Then vs. Now - When an Ex Husband Calls

January 29, 2017:

The five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I keep vacillating between the latter two, with anger flaring up again here and there. Denial is complete, and the bargaining is now, too.

There shouldn't have been anything wrong with him.
I should never have come here.
I feel like the Wrong Alice.

We are clear, though, on the why:

I am leaving because he makes me really, really crazy and I can't choose that any more.  I need my brain back, please and thank you. And he needs, I need, to start with a foundation which is true. Nothing is sacred which is founded on a lie.

As I sort my belongings from his (there are no "ours") I am briefly angry when I find the false starts: the Turkish coffee pots, half-finished canvases, a reclaimed wooden window with glass panels intact, for example.  I threw the Panama hat out into the alley, along with the rubber balls he uses to play cricket in the house. This is valid; they were mine. I brought them because he wouldn't stop  playing cricket in the house, and the tennis balls caused too much damage. Should I retain custody of the Stennheiser headphones? No. I prefer Audio-Technica. I have to be careful to not let the minutiae distract me, because little things make me really happy and impede progress. Sorting, packing.

He's found the cheese biscuit mix that my adorable vegan house-guests had brought me, the house-guests he actively avoided the whole weekend of the Inaugural March. He's got a nose for good stuff that other people have invested in. His forehead is already starting to peel from the tan he got on the beach in Ft. Lauderdale (he says) while on his work-trip to Boston. I don't even care. I'm still itchy from the allergic reaction I had to antibiotics while he was on the beach.

I'm angry because one of the reasons I wanted to marry him was so I wouldn't have to go do all the awesome things I do alone. That worked out pretty well for about a year and a half. There's been unraveling and reweaving ever since. Even though I lived it I am sometimes surprised that it went on this long.

Another telling phrase popped out in today's conversation: he tried to bring up all he's done for me, like buying me a car.

"Everything you've done for me I had to fight you for."  The car; the flatware; the 10-year anniversary ring which I keep like spoils of war or a medal of honor. Look what I survived.

Dear Anybody who is about to use "everything I've done for you" as a weapon against someone who's unhappy, please know this: 

You didn't listen to what I asked you to do. Stop compiling your list of things you did for me, because


Whatever you think you did for me was a breadcrumb thrown in the corner, given because it was easier for you than listening. Even if you didn't do the thing I asked, the listening might have been enough.


April 22, 2018:

Today he came over to have his hair cut, and to drop off cat food. I confess that one of the things I always liked about him was how much I couldn't understand his thought patterns - like that creepy couple in Twilight. The vampire liked Bella because he couldn't read her mind.  I'm so sad that I know anything about this.

I get why he wants me to cut his hair, and if you've ever had a favorite hair dresser, you know, too: it's hard to find someone who knows your head. He told me about trying another hairdresser, but she had worked too fast and didn't seem to get what he wanted.  I thought about how he explains his hair - using terms like horns and corners - and I can see how conveyance would be problematic. Also, I have a vain streak, and I like my good work to be acknowledged. In this scenario, "friends with benefits" means hair cut.

The cat food I don't understand. I think Pakistanis have a built-in guilt trip much like Catholics do, and if that's the case he just wants to pay child support out of remorse.  The cat still doesn't like him.

I'm not angry any more. He asks about my kids - daughter and grandchildren - and I tell him about them without pointing out how he never liked them. I show him the turnip painting, and he asks if I will please paint Sana. He'll pay me, he says.

Sana is one of the half-finished canvases I brought with me from the marriage. It was meant to be a gift to him, but I never finished it. It was a gift with angry intent, because he asked a thousand questions of a street artist about having cat portraits done, like he didn't have a wife who was an artist standing right the fuck behind him. 
I hesitated before answering about Sana.

"Let me finish it first, and we'll talk." Hell yeah, he can pay me for what was once a gift. "I might want to keep her."

I'm not angry, but I am vain, and also petty, always have been. Mayor of Pettytown™. Not gonna change now.


  1. You definitely have regrouped, evolved and progressed since 2017. The Out-of-It Inuit is proud and is eager to continue to watch your journey out of the chrysalis!

    1. Thank you for my Indian name. Sincerely, WalksOwnPath

  2. Your paintings are awesome. He cannot have the turnips.
    This year I found out that my first husband died in February, 1999. Being of weak mind, I no longer remember the exact day, reported to me finally by Social Security. He was 5 years older than me, so that would have made him 54 when he died. I don't know where he died, or how he died, but it doesn't stop me from feeling responsible, somehow. No one is left to tell me.
    I left him. He never knew why. I barely knew why, myself, but I wanted him to have a wonderful life full of happy things, a wife and a house full of children. I hope he had some of that. I would feel better if I knew that, but I don't, and probably never will, know. :-(

    1. Heck NO he doesn't get the turnips! They are yours! I'm still challenged finding a place that can scan it into a digital file for me. Can you please see if theresta place near you, and the cost? It occurs to me that I should take advantage of your retirement!

  3. This is powerful. The original was heart-tearing on it's own - but having the after story shows such tremendous growth. I am happy for you.


Post a Comment

Please comment. Just Don't be a dick. Please subscribe to this blog. Email confirmation will be sent - please verify your decision to receive my validations.

Popular posts from this blog

At Ian's Place - Part One, in which you may find a creature....

Business Tattoos vs. Deb-utante Ball aka My Coming-Out Party

PEMDAS, the Ship's Accountant - A Fairytale.

Don't Be That Guy at the Party - Mitigating Toxic Relationships

My AA Story - Find Your Tribe

27 Hours of Philadelphia - Art in the Sky

"Based on Actual Events" - Memory vs. Reality in Writing

Movie Review: Certified Copy, 2011 - What is the importance of the original?

Trigger-Happy vs. Bag of Onions, AKA Dr. Who is my Favorite Therapist

I Can't Follow You