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Since the ex-Mrs.Dr.Malamud has chosen to revert to her maiden name, in a bid to make her seem more human, from this page forward, I will refer to her as Hanna-Marie Malamud
February 2007 (continued)
Valentine's Day 2007 . . . 1,460 very long days ago, I received from Hanna-Marie the e-mail which told me she was dead-set on getting a divorce. Valentine's Day 2003. Yeeouch!
This morning, I was modifying the ringtones in my Verizon Motorola Razr cell and I realized that Hanna-Marie hasn't phoned me in a couple of years. Isn't e-mail great? Such a personal, touchy, and feely kind of thing, eh? And I've gotten a single Valentine card from her, when she slipped up and mailed it out in 2004 ... the year our divorce became final.
It came to me the other night why I am so upset about Hanna-Marie's and my own pay differential. It is because that over fifteen years ago, in her forties, she began as a C.S.R. at $9.50 an hour. Today she's most likely pulling down more than $48.00 an hour. And I celebrate her achievements. While being a mother, employee and wife she concurrently earned a Master's Degree on the Internet. An achievement I barely celebrated when she was Mrs.Hanna-Marie Malamud. Go figure. Hanna-Marie deserves every dollar she earns. Sadly, being a woman, her pay is substantially circumcised when laid alongside a less-qualified male who has earned a single-digit golf handicap and a degree in bullshitting. Also sadly, my income has been dwindling year after year. And what is nagging at me, as it often did through the years of my public education, was/is that I am nowhere near my potential, especially in earnings potential. And while I don't desire to be wealthy (been there, done that: nearly got me killed numerous times) I do desire to live comfortably.
I was thinking about love and Hanna-Marie. If I don't need her to fill deficits in my personality (as if I've even begun to work on them) do I still love her? Of course, I'm certainly not talking about romantic love. But according to St.Paul in Corinthians chapter 13, it appears I continue to love her. Good, I'd like that. Of course, she'd reply, "Well it's too late buster. You've got to float your own boat." Yeah, I know. I know.
While listening to old CDs last night, I ran across How Sweet It Is by Joan Osborne, and remembered, how at the beginning of my "Please Don't Divorce Me Hanna-Marie!" reality play, while cloaked in the bathrobe of naive innocence, I imagined lyrics like these might actually come true:
Thursday . . . Like an idiot, I sent Hanna-Marie a Hallmark electronic 'anti-Valentine' day card yesterday. As usual, she sent me nothing and refused to even acknowledge the e-card with a 'Thank You'. I'm sure she's being very careful not to emit a single sign that could encourage me. She's through with me. And I totally understand her position. It's just that my heart has not one hundred percent accepted the divorce she instigated. Hell, we've been apart since 2002 when she relocated out of state. When will I realize that she isn't my wife anymore? When will I quit being her lap-dog, a lap-dog that she would take down to the pound if she could. At least, at least, the thought of her isn't throwing me into fits of suicidal depression any longer. I imagine all my psychological and psychiatric counselling since 1958 has been leading up to this point, because without it, I'm fairly certain, I would have taken my life by now. What an upbeat entry today, eh?
"I'll Be Around"
This is our fork in the road
Love's last episode, there's nowhere to go
You've made your choice, now it's up to me
To bow out gracefully, tho' you hold the key
Whenever you call me, I'll be there
Whenever you want me, I'll be there
Whenever you need me, I'll be there
I'll be around
Whenever you call me, I'll be there
Whenever you want me, I'll be there
Whenever you need me, I'll be there
I'll be around
I knew just what to say
Love's last episode, there's nowhere to go
There's always a chance a tiny spark remains
And sparks turn into flames
And love can burn over again
Whenever you call me, I'll be there
Whenever you want me, I'll be there
Whenever you need me, I'll be there
I'll be around
Whenever you call me, I'll be there
Whenever you want me, I'll be there
Whenever you need me, I'll be there
I'll be around
(c) Copyright 1972 by Assorted Music and Bellboy Music.
My Internet matchmaking subscription finally sent me a 'match' of someone within three years of my age and a red-head to boot. I sent her an e-mail and will probably never hear from her. But that's okay too, because I'm in no shape financially or emotionally to date. I need an adult female friend whose shoulder I can cry on and who can turn around and tell me (from the female viewpoint) that I am wasting my time and to face facts and to get on with my life.
