Friday, September 30, 2011

ring cycle: A few words from our sponsor

Hey, I made some changes to comments on the blog. I'd meant to make the change a while back. Given the nature of what I'm writing about now, it's important for me to say that people shouldn't judge too much.

That's not my intention.

These posts are meant to be both a meditation and description of what's going on with this divorce (at least my side of it), but not really an airing of my grievances if I have any. Yes, there is some pain. I hurt some of the time. I'm scared some of the time, but that's not a cause, just a symptom of how I'm moving forward.

Some of you who read this are my friends --actually, given the number of people who read blogs --most of you are friends. Some of you might feel like you need to show some support for your pal, and man, I ain't turning that away. I need support. I need kind thoughts and words of good cheer as much as people can stand to say them with a straight face, but maybe not so much in the comments section of the blog?

While I can't write about my eventually ex-wife's feelings on a minute to minute basis, it's not easy for her either. This is a trauma for both of us. I just whine about it more.

I also need to say that she's been pretty kind under the circumstances and a lot more reasonable than is maybe coming out on the blog. The world is full of enough horror stories about exes sticking it to the other party just because they can. I'm not writing that story because I'm not living that story.

So, as weird as it might seem, I'm going to say no more comments for a while. This may piss a few people off who've commented and found their comments deleted. I hope you'll forgive me.

I appreciate everything. Really, I do. I mean no ill will to anyone --except that fucker Bruce Springsteen.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

ring cycle: exodus

In the end, you have to go home and so I drove, in the dark, with the radio off dreading the moment when I'd see the house. Maybe, I thought, they'd still be there: another delay. I imagined the dog at the door then my son shrieking my name: one more day.

I did not imagine some sort of magical reconciliation. I did not think that at the last she'd chicken out and decide to try and convince me there was anything left to save. Just one more day where things had been how they had been. You can get used to anything, even the uncomfortable awkwardness of finding scraps of paper around the house; little hearts drawn with your wife's name and another (not yours) in the center.

Going home was like visiting the morgue. The lights were off. The driveway was empty. Nothing moved in the windows, not the flickering blue light of the television, not any pet or child. Opening the door was peeling back the sheet from a body, to see what was left after an accident, what could be recognized.

Of course, everything and nothing was still there. It felt as if the life had gone out of the place.

Eventually, the cats came bounding in, waiting to be fed and I surveyed the house. I turned off lights, threw out trash and found a little for the animals to eat. I turned the television on for noise and when I grew tired of it, went to sleep.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

ring cycle: one more day

The end came sooner rather than later. Yesterday, Jen told me they were going to sign early on the new place and could be sleeping there as early as today.

It didn't happen that way exactly. Generously, she's given me another day, but it knocked the wind out of me when I heard. I was expecting Saturday.

Even though it's just a couple of days, I'd had it in my head that everything would happen while I was away. It would happen while I was visiting my family in Virginia for a night and a day. The move would be like getting a shot. I could turn my head. I'd feel the pain and realize something was being drawn from the vein, but I wouldn't have to watch.

Bedding down last night, sleeping next to my son, he told me how excited he was about the move. He really likes the place. It's twelve times the size of where we live, which isn't small by any means, but he sees adventure and places to explore.

"Why aren't you coming?" He asked and again, I had to pause and explain that my place was here.

"This is my house," I told him. "This is my house and this is your house, but you have two houses now. You'll be with your Mom a lot of the time and you'll be with me a lot of the time."

He nodded, wearily. Outside, rain poured down heavily.

"I'll see you every day?"

"Sort of," I punted. "It's going to be a lot like it already has been. You remember, I work those nights on the weekend and sometimes have to do stuff for the paper? Your mom took those classes. You'll see us both almost every day for a while and then it will be like that, where you don't always see both of us every single day, but you see us almost every day.

"This is going to be different, but the important thing is it's going to be okay. We're going to take care of you: your mom and me. You're safe and everybody loves you. Nobody loves anybody more."

Satisfied for the moment, he drifted off to sleep gripping my arm while I stared at the ceiling for a while then finally picked up yet another book to while away the time until it was safe enough to close my eyes and venture to dream alone.

