I left and never found another person to share my life?

Nobody to talk to—nobody to spend holidays and weekends with, regardless of how those weekends were being spent.

It scared me. It scared me enough to stay.

And now, even after leaving, I lay awake, listening to the deep breathing of another warm body slumbering beside me for no reason other than a simultaneous fear of waking up alone.

Perhaps I needed to learn how to be codependent on myself, for a change.

Fondly: It Must Be Love

May 4, 2014

fndlygrphc

 

Madness. It had all fallen into complete madness. A freefall.

 

I had jumped. I needed to for the both of us.

 

It wasn’t always so bad—our life together didn’t begin with such bitter resignation.

 

We used to enjoy one another’s company.

newestrings

We spent our honeymoon in London, or more to wit, inside various pubs of London. Drinking was one thing we still had in common, if little else.

 

It was our last night before returning to reality. We spent it in our favorite local, just down the road from our hotel. We had gotten to know the regulars and bartenders, by face, if not name, through repetition and an open invitation to converse with anyone willing to talk.

hrvys

I bet the wife I could get the bar to serenade her, without asking. The prize, one pound coin.

 

And eternal respect for my charm.

 

I finished my pint, walked to the jukebox and selected the proper song, before making my way  to the bar for a refill.

 

I selected It Must Be Love by Madness. I’m fairly certain everyone in England knows this song.

 

As the song began, I noticed the regulars tapping their fingers, and bobbing their heads, gently to the intro. I began to sing along quietly, just loud enough for the people next to me to hear.

 

When the chorus came around, a burly, bearded old Brit with a cane and a can of snuff stood up and wailed out the chorus with everything he had. His eyes were closed, his face red, his pint was swinging along, spilling onto his had and the floor. That was enough to bring the rest of the bar in for the next chorus.

 

I walked over to the wife and took her hand. She smiled and blushed, a growing rarity as the calendars turned. I lead her to the center of the bar with the drunk, singing patrons all around her. I winked, and rejoined the chorus.

 

I still have that pound coin.

 

What I felt once upon a time; It must be love.

 

Madness.

newestrings2

Fondly: Well-Aged Inapropos

March 19, 2014

fndlygrphc

“You’re the first grownup I’ve ever dated.”

Ouch.

I’m pretty sure she meant it as a compliment, but it merely made me feel old, and it made her seem really, really young.

When a woman dates a younger man, she is called a Cougar.

When a man does it, he’s a lecherous, creepy, dirty old man in the midst of a crisis of some sort.

Given that most women mature faster, and develop rational thought, that seems a bit unfair.

Given that I act like a 15-year-old in my thirties only proves a point of compatibility.

newestrings

I’m sure when she told me that, she meant it as a compliment. I’m sure she meant she’d only dated boys until now—boys with fast food jobs, and a strange obsession with video games.

I had already caught myself starting a sentence with, “When I was your age” far too many times, as I searched for our level of equality.

But at her age, she was merely searching.

When I was her age…I was too.

newestrings2

So why did I expect her to be different?

I didn’t even know how old, or perhaps young, she was until well after it was too late. I didn’t ever even think to ask. When your soul finds something that feels right, age becomes inapropos.

So does a house, a wife, and pretty much everything else.

ashtry

Fondly: Commuting to the apocalypse

August 8, 2013

fndlygrphc

It was just beginning to rain. Light, gentle. It barely got him wet. The overcast sky seemed to fit his mood. Apathetic and indifferent. He sighed, then unlocked his car door.

He didn’t start the engine right away. He just sat there, looking straight ahead, the street already devoid of neighbors’ cars by virtue of the daily commute.

He would not be talking to her throughout the day. He would not see her after work. They wouldn’t snuggle up on the couch together watching something mindless, more background for the togetherness than a form of entertainment.

He was alone, and it scared the crap out of him. He had never been alone before in his life. But he had a feeling he had better get used to it.

mtchmid

He took another deep breath and sighed again before starting the car and joining the other worker bees. He left the radio off. He never moved in silence.

There was already enough noise in his head.

The rain began to pick up as he got onto the highway, but he didn’t turn on his windshield wipers. He didn’t care. He watched the drops getting bigger, falling harder.

But he didn’t care.

Then he closed his eyes. He wasn’t trying to die, he just wanted to see if the universe thought differently. He accelerated. He could hear the rain, his engine roaring, occasionally the rough sound of the car hitting the shoulder of the road. He kept his eyes closed and pushed forward, the rain turning into the sound of static in his mind. His heart began to pound.

 newestrings2

But.

The universe didn’t want him that day.

