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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
Thursday/Friday . . . I'm at my Barnes & Noble Café on Shea Boulevard. This hopefully will be the very last sad love song I post until I begin instead plastering up falling-in-love ballads. If I were to ask James Taylor to write me a song about Hanna-Marie and myself it would be his incredibly prescient "Baby Boom Baby":
by James Taylor
"What do I do if my dream comes true?" Just what a dumpee would believe, that his or her dream for reuniting with the person who initiated the divorce would come true. Har. Extremely rare. And, thanks to my reading, and my friends, I've 99.999% convinced myself that my dream is not going to come true. Ever.
from the CD: Never Die Young
"Baby Boom Baby"
Somehow the season always brings a picture of you
Baby boom baby
Holding on for everything you figured you're due
Little turtleneck girl
The moon on your shoulder
The wind in your lovely hair
Oh what a night
We sat on the beach and watched as the sun
Rose into the Summer air
You said we couldn't miss what we never knew
Something about something that you had to do
Sitting on the sand with a hole in my shoe
I had no way of knowing where you might have been
Time goes by
All on my own I imagine you a life in between
All on my own
I worked on a letter but it never made it out of my head
Somehow reading your name it wasn't the same
As leaving the thing unsaid
How come I miss what I never knew
And drag out the past just to paint it blue
And spend my days with a dream of you
Oh, after a fall
Here I'm trying to find our name on the wall
It was neither yours nor mine
It was something of the two combined
From a time spent out of time
I work hard to see that you remember my name
Nod your head yes
Do all I can to make you want to see me again
Oh what a night
Got a letter from the mail, got a message from the telephone
Seems you're working in town
Now I'm caught in the spotlight
Walking the wire
My feet are frozen and my heart's on fire
What do I do if my dream comes true?
Thursday a dear, also recently divorced, female actress friend e-mailed me the riot act on Hanna-Marie and I have agreed with myself to follow her instructions:
"I don't care how much you love and respect her and that she is the mother of your children and that she is a good mother. You need to put her to rest. They have put us to rest and we are no longer a part of their life, just like that! We gave our hearts and we gave our hearts big and it hurts. Don't let her continue to hurt you. Don't be the victim anymore. I know I sound harsh and I would want you to lecture me as well."
After re-reading what she had sent me, and deciding it was quite harsh (it needed to be) she phoned me to be sure that I wasn't curled into the fetal position on the floor of my closet, sucking on my thumb and weeping like I was at an onion cutting contest. I wasn't. She said exactly what needed to be said when it needed to be said.
Back at the Café, I'm surrounded by kids studying. Words like 'cosine', 'partial fractions' and 'divergence' are being flung around like a schoolroom spitball battle. I'm feeling so decent, it's almost scary.
Saturday . . . Here's another love song that just came out. The writer hit the nail on the head with this one. How many times have I bemoaned the half-empty Malamud bed? "Took your picture off my wall" ... yup. While I didn't delete Hanna-Marie's cell phone number, I came close. I knew I couldn't call her anyway because for the most part all she would hear would be sobbing. "... everywhere I go there's a love song that reminds me of you". Ain't that the truth?
by Simply Red
"So Not Over You"
Don't know why I still slept on my side of the bed
The emptiness when you were gone kept ringing in my head
Told myself I really had to move along now
Stop regretting all the things I left unsaid, yeah yeah
So I tore up your letters
Took your picture off my wall
I deleted your number, it was too hard not to call
Felt a little better, told myself I'd be fine
Got to live for the good times up ahead, yeah yeah
'Cos everywhere I go
There's a love song that reminds me of you
And even though I knew I had to be strong
I was still not over you
'Cos I still believe and I could see how there's nothing left of you and me
That time is over
'Cos I'm so not over you
All my friends try to tell me better find somebody new
Why waste time being lonely when there's nothing left to lose'
Anything to get you out of my mind
I'm a fool if I thought I could forget
And I could not forget
Now I found a way to keep you there beside me
To where my love won't be denied
I can only hope to keep you there and guide me
There's no more need to hide from all this pain inside
So not over you
That time is over
'Cos I'm so not over you
I went out to get the mail. I glanced inside my box. I spied a textured brown envelope that I thought might enclose
a Hallmark card from Hanna-Marie. Possibly a St. Patrick's day card similar to the one I addressed to her and then tore up, threw in the kitchen garbage, and buried under coffee grinds? Sadly the envelope was simply junk mail. Ah the heart keeps hoping against hope, doesn't it?
Tuesday . . . Without the love of a woman, life is pretty drab. But you've got to love yourself (like God loves you - like a parent looks love at his newborn) before you can really love someone else.
Morbid thought, if she didn't cry at her father's funeral, what makes you think she'd cry at yours?
