Since she’s a woman of means and position in my town, by the time the Fine Arts Ball rolled around, everyone knew the messy story of how Pat dumped her for his secretary. Who would get the Tuscan villa, which top divorce lawyer would have the guts to incur Pat’s wrath by taking her case, how big would the settlement be; these were the questions occupying the minds of the Vanity Fair folks that night. Would she even show, wondered the men and women gathered in the ballroom.
The Last Day of Our Acquaintance
Sinead O’Connor from her album I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got
Alan kept this CD in his car. When we drove long distances, he’d slip it in the player. We’d sing along, loudly and off key, glorying in the passionate imagery of the lyrics and the pain and purity of Sinead O’Connor’s voice. We’d sing happily, united in our love of the song. Her pain wasn’t ours and would never touch us. Or so we thought.
Until the day arrived when we sat together in the office of a marriage counselor. The
day when I knew our marriage was beyond repair. The day when he was still in denial.
We were living apart, hadn’t seen each other for a week. I turned to him and said,
“This is the last day of our acquaintance. I’ll meet you later in somebody’s office.”
That was it. We met later in somebody’s office to finalize the details, but those two
sentences marked the death of our marriage.
I never imagined until that afternoon how perfectly Sinead O’Connor expressed the end of my love, or what solace I would get from blasting out those lyrics in the home where I now live alone.
He struggled into the house as far as the living room, where he collapsed on the couch. There he stayed, unmoving, complaining of pain, for the next three hours, refusing to let me do anything, until I took matters in my own hands and made that call.
Within minutes, fifteen at most, our living room burst with big, muscular, handsome men. All sporting the uniform of our local fire department. All take-charge men who knew just how to shift my suffering husband off the couch, onto a stretcher, down
the steps of our house and into their emergency vehicle.
All the while flashing me magnetic smiles, reassuring me that everything was going to be just fine, charming me with their masculine confidence. Of course I was worried about Alan, but a corner of my psyche reeled with enchantment for these men.
I don’t know. Don’t have a clue.
What I do know is that my first kiss as a divorced woman was delivered by a cab driver. Juan Carlos was his name. I met him when he picked up Ellen, Gary and me outside our hotel in Zihuatanejo, Mexico. Our destination was an elegant bar high above
the town. We could have walked, but in our dresses and high-heeled sandals, Ellen and I would have been awkward and uncomfortable.
So we flagged down Juan Carlos, who drove us up the hill. He waited while we sipped margaritas and watched the sun slide down the sky and slip behind the hills on the opposite side of the bay.
My first vacation as a divorced woman. A woman, I’ll put this kindly, of mature middle age. A woman, mind you, of reserve and discretion, the furthest from a vixen you could imagine, whose dear friends invited her to join them on their annual winter trek to Zihuatenejo, Mexico. A little sun, good cheap drinks and food, beach and ocean time, laughs and fun. Tonic for a grieving heart.