Or perhaps, it merely wasn’t paying close enough attention.

ashtry

Fondly: Postponing truth

June 29, 2013

fndlygrphc

I knew the question before she even asked it.

She was just trying to process everything, and I understood, but I was tired; exhausted from justifying my decision again and again, trying to find the proper explanation to appease her.

If divorce were my client, and she was the target market, I was failing miserably at my job.

I knew the question was coming, yet I still couldn’t seem to find the answer she wanted to hear. Being a writer was working against me. It suddenly made her wonder about my ability to deceive.

Advertising was close, but it wasn’t fiction. She couldn’t see the difference.

To her, being a writer meant I was a grand and professional liar.

ashtry

I was sitting at my desk in our home-office chain-smoking; she was standing outside the door, just out of sight. How do you talk to someone when you can’t even see one another?

She asked the question, merely a disconnected voice emanating from the hallway.

All the cards, letters and poems professing an undying love—was any of it true, or just my innate talent for bullshit?

I sat quietly for a moment, trying to think of the right thing to say. Instead, I told the truth.

I told her, perhaps, I was writing what I wished were true.

She asked me the question, and I answered—poorly.

Perhaps this wasn’t the right night to tell her I found a place. Maybe I’d wait to tell her I’d be moving out at the end of the week.

Is postponing the truth the same as lying?

I did it for ten years.

newestrings2

Fondly: Because I could…

May 14, 2013

fndlygrphc

I stood at the edge and looked out at the sun; hot, orange and far, far away—slowing sinking behind the city skyline. It wasn’t as congested and “majestic” as her city, but I loved it all the same. The silhouette of the Arch, rising up amid the old brick buildings. I never got tired of it.

Jazz was born over those bricks. Hearts were broken over those old buildings.

I stood on the roof and took a drink. Top shelf scotch. I swirled it around, re-mixing the sugar sitting at the bottom of the glass with the melting ice and took a deep breath.

It was all about enjoying the view and not drinking too much, while I waited.

It wasn’t my turn just yet. They were still a little too sober.

Business is one thing, ideas are another. One keeps the accountant happy, one proves we’re different than the others. Better.

mtchmid

I lit a cigarette and leaned on the rail.

I felt good. Damned good. My suit was tailored, my drinks were free and the setting allowed me to wear sunglasses, protecting my worse tell—my eyes.

I also smiled when I lied.

In my mind, I had already gotten away with it, before I even finished saying it. I never got away with it. So I quit lying. I didn’t need to.

I just had to be who I never knew I was before I met her.

 comedy

It was somehow easier when she wasn’t around, so long as I didn’t think about the fact that someone else was probably inside her while I drank and schmoozed and patted myself on the back for my life.

But I didn’t know. I never did with her, until I did.

She only told the truth after I’d caught her in a lie. And right now, she was many state lines away most likely acting her age.

ashtry

I looked across the rooftop bar, and watched our clients. I listened to their conversations, and watched for their ticks. Their tells. The uncomfortable shift when a subject was brought up that shouldn’t be. The half smiles that came with each new cocktail. The flicker of the eyes when something clicked. By the time it was my turn, I’d know what to say, and what to keep to myself.

It was not unlike the game we play for love.

By the time it was my turn, I would already know how to convince them my great idea was theirs, stepping over the other creatives to ensure it was my strategy they wanted to put into place. They were better strategies. It wasn’t manipulative, it was being smart. It was protecting the client.

Or so I told myself.

It wasn’t lying. That was out of the question. It was merely consideration.

Calculated strategies are far easier to stomach than selfish manipulation.

 pollbk

The bar was open, and I had no plans of going home at the end of the night.

Below the bar, about 10 floors down was a room, paid for by my company. I had no intentions of going any lower than that after the schmoozing ended. No intentions at all…

…Unless you count the fact that the room was for one of our clients, and she had already made it clear, I was welcome.

I didn’t even want to. I just wanted to know I could.

In the end, I never did. In the end, I always took the long elevator down at the end of the night, a happy client settling in, buzzing with booze and a refreshed confidence in what we do, wishing I had stayed, though thankful I had left, most likely thinking about what I would have done to her, had I stayed.

In the end, I just wanted to know I could.

newestrings2

Fondly: Zero Visibility Part 1

April 19, 2013

fndlygrphc

What it really boiled down to was this.

I had never been in love. I had loved, but I had never been so undeniably in love. The passion—that end of the world feeling of being apart. The pain of the truest yearn.

Desire in its most honest attire.

I really didn’t know what to do, how to feel, other than like a man atop a building who truly believed he could fly.