8:16PM . . . Reading in the Rebuilding book, which I managed to do with barely a drizzle of tears, I learned once again that I should have at some point, gotten angry at Hanna-Marie's behavior. I had both a friend and now this book tell me that I should have been angry at Hanna-Marie. Anyone who knows me, knows that from time to time, I do get angry. And that's an under statement. But I haven't yet gotten mad at Hanna-Marie. I imagine I should be angry that in her job hunt she moved away from the family. Left Mainio, the dogs and I to fend for ourselves. Left me to put the house on the market, alone clean out twenty-five years of living, pack up what was left and squeeze into an apartment. I should be angry for her making me to weep in front of the private school committee begging them not to kick Mainio out. I should be angry for all the secrets she kept from me. Hanna-Marie left me alone to come up with the tuition money to keep Mainio enrolled in the private school he'd gone to since grade one. I should be angry that she battered me with so many purposely pernicious pronouncements after I had procured an exorbitantly priced airline ticket in order to visit her face to face. Indeed, I will remember many of those slash and burn tonguings for my entire life. (And our last kiss out back of the Outback Steakhouse near Cactus and Tatum.) I guess I should be angry. Maybe that's holding me back from letting go. I think not being hugely upset at Hanna-Marie, even though I totally understand her position, may be setting her up on a pedestal. A pedestal that keeps her more-adult and faultless than Dr.Malamud. While he, as a knee-bent supplicant begs forgiveness and continues in his emotional self flagellation. Actually, I am doing pretty well today, I think the new beginning is coming near. I pray the new beginning is coming near.
Friday . . . The Rebuilding book, among other things, has me making a list of things that the divorce has forced me to say goodbye to. Even though it would have been excruciating (think "Passion of the Malamud") if I had done that two years ago, I'd probably have recovered way back in 2005. As I stated Monday, February 12th, I wasn't adding to my posts on my Rebuilding page until I did something responsible. Well I have started (like so many times before) to act responsibly. I'm even making a list of things that a responsible adult might do. I say 'might' because, having never been the responsible one (Hanna-Marie was the Over-responsible spouse) I'm simply guessing <grin>.
As I flick to and fro my Rebuilding website and glance the photo of Sigourney Weaver (the poster child of 'Cold Women') I am startled by the incredible resemblance to a younger Hanna-Marie. Even down to the color of the dress ... uncanny. In any case, when I was married I used to get so angry when I was finally forced to do chores. It was like it was anyone else's job but mine. I'm not feeling that way now. At the funny farm they taught us to be in touch with our feelings; and that feelings are almost always expressed in a single word. In acting we use the four basic feelings: Glad, Mad, Sad and Afraid. Cleaning up I'd guess I'd have to say I feel glad. In sophisticated company I might say that I was resigned, but I'm not sure that is a feeling.
Every now and then I feel my heart racing soon to be chased by my thoughts slipping towards depression. However, I discovered that my Wellbutrin XL prescription causes a racing heart. Hence, I am usually able to convince my soul that my heart is bouncing around like a caged hummingbird, not because I miss Hanna-Marie so much, but because of the drug. Whatever works my friend.
Monday . . . Against my friends' advice I'm looking at the web site of the business in which Hanna-Marie is a high ranking executive. It's a small company, so that's not like her becoming the president of General Electric, but whatever success she has attained, she has earned it, deserves it, and has definitely paid her dues. (Sadly, prior to the divorce, even the thought of how hard she had worked ... never ... even ... crossed ... my ... mind. I can hear her response in my head: "ASSHOLE".)
Saturday . . . There goes my heart again - thumpthumpthumpthumpthumpthumpthump - I start to slip into depression. I want to tell somebody how badly I hurt. But there is no one there. I want to dive into the the pewter-gray clouds of depression and be enveloped in the folds of their dark sorrows. But what good would that do for another four years? Dammit! I vow that I will never allow myself to be in this situation again. Maybe that's why Hanna-Marie told me she never would get married again. That she would just 'shack-up'. Or did she say that to spare my feelings? Did I ever ask myself if I were happy in the marriage? Did I forget or purposely submerge my own dissatisfactions in the marriage? I simply wish I could phone her right now at 3AM ... and then, what would I say? I'm almost in tears wanting to call her. I remember during the marriage as to how many lonely, lonely nights, far away in a strange place, Hanna-Marie must have sat by the phone waiting for the ring from me. If I love her and she was unhappy in the marriage and needed to get out, that is a fact of life. Is my heart ready to accept that? Would I want to force her to stay? Would that then make me happy? Of course not. That's the wonderful and horrible thing about the love of a woman. It is freely given, flowing through your life like sand in an hourglass, and yet, when the sands of love are gone, they're gone, leaving behind only its love-dust on your soul.
