March 23, 2005
All we're missing are the locusts.
Los Angeles is being punished by nature. We have wind, and rain, and lightning, and thunder and we even had an earthquake today. I'm looking for the locusts and the three horsemen of the apocalypse. I'm sure they're here somewhere.
You would think that a few raindrops wouldn't be enough to bring the second largest U.S. city to its knees. Other cities face real weather like snow and hail and tornadoes and hurricanes. But we're just not built for weather out here. I suspected traffic would be bad but I had no idea what was in store for me (in so many ways) when I got on the bus at 4:45 p.m. By 6:30 p.m., I concluded I was a prisoner of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation.
In almost two hours we had managed to creep about 15 miles. For those of you doing the math, that means we were going minus five miles per hour. Who knew it was humanly possible to go slower than zero? Luckily I had my knitting bag with me, the mindless diversion of endless knit and purl helped me keep from going mad and puddling up in a heap on the dirty, germy bus floor when Mr. X called.
In the six months since he moved out, I have received approximately zero phone calls from Mr. X to check in on my well-being. In fact, after he moved out he did not bother to call me for an entire week. I could have committed suicide, or run off with the gardener, or revived the legwarmers trend of 1986, or become a snake handling born-again Bible thumper and he wouldn't have been the wiser.
When Mr. X is calling my cell at 6 p.m. on a Tuesday night it's not to shoot the breeze or talk about the good ole' days. He begins his phone calls with a lot of diversionary chit-chat to get you warmed up, so it can take a while to discern his true agenda. By now I have discovered that the amount of prep work/chitchat he does is inversely proportional to how bad the bombshell is going to be.
About five minutes into our conversation, I could tell we were in deep chitchat, so I finally said, "You know, I'm on the bus, so .... was there something you needed?" More stalling. This had to be a real whopper.
He told me he woke up the other night -- in the middle of the night! -- because he was anxious. (Anxiety? I mean, I can relate, right? I haven't slept through the night in the six months since my husband left me and sometimes I cry for no reason, like when I see a tomato and remember how he hated tomatoes, and I think how I learned to make all these new dishes for him that were tomato-free, and then I think of how I used to make dinner every night but now I eat microwave popcorn from the bag five nights a week for dinner, and then I realize I am all alone in this world and I look at my cats and wonder if they're going to eat my dead body when no one comes to find me and I die by myself, old, and ugly, and yet he has anxiety! It is so hard.)
Mr. X continues. "I really just need to move on with my life and be happy." Translation: He has a new girlfriend. The only way he can be happy is if he divorces me. And he is filing for divorce.
I start feeling like I'm going to throw up right there on the bus because he's basically telling me that happiness means getting away from me. At some point I must have slipped into a weird, spinster-to-be form of shock because it all sounded muffled and far away. The more I tried to hear him, the worse it got, so finally we hung up. Then I concentrated very hard on knits and purls and tried to keep from breaking apart majestically in front of my fellow commuters.
Maybe I have been in denial. I just hadn't really faced up to the reality of divorce. It's almost like when you know someone is dying, but their death is still a sad shock. It's the finality.
Perhaps the death of a marriage is similar. I knew the divorce was coming, but having him tell me he's starting the paperwork was a kick in the stomach. The death of a marriage, my marriage, the disintegration of the years that make up practically my entire adult life... all going to hell on a crosstown bus.
Posted by laurie at March 23, 2005 2:17 PM