Chewing Words

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Posts Tagged ‘wife

On the Edge of 00:00:01

with 3 comments

I began this blog in the midst of radical turmoil. The things that occurred at the tail-end of spring, through the summer, into the autumn and followed by the winter of 2010, were things of the sort that either make you or break you. I’m not sure if it’s possible to pinpoint the exact moment when the foundation of a marriage begins to crumble. If it’s anything at all like the progressive deterioration of a building, it’s slow and clandestine, beneath the façade of what appears to be solid. Eight months of cataclysm underlined by venom and preceded by years of the slow crumbling of the foundations. To write what I am writing today seems impossible.

My struggle over our divorce has been especially acute over the past month. The process of thoroughly acknowledging my own faults began during that month. Consequently, I also had pneumonia. Being ill forced me to stay home. Staying home forced me to introspect. Being home without a child for 2 weeks of the month I was exiled began a process of introspection that has been one of the most psychologically painful and emotionally wrenching periods I have ever experienced.

Perspective sometimes helps; my current marriage is my second. My first marriage was one of those foreign affairs, the sort that begin in the romance of living abroad. Meeting an exciting man, traveling across the ocean multiple times for the heat of that relationship, I bet everything in my handbag of tricks for that wild sense of passion that is protracted by a hop-scotch of long distance then reuniting then leaving, over and over. He was Albanian, a man from a country of which I had never heard except in a Cheers episode. What I knew: he was beautiful, we were inseparable and I was truly madly deeply for him.

I brought him to the US, an assignment of pure will on my part. Immigration attorneys (Albania’s lack of economic relations with the US meant the need for legal assistance to acquire a visa), working multiple jobs to pay for the legal fees, dissecting my life (personal letters, phone bills, credit card statements – anything that could prove to the US Citizenship and Immigration Service that the relationship was authentic; they’re opposed to bringing an unsavory sort to The Land of Plenty).

He came, we married and through 4 years we discovered “real life” was very different than the romance novel we’d lived for 3 years in Florence, Italy. He fell into the seduction of Plenty and soon I had a fractured man whose mind was split by schizophrenic psychosis. My Italian romance was gone, replaced with a boogeyman who believed I was the Black Witch, sent to extract his secrets so I could bring his Albanian homeland into ruin. The day he beat me all over and across the kitchen floor, my legs bent back at strange angles, was the day I knew there was no such thing as “turning back.” It was also, strangely, the first day I began to have an inkling that there might be a God. When the steel-toed boot that was aimed at the soft spot at the side of my head was stilled by the singing of an unseen songbird outside, I wondered how that bird came to sit at that spot and sing at precisely that moment. Miraculous or coincidence, it doesn’t matter; the result is I was not killed or permanently damaged.

I can retell that story because it happened a long time ago. And I don’t tell it now to elicit anything other than a picture of comparison. That marriage and its ensuing drama do not hold a candle to what I have experienced in this period of what has seemed a certain divorce, a sundering of a decade of life together. There was no beating or infidelity or addiction this round. As I’ve said before, it has been very mundane. But the awful weight of failure on so many levels has been crushing.

To be given another chance, for the two of us to have recognized nearly simultaneously our faults and our responsibility in our marriage is, in a word, miraculous. I know of no other way to describe it. This place I am today is a place I could never have believed I would be standing 72 hours ago. My post from that day bears witness to this.

There will be a lot of stunned looks on people’s faces when they hear we are in the process of a serious reconciliation. There will also be many people I love who will feel the need to give a lot of unsolicited advice about what we need to do. There will be a lot of shaking of heads and conviction that I have lost my mind. He walked out on you! He left you holding the bag! My reply? He also asked for forgiveness. And I am as implicit as he is. I, too, asked for his forgiveness.

My species of selfishness is socially acceptable; it doesn’t appear to wear the cloak of the egoist. In the scheme of the world, a woman who works hard at her career while balancing her role as a wife and mother is considered worthy of esteem, in a sense. But I contend for some, like myself, it is a triumvirate of roles that attenuates one’s ability to keep all the balls in the air.

For a number of reasons that all seem worthy, I chose the role of business woman as primary over the role of wife. In doing so, I alienated my husband and cut the moorings out from beneath us in a way I didn’t understand until after it had already been done. And even then, I was so deep in the proverbial poo, I didn’t see a way out other than to keep hoping something would change. I blamed him for a lot, all of which he has acknowledged and accepted. But how does a man blame a woman for working too hard and being a great mom and talented in so many areas of her life…except in the area of being a wife? A man who does that is a man who ought to be quiet, suck it up and count his blessings. Never mind the complete emasculation of his role as husband, for when there is no wife present, how can a husband BE a husband? Husband necessitates the presence of wife, otherwise you are just him and her.

These lessons, when not learned properly, become exponentially more difficult to address as time passes. I stood on the edge of a brink, about to not learn this lesson. It’s that moment in the movie when the sapper is diffusing the bomb, wire cutters in hand, sweat beading down his brow. It’s the moment when you are about to die unless you can freeze those numbers on the timer.

I stood at the brink, foot balanced on the edge.

And my timer stopped at 00:00:01.


8/357: PostADay


Written by cr8df8

January 8, 2011 at 4:54 pm