Now that I'm not chasing after her like she's handing out free Ben & Jerry's Heath Bar Crunch ice cream and I'm not 'talking on eggshells' will the supposedly missing anger erupt?
She labels me "a trusted friend". She labels me a friend but she had to know the divorce would disassemble me like a person seen as he's being transported on Star Trek. How could someone do that and claim to remain a friend? I know I've kept her on a pedestal. Gawdammit, I'm a special person too, after all, I attracted her. During our marriage, she did what she had to do to survive, while I almost, kind of, sorta, went after my dreams. Basically I did nothing. I have put her above me and that's certainly not healthy or even realistic.
Like a 'friend' would, what little personal tidbits has she shared with me in the last year? Or two years? One. She's also the one who has made a clean break, not me. If I want to maintain my sanity, I must do likewise. If she wants to talk to me, she's got my cellphone number. How does it affect my self-worth if she doesn't contact me? Sure it hurts because I was so in love, but any one person's actions should not affect your self worth. That's not right. Hell, the only reason you're her 'trusted friend' is that you know her most intimate secrets and have guessed at others she's not revealed.
It's like she's some goddess and I'm nothing. I know that is horseshit. What's the best counter I have to being buried in my own negative pile of manure? To accomplish something. Start a career, finish a book, get work as a writer. In short, get to work on my life rather than moping around.
I know she would be disgusted at my prolonged and emotional reaction to the divorce. Will the divorce always hurt? Probably, but the hurt should one day fade to something like an old motorcycle injury felt only when probed by a finger. She shoved me away hard - and she stayed away. What is not to understand?
After the divorce I carefully constructed massive sandcastles of 'might have beens' and then use Hanna-Marie's leaving to batter them down and pull them out to sea. Right, and I might have won the Powerball too.
It's funny as the dutiful wife she always tagged along with me, my schemes and my hobbies, when she probably should have been leading.
Wednesday 12:01am . . . As a commercial airliner rumbles the desert sky, I glance up and imagine I was on it flying to anywhere. I contrast that thought with Hanna-Marie and how she is most likely sick of flying as she does it so often. Want to be happy? You've got to go after what you want that would make you happy. Most people never set long-term goals. I am too old not to. I have to hire on in a profession Hanna-Marie would be proud to relate to her new peers and friends. What does it matter? Because I too am ashamed of what I do for a living. Maybe ashamed is too strong of a word.
Since she holds a Masters Degree in Organizational Management, I want to phone Hanna-Marie and ask her ideas on how to organize the material for my book. But, that would simply feed our old parent - child relationship, so I do not call her.
I believe my soul will always bear a gaping fissure of profound sadness over this divorce with only the stitches of time and the salve of wonderful memories promising to heal it.
9:20pm . . . I'm at the B&N Café, again. The students are here studying again. While appearing to be comfortably seated, the teen girls are bent into impossible origami-like shapes.
Like I did as a small child practicing cramming myself below the kitchen sink to shelter myself from monsters, I continue to sleep more than a sloth on an Ambien® intravenous drip. I'm certain it's a childish attempt to hide out from life, to protect myself from pain with 400 thread count sheets. I cannot give into the urge to melt away into my apartment, for that will ensure the pain will never end. However, I believe I am finally over the soul-crushing depression I've been under since, Inspector-Clouseau-like, I discovered her name-change three weeks ago. I hope I may be finally over Hanna-Marie.
I had a nice lady from the the Internet matchmaking service e-mail me and I blew her off. I wish I hadn't done that but Dr. Drew said that the services match on the wrong things and that long distance affairs rarely play out. However, we matched on only 15%, so as contrary as that seems, that part was good.
All the after-divorce genre books advise me that I will meet the next Mrs.Dr.Malamud as I'm observing my normal tour of living life: the grocery store, the bookstore, church, seminars, Starbucks, and Sheriff Joe's Tent City. Which means I cannot be burrowed into my blankets, unless I want to drag them around like Peanuts' Linus. And that's another reason I need to at the very least lose twenty pounds so I have a small fraction of visual appeal. However, I'm going to have to strive to become more outgoing, or I'll get snagged again by someone looking for me, rather than someone I'm looking for.
As a single man in the mid-1970s I can still recall being agog at the obviously unattainable Hanna-Marie. Her seated on the bar stool in front the counter of the wholesale business while she waited for her ride. I gaped as her almost regal comportment, her youthful figure, her great stems dangling below her tight skirt, her cuteness, and her coldness beckoned me as surely as the Sirens called out to Jason and the Argonauts. But now, three decades past I wonder where was my Orpheus?
Thursday 6:24pm . . . Remember the "nice lady" I had received an e-mail from through the Internet matchmaking service the other day? She replied, and had miraculously deciphered that I was still suffering emotional injuries from my divorce. Imagine that. She told me that I was one of "... the walking wounded" ... "that I needed to pick myself up and dust myself off" ... and "... that sometimes we look too long at the door that closed rather than the door that just opened" ... ending with ... "no whining".