As regular reader's know, I believe that God is sending messages and opportunities to guide my life path. Sometimes I see them and take notice. Sometimes I see them and don't recognize them. Sometimes, I don't even see them at all. But finding the business web page with Hanna-Marie on it using her maiden name is, well, I believe a signal from God. I think He is saying to cut loose. To give up. To forget. To say goodbye. The day after and every day since finding the web page with her name on it, I have been feeding the same exact words into the same search engine and nothing comes up. That's why I ask, was this a message from God? I saved the URL of the page so I know that it is still there, unchanged from when I first viewed it. Then if God is helping me, why does it hurt so bad?
I'm perusing her list of corporate customers that any American would instantly recognize. And the services her company provides are exactly what I have always wanted to do. How odd is that? What a twist of fate. But now that I think about it, she was college-trained to be an educator, so this is probably right down the line of what she's always wanted to do too. Although, years ago it did seem that she desired not to teach. One corporate client name stands out and I know where she is now, the client also has a facility, so that must be who she is working with currently.
I'm a regular Sherlock, eh. But what good does it do, other than to drive me off the recovery freeway and reroute me down the pot-holed and canyon-lined road of depression? Geeze. When I was looking at her client list, my heart sank. I thought of the gawdamned exciting life she must live; while my own continues to bob and circle around in the whirlpool of a flushed galactic toilet. I pray that my depression comes not from the fact that she appears to be doing so good, but that I continue to do not an effing thing. The clinical term is learned helplessness and I am the poster child. That is not an excuse because I know what I've got to do. I've got to go back to bed.
My e-mail 'dings' and I begin madly stabbing my mouse key like a teen playing Wolfenstein to see if there's something from Hanna-Marie. There isn't. What the hell do I expect her to say anyway? What can she say? From Mainio she's probably well-aware of my continued emotional instability, and is most likely fearful of saying anything that might shatter the soul of the person whose sensitivities she's never understood. Hanna-Marie is the most important person in my life and I can't even talk to her ...
I must be one hundred percent certain I am never again in a situation like this. And that does not mean I'm giving up on love. What a price I've paid. Am paying. It's like I remember hearing my own dad's octogenarian grandmother decades ago tell him in her heavily accented German, "Poor, poor Petie!" Poor, poor, Hammurabi. Poor, poor, me.
4:43PM . . . So I go to bed. And who shows up in my dream? You guessed it, Hanna-Marie. She was looking lovely in a loose fitting cotton blouse and a pleated skirt. She was breezy, confident and beautiful. As the woman who I married thirty years and eight days ago, the woman who I watched give birth to two of our three children, the woman who I sat beside as I watched her urine travel down a plastic tube and a morphine sulfate drip feeding her forearm; she'll always be beautiful. Too bad I never conveyed those visions of life and love to her. She could be eighty years old and I'd still see the twenty-six year old girl I married. Gosh, if I had thought about her this much when we were married, she'd still be Hanna-Marie Malamud.
6:14PM . . . At my Starbucks last night I was reading a book about getting a book published. I knew I could get it done. My divorce pangs faded away like a coffee stain on a white cotton shirt soaking in Clorox. I was laughing out loud and getting teary-eyed as I read and imagined what would likely occur. While I continue imagining Hanna-Marie's life as scintillating and filled with travel and excitement, she's likely just as lonely as I am. Only she handles it much more maturely. And financially, emotionally and fix-it-up wise she is totally self-sufficient. A couple of people said I did not know if she had gone out on me long before the divorce. I told them I believed her when she told me what had happened: Nothing. I heard the old adage (for the first time) "A woman is like a cake. Once it's been cut, no one cares who has a piece." Gawd that's sick when talking about a woman you love. But the old man who told me said he wanted to shock me into reality. It's over. Over. Maybe all this is grief. If it's grief, when will it ever end? Maybe it's all rejection, only as if I were rejected by my own mother? (My middle brother told me, in his Underdog way, that his divorce had taken a huge toll on his life.) Hanna-Marie says she will never re-marry. Is that because she subconsciously knows she can't change and the next marriage would end in divorce too? But what does her life as not my wife have to do with me? I do so not want to be divorced. I don't want to be single. I want my life back. I'm so confused ... and last night a fellow employee, out of the blue, called me Charlie Brown. Ouch, he got that right.
Wednesday . . . As easy as solving a Rubik's cube. Blindfolded. With one hand tied behind your back. While being chased by a grizzly bear. On stilts. Not the bear, you on stilts. That's how damned hard it is to shake your love for someone who no longer loves you. Yes, dear readers, after only four years and six days has Dr. Malamud snipped the love tether he wrapped around the soul of Hanna-Marie over three decades ago.