Monday, September 26, 2011

ring cycle: melancholia

Out of the corner of my eye, something moved. I jumped. I thought it was a snake or a rat or anything. Early in the morning, before my coffee, I can be a bit skittish. At least, I was that morning, back when I took early morning walks before work.

After a moment, I recovered, turned and looked at what it was: a litter of kittens, piled together for warmth with no mama cat in sight. They laid together on the sidewalk, all six of them, near an overgrown and bramble-filled lot.

I figured they'd probably be gone if took the time to go home and find a box. Instead, I bundled them up in my t-shirt and carried them back to our townhouse.

Jen was in the bath when I brought them in to show to her.

"We can keep two," I told her, not even discussing whether we should keep any. The lease was rather specific about pets, but the neighbors had them. Fair was fair.

They were only a couple of weeks old, filthy and covered in fleas. I called the animal shelter, who warned me that bringing the kittens to them would likely result in their quick death. I told them we'd find homes for them, but asked if they knew how to get rid of the fleas.

"Warm water and mild dish soap," the animal shelter said.

Flea spray, the lady on the phone assured me, would be lethal.

I washed them all, one by one. None of them liked it, but we got them clean, got them fed and quickly chose our two kittens to keep while locating homes for the others. We wound up choosing the one orange tabby in the batch and a brutish, black fuzzball that seemed like the bully of the litter. I named them "Karma" and "Moose."

There was some discussion and disagreement over the naming of Moose. Others in the house had different ideas, but I pigheadedly refused to cooperate and eventually the name stuck. It seemed fitting. He was kind of a dumb lug.

The funny thing is neither cat really liked me all that much. They preferred the company of everyone else in the house, even the kids who tormented them regularly. The cats and me just never bonded. I was just the guy who changed out the litter box and occasionally took one for the team when it came time to wash off the fleas.

I kind of resented that for a long time. These should have been my cats. I'd saved them from certain destruction, fed them and given them shelter. I'd loved them, but they were indifferent. My contributions to their well being did not amount to the love they wanted.

A few months ago, that started to change, I guess. With age, they mellowed. Maybe they finally forgave me for the baths. I don't know, but now, it's not uncommon for me to wake up to see one of them nudging my hand, demanding to be petted. It's not unusual for one of them to squawk and mewl at my feet when they're hungry. They'll sit with me when I read, watch TV or just stare out the window.

The end of my cohabitation with the artist formerly known as Mrs. Lynch is nigh. Boxes are packed. She's told me what she's taking with her and now, we're just counting down the clock. She's taking a little furniture, the kitchen table and her vintage console stereo (which needs a new needle for the record player, if anybody knows where to get one). She's also taking the dog, which is her dog and has always been her dog and could not live without her, but I'm keeping the cats.

I'm glad they like me now, the cats. I kind of need for them to.

Friday, September 23, 2011

ring cycle: the wall

The next part is the hard part. In a week comes the move and the place becomes this medium sized building I'll haunt and try to make into a home. As funny as it sounds, I've only considered the place just someplace I'm staying at up until this point. Sure, I've mowed the lawn (and bitched about it), I've raked the leaves (and bitched about it) and I've hauled trash the curb (then bitched at the garbage pickup company when they drove on by), but where we've been has been a kind of holding pattern.

It's hard to think of yourself entirely as a bachelor when you're former wife is sleeping down the hall.

Next week, we pass through that wall, the one we can barely see over and I'm thinking a lot about it as this ending/beginning draws closer.

I've received lots of interesting advice about what I should do --after. One friend has suggested what I really need is to have a fling. I think she's thinking I might be hung up about sex or trapped by certain attachments to sex and love as conditioning because I've been in a monogamous relationship for ten years.

Of course, the message also might be that I need to lighten up, get laid and relax.

Others are willing to help me shop for furniture for my new place. A few have offered to help me get away for a couple of days. I've been presented with a whole range of opportunities for diversion.

And I don't know what to choose.