Sensible sentiments, correct? But yet, for some shadowy reason they shook me to the core of my soul. I replied to her that apparently I wasn't ready for adult relations because what she had written had really hurt. And, since she first contacted me (even after reading my 100% true and transparent on-line profile), I wrapped it up with "Good hunting."
Then I drug myself to the half-empty Malamud bed and cried my eyes out. Towards the end of tearfest #551, it came to me why her typed electronic words tore across my heart as if they were the teeth of a Calphalon® bread knife. And that was because they would be the exact words that Hanna-Marie would use if she thought I was strong enough to weather them. Faced with the well-meaning sentences from even a stranger, my stoic emotional façade had immediately disintegrated like a cookie-crumb dam facing a raging rush of warm milk.
Hours later, when I returned to my e-mail, I saw that I had received a reply to my question about the divorce-recovery class at a nearby church I had sent seven days earlier. I can hardly wait to cry in person in front of a bunch of strangers ... right.
And for those who think I enjoy this torment, know that I do not, but neither, it seems, can I negotiate an end to it. After four years, I simply want to get on with my life, but apparently this cannot be accomplished with only prayer, time and knowledge. I need to be stirring among other divorced Christians also seeking to stem their personal torrents of tears.
Thursday/Friday . . . Sometimes it's nice to sit around, wide awake, and simply let the mind wander. Unfortunately mine wanders towards the negative every chance it gets. Most people must be that way or the world would be a much better place. But writing, "most people" does nothing to improve my position. I am about as being close to most people as Jim Carey is to ever again having a hit movie. I continue to search for a love interest to confirm my self-worth. That's not at all healthy. I am in no condition to begin a relationship with anyone but a dog. I'm sitting here at the B&N café gazing off into the distance with the fogged feeling of the flu.
8:42am . . . Dammit, I woke up feeling fine, but like a 1964 Chevrolet station wagon sans snowchains crawling up an ice sheeted hill, I am slowly being pulled backwards into the depression that signals I'm missing Hanna-Marie. I'm getting the distinct feeling getting over her isn't going to be easy <grin>.
In another thirty-seven days something Hanna-Marie does not enjoy will happen. She will be another year older. I remember a while back, I had sent her a card, I think it was for Christmas, and she e-mailed me an extremely rare "Thanks", letting me know she'd been boycotted by her family, and my card was the only one she received. On his Gorilla CD, James Taylor laments, "I wish I were an old man and love was through with me". Well, I am fairly old and love is nowhere near being through with me. Knowing Hanna-Marie was far closer to her family than I ever was to mine, when I read her e-mail, I was deeply touched. Violating my own embargo of e-mails, clippings, cards and gifts for the ex-Mrs.Dr.Malamud, I have marked my calendar to mail Hanna-Marie a birthday card.
Saturday/Sunday . . . On my one hour plus drive in to work I was so depressed. I thought it had to be over Hanna-Marie, but when I checked the source, it was over the sad state of my finances. Hallelujah! Later in the day, I helped law enforcement with a matter and I felt pretty decent. I am so used to feeling bad, it was odd to feel good.
I'm thinking back to the books saying to get rid of all the objects that invoke painful memories. Well, we got rid of the house we'd had for twenty-five years, got rid of the dogs, I don't have a car we owned when we were still married, I've taken down any photos of us, although occasionally one will pop up on my PC screensaver. I was thinking if I moved, that would rid me of a lot of input about our marriage together, but what about the music? It's everywhere. Jeeze, I hear piano music and am instantly thrown back to good times we had at the Camelback Inn.
I continue to imagine telling my story in front of the church 'Divorce Care' class this evening and immediately the tears start flowing down my cheeks. My intellect tells me one thing, but my heart continues to cry out for Hanna-Marie. Dammit. That just isn't right. This cannot be normal after over four years of mourning. Thank the Lord, that as a divorcee, she does not live within easy driving distance. As a matter of fact, she refused to allow me her most recent address even though it is over 1,000 miles away. Is that because she's already living with someone? Who am I kidding by hanging on like this?
Through the door of my bedroom I heard Mainio take a cell phone call that had to be from Hanna-Marie. I strained to hear, but gave up knowing I could only be hurt by listening in. Hopefully she's calling the kids so much because she too is desperately lonely. But what good does that do me when she is not lonely for me? See how I go round and round and round and round? After my attempted eavesdropping I had a dream that Hanna-Marie and I were seated talking with a group of friends. She gently held my hand in hers like couples do without thinking. My heart soared. When I awoke, I set the alarm for another forty-five hoping for a re-run. It did not happen, the alarm did not go off and was almost late for work.