7:45PM . . . Mainio arrived home, and simply by his presence forced me to pull out of my funk which was aimed head-on into another weeping session. I was thinking I know why so many divorced men commit suicide. This is ridiculous. I know Hanna-Marie would tell me to grow up. Why can't I just be proud of her accomplishments, admit we were married once (something she might not do), stow the memories and let it go at that? I was listening to the song about "you'll never get my loving" and was reminded, that with anyone else but me, Hanna-Marie will find life boring. But after her hectic working environment maybe that's what she needs. I need to move on and become a male adult who a female near my age would find attractive and go from there. Dammit, I do not want to do that, but there is no other choice, is there? I'd joke about getting a dog here, but I've got some serious soul-pain going on here.
While not only thanking God and the few friends who have accompanied me on this emotionally devastating journey, I must also give credit to the Rebuilding: When Your Relationship Ends book for ending the bondage of love I could not release myself from. The name of the actual chapter that freed me was "Letting Go: Disentangling is Hard to Do." I learned this was something I had not done. After four years I still refused to let go of my love for Hanna-Marie.
Tuesday morning, I wrote her the most personally humbling and heart-rending e-mail my forty-word-per-minute digits have ever pecked out. I told her she was correct (as the 'Dumper') in the way she had been treating me, and that I would not be contacting her again until I had stopped loving her. (Remember the old, sad and lovely country western song titled, "I stopped loving her today"? I had always imagined that would be our song and in a way it is, only our love ended with emotional death, not physical.)
I then walked the few feet into my bedroom, fell face first upon the floor and prayed to God. I sobbed and whimpered and rocked side to side while my calves cramped up and my mind raced through a myriad of both lovely and somber memories of our matrimonial pilgrimage. With tears of joy, tears of sadness, and mostly snot, my fluids soaked a folded-up XXL bedshirt that Hanna-Marie had left behind. (Talk about soul-shaking symbolic coincidences.) I watched in my mind's eye as my love for Hanna-Marie, resembling an over-sized wisdom tooth, soft and red with roots stretching three inches, being slowly torn from my heart. I felt like a 300 pound barbell had been lifted off of my chest. Off of my life. Off of my soul.
I sincerely believe I have finally let go. I have irrevocably accepted Hanna-Marie doesn't love me anymore and won't ever be coming back. As I was weeping this morning, it wasn't the tears of someone who thought his pain would never end, like most every single instance for the past four years and six days. It was the tears of surrender, the tears of finally saying goodbye. Goodbye to my most dear love-mate: Hanna-Marie ... And I think that I since could type that sentence without my eyes brimming over, demonstrates that I have finally "Let Go".
And I no longer care that Hanna-Marie is an executive and probably earning a $100,000 a year, while I'm lucky to pull down forty percent of that amount. I celebrate her business world accomplishments.
And I'm ashamed of her for acting like a starry-eyed teenager by enjoying chocolate martinis (and who knows what else) with a billionaire-flirter while she had a husband and a minor child one thousand and thirteen miles to the west. And I don't care what she thinks of me. And I don't care that she uses her maiden name instead of Malamud. And I don't care that she jaunts around the country and only informs me for fear she might miss a mailed gift. And I don't care she deals secretly with the kids (who I have been supplying the majority of financial aid, when I wasn't earning per hour even one-half of what she was). And I don't care that she flies into town and never even gives me a call or tells me she's here, (although she may have been trying to save hurting my feelings by doing that.) And I don't care, if in the future, she's embarrassed to introduce me to her executive cohorts, friends and associates.
And now I'm finally seeing, really seeing, all the petty little things and quirks about her that make her less than the goddess my heart swore she was. She was in reality, less than perfect. I tallied many of the behaviors from her side that contributed to our divorce. Verily, the scales have fallen from my eyes.
I feel like I'm a human being capable of doing more than simply driving to work to make a dollar. I feel like a gloomy energy-absorbing pewter gray cloud the size of a Wal*Mart Super Store has been shoved aside and now I can turn my face up and enjoy the sun's golden warmth on my skin. I feel like I'm someone who someone else could romantically love. Even if I'm not down to my fighting weight. Unbelievable.
I now believe I'm a worth while human being capable of dreaming dreams, setting goals and accomplishing things. Only NOW, whether I set goals and accomplish things is left to me, not to my imagined whims of someone who stopped loving me over four years ago.