More than a few people have expressed concern. They're worried I'm going to turn into an emotional cripple, become a shut-in or maybe just flip out.

I think I'll be okay, but I'm looking at that wall. I'm looking at next week and feeling the days crumbling into one another. It's going fast and I know that I do not want to be there when that first round of possessions goes out the door.

So, I'm not going to be.

Beyond that, once the dust has settled, I just want to settle in. I like the roller derby people. Maybe I'll hang out with them a little. Their devotion to profanity is kind of liberating. When Hospice gets back to me, I'll do those classes in October. I will drive for the American Cancer Society. I will spend as much time as I can with my kids. I will write letters to my 89-year-old grandmother and maybe not tell her that her grandson is single again. I don't know how she'd feel about that.

I will write more. My muse over and over is my own gallows humor at my predicament.

I will take care of my cats. I will buy something from Ian Bode to put on my walls because I like his work and much of what he does makes me smile and cry a little at the same time. When I have a table and chairs I will invite some friends over... eventually... if the house doesn't feel so creepy.

I will go see "The Shining" at Park Place Cinemas and visit White Castle the week of Thanksgiving. That's as far as I'm willing to think and that has to be enough for now. That's as far as I can see past the trees and into the distance. The rest is cloudy, not frightening, just obscured.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ring Cycle: Rock band

In any relationship, there is a give and take of influences. You teach each other and more than anything, my former wife and I shared music.

At the time we met, I'd spent four years working at a six station radio interest in Bluefield that played top 40 country, crispy-fried oldies and the very dregs of mainstream pop (affectionately referred to as Adult Contemporary). It was like I'd spent four years half deaf. Anything I listened to beyond the crap that was on the air at the radio station I worked at was whatever was gleaned by accident on trips to Baltimore, where I discovered Radiohead one dark night on the Beltway around Washington.

Jen came into my life with volumes and volumes of CDs by artists I'd never heard of (Dar Williams and Toshi Regan come to mind) and many artists I'd forgotten (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana and REM).

Thinking about it, I can't say I added much to Jen's musical experience, really. Probably, because I liked some of the things she already did, it encouraged her to listen to those artists a little more often when I was around. There wasn't much in my CD collection she liked.

REM was the most significant musical artist we shared. I liked them, had listened to them in high school and some in college, but they were her favorite band. She had practically their entire catalog and was a member of their fan club --something she was very proud of, since it gave her access to rare releases.

We listened to a hell of a lot of REM, particularly in the early days, and I came to appreciate the band's early and middle-year stuff much more than I had when it was new. We saw REM twice together --once in 2002 and again in 2004 --and while I can't recall for sure if we really ever had a song that was our song, I don't think it's too much of a stretch to say that REM provided the soundtrack to much of our relationship.

They were her band and they kind of became our band.

Yesterday, REM announced their breakup and that seemed so completely fitting.

Friday, September 16, 2011

ring cycle: the crash

The worst of all of this is what I've come to term, "The Crash." The Crash is all the shit I'm not dealing with, that everybody knows I'm not dealing with, that I've very quietly swept up under the rug: the feelings that range from grief and disillusionment to loneliness and downright despair.

I'm 41. I will live and die alone. No one will ever understand me. It might never have really been worth the effort in the first place.

Intellectually, I know this is bullshit. This is only fear. This is the stuff I tell myself is not true. I have all kinds of data, all kinds of objections: 41 is still young. I'm a good man. I worked hard to make that happen, but it happened. I'm plain, but not unattractive. I've got a good sense of humor. I'm smart. I listen.

And these added up are my shield against the crash, that wall I hide behind while I say over and over I'm fine. I'm fine, really. No problem. I'm fine. I'm fucking fine.

I am not fine.

Because no matter how many times I say it, sooner or later something gets through. Today, it was "Pancho and Lefty," just a song that I thought would be good to listen to while I finished my workout at the gym.

Yeah, about that... suddenly, I'm all but running to get the hell away from people like I've got a stick of dynamite strapped to my chest. I'm coming apart at the seams.