And now I was jumping off the ledge to find out.

I was driving through storms for this. I squinted my eyes and did my best to get there as quickly as I could without dying.

newestrings

It was done. It was actually, officially done.

I threw my life in boxes, bribed my friends with pizza, beer and pure desperation, and created my own, new world, ready to be filled with this.

We had waited. I had waited. I had to.

I wanted her. Every part of her. From the moment I saw her walk into that bar, my life, I wanted her. Not in the easy, carnal way. I wanted her.

But not like…that. I didn’t want to be that guy. She was not the other woman. She was the only woman.

The only one that mattered.

This would not be a small “what if” lurking about in the shadows of my mind just before slumber for the rest of my life. This was a story that was in need of unfolding, whether there was a happy ending or not.

So I waited.

I did what had to be done.

And now, it was done. It sucked. It hurt. It was the beginning of a long, long process to survive.

But now, I could drive through torrential downpours and zero visibility like a man on a mission, with a clear conscience.

I thought about my wife, sitting alone in our house with our dog. Maybe she was crying. Maybe not.

Definitely drinking.

I imagined the house was silent, save for a sob, sigh or spill.

I had never been the one to do the leaving before. This was all new and confusing. This sudden freedom. Being alone to make the choices I wanted, rather than resigning myself to the choices made for me.

But I wasn’t really alone. I had a safety net to break my fall.

It was a two-hour drive…I’d driven longer for less.

I leaned forward, squinted my eyes and stepped down on the gas pedal.

pollbk

Fondly: Brick

April 14, 2013

fndlygrphc

Lately he had been feeling like an outlaw on the run, though he was only fleeing from himself. Seeking refuge in the dark, wishing for the light, he carried on by struggle and force, a natural instinct that left him exhausted most of the time.

He didn’t feel like this because he wanted to, or had to, merely because it’s all he knew these days. He didn’t know why. It wasn’t an unfamiliar feeling, just hard to understand…And lately it was a far more regular one. It was becoming the new normal, this season’s new black.

 

Sometimes he wished he could just shut down completely—hibernate like a bear and wake up when it was warm again.

He wasn’t a coward, he wasn’t afraid to try, effort is all he had most of his life, even when it fell unbearably short time and time again.

mtchmid

Every struggle was a brick.

 

Every time a friend told him to keep his chin up, another brick.

 

The closed doors, empty hallways—more bricks, building a wall so high his view of the sun was blocked. A wall so great he couldn’t see the top, and didn’t know which side he was even standing on.

If he could just make sense of it all perhaps he could break down the wall, but even he didn’t understand why he had to feel like this. He couldn’t Googlemap his soul. All he could do was wake up tired, disappointed by the fact he woke up at all, waiting for the night to return so he could attempt to sleep once more.

All he could do was force a smile for the world around him, so nobody gave him another brick.

newestrings

Fondly: Deep Down

April 13, 2013

fndlygrphc

I was sitting on the porch. I’d been back there pretty much since getting home, save for a moment to eat and empty the dishwasher. The weather was so beautiful…so perfect…The sun was starting to set, and the cicadas were singing loudly—calling out and answering to another group off in the distant elsewhere. I wondered what they were saying.

Probably good-bye to the summer.

Earlier, I got lost staring at the sky, still warm and blue, as the clouds rolled by at a low, lulling pace, shifting as they went. I hadn’t really done that since I was a child, sitting in the grass under a tree in the park; the park I played baseball and soccer in, flew kites with my father and sister—the park I would one day smoke cigarettes and have sex in. I just sat and stared at the clouds, finding the shapes and silhouettes of dragons, a drowning man, a bear and a lonely hand reaching out towards the sun.

My dog was keeping himself entertained behind me, occasionally getting distracted by a twig, or the sound of another dog off in the distance, calling out to anyone who would listen. We played fetch for a good long while,  him panting and wagging his tail and smiling. It had been a nearly perfect evening.

All that was missing was her.

 
Deep down, I knew it wouldn’t work. She wasn’t going anywhere, and neither was I. But when I tried to imagine life without her, it left me feeling empty. I felt a yearning. I felt what I had always hoped I would feel for my soon-to-be ex wife, but somehow never did.

It was nothing I was used to, but perhaps, something I had always wanted—needed.

I wanted a spoon. I wanted to feel like I wasn’t going it alone. I wanted to have someone’s back, who had mine. I wanted to cook together, eat together, shop together. I wanted to wake up to her.

Not to someone. Her. Every morning.

I wanted to know I was all she needed. I wanted to be that.

