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April 8, 2006

This comes as a surprise.

Well, weekend posts. Ya'll know.

I was just as surprised as anyone. Is this how it goes, then? There's no handbook for divorce (even though when I was in the middle of it someone told me to read 'The Road Less Traveled.' I'm sure it was a helpful book, to someone. I was wondering where the chapter on burying the bodies was... I could not find it.)

So there I was, the very last day of our vacation, in the hotel room alone. It had been a long day, as vacations can be sometimes, and with so many women and so many adventures, it had been emotional. But I have a family of men, all brothers and I am the only girl, and I hadn't planned for the trip like you plan with girlfriends. Prior to this I had only traveled with my family (brothers) or my husband. Usually, the biggest challenge is at what point do you tell him he must ask for directions or you are going to bail ship and fend for yourself, and also, where the hell is the beef jerky?

So we're in a city, so far from home, and there's all this adventure and hijinks, and it's late and I haven't slept at all, and suddenly I am alone. And oh God I miss him so much. It happened all the sudden, huge heaving sobs, the ugly cry. It was so easy to travel with him, and traveling is the only thing I ever wanted to do since I was a kid in a chickenscratch town, and this feels hard? Where is that place, the one where he hugs you, or holds your hand, or leaves you two towels, one just for your hair?

I was so embarrassed. I was sobbing, the giant cry of someone on the edge, where you sputter and gasp and go ugly. I missed him more in that moment than I had in months alone, it has been three months almost to the day that my divorce was final and here I was, a woman on her own in a dream city, crying?

So of course, I was humiliated (I should be stronger than this) and wanted to keep it a secret. But maybe you can tell me, is this what happens? Do you just forget a little every day? Do you not really love that person at all, anymore, but still miss a few things? Or do you just miss the very idea that you once loved someone? Had a shared secret? And at the end of every adventure and hijink, ya'll got into the bed together knowing tomorrow was another day, and you were still together and everything else was Outside.

Is this how it goes? Because truth be told, I do not really miss him at all. Not logically, not daily, he ended it all the day he walked out that door and I don't want him back, let's face it: I do not even know the man. Now you can see why it came as such a surprise. I do not love this man. I do not know where the crying came from.

I suspect that I am a revisionist historian. In that moment alone in France, I sat down and let a version of history wash over me, overlooking all the vile and unkempt moments in the memoir of Us, and I glorified our rare happy details. I am shamed. So goes My Divorce: The Reconstruction Period. Bring in the carpetbaggers.

When I saw "Before Sunset" I watched as Julie Delpy said, "You never fully recover from someone you loved." And I knew it was true. But it doesn't keep you from keeping on, does it? A few days after we came home from Paris, I was on the sofa and I was embarrassed all over again for descending into a puddle on vacation. Like the very idea of missing him was an indescretion, ill-advised, he would leave me anyway in the end so why bother?

But now I think maybe it's natural. Revisionist history, or maybe just a soft moment when you no longer are in such pain, or numb as you were, so you have a misty moment (if by "misty" you mean "the cry where your face goes misshapen") and why not? Love someone and it goes bad, you still miss the love part. I hooked my wagon to his because I loved him, so it's not crazy to think I'd miss him a time or two... right?

Just part of it, I guess. There's no handbook for it. Sure wish there were.

Posted by laurie at April 8, 2006 6:55 PM