Friday, May 10, 2013
We have dinner with my ex husband.
My mother and father had horrible marriage and an even worse divorce. They battled their way through court over money, me and property. Weekly my father would call me up and bitch about her and she would sit there and tell me that I needed to be nicer to him.
"Cookie," she would say, "he is your father."
And I would reply "and he is your ex-husband. You know what an asshole Marvin is."
"But I," said she, "divorced him. You can't."
To my mother and my father, divorce was something that happened to two people when the only thing that could be agreed upon was that knives would leave too much bloodshed and spoil the decor. The idea that two people could break up, and then be civil, nay - even friends with one and other afterward - was something that neither of my parents could comprehend.
Cookie all too well remembers the phone call that he received from his mother about ten years ago when she said that she had seen the parent of a high school friend at the market.
"Mr. Cockenblocker said that Carol and her husband were divorcing because they were better "friends" than husband and wife. What kind of idiotic nonsense is that?"
"Well," said I, "Maybe they want more out of life."
"Of all the asinine things," Mother harrumphed.
Then there were all of Cookie's father's subsequent divorces after father divorced mother. All of them a three ring circus of vitriol, hate, moving vans and the old neighbors calling our house with the news that moving vans were seen.
"Picking up or dropping off?" my mother would ask.
For as much animosity as they had for one and other, he never could find the "one" and she never remarried until after she attended the funeral.
But hate is not the opposite of love. No, where love is concerned apathy is opposite. This lead me to at least suspect that for as much as they wanted to kill each other, my parents had some feeling of love gone sour for one and other.
Years and years ago, when Cookie was young and a newly minted homosexual, living in Washington, DC, I fell in love with an older man named Bob. I was at the height of sexuality and thought he was just everything anyone would every need or want. And we fucked like bunnies and the sex was great, but it didn't work out. He was older and had the maturity I lacked and I was much younger than my physical age showed. Immaturity has a way of killing off relationships.
And not that he wasn't a great guy, because he was. But it wasn't the one for either of us.
In between this man and the love of my life, the Husband (with whom I celebrate 16 bliss filled years this coming Wednesday) there was my second husband who was a kind man, but not the man for Cookie. We were together for nine years, eleven months and two weeks when it dawned on me that I couldn't celebrate ten years when I wasn't happy. This man took the very hard, which was what he had to do. And he died from stomach cancer about 12 years after we broke up. But we did eventually became friends before his death and I delivered a eulogy at his funeral that had people crying and laughing at the same time.
So, when a relationship wasn't right, I always tried to be on good terms with my ex, even when it was a real up hill struggle.
Anyway, when we moved back east I sent a letter to Bob and said that we were moving to Charm City. Between the move and our lives - and his - plans to get together for a meal never quite seemed to get together.
Until last night.
He is in town for a conference and would we like to meet for dinner. I check with the husband and the plan is arranged. I make the reservation at a good Italian restaurant - after all, who except Ethiopians doesn't love Italian food?
My friends from back home have said "What madness is this!" But I remind them that I am now fifty, and Bob is now sixty-four, and the THIRTY years have passed, and those thirty years have been happily regret free. And, I say to another friend from home, aren't we old enough to act like adults?
And of those thirty years that have passed, the happiest sixteen have been with The Husband, who is tall and handsome and makes me smile and laugh and feel, most importantly, loved in a way that I only thought was possible in dreams. And our anniversary is May 15th, so I am aglow with true love.
Besides, isn't it all very civil, everyone sitting around and chatting over very good food? And when the meal is complete and the check is brought, we promise to visit D.C., part as friends, and he to his hotel, and The Husband and I to our home, just the way it should be.