Thursday 3:14AM . . . On my day off I venture to bed and find myself unable to sleep because the gloom is back. I pray to God, but stop my pleas before I begin to again spiral down into the chaos. I bring out my Rebuilding book and read chapter 10 again, and then finish chapter 11. I still haven't changed my behaviors around the house and elsewhere and these small actions are claimed to change the way I see myself and help me to get better. I'm going to start on them later today. It's raining, just perfect with my mood. I may still need professional counselling, I'm not sure. I'm trying to decipher if it's the voices of my parents telling me I'm unlovable and a loser, or if it's my own negative self-talk. I'm afraid to say nice things about myself to myself. You already know what I'm feeling and the questions I want to ask and the crying fit I want to fall into. But instead, I'm going to keep pushing it away. Pushing the thoughts of Hanna-Marie away. And facing the facts. That fact that we both contributed to the divorce. And the undeniable fact that she stopped loving me years ago. That she doesn't love me. That she ain't gonna love me. That she doesn't care to even see me. That she isn't coming back. Ever. That she's not my wife. That she is no longer the person I was married to. She's changed. She's almost a stranger. I have grieved long enough. I have the facts and I have the fact I've been grieving for over four years. What is it that my heart doesn't seem to understand? The book says to think about unpleasant things with your ex and that will push the gloom away. Guess I'll try that. I'm sure she would have no end of unpleasant things to think about me ...
4:15PM . . . Suffering a rip-roaring headache and weakened by being so badly beaten by my emotional excursions earlier in the day, my Tuesday-Wednesday swing-shift was real throat choker. I kept hearing the sirens of depression calling me towards their unseen shoals, so that I might crash the paper-thin barrier I've erected around my heart and sink again into the four year deep gloom I so very recently raised myself out of. The hundred or so times in my eight hours I thought of Hanna-Marie and felt the awful tug towards sadness, I tightened my heart and told myself: "Push it out", "PUSH it out, Don't think about it!" And while it would be probably easier for me to bench press my own weight, I did manage to shove the thoughts of Hanna-Marie out of my heart. Again, and again and again. I saw a rusting 1980s black Buick Park Avenue and flashed back to the same car, window-sticker new, wrapped in a huge yellow ribbon, sitting in our garage and greeting Hanna-Marie when she came home from a trip. Then I thought, "So what?" I hear something interesting on the radio and I think, "I can e-mail Hanna-Marie about that!" And then I think, "Why? She's simply another unattractive, (as we all are at fifty-plus) mid-50s, divorced female adult. She needs to find someone else to share these delightfully trivial things with her." Me too. Me too.
12:25PM . . . Whew, that was a tough sleepy-time. But it appears I've gotten in my first seven hours of uninterrupted sleep this year. And still I get up and check my e-mail hoping there will be one from Hanna-Marie. There wasn't. (I've got a bright orange sticky-note on my PC: "The first one who e-mails, loses! 2/20/2007".) I have written again and again dear readers that it is far easier to pay attention while you are married than to wait until you are divorced. Hope or love or whatever it is is hard to shake. I'm willing to wager that if I went ahead and dated Morgan Fairchild, I'd forget instantly of the Ex. And all my moaning and groaning and traumatic bursts of passion would be reduced to the feelings I get when flipping through the shoebox full of black and white snapshots my parents took in the 50s and 60s. But somehow, it doesn't seem right or healthful or fair or making me any better by replacing Hanna-Marie with another woman her age, who is the most gorgeous and (except for her breast implants) organically sexiest female over fifty on the planet. In the past four years it has been easier to simply toss my hands in the air, throw myself on the floor, and give in to the grief, the gloom and the chaos. But it isn't changing me and I am so tired of the gloom, the grief and the chaos. Living life like it is a distant and out of focus dream, where my unrequited love of the divorced Hanna-Marie is a deciding factor in my every decision, or every decision not to make a decision, is no way to stumble down my so short mortal path. Like Animal House's Dean Wormer told Flounder, "Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son." Thursday morning, making a vow to fall asleep only after once again, 'letting go' of Hanna-Marie, like I was counting sheep, I repeated this mantra multiple times and out loud: "She went out with other men while She was married to you. She divorced you. She doesn't phone you, She doesn't mail you news clippings, She doesn't send you birthday or seasonal cards. She doesn't send you birthday or Christmas presents. When She comes to town She doesn't tell you and She doesn't come to see you. She doesn't love you. She doesn't care for you. And She is never coming back." It was very hard for me to say all that without my naive and foolish heart wanting to leap to her defense, wanting to add caveats; but it is time that I gather my own defenses. After all, way back in the 2003 beginning of this saga, she told me that, "Jesus has hardened my heart." Apparently He has better success with some sinners than others, eh?
11:59PM . . . Well, I was doing fine until I heard Mainio answering a call from Hanna-Marie on his cell phone. How much I wanted to hear her voice. How much I wanted to chat with her! But, again, what would I say? Did he know how precious even small talk with Hanna-Marie is? Certainly I listened intently for word of myself. But nothing was said. My head felt like my brain had changed to steel wool and was scouring the inside of my skull. You know what? I hope she's as gawdamned lonely as I am. Like Dr.Malamud, due to her vast intellect, Hanna-Marie isn't the easiest person to get to know when she's not being paid to be personable, so it's quite likely she's desperately lonesome.