I'm thinking another love interest would postpone my mourning over Hanna-Marie, but that is all it would do: postpone the tears to a later date. I need to let go of her now. Now. I still don't understand how I am, even though I love her, suddenly not to love her simply because she no longer loves me. One doesn't give love expecting love, because that isn't love.
1:34pm . . . I recently awoke from a four hour sleep. In an effort to vent my grief about my divorce in private, rather than in 'Divorce Care' class this evening, prior to allowing myself to drop off into unconsciousness, I forced myself to concentrate hard. Concentrate on the 'letting go' of Hanna-Marie. My thoughts of her soon became visual, as if we were each on a separate car hood-sized iceberg, or possibly, on rafts woven of Ivory Soap, and as we drifted apart I forlornly waved a final goodbye to her. Back in reality, my eyes boiled over with hot tears and I gasped for breath as desperate sobs swelled and then leapt out of my throat as frogs would escaping the fangs of a hungry predator.
However, I'm certain my bruised, battered and beaten heart has not completed with the letting go of Hanna-Marie. And letting go is recognized as a crucial phase in the divorce recovery process.
Recall how I'm always insisting God is sending me messages? Yes, I've asked the Powerball question and received only the stern silence normally reserved for the pagans. In June of last year, Mainio, in a touching demonstration of kindness purchased a book for me from Half-Priced Books. The other day, I removed it from the stack to finally read. After I slid the bookmark out and read the huge white letters set on a red background, I had to smile: "Admit it. It's Good to Let Go."
Monday . . . I'm feeling nervous and down at my new work location. I must change vocations. I want to give in to the feelings of depression and hopelessness, but I am too busy. Har. I think to myself, "What good would it do? Would it bring her back?" No! I've got to push the thoughts out. When I was feeling positive, like after Divorce Care class Sunday, anything seems possible. It seems I can imagine myself doing anything and that is why it is vital not to give in to the depression. Now, I can almost get angry at Hanna-Marie for putting me in this situation.
Tuesday . . . Depression keeps shoving its way up to the surface like a splinter working itself itself through my skin. But since I've decided I will not be depressed any more than I must and I am the only person who can prevent my own depression when I feel the depression dragon's flame beginning to spurt I simply turn away, cinch up the belt on my asbestos suit, and carry on.
Wednesday . . . I feel the crushing depression encroaching on my soul like a rising tide, and as much as I would like to wade in the waters of might-have-beens and self pity, god-like I push it down. Just like in 1975 at the funny farm when and where I discovered that I was the only person who could decide how I felt. And I decided I would no longer be sad one hundred percent of my life.
Thursday . . . I don't believe I've felt depressed for many hours. I am sleeping almost ten hours straight but that is probably due to the increased physicality of the job. Speaking of that, my underlings at my new location are basically running the show. They resemble the crew on the way to visit OZ. The key words are: "on the way to visit OZ". However, since I've decided I would rather shovel horse manure with my bare hands in Georgia, in August, than what I do now, I just don't care. I'm getting the hell out of here. What a huge load off my chest knowing my current employ is soon ending.
At Divorce Care class the other night I heard, and mostly believe, " ... that God does not want you sad." As odd as that seems, certainly to the non-religious, that knowledge lightened my load too.
Sunday . . . Feeling so good it's almost hard to believe. It is hard to believe. Had some excitement at work and I think that helped my mood. I'd like to pick up the cell phone and call Hanna-Marie simply to chat. My heart's not throbbing over the prospect or anything. This is amazing. That's how Hanna-Marie handles it. It's not that she no longer cares (which I have no way of knowing whether she does or does not) but she has let go. The divorce loss is worse than the death of a spouse because only her love has died, while she lives on.
While many things have fed my recovery, I think a major one was the no nonsense assessment of Pastor Paul when he said that if things didn't change, I could be sobbing for another ten years.
Monday . . . The church I plan to attend, after I determine I can sit alone in a pew and not sob the entire service, has biblically based rules on re-marriage. These rules state that either the couple can reconcile and re-marry, or the departing spouse (the dumper) must be re-married to another before the remaining spouse (the dumpee) can get married once more. Since Hanna-Marie has stated she never plans to re-marry (it would be her third time) according to the church I will never be able to be married again. While I cannot even presume to presume the will of God in my particular case, I cannot see myself trekking through the final third of my existence sans spouse. While I am certainly not at all opposed to reconciliation, I cannot ... #@!^&*! continue to torture my soul by holding out any hope on that implausible outcome. I remember that in 1977 Hanna-Marie could not wait the extra three days until February 14th, so instead we were married by a well-known car dealer and life long acquaintance of Hanna-Marie's family on February 11th. Oh yes, it was not as well-known that he was also a bishop in his denomination and empowered by the state to marry. I remember days prior to the ceremony, Bishop Tom Jones, setting us down together and asking us some very piercing questions, while the answers I gave were probably either lies or invented. Hey, I was a twenty-five year old kid, what did I know?
