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February 3, 2009

Headache

Yesterday I left work early with a sinus headache. I just wanted to come home and lie in bed with a pillow over my head.

I pulled into my driveway and there was Mrs. Lee, sitting on a footstool in the middle of her driveway, which is right next to my driveway, and she was surrounded by stuff, stuff everywhere. They've been doing something to one of their cars and for for days their driveway has been a playground for tools and wires and parts and junk. It's almost Southern. It looks like Mr. Lee's tool shed exploded all over the concrete drive.

So she was just sitting there with her headphones on, doing what looked like a massive purse cleanout in the driveway next to the spare transmission and spark plugs.

"Hey Mrs. Lee, you OK?" I asked.

"Oh you know, Julie, not so good." Mrs. Lee always calls me Julie.

"What's up?"

And that's when she told me her and Mr. Lee were not very happy and some things had transpired and now after 22 years of marriage she was thinking of divorce. She said she might move back to St. Louis and stay with her first husband. I didn't touch that one with a ten-foot pole.

I hugged her. She's gotten more used to me hugging, this time she didn't even flinch. I wanted to give her some advice, something useful, since I was the poster child of divorcees for several years there but I just didn't have any advice at all. Everyone's situation is different and everyone makes their own way through and sometimes I think the best you can do is just listen, so I did. And later I brought her over a bottle of wine and some oranges from my backyard tree. And then I went to bed with a pillow over my head.

I hate to think of someone being sixty-one and getting unhitched. I guess I still have some traditional ideas about marriage hidden in there, like how by the time you're retired you ought to have figured some stuff out but that's ridiculous, as soon as it crossed my mind I realized it was such a dumb assumption. Who ever figures everything out? I can't imagine I'll be sixty-two and have figured anything out at all. I didn't even realize there was still a part of me that expects grown-ups to have all the right answers. When does one even officially become a grown up?

So I guess time will tell, maybe they'll work things out. You just never know. Maybe she'll move and fall in love all over again and grow her hair out long and start calling people in St. Louis Julie. or maybe she'll decide to move back to Korea and she'll open up a big organic farming complex and live her life happy among the plants (she has this incredible garden in her backyard, it's magical, I'm not kidding. She has a green thumb and entire green limbs, it's fantastic.) Or maybe she'll stay here and they'll work it out and be happier than ever and get a dog. That's the thing about bad events, they always seem like the very end but unless they are the very VERY end, you keep going right through them until you reach the other side and usually something good is waiting. Or that's how I choose to see it all, anyway. Even if I do sometimes find myself in bed with a pillow over my head.

Posted by laurie at February 3, 2009 8:59 AM