That's the crash. It slams into me and I feel helpless, embarrassed and suddenly everything around me gets very dark and very cold.

So, why "Pancho and Lefty?" The fuck if I know. It's a god damned song about two cowboys. Hell, I hadn't even really listened to it until a couple of years ago when I started to appreciate Townes Van Zandt. I'm not even a huge Willie Nelson fan. I was just tired of listening to the Old 97s.

But there I am, unable to listen to anything but that one song (Thank-you iPod for making that exceeding easy). I don't want to hear anything else and every time I listen to it, the thing makes me want to curl up in a basement somewhere and not come out until around February.

This is the crash. I would like them to stop, please.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

ring cycle: the garden

Talking with the neighbor, I said, "This is going to sound nuts, but I'm not entirely sure where my property lines are. I don't know what's mine and what isn't."

She laughed. She could have told me anything. She could have annexed yards and yards of ground and I'd have never been the wiser --not until she passed away or sold her property.

"My yard ends at that tree and goes over," she said. "All that behind it: that's yours. The couple who lived in your place before, they had an amazing garden. There are some berry bushes up there, I think."

I'd only been mowing about half of my backyard. The horror of it dawned on me: all that space.

"I think I'm going to have a pretty good sized garden, too," I said quickly.

She nodded, smiling, knowing full well I had no idea at all what I'm doing or what I'll be getting into.

It's going to be a brave new world. Starting October 1.

Monday, September 12, 2011

ring cycle: Underworld

Jerry caught me coming around the corner at Ellen's and told me, after something of a hiatus, he was back to reading my blog.

He grimaced and said, "That stuff with the blood was killing me."

He'd kind of tuned out.

My visits to the plasma center proved to be too much for a lot of people, not that it mattered. I abandoned popularity here from the very beginning. Otherwise, I'd have prattled on about local politics and sports, which might have increased my numbers --if I'd had anything meaningful to say on the subject, but I'm mostly apolitical and have little to say about sports (other than roller derby, which I am learning to love, though I seriously doubt my new derby friends would like to be featured in posts here).

Anyway, Jerry loved the new stuff. Of course, he does. Plenty of people do. I don't even have to look at my stat counter. I can feel the eyes on the new posts. My fan base has always liked the personal destruction stories. They look forward to them. I make implosion fun. It's a gift.

We talked for a couple of minutes. Jerry told me how much he admired my coming apart at the hinges then laughingly said something about it eventually getting better. After six years of this blog, we both know that's not likely.

God, if that were to happen, what would I do with myself?

I have no idea.

Anyway, after a few friendly words about the blog, I said I had to get on back to the ranch. The folks at work would expect me to do something. Two steps past his table, the future former Mrs. Lynch called me over. She was having the pasta salad with a down under coffee thing from Ellen's at the table about eight feet away from Jerry.

I told her I'd just had lunch with an old friend and run into someone who read my blog. She told me the pasta salad was especially good.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Ring cycle: supernatural aid

A friend I hadn’t spoken to in months called me up out of the blue and said, “Hey, let’s grab some lunch.”

She didn’t know any of what was going on with me. Not everybody knows. Word about the split is moving out in a circular ripple. Like sitting on the edge of a pond, I’m watching the news travel and waiting to see if the ripple bounces off the edge and returns.

So far, nothing, but there may not be a return. Everyone tends to believe their happiness and well-being is more important to other people than it actually is. We are all stars in our own dramas, our own stories. The rest of the cast, the people we know, our friends, our family, are only recurring characters –supporting and bit players whose contracts are constantly up for renewal.

Plans were made for lunch. Conditions were decided: no seafood, no curry. It needed to be close by. I had a big story to write, an interview and photo shoot with a local band, and needed to get to my second job. She needed to get back to work in sixty minutes or less. I wanted a salad, but wanted to stay open to the possibility of dessert.

By process of elimination, a place was chosen.

Inside the Blossom Deli, the Catholic school kids were crowded in a rough approximation of a line, waiting to get back to school. Everybody was in uniform. Nobody had money in their hands. They weren’t in a particular hurry and blocked the front entrance like a half-assembled beaver dam.