Thursday . . . This afternoon I was stuck in freeway traffic and crawling along with me was a white BMW convertible sporting the license plate of the state of Hanna-Marie's most recent residence. I immediately started sinking into a funk brought on by memories of her. Instinctively I told myself to 'stop' to 'push them back', but found out I could safely tip toe through the rubble of love's memories without tumbling down into the Grand Canyon of my depressions. When I felt my soul scrambling over the guard rail, preparing to leap, then I pushed myself back. I was surprised at what control I had gained over my feelings. Only much later, wrapping up a grueling fifteen hour day, after a forty-five minute drive home and back in the half-empty Malamud bed did I let loose as I prayed to God and then instantly fell asleep hugging my pillow, desperately wishing it was Hanna-Marie.
Saturday . . . Had a hard day, but a good day at work because I felt I was actually contributing. Started to seriously pine about Hanna-Marie, and thought as much as I'd like to swim in my sadness, that would not bring her back. I let the feeling pass. I really hate being alone and single. I e-mailed my actress friend in Burbank that I so missed having someone to hug. Sunday's divorce class is on loneliness. I'll probably cry my eyes out. Again.
Sunday . . . My best senior citizen buddy wife passed away last night. They'd been married over fifty years. It's so sad their love died decades ago. While his adult progeny are floating above like Arizona's turkey buzzards, except for his sister, he is all alone like me. If you might remember he is the gentleman who gave me the almost one thousand dollars so that I might fly to the then Hanna-Marie Malamud to beg her to reconsider her dastardly divorce decision. My buddy is taking his wife's death with little visible trauma.
I keep glancing at the ladies around me while wondering what my next wife will look like. I cannot even imagine. There simply aren't too many attractive ladies over the age of fifty. I remember when I used to escape the family bustle by retreating to the bookstore. Now, I have wound up escaping everything: family, bustle, wife, and am all alone. In a sense I got what I wanted and I hate it. Like God and 'The Church' I too am hoping for a reconciliation, but no longer will perish if it doesn't come forth. Since God exists outside of Time, when I was born He already knew the outcome of this particular dilemma. But would it help me to know? Even in my weak, sinful and mortal state, I can see my struggles at changing me would halt if I knew the outcome. There is only one way to get over this separation-divorce-possible-reconciliation challenge and that is through it. It's funny that the barista here at the Café at Barnes & Noble, even though she saw the pastel pink travel mug on the counter, assuming a guy would never own something so pretty, brought me a large cardboard cup filled with their trademark magma-hot brew. I am so tired of male homosexuals and women getting all the attractive colors and patterns. As I look around me i see several adults sitting by themselves and so often later in the evening, they are joined by their spouses - reminding me, once again, of my aloneness.
Sunday Evening . . . Just finished with divorce class and I feel great. Tonight's class was about loneliness and I hardly wept at all during the DVD showing. To stifle an occasional sob I only had to bite my tongue every now and then. During discussion period, I conversed like a normal and sane person without sobbing through the end of each question. As I tried not to peer down her unseemly-for-church-wear scoop necked blouse, one very attractive divorcee told me I had a great sense of humor. While I wasn't very successful in concealing my ecumenical search for angelic aureole she was gracious enough to absolve me of any shame by not flinging her hand up to block my darting view.
Three at my table were trying to come up with ways for me to get out and about. That's because they have only seen me as the lonely turtle with the cracked and duct-taped shell I wear now. I'm certain a mega-church this size must have a drama ministry and I can't wait to see the shock in my fellow student's eyes the first time they spy me on stage.
The video demanded that you must be comfortable with yourself before you get re-married. I very much agree with that. Happily, many of the challenges exposed within it, simply weren't issues for me. Understand that I was never comfortable with me - alone. And that Hanna-Marie snagged me within weeks of my emergence from Winnie Ruth Judd's alma mater so I never actually had a chance to learn and heal and grow comfortable with moi, before we became deux. I was married and quickly bound within the cocoon of a three decade long adult-child relationship with Hanna-Marie. And having never had the chance or faced the need to become an adult, when, ten years after both my parents had passed, Hanna-Marie left, I lost my mother, my wife, my lover, my very best friend and thought that surely my life had come to an end. I recall, early on, telling anyone who could understand through my choking sobs, that my gravestone would certainly read: "Died December 7th, 2004" (the court-decreed date of our divorce) "Buried ________" (whatever my actual death date was.)
Always searching for an e-mail from Hanna-Marie, I was delighted when I found one tonight after class. Sadly it was a strictly bone-dry request for some personal effects she had left behind when she had fled our union.