What I originally sat down to write about is that I accidently drove to work. It was a accident because today is my day off. I think when I do things like this it is due to my Wellbutrin XL prescription messing with my synapses. In any case, on my way back into Paradise Valley, I stopped at Albertson's. I noticed a slim and attractive blonde-maned woman pushing her partial full shopping cart out to her car. I remained in the Peugeot listening to the tail-end of a George Noory guest, while I coincidentally checked out her tail-end. Shortly I then got out of the car and walked in the direction of the front doors. I heard the blonde pushing the now empty cart. I thought she was shoving it to the cart corral about three spaces away from her car but instead I was surprised as I heard the wheels following me, and as I entered the store, I twisted my head slightly and saw she had returned the cart all the way to the main cart pen at the front of the store. Later, inside, as I was trying to locate the brown bagged Colombian Eight O'clock Coffee (at a sale price of $3.99) she sauntered up looking for the same thing. I told her that the brown ones have all been taken. She said she saw something brown on the top shelf. I stepped on a lower shelf and peering up I confirmed there were no Colombians on the top shelf. After a few more seconds, this Linda Evans twenty-years-ago-look-alike left. She was simply far too friendly and stood far too close to Dr. Malamud, although not close enough to be uncomfortable. After she left all I could deduce was that she was a prostitute trying to score on a guy who she thought, because of his looks, had to pay for sex. In any case, like the love-sick sap I am, seeing the Yellow Peeps ducks near the checkout, and remembering Hanna-Marie loves Peeps, I bought a three-pack to surprise her with near Easter time.
Here's what happened when I was at work on my day off. The woman who I've had a crush on since I first met her, Piia-Noora happened to be there. And while she's a bottle-redhead I don't care. At sixty she's got the smooth cookies and cream complexion of a woman half her age. Like Hanna-Marie, she's an educator. And like Hanna-Marie she is not afraid to say what she wants. And like Hanna-Marie she's an entirely self-sufficient woman. And like Hanna-Marie, she divorced a husband. However, Piia-Noora continues to dearly love her ex though he lays rotting in his grave. Even though he passed eight years after, I always accuse her of killing her ex-husband with that divorce. Unlike Hanna-Marie she is cheerful and warm and outgoing to even strangers. In my clumsy and brash way, after my own divorce, I've hit on her and been thoroughly rebuffed. I consider her a rare female who is both a friend and longer lived than me. I told her I really missed her last night because I needed someone to hug. I told her I thought I was a 'tough guy' so I kept people away hence there was no one at all to hug. Then I squeezed her with a business-type bend-at-the-waist hug. It felt wonderful. I told her my divorce was getting me down and I was finally pulling out of the sadness and the grief. She insisted that I hadn't even begun to get over it. I said it's been four years, I better be getting over it. Since I've pretty much 'let go' of Hanna-Marie, without a tear in my eye, or a hitch in my voice, I was able to recount my love for Hanna-Marie and our twenty-seven year marriage and rambled on about how I didn't understand that you open up to one single person in your lifetime and you marry her and then you're supposed to not love her once you're divorced. Even though she initiated it. I told her that was a hard concept for me to get a hold of. Then I noticed tears were streaking down her face. I hugged her again. And again.
Friday . . . Got up this morning and my heart felt light. It did not feel like the storm trooper boot of gloom was crushing it down. Last night, being able to talk about my divorce to Piia-Noora, someone who knew me before I was legally divorced, and not choking up or crying is another indication that I am actually letting go of Hanna-Marie. I know the authors of the Rebuilding book would like to say, "It's the book. Buy the book!" Instead, I believe my improved emotional attitude is a function of reading the book, performing many of the exercises in the book, the Thursday night compassion and hugs with Piia-Noora and mostly, the almost eight hundred days passed from the date of the court's divorce decree. A decree which I had to ask Hanna-Marie for a copy of, since the court did not feel the need to mail me one.
Unfortunately, as I recall from my did-not-leave-my-chair eavesdropping on Mainio's and his mom's cellphone conversation last night, it seems her finances are not as substantial as I had imagined. I'm concerned because I was going to ask her to pick up some of Mainio's expenses, but since this June he becomes an adult under any current or former laws of all states in the Union, he'll have to pay most of his own way, just like his two older siblings have. That brings back to mind what Hanna-Marie viciously spat at me on that so very thunderous and overcast day in 2003, in the bedroom of her faraway apartment, while seated together on her immaculately manicured bed, "You'll just have to float your own boat Hammurabi." Damn! She really skewered my filet-mignon-soft heart with those sharply chosen words. If I'd had my wits about me, I would have stumbled into her kitchen, and searched the refrigerator vegetable drawer for the bell pepper slices, the baby onions, carrots, and potatoes to slide on behind. Gawd that hurt.