I felt slightly and inexcusably annoyed. Dining out is a treat for me. I don’t do it that much and can really only afford a 10 dollar lunch about once or maybe twice a month. The rest of the time, I eat beans, soup or chili, occasionally a sweet potato, a couple of apples. I eat good but I eat cheap.

I envied them their privilege, a petty feeling. Everybody has to eat; even the children of the upper middle class.

While a bus boy cleared tables and tried to prepare for the crunch of the impending noon day lunch rush, the young hostess waved me forward.

“Two?” She asked.

Behind me stood a slender brunette: mid-20s, straight-hair and very pretty. She wore a short, green dress that clung enticingly to her modest curves. Obviously, she was meeting someone. Nobody dresses like that just for a day at the office --well, most people don't. I don't.

I smiled at the hostess as if to say, “Well, thanks for the vote of confidence,” but I shook my head.

“No, um, I’m meeting a friend. I need table for two, but she’s not here yet.”

The hostess nodded. The statuesque brunette maintained her pose by the door. Her date would be there soon enough. He better be, I thought.

The hostess grabbed two rumpled menus from the counter then led me to a table in the center of the dining room with a clear view of the front door.

“Perfect,” I said and pulled back a chair.

At the booth across me, my soon-to-be ex sat with her boyfriend. The two of them leaned across the table, holding hands and looking at each other meaningfully. Her eyes looked warm and filled with an almost desperate affection. I tried not to look at him, tried not to commit anything about him to memory. It was like gazing into a Kleig lamp.

I pushed the chair back.

“Fuck this,” I spat and fled, practically ran to the door.

The woman in green stepped aside to let me pass. I hope she got my table.

Outside, away from the front door, I drifted toward the corner. I stood and tried to shake it off. I felt cold, baffled, and talked to myself.

A couple of people stepped around me.

“Please don’t do this to me,” I said. “Don’t make me wait. Don’t let them come out. Don’t let them have seen me. Not like this. Not here. I’m not ready.”

Minutes rolled by at a grueling pace: one minute, five minutes, ten minutes. My friend was running late. It would still be another two minutes before her car finally pulled up.

“Get me out of here,” I begged her when she did. “Just get me somewhere else.”

Nobody ever came outside. I wasn’t followed. They hadn’t seen me. Standing there, five feet away, I’d been invisible.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ring Cycle: Cancer Man crossover

“You don’t talk about your wife.” It was a funny thing for her to say, but Rebecca was right. I’d been driving her to cancer treatments for a couple of weeks. We’d covered her stripper daughter and her addictions and the vague possibility that the daughter might have a side job of a sort.

We’d talked a lot about her grand kids. They were slowly leaving her nest and getting on with their lives.

It sounded like she’d done a good job with them.

We even discussed FOX news, her grandson’s pornography collection and what she liked best. She liked Jesus, cleaning houses for a living and television shows involving witches and that girl from “Who’s The Boss?” We’d shared. She’d baked me cookies and a slab of Mexican cornbread. I’d bought her an apple fritter from the Donut Connection and she’d laughed when she’d returned from her treatment to find me napping behind the wheel.

“You do too much,” she’d said.

I shrugged. Stuff has got to get done.

“You don’t talk about your wife.”

And she was right. In conversation, I’d mentioned being married and having kids. I’d talked about the new house and getting ripped off on the used lawnmower I’d bought from a guy by the side of the road: that one should have been obvious. I’d said a lot of things, but I’d said nothing about my wife.

So, I told her.

“My wife and I are splitting up.”

I’d already broken the news to my sisters, told a friend, but otherwise hadn’t worked up the nerve to say anything to the people I worked with or to my parents. For a couple of weeks I’d been carrying it around; the inside of my chest feeling like it was made of mangled tin and leaking mercury.

I told her as much as I could tell her, explained that it was real, it was final. I felt like shit for mentioning it. She was sick (technically, though her treatment was more of follow-up to what had already been done through surgery). I was taking her back and forth to the hospital and she had a lot on her plate besides. How fucking selfish was that?