Tuesday . . . I believe I was turned down for a job my friend's said was a sure thing. It threw me into a funk, but I just remembered Who was in control. That and it is really stupid to think you're going to get the first position you apply for. Hanna-Marie pitched one hundred dollars into my checking account to help with paying the kid's bills. The "kids" all being adults.
That's the thing with my divorce, it was so amiable. I hear all these horror stories and all I'm out is one third of a year's salary ... and what I thought was my soulmate. I slept late this evening and still had time to rush out to the B&N Café and do some writing. When I was at Safeway, I was watching the shoppers and remembering the statistics that a very high percentage of divorcees would remarry and I so wanted to be married simply to have someone to hold. But I also know it is nowhere near time for me. The leader at the divorce class claims there are advantages to being single, yet I rarely see him smile. And isn't that what it's all about, happiness?
Thursday . . . Had a very tough time last night missing Hanna-Marie. I flung lots of prayers asking when my torment will end. How long will it last? Am I being punished? Help me find a job! I think a major part of my depression comes from being worn out by work, losing the job offer and simply missing Hanna-Marie. I get so lonely sometimes. A lot of my sadness last night stemmed from the fact I'd gotten a couple of e-mails with (rarely included) tiny bits of personal information from Hanna-Marie ... and I'm certain that got me thinking again. My actress friend in Burbank screamed at me in an e-mail that "It's up to her !!!" And she is exactly right. It does not matter how I feel or what I do, because it is entirely up to Hanna-Marie.
Friday . . . Here I am at the B&N Café like I'm hoping to be picked up by my next wife. I am in no shape for number two. How odd is it that with divorce being endemic in the northern hemisphere, that there is only one regularly published magazine about divorce? I look at the married couple near me, heads both down, knowing the wife would most likely be wanting to chat with her husband. Mainio, as my youngest son, is closing in on twenty-one years with me and I remain anxious to talk with him every day after work or whenever I see him. And that's the way husbands and wives should be. I see another man seated with his wife and teen son. He has on his noise-cancelling head phones so he can read in total silence. What a self-important jerk - much like I used to be before I became perfect <grin>. Two dollars and forty-three cents for a pair of venti-sized coffees and a place to sit; you can't beat that. I see people, adults, walking around with the cell phone thingie clamped to their ear like a blood sucking mini-bat w/flashing blue eyes. And it is not to large of a leap of imagination to imagine these same 'cutting-edge' folks in the near future to be sporting invisible brain implants.
While wandering the aisles I picked up an orange book, Live What You Love, the back cover states, ". . . married for thirty years . . . divide their time . . . and the island of Anguila." How odd that this year Hanna-Marie and I would have celebrated our thirtieth anniversary and that our favorite island is also Anguila in the British West Indies?
Tuesday . . . How can I deprive the world of the humor of my writing? Does that sound major ego-centric? But after decades of hearing people chuckle, or even laugh at loud at my most mundane scribblings, the last being a legal document tagged as an 'incident report', is it fair for me not to increase the cheerfulness of everyday existence? For all my life, I will remember the taped recording of a businessman stumbling through a hastily written note of mine. He stood before, albeit, a friendly audience of thousands and I choked-up when I heard the roar of their laughter.
While on a lonely drive the other day, knowing it was absolutely unhealthy for me to do so, I imagined the drone of the asphalt and my glazed stare being interrupted by the theme song from the television show 'Dallas' indicating an extremely rare cellphone call from Hanna-Marie:
Her: "Do you still love me?"
Even my moments of being 'upbeat' carry the sting of truth, since she has indeed struggled with skin cancer . . .
Me: "Until death do us part."
Her: "Even if I have cancer?"
Me: "In sickness and in health."
From my elevated perch at the Barnes & Noble Café, I am eye-stalking a stunning, forty-ish Asian lady adorned with the expected straight, jet-black, shoulder-length hair, pants abruptly ending above the knee and expensive hand-stitched denim jacket with open-toed sandals shielding her tootsies. Obviously wealthy and most surely shackled to another Asian - but never mind that, I simply want to tell her how beautiful she looks tonight.
Friday . . . I remember when we were wealthy (and married) and I was flustered that the new fangled ATM machines would not dispense more than two hundred dollars at a whack. I just now added $20 to my Barnes & Noble gift card and I feel like a king. Earlier today, I recharged my batteries with a quick three hour nap and I find myself laughing at life again, and looking at each woman as if she may be the next Mrs.Dr.Malamud. So my sadness later in the day must stem from the stacking up of negative thoughts. I'll bet we are all so fat, so many of us Americans, because we are all so unhappy and eating is an easy dose of pure happiness anyone can afford.
