Learned something new last night, loves…
(Actually, considering the newsworthiness of this week was off the hook, I learned quite a lot, via my Week in Review by Twitter. Every 140-word op-ed came with a new ache of discomfort and my stubborn choice of silence. No commentary, thank you. I’ll take the fifth. Yep: Grace was an antsy lil’ thing last night, so I can’t say I was restful.)
Every time I crave a better piece of writing — or am about to lose all hope for the mankind — I reach for Junot Diaz. Or Zadie Smith. Or Comrade Nabokov. But during the last hours of my seventh day: Esquire it was. I balanced the pages on my naked skin, watching them mark me with black ink. (Written on the Body. Forgot about that one.) Half-way in a out of sleep, I waited for the voices in my head to hush down (fucking Twitter, with its schizophrenia galore!); when out came a term I’ve never heard before: No Fault Divorce.
Say whaaat?! How come I never got me one of those?
For a second, I forgot which publication was marring my skin with its biodegradable colors (because as you may have read or heard, my darlings, it’s been a book on the topic of Zen this entire week). I forced myself back to reality, for moment. Yep: still Esquire. My Bible to Mankind.
“Damn it,” I thought. “No fucking way I’ll be able to go to sleep now!”
Sure enough, the voices in my head went up a hundred decibels, like a choir of Cleopatra’s eunuchs. Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda started bouncing in my frontal lobe, like steel bullets inside a pinball machine. Before being tempted to reach for a shot of NyQuil, I leapt out of bed and went digging for my divorce settlement — a document I make no habit of viewing, ever! — issued by some New York Honorable So-‘n’-So who has never met me, let alone heard my side of the story. Nope: In my case, my darlings, my fucking story was retold by some attorney with a Chinese name, hired by my ex-husband, the plaintiff:
“The defendant has waived HER right to answer or respond.”
(Again: I took the fifth.)
And considering I was on the opposite coast of the country, that’s one way to put it.
There’s no way the Honorable So-’n’-So could’ve known that I was cradling myself to some state of forgiveness, for a duration of a single climate season, since the tragic separation from a friend. ‘Cause that’s exactly what my hubs was to me — a friend, first and foremost. Because I was planning to do this “till death do us part”, not the Honorable So-’n’-So “do us part”; and from my idea of marriage, you better be friends if you want to survive until there is no more sex to keep the two of you together.
But it didn’t work out for us that way. Shit went wrong. Things fell apart. And by mutual at the time admission, we “couldn’t do it anymore”.
Despite suffering from a temporary amnesia toward my former self, I had enough presence of mind to recognize what was best for me, at the moment: to run. The same way I had fled from the broken marriage of my parents a decade ago (fucking irony, eh?), I took myself across several time zones; because the temptation for reunions with the hubs (the friend and plaintiff) — out of fear or stubbornness or love — would’ve been too great to resist.
But before I departed, we agreed that it was due to no particular one’s fault. Instead, it was a hundred of little faults, from both of us. Endless little fights — about my silly habits and his lovable ones; fights that were thrilling in the beginning, because they lead to moments of clarity — and sex; fights that would eventually look comedic; and we would crack each other up, making the hubs’ single dimple appear on his right cheek while I shook my mane at just how I much I adored that fucking thing. But neither of us could remember when those fights flipped. Before we knew it, they became little barnacles of cancer which would then be the eventual end of us. Those fights belonged to a different category: No longer little catharses, they became struggles for power; and that power had nothing to do with forgiveness but everything — with being right.
Last night’s Esquire piece said it best:
“Fighting matters to a marriage because what matters most to a marriage is forgiveness, and forgiveness doesn’t come for free. You have to fight for it.”
Truth be told, my fellow broken-hearted, I didn’t want to be right. Most of the time, I didn’t want to have the last word either, because I didn’t even know what that last word would be. (It’s a foreigner thing, or a writerly thing: I need time to formulate my words — in order to be poignant, or perfectly understood, or “brilliant”.) So: I threw in the towel. Because I feared losing a friend, first and foremost. Because I knew that despite the resilience of one’s forgiveness, there indeed exists a point of no return. (I had seen happen, a decade ago, with my parents. Fucking irony, eh?) Because secretly I knew that time and space — and in my case, several timezones of space — would heal.
I left. Gypsy — out.
By leaving I admitted my fault, my comrades. I chose to find someone to blame (which is how our fights got cancerous, remember?) — so, I blamed myself. It was easier that way. I had to lose enough to learn the one prerequisite to forgiveness — remembering THAT which is worth fighting for, or THAT worth walking away from; yet still, I had to leave enough behind TO forgive. Which is why the settlement to my divorce had to be called Abandonment — another little fault in a sum of all others. My price of forgiveness; and my own asking price — for keeping a friend, first and foremost.