Even now, it seemed like someone (I can imagine who) had been coaching her during that period. Although typically, she was not a lady in need of, or likely to turn a kind eye to any coaching in what to say. But then again, this was certainly not a typical circumstance. I've always suspected a recent romantic interest of spurring her both to and through the divorce. Him, maybe not with an outright intent, but he had his reasons. I wonder if he got laid? She articulated words describing my attributes that sounded like something a pastor unfamiliar with the deceased would, in a somber monotone, read at a funeral. It did not seem to be coming from the heart of the woman who had taken my surname twenty-six years earlier. You might think I'm getting emotional here, but no. Now when I write about my failed marriage, our failed marriage, it's more like writing, say, a book report. Time to stop writing, my heart's starting to thump-thump-thump again, as I imagine there will always be emotion hiding there since I did so love Hanna-Marie. (As usual, first thing this morning, I checked for an e-mail from her. There was none. I wonder if one dawn I won't even check anymore. As the orange sticky-note states: "The first one who e-mails, loses! 2/20/2007.")
7:17PM . . . Last night, among many other things the compassionate Piia-Noora told me was that I had to get out among people. That's when I told her I thought I was a tough guy and didn't need anyone else ... and I turned around and found myself ... alone. But it is so odd that when I'm around people, like at the Starbucks or the Barnes & Noble coffee shop I feel so much better. Even though I know not a person around me. Part of it is rejoicing in the energy and the promise of the high school aged students studying around me. Those pre-adults who are yet to be tossed into the rushing rapids of adult life and whose hulls show little wear, and no barnacles. And looking at the affluent, finely dressed ladies my age doesn't bother me one bit either. It's absolutely uncanny how good at spotting wedding rings without moving my head I've become. But before you imagine I am some eagle-eyed prodigy, I'm not. Because most matrimonial finger-bands in this town cost more than a fully-optioned Toyota Corolla and almost have laser beams shooting out of their facets cut into a one to five carat weight diamond.
I washed some pots and pans and loaded up the dishwasher, which is something I hadn't done in a while. Well, I did the same thing last week. I was thinking that I do so little around the apartment and that is exactly what affords me so much time to let my mind wander to thoughts of Hanna-Marie. As many of you know, I sent her the Rebuilding book last week. I just had the entirely stupid thought that she'll read it (which she probably won't) and realize, "My God, it's really over!" Uh, dummy. For her it was really over years ago.
Earlier this afternoon, I was starting to feel down about not being with Hanna-Marie. So before my nap, because I work nights, I repeated my mantra: "She went out with other men while She was married to you. She divorced you. She doesn't phone you, She doesn't mail you news clippings, She doesn't send you birthday or seasonal cards. She doesn't send you birthday or Christmas presents. When She comes to town She doesn't tell you and She doesn't come to see you. She doesn't love you. She doesn't care for you. And She is never coming back." And what was my reward? A pleasant dream about Hanna-Marie and the house we were forced to sell. What was odd, but one hundred percent accurate, was that there was a lawnmower sitting in the front yard with a pile of grass clippings near it. Inside Hanna-Marie was wearing some very nice clothes suffering a hiccup, laughing, sneezing fit. You see, being the O.R., she enjoyed mowing the yard ...
Chapter 11 in the Rebuilding book goes into making changes in your personality. Changes which are most evidenced by what we do in the physical world. So I'm starting to become more responsible, clean up around the apartment, wash dishes, vacuum, dust and rearrange things. I want to set a budget so I know where I stand too. All this stuff that used to be such - be SUCH a chore - when the (Over Responsible) O.R. Hanna-Marie was there to do it for me is now just another chore. Now they are simply something that has to be done because no one else is going to do it. And I feel better while I'm doing it, however almost everything I touch brings back a memory. I just threw out a plastic glass of a set she bought years ago. The book says I should box up everything that reminds me of the Ex, but I couldn't function without the stuff. I got a chuckle as I was cleaning up the kitchen (it's a two week proposition) and I thought to myself, "I want to have a clean kitchen so I don't attract another Over Responsible mate who's going to take over all chores and then tire of me after only two or three decades like Hanna-Marie did.
Saturday . . . Feeling more confused than ever I sent the below e-mail to my counsellor this morning:
I went to bed fully intending to pray and cry myself to sleep.