Now that I'm around clients who measure their net worth in the eight, nine or even ten digits, God has again revealed to me that no amount of money can buy happiness. Like Scrooge in The Christmas Story, I wonder why I am being shown these things.
Saturday . . . I'm at the most northern Starbucks in the city of Phoenix and I may actually escape here without burning my gullet with a mug of their used-motor-oil-tasting coffee. I am feeling so much better than I did in February. I now believe that the whole depression-suicide thing centered around my unwillingness to accept that Hanna-Marie and I are divorced and are two separate adults with nothing I do influencing her and nothing she could do (since I have absolutely no way of knowing what she does do) influencing my lonely life.
I'm not e-mailing her and she's not e-mailing me but for entirely different reasons rooted in entirely different emotions. But she has got to be thinking, "Has he forgotten about me?"
Wednesday . . . How many are being crushed down by their spouse? It's funny to see the East Indian looking young adult, and turning your back and hearing her sound like a 'normal' American when you half expect her to sound like a Peter Sellers' imitation of an East Indian. After work today, after spending $550 for an oil change and a new alternator on the Peugeot with a mechanic who looked and sounded like Dennis Franz (from NYPD Blue), and being asked to stay an extra Monday to train my blesséd replacement and finding the line at the post office longer than the try-outs for American Idol, I arrived home feeling pretty poorly ... and missing Hanna-Marie a lot. I knew a nap would cure most of my ills.
Friday . . . I wonder how the kid's lives will be different having done a good deal of their growing up while on the cell phone and internet or using their cell phone to connect to the internet?
These effing people and their dogs. They simply must take their animals everywhere. I imagine it must be to show them off. To let everyone enjoy their uncontrolled yapping and their uncontrollable bladders. No quiet or consideration anywhere. We leap into our cars hoping for some shelter from the din and then we crank the dashboard volume knob all the way to the right. There goes the 'honk-honk-honk' of another automobile barking out a false alarm.
Dammit. After a two week carefully controlled experiment, I have proven that no matter how strictly one follows the Atkins' Diet, if you end each day with a pint of Ben & Jerry's Vanilla Heath Bar Crunch, you will not lose weight.
I'm at my Starbucks' on Shea Boulevard near the pick-up joint disguised as a Mexican eatery. I'm watching as the patrons patiently maneuver their status-laden convertibles, SUVs and sports cars as close as they can to the outdoor section. As a three-head-lighted, $35,000, fifteen hundred pound, P.O.S. Harley motorcycle rumbles like distant thunder as it creeps onto the sidewalk directly in front, I half expect a round of applause from the outdoor section. For he has attained the ultimate status position.
I imagine I should be sitting in awe as the always inebriated patrons of the bar-that-also-serves-food leave, and with arm held out in front of them, almost as if they are pointing at their 21st Century carriages, while pressing the button on their talisman-like remote control and are rewarded with beeps and flashing lights announcing to all without shouting range: "That's my car. I am important. I am someone. Notice me!"
Monday . . . Read an e-mail from Hanna-Marie this afternoon. A simple 'thank you' from her for an unexpected, inexpensive and unremarkable birthday gift. I immediately downloaded Google Earth and zoomed in on the island she lives and labors on. I found myself tossed into the Sea of Funk sinking like an 18th Century iron cannon ball while drowning is self-serving sorrow. I could not reach out to answer two phone calls on my private line. I tossed through a four hour nap and awoke in a water-logged funk. How surprised I was to find my heart still so tender that a one-line e-mail from Hanna-Marie pierces it as if it were a laser-sharpened hatpin.
The problem is that I continue to wander Life's path with no guide, no goals, no direction, no future -- all the while thinking about poor little me. I began reading the Growing Through Divorce book again. My challenge with the book is that I am not doing a whole lot to change my life. To move on. I continue to refuse to accept responsibility for me. I'm refusing to grow; but I cannot refuse to learn. That must be why I don't pursue other employment opportunities. I am still waiting for someone else to provide them. Waiting for someone else to motivate me.
Well, I guess some of us need that 'outside of us' push. Especially when our parents, while we were in our formative years, simultaneously both provided virtually everything for us and hammered into us that we were loosers and would never make it on our own.
Tuesday . . . I'm at the Barnes & Noble Café and I'm watching a businessman walk the aisles with one of those black thumb-sized cell phones clipped to his ear. I wonder if he realizes how ridiculous he looks. But, of course, being mucho importanté, he cannot be out of touch with the office for a single instant. And that reminds me of the freedom I have. Freedom to do anything. Anything that doesn't require more than twenty bucks. The businessman has the freedom to do anything at any price. But at what cost?
