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June 29, 2006

Shoes don't stretch and men don't change

The insomnia returned about a week ago.

Nights alone, and it's so hot outside that the day doesn't lose its tension until about 10 p.m., when you can sit outside on a patio chair, legs crossed at the ankles, stretched out and languid like a cat. Except you can't relax, and you listen to crickets and drink another glass of wine and hear the signs of life from your neighbors. Sometimes a phone rings at a house nearby or a clothes dryer buzzes, and you remember people live there inside those houses with families and lives and you sit quietly knowing you're a thousand miles from sleep. You watch a spider build a web and you think, "The gardener comes tomorrow, I'll ask him to get rid of it." Because you can't, or won't and anyway it's a man's job.

And though I stay busy at work (the summer is always our busiest time), I find myself alone, at a single quiet moment, and at first I remember to get cat litter or to call the DWP about the recycling bin that mysteriously lost one rolling wheel, and then it dawns on me that he is married, that he was married for three months already before I even went out on a date with a man, that he planned a wedding while he was still technically married to me and they registered for gifts and towels and sheets and I can't tell anyone how much this offends me.

Because I am supposed to be over it.

And I know in my heart you can be over a person, you can be moving forward with your life however small and fine, and you can still feel lied to and disillusioned and untethered. You can have a moment, a weak moment, where you lament that the one you said 'forever and a day' to has walked down that long aisle with another. Bought an engagement ring for another, registered for gifts. You can know in your rational mind that he's merely re-enlisted for more heartache and sorrow and resentment. But your illogical mind says, "What is it about me that draws in lonely?" What is it about me?

Which is, of course, the very difference between you and the one who left. No one tells you as you plan your marriage, a life together, to hold back. They expect -- no, demand -- that you take the vows seriously and enter into a couple with a true heart and spirit of willingness. Yet we're expected to forget, to move on, to forget about all that the minute it fails and he shuts the door behind him, or you leave, however it fell apart.

Take the vows seriously, but not the dissolution?

No such thing. It makes the difference between me and him. But it isn't an easy understanding. I sit with these things so I can see how to better move forward, not because I am stuck in the past. But it's a fine line, and a hard one to explain. So I don't sleep, for now.

Posted by laurie at June 29, 2006 8:49 PM