Alan, my former husband, and I concocted our fantasy business while idling in coffee shops and wine bars. The mission of this company was to help broken-hearted lovers bring closure, dramatic and final, to their relationships. We were inspired by Paul Simon to help people in pain with their struggle to be free. We, of course, were never going to be in pain, never struggling to be free.
The night I threw my soon-to-be-ex-husband’s clothes into boxes and hauled them out to the garage, this song from Marianne Faithful’s album, Broken English, blared away on my sound system.
When I stole a twig from our little nest
And gave it to a bird with nothing in her beak,
I had my balls and my brains put into a vice
And twisted around for a whole fucking week.
Why’d ya do it, she said, why’d you let that trash
Get a hold of your cock, get stoned on my hash?
My mother’s robe hangs in the back of my cedar closet, where it’s been since she died 10 years ago. Tonight I choose to wear it.
First I light all the candles in the bathroom. Fill the tub with hot water and fragrant bubbling foam. Then I lie in the steam and the warmth, gazing at that perfect robe hanging on the closed door.
This silken wonder was a gift from my father, and showed a rare flash of gift-giving insight.
What did I write for Alan that wasn’t meant for anyone else’s eyes? What am I willing to share with you, now that he and I are divorced?
The other side of me, the side you don’t know. The erotic side.
Before the birth of The Diary (and of the Vixen Divorcee), I wrote stories intended for Alan’s eyes only. Stories of sexually explicit fantasies based on places he and I visited during our days of marital bliss. Stories the likes of which will never appear in the pages of The Diary. Stories I’m willing to share with you privately, now that he and I are divorced.
Yours could be the first eyes other than his to read one of these elegant fantasies.
You’re on the brink of a nervous breakdown. Your long marriage and settled life lie in broken bits at your feet. No amount of glue is going to fit that mess neatly back together.
What do you do?
Join the Y.
Or a gym. Or a yoga studio. Or a dance class.
Put down that glass of wine. Turn off the TV. Get up off the couch. Move. Get those endorphins going.
The first time in my life I ever joined a gym was a couple months after I initiated divorce
proceedings. It’s one of the steps that saved my sanity.
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.