I could not cry.
I could pray.
But didn't know what to say.
I think I may finally, finally, be over the most extreme part of my grief.
This morning anyway, it's down to a dull throb.
For once I don't feel so horrible about myself.
Comparing my employment to Hanna-Marie's, I don't feel like I'm a loser anymore.
I was thinking last night, "What does it matter I'm a an 'hourly pay',
and she's an executive? As long as the person enjoys the job ..."
Only problem is, that I pretty much despise my job.
I don't feel sorry for her so much that I feel bad for her.
I feel bad for her.
She's got to be lonely having been relocated only a few weeks.
I want to help her somehow.
But I'm not recovered myself enough to help her.
I'm still pretty damaged.
Like a German shepherd dragged behind a bus from Phoenix to Albuquerque.
Can I be an adult with her?
I pray that God lets her know my soul is caring about her soul.
Wanting to embrace her.
And I'm not coming from the assumption that we would ever get back together.
I just want to help her.
But as more than as a friend, but less than what? A husband?
Still no tears ... good. I guess. Eyes are brimming, but no sobs.
Even after all these divorce-years it is still so confusing and unbelievable to me.
Who knew that I had all these gargantuan feelings tied up in our marriage?
No wonder I was so panicked of serious discussions with her about the status of our union.
The marriage was far more important than I consciously realized.
She now labels me one of her "trusted friends".
Great, I've went from "number one", to "one of".
Another sad realization of the divorce process.
Until a man goes through the loss of the love of a wife, he does not or cannot
comprehend how her love permeates, cements, and completes the entire relationship.
Without our marriage do we have anything in common?
Anything to talk about?
As two single adults, legally disconnected, can we even talk?
Do I want to?
Oh my, oh my, oh my.
Never, ever again will I wind up in this position.
I wouldn't wish this confused bag of emotions on Satan himself.
Very Sincerely Yours,
One good thing is, that I feel fairly certain that if James Taylor or Carly Simon could put these words to music we'd have one heart-breaking soft rock hit on our hands. Take that Bonnie Raitt.
Sunday . . . I'm a valuable friend of Hanna-Marie's, but as the weeping wimp I was, she wouldn't even want me around. No one would. Is it any wonder she has had zero challenge in limiting conversation with me over the past four years? In our new relationship just WHO is she? She's no longer my 'mommy' - but still the mother of our children. Regardless of my current employment, I'm still the man she married, only wiser, more mature, more caring and broke. I am also more learnéd in many ways: sexually, writing, mechanics, general knowledge and on and on. Hot damn! I can even make bacon and eggs in the kitchen. I can feed myself.
To Hanna-Marie: "I've accepted the fact you are no longer my wife. Where do we go from here?" She e-mailed that she considers me a 'trusted friend'. And what a great person she is to have as a friend. One in whom there are no stories, fables or secrets. Should I welcome or fear the inevitable, "You always . . ." statement that may explain or expose a truth in my own often-timed flawed past behaviors?
I feel my heart compress as if it is a stuffed Thanksgiving turkey and the stitch strings are being drawn tight. I simply smile, I know I am over feeling sad and depressed. Like Carly Simon sings, "I haven't got time for the pain." Satan's demon, is at the intersection of the strings and pulling hard. "Come on. You said your life was over without her. You know suicide is the way out of the pain. You biyatch!"
Currently, even though I don't imagine she's heavily concerned but, what Hanna-Marie needs is love from someone she can love back. I've pretty much figured out, that someone isn't me <grin>.
My old, old friend, Harry Larsen, used to tell the story of the gopher, who after having an M80 firecracker devastate his burrow, amid the smoke and debris, stuck his head above-ground only to get kicked full force in the face with a size thirteen boot. At only a slightly lesser degree, that is the way I continue to feel.
Soon, I'll be listening to my ex-wife as she speaks unplugged and uncensored. I'll witness a side to her I never have seen, as I remember her forever telling me that, for fear of hurting my feelings, she always had to filter what she said to me. But then again, I no longer have to live in fear of her asking me about a household chore, that as a dutiful husband I haven't done, because she's no longer the managing partner <grin> but a friend. I had insisted from the beginning, that I married my best friend: Hanna-Marie. I pray we can continue that intimacy. How great that will be. I must concentrate on this positive future rather than the depressing past I had been focusing on.
My emotions are like I'm flying down a washboard dirt road in a clapped-out 1980s Impala. Emotions jouncing and jangling and vibrating, and every now I then I'm swooped down into a huge dip in the road jamming my heart into the depths of depression. But soon enough, the road levels out and I can see far in the distance, the so very smooth and so quiet rubberized-freeway . . .