Rebecca was quiet for a minute then she said she’d pray for me.

“You’re a good man." She smiled. "I’ll pray for a good woman for you –one who can cook.”

I might have raved a little too much about the cornbread and the cookies. They were pretty amazing.

I told her she didn’t have to. I told her I was a long way from even in thinking in that direction. I wasn’t looking for a girlfriend, let alone a wife. I wasn’t ready. I wasn't going to be ready for a long, long time.

“You’re young,” she said. “A young guy like you can’t be alone.”

I assured her it was possible and under the circumstances, pretty likely. I did not give her my reasons, but I think she knew them.

She laughed and told me she’d pray anyway and bake me some more cookies.

She made me a couple of dozen to share with whoever I wanted. It was one of the nicest things, I think, anybody had ever done for me.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The ring cycle: refusal

Right after we split, we decided to tell a few people. I told my family and one friend a week after we made the decision to separate. I told the people I work with about two and a half weeks after and subsequently have slowly brought it up with people who know me.

I also decided to stop posting status updates on Facebook. I don’t like Facebook, but damned if it’s not addictive. It is the crack cocaine of internet communication, especially when you feel alone. It feeds into your loneliness with instant gratification. Post something and people respond if they like you.

People, I’ve noticed, like funny. They also respond to tragedy (as long as it’s real tragedy and not that stupid shit people cut, paste and repost), but relentlessly grim, self-serving, moody non-sequiters are like jerking off on public transport. Nobody really wants to watch. Well, I don’t want to watch and I didn’t want to be that guy with his trousers around his ankles. So, I stopped --at least with the status updates. I stopped trying to tell everybody what I didn't know how to say.

Everybody has been great about it, so far. A few people offered lunch, dinner or booze. Hugs were few, which was good. I'm a little touchy right now. The number of people I’m comfortable with giving me a hug at the moment could be narrowed to the number of people who could comfortably fit in my car. Close contact with anyone outside of my immediate family or my children is largely uncomfortable. It's awkward and wooden. I get no comfort from it.

This, I expect, is temporary: a kind of shock. It’s something that will fade with time. Otherwise, dating will challenging.

Not that I’m actually thinking about dating, not really. Friends have already suggested they could match me up, but this seems highly unlikely and downright foolish.

I’m not on the prowl either.

After “The Clash in the Coalfields” roller derby scrimmage a couple of weeks back, I was invited to the after-party. They’d been nice to ask me to announce their bouts, which might have seemed like I was doing them a favor and not the other way around. I didn’t have any experience, barely knew the game in the abstract, let alone the actual rules.

I stumbled through the evening like a refugee from a house fire.

At the end of it, my videographer, Kathryn said, “You look totally stunned.”

I felt stunned. I felt exhausted and shell shocked. I also felt more at ease than I had in weeks. For the previous three and a half hours, there’d been nothing to think about except roller derby.

Mostly, I’d thought about how much I was fucking things up.

After it was all over, however, some of the tabled anxieties started creeping back up.

A couple of people asked me if I was going to the after-party. This was supposed to be the best part and what was not to like: A bar full of raucous, wild women in the mood for a few laughs? It sounded like just the thing to kick me out of my funk. Why the hell not?

“Yeah, sure,” I said and I went --for about thirty seconds.

I wasn't even really thinking of a hookup. I just wanted to feel like part of the crowd. I stepped through the door and realized I had no idea what I was doing. I had no idea why I was even there. I only knew a few people; none of whom were there yet. I suddenly became very self-conscious of the fact that I'm awful company and even if I stumbled into actually "meeting someone" I had nothing to offer them.

Looking around the bar, I saw lots of smiling, younger men with good hair, decent tans and tight-fitting t-shirts. Every one of them was my superior in every way that counted. I felt outclassed, ugly and freakish: a bad-tempered mutant that should be chased off with fire.

It made no sense. My basic core confidence in who I am just crumbled. I was overwhelmed in a place called Buffalo Wild Wings? Really? Buffalo Wild Wings?