Does the final time we have fun, the terminus of our happiness, occur during our teens? Only to momentarily resurface during a pheromone-fueled adult love affair? And then our next moment of joy would be the birth of our first child. And then we settle down to the gristmill of life to become grim and responsible and only permitted to laugh at images on the flat-screen or the big screen. Or maybe it's okay to chuckle only after we've had a few drinks to loosen up. Everyone is watching everyone else for signs of social misbehavior, especially in the midst of any sort of business gathering, where a faux pas could be the coup de grace to one's carefully crafted career.
Tonight I was thinking about how I sit around and can only recall all the good things from our failed marriage, while Hanna-Marie sits around and dwells on all the bad things . . . if she thinks about it at all.
Friday . . . At the B&N Cafe again. There is a better class of people here, it seems, than at Borders, even though they are only five miles apart. I see the plumber trudging out of the overflowing bathroom and looking at me as if I am a member of the Troon North Taliban. Ah, if he only knew the depths of my destitution. Friday night and I'm squatting and writing at a bookstore. Such excitement. I'm just grateful to have two days off in a row.
Mainio mentioned some things about his mother, Hanna-Marie, and her island retreat and it threw me into a funk thinking about her imagined life of luxury and many courtiers. I'm trying to think how long she remained single after her first divorce ... however, ringing in my ears is her claim never to get married again. I'm remembering that after her first divorce she was in such dire financial straits she chose to live with her ex-husband, and that, that experience further hardened her resolve to never be in that vulnerable position again.
I prayed to God that He end my sadness, find me a new companion/helpmate, get me decent employment and clean my kitchen. He frowned on all of my pleas. Face down and praying I found myself on the verge of tears, but could not cry. Which is good.
I just returned from scouting the B&N aisles for a lean, long blond haired deep voiced foreign-accented angel. Apparently she has floated away, far too beautiful for this mortal man. I watch as two teenage girls, legs bent into impossible shapes, sit in the 'Romance' aisle and alternatively read and gab. I curse and praise a God who created such creatures who willingly submerge their own desires and wit to men they love and children they birth. The best (who will never attain any fame outside of their own circle of intimacy) pull off the illusion of being vulnerable while, in reality, among civil societies (this leaves out any Muslim situation) are the most powerful. A more crass male author than I may cite, 'the power of the pussy' but I think any man who has won and, later, lost the love of a woman puts the lie to that statement.
Sunday . . . I'm writing with an unhappy pen. It's purple ink tells me that. I'm again at the most northern Starbucks in Phoenix, Arizona. As I pulled into the parking space, facing the line of drive-through traffic moving north to south, I saw the passengers staring at the aged and crippled Peugeot. And I imagined them laughing at me and my wheels. And then I thought, 'You people are chuckling at me, but you're the ones paying six dollars for a drink the 'Undercover Economist' tells me cost eighty three cents, labor included, to produce.
Had a dream involving my two favorite things: acting and women. And I found myself falling in love with the female director. And she was not in the dark about it either, because all of a sudden she started dressing more for a date, than for a rehearsal. The girl of my dreams and I hope she doesn't stay there.
I am actually considering re-reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, whose original reading, almost thirty years ago, while taking me over one year to complete and digest, also threw me into a very strange emotional fog, not unlike awakening from a colonoscopy after being dosed with amnesia producing drugs. Maybe this was because the author, Robert Pirsig, had been declared insane and, oddly enough, was vitally concerned with many of the same things I am: Precisely worded instructions and motorcycles. Frankly I don't believe anyone could absorb the full meaning of this thirty-three year old book without having spent significant time behind the razor-wired walls of a mental institution. It would be like a rock-hard and dry sponge being put under a running tap of water. Most would bounce off without being absorbed and run down the drain.
I watch the young family at an outside table, mom, dad, and a five-year old boy. Father is attempting to be so cool, leaning back in his muscle shirt, khaki shorts, sandals and shades. You can tell he'd rather be elsewhere. Perhaps with his male companions, sharpening knives or arguing over the best way to skin a porcupine. What a dope. Perhaps only time can grow appreciation of special moments in the American male.
Monday . . . What a gorgeous day at Starbucks' far-north Valley location. A quick cleansing rain and a cool breeze - too cool for the end of May. Damn that Global Warming. <grin> The weather is so great, it's going to be really tough to attain and maintain depression.
This afternoon, I dreamed, half-dreamed, about having sexual intercourse with Hanna-Marie. Did me no good. Ended up praying for twenty minutes to get relief. It's like my La-La-Land actress friend intones: 'I think you spend too much time thinking.'
I'm reading a wonderful book about writing -- how to write novels -- I'm laughing out loud and my spirits are soaring. So how come I'm not writing for a living? Ah, to write a book, or a number of books that make people laugh and cry and think and remember. To see life and living from another, a different point of view.
Friday . . . Was listening to Radio Roy on 960AM tonight and he tells a guy that once a woman detects you, she will reject you. What a screwed up thing romance is, eh?