But deep down, I knew better.

mtchmid

Fondly: Shift, settle, creak, pop and moan…

April 6, 2013

fndlygrphc

There was no avoiding it. I had to do it sooner or later.

Besides, it was a full day and I was tired.

I had slept alone plenty in my life, but I had never slept alone in my own place.

 

I had never had my own place period.

 

Laying down in what was to be my bedroom going forward felt like some sort of metaphorical final nail in the coffin housing my former self. My former life, now a strange montage of memory left waiting to become fond.

I was scared.

I missed my dog.

This was it. Here I was. Unfamiliar walls that would become common, just as my new life would become merely my life.

I crawled into bed and tried not to hear the strange creaks and ominous noises emanate from the darkened bungalow just outside my open door. These were all new phantom noises I could not yet explain. I knew every shift, settle, creak, pop and moan that came from the home I left. Time gave me that.

A bright beam of light from an alley street lamp cut through my back window, hitting my face. I could see the light, even with my eyes closed.

I rolled over and wondered if she was sleeping in the middle of the bed yet. I wasn’t. I didn’t know how.

The light was still attacking me, even with my back turned.

I wondered what side of the bed she slept on, or if it would ever even matter.

It didn’t matter where or how anybody else slept. This was my room, my bed, my home. I had to learn how to sleep for myself.

“Mental note,” I thought, “Buy some curtains.”

newestrings

Fondly: Famous last word Pt. 2

March 26, 2013

fndlygrphc

 

I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know where to go. I sat for a moment, in shock. Outside she sat in her car. Maybe she was crying, maybe she was calling another man. I didn’t know. Suddenly, I didn’t know anything at all.

 

I wanted her to either come back inside or just drive away.

 

She did neither.

 

So I sat. Numb. Trapped inside my head.

 

I just wanted to go home. But I didn’t really have one.

 

Not anymore.

Fondly: Board games, picnic baskets and the end of the world

March 21, 2013

fndlygrphc

It was raining.

Fitting for what was happening. The thunder was so loud, car alarms went off. The sky felt electric. I could feel it buzzing inside my body, jumping through my teeth.

It wasn’t a soft rain; it was a summer storm ahead of schedule. I could only hope the sky would stop falling by the morning, when I would pick up my U-Haul and pack up as much of my stuff as possible in a few hours’ time and close the door on everything we had built together over the past 11 years.

It was my final night in what had been my home for years, but as of the morning, it would degrade to a financial burden and a familiar place made strange.

My bed would be someone else’s to fuck a woman that was no longer my concern.

It was a strange night.

An ominous, end of the word siren grew louder. I heard her take the dogs down into the basement and wondered if I should join her, surrounded by our old memories—a wedding dress and Christmas ornaments, board games and a picnic basket…all bought together but no longer mine.

Perhaps they were never mine to have.

I decided to risk it and stay upstairs, quietly wishing this storm would just blow over.

Fondly: Strangers

March 12, 2013

fndlygrphc

All I could do was sit and think.

The problem is, I really couldn’t. I tried, but I was far too lost to come to any conclusions. I didn’t want her. I knew that. There was too much sitting behind us. Too many moments overshadowed anything else. Everything else.

So why did I do it? Why did I even care?

Who she is, who she’s with, how she lives…None if it pertained to me, and that was my decision. A decision I made years before this. And I was fine with it most of the time.

Except those other times.

I sat quietly, my dog at my side. Tired, comfortable.

Love has layers. Levels.

I was starting to fear that I however, did not.

I wondered if my pup even knew what state I was in.

Defeated. Deflated.

It was a punch in the gut to sit and realize that no woman I’ve ever been with would ever have me back.

I suppose in the end that was fair.

My words somehow fell short. They were sharp, and always seemed to stab someone whether that was my intention or not. My mind was barbed, my heart was bruised, my soul was broken.

I kept thinking in circles, unfinished thoughts digressing into unwarranted scenarios, spinning into a deep dark hole I had little energy to try and crawl out of. The fear of making the wrong choices in life. The fear of throwing away everything for an unknown future with no plan, no endgame, no strategy.

If my life was an ad campaign, nobody was buying, and the client would have fired me.

I saw her. Her choices. I saw her life in an instant. I saw him put his arm around her back in a comfortable, familiar way.

The way we never could.

I still went home and bent a nobody-in-particular over my dining room table, but I was thinking about her.

She, however, wasn’t thinking about me.

And that was what bothered me the most.

And that’s why I could do nothing but sit and think, while some stranger slept in my bed.

And I wasn’t talking about Miss nobody-in-particular.

I woke up with a more familiar stranger every morning.