I shook my head. This was ridiculous. I didn’t feel like having a good time. I had nothing to celebrate and wanted nothing much except to find a nice, dark place to curl up in a fetal position and bawl.

So, that’s what I did. I went home, cried all the way and went to bed.

I’m still in the grieving process, not the mourning of the end of the marriage, but the end of a particular identity. I don’t know who I am yet, but I’m not the same guy anymore. I’m not even the guy I was before the marriage. I’m somebody else.

I think after something like a marriage ends you have to redefine who you are. You have to figure out what’s gone and what’s left. That’s not to say that this totally destroyed me. That’s bullshit, but being a husband and the head of a household has been at the core of who I was for almost ten years. It's colored my decisions and my opinions. It has driven my direction.

Now, the road signs have been removed. I don't have any idea where I'm going.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Ring Cycle: The call to adventure

Some notes about this new direction of the blog. It’s not really a new direction, but I will be avoiding writing about the future ex-Mrs. Lynch. She’s got her own thing to work through and really, this blog has really been mostly about me. No second guessing, no mudslinging and no cheap shots.

This will hopefully keep the lawyers away. Remember the lawyers? I remember the lawyers.

Also few details will be given about my marriage, what we’re discussing as far as the divorce, or our current domestic situation. This isn’t reality television, but it’s not a secret that we’re currently sharing the same house. You do that when you buy a house right before you split up, but it’s temporary.

The important take away is that so far we’re getting along very well as roommates. Space has a new importance, but the property isn’t divided up like in “War of the Roses.” Nobody is sleeping in the tool shed or their car. We still share the costs of running the place and take our turns with the kids while the other does their own thing. We parent both together and separately. I’m working more, but the move was expensive, winter is coming (God damn, where's Ned Stark when you need him?) and eventually I’ll be running a household on my own.

Arguably, I’d be working more anyway, but yes, the financial aspect of what I'm facing is pretty high up in my list of concerns: How the fuck am I going to pay for stuff?

So, really, not a lot has changed...except it really has.

While we're here, I want to head off this question: Since it sounds like we've achieved a degree of domestic tranquility and a functioning relationship, “Why bother with the divorce?”

The circumstance is what it is. The marriage has ended and while staying together for the sake of the kids, the sake of the house or the sake of Jesus sounds like the admirable thing to do, it really isn't so good for the sake of Bill and Jennifer --and it's not that great for the kids, plus the house is only a fucking house and really, Jesus wouldn't mind.

He never liked me anyway.

Finally, a warning: If I'm going to write about this, it's going to get unpleasant --maybe not plasma center unpleasant, but it's going to suck at points. It's going to be miserable and sad. That's what I'm about, but if I do this right, there will also be a couple of laughs. I'm about that, too.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The ring cycle

The end of my marriage came suddenly and without an apparent warning. Two weeks after we’d moved into our new home, the home we’d fought for months to get, my wife and I stood looking at each other in our new kitchen, both apologizing.

It was over.

The timing could have been better.

The gross details of what happened and how it happened will be omitted, but in the weeks following, I read a lot of books. I always read a lot of books and one of the things that caught my attention was an explanation that most marriages end because the relationship erodes over time. Neither party means for it to happen. It’s quiet, like tooth decay, and only becomes apparent when the outer enamel cracks open. After that, you have agony and extraction is really your only recourse.

I can say there weren’t a lot of accusations. There wasn’t much of a struggle once the nature of the situation was revealed. All we had was grief and the hope that we could both work beyond the pain and move on.

And this is where I am. This is why the blog posts have come to a slow halt. It’s been an eventful summer. My birthday was okay. I got a new house. I lost my wife.

Over the years, I’ve followed blogs that have touched on relationships that have failed. Some of them got pretty scary. Others wallowed in their grief or accused or condemned. A few tried to put on a brave face, but you could smell the bitterness over the saccharin.

I don’t want to do any of that.

I am, however, starting over and working through a process in the only way that makes sense to me. I don’t know what anything means right now. There is a lot to work though. I have new things to figure out and yes, I’ve been through this before, but it’s different this time.