Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Nine Year Itch

Deb, m ex-wife, told me some months after our divorce that she felt such deep anger that she intentionally tried to destroy my life by leaving our still young--or still born--marriage in the abrupt and duplicitous manner she did; she told me this without irony, without remorse, without any sense that her anger was about a whole lot more than me (man, you should meet her dad!) This is one of only two or three experiences I've had of another person consciously deciding to destroy another person--in this case, me--and I've not forgotten.

With a shock I realize that I have lived as a bachelor for nine years, now. This was okay, for a while, but now it's old. When I walk in the door, throw the latch, and toss my keys somewhere (usually in the same place, though hunting for my keys is a life-long ritual), somewhere inside I clench. I face the hours in my home with stoicism more often than with relief, though I feel that, too, needing very much time alone from the world, untroubled by the need to maintain a reasonably bland social mask (I don't like how my neuroticism shows in public--how my struggles with myself are visible to others in casual meeting--though my transparency is a byproduct of the guilessness of living an 'authentic' life, whatever that means.) I am ready to build a life with someone. However, that's not the kind of thing you can just decide to do, unless you're looking for a mail order bride.... Or willing to shop on line.

Actually, I AM willing to shop on line, and do. In fact, Match.com has been good to me. I have met interesting and attractive women as well as a few screw balls and scary, needy, over-eager ones, as well. But, I still find meeting through 'the old fashioned way'---through friends, work, play--to be more conducive to chemistry. Also, as much as I want someone in my life, I do find it increasingly difficult to open it to them. This is a product of age, and, of course, Deb did have some--if not complete--success at her stated goal.

And another thing: at this late date, I consider it unlikely that I am going to have kids, and that maybe I shouldn't have kids, and I'm reconciled to not having kids, but, I know I will regret it. I already do. Having breakfast with Neal, his daughter Mazie, and son Henry a couple of days ago, I felt the urge to love someone more than myself, as Neal does, and which I don't claim to have done for some time, a remaining lacuna in my life, or scar tissue, surrounded by the otherwise healthy, thicker, reborn skin once so charred by my ex-wife's rage.

Steps in the right direction: staying with theater; continuing to reclaim regions of myself once lost (e.g., singing); making opportunity out of the inevitable limitations and disappointments of a life; and just not quitting. Always, not quitting.


Update: I just felt an overwhelming flood of shame as I remember the good reasons Deb had for leaving our marriage. It is not unfair to say that we were both at cause for it's early death. I mourn my part in it.

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