I stole time away from work on Friday for lunch with my friend, Patrick. Last month, when I encountered him by chance out strolling in my neighborhood, I dug into my pocket and gave him The Vixen Divorcee’s business card. After we parted I thought, “Georgia, are you insane! What were you thinking? Now he’s going to think you are the biggest bit of inane mental fluff imaginable.”
Carrie planned thoughtfully for her first night lying in the arms of Morpheus, the god of dreams. Her husband moved out that day, so she knew the only arms waiting for her in that big brass bed upstairs would be those she conjured up in her dreams.
She covered the bed with fresh sheets. She sprayed those sheets with her favorite perfume, Escape, by Calvin Klein. Drew a hot bath and luxuriated in the old claw foot tub until the water turned chill. Rummaged through her grandmother’s wooden hope chest to find the tissue paper packet enclosing the nightgown she wore on her wedding night ten years ago. Slipped it on. Climbed in between the crisp sheets, inhaled the scent redolent of sensuality and love.
She made love to herself. Made love to herself because she knew she deserved it, even though she and love had been strangers for quite some time. Made love to herself because she was determined to keep that spark alive in herself, ready for when the time was right to invite someone else besides Morpheus to lie in bed with her.
I met my friend Ryan for coffee two weeks ago. (You first met Ryan in Solace for a Grieving Heart #2.) He was in town for a little R&R after all the upheavals in his life; he’d lost a job, moved across country for a new one, gotten a divorce, all within six months.
I said to him, “Next year has got to be better for you than this year.”
His reply was a laugh, followed by, “Losing that job got me into a new town that I like and a job that has my creative juices flowing again. My marriage was stifling me. Without all of this, I never would have known how much I love to dance.”
I thought, “I’ve got to stick around this guy. Let his attitude rub off on me. He’s approaching Buddha-hood here.”
When I was young and down in the dumps, my mother, the Angel Ella, would say, “Georgia, quit thinking about yourself. Think about somebody else. You’ll forget why you’re sad.”
I was young and not about to listen to the advice of an older woman. Particularly not my mom’s. What did she know about life?
Quite a lot, as it turns out.
My husband, Alan, walked out our door one day into the arms of another woman. Within a month I was reading to young children at an after-school program. One evening a week I walk into that library and my group, Ms. Stone’s Sunshine Club, jumps up and runs to the reading corner. I open up a book and they cuddle in as close as they can. They’re all smiles because they love the pictures. They love the stories. They love the attention.
Listen to The Adagio for Strings when your pain is locked down so deep you’re numb and empty. This will open it up and let the sadness flow away from your heart.
Or listen to it when you’re happy and melancholy is something to enjoy because you can’t imagine feeling it.
Either way, this beautiful piece of music never fails to touch my heart, whether in joy or in sorrow.
Between my last Valentine’s Day as a married woman and my first as a divorced woman, (see Valentine’s Day), I spent my one Valentine’s Day as neither one nor the other holding hands with a handsome, dissolute, notorious lady’s man named Marius.
The setting for our tryst was La Perla, a restaurant on Playa la Ropa in Zihautanejo, Mexico. Our table sat alone, the furthest from the restaurant, the closest to the shoreline. Moonlight, starlight, gentle waves, warm breezes, the sweet sound of soft voices and laughter drifting to us from the few boats in the bay; this should have been the setting for The Vixen Divorcee’s First Kiss, right?
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.
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.