Eating My Words

I learned a big lesson today--one that demands full disclosure.

To get to the point, I received an email from the woman I wrote about in my 'Out of the Blue' post. Yes, that same she of the perky ta-ta's; she with her hands in her pockets; she who was smooth and unlined as new road; she who helped populate several poems in Karaoke Funeral, as well as my random thoughts.

Turns out she never received my response (the reason being complicated, entirely plausible, and too boring to share) and, after being out of town, has just gotten around to reading the blog again.

Considering the brutality of the post itself, not to mention the comments, I have to say she replied honestly, thoughtfully, and with grace.

First, I never felt any great animosity toward her during the divorce. I blamed my then-husband. I was in shock, mostly. I felt sorry for her on one hand, and a little smug about the lesson she had coming to her on the other (See "The Replacement"). What I did hold against her was the principle of the thing. Unless the ink is dry on the papers (and no matter what he's telling you), I believe other prospects should keep their distance. And again, I believe women should look out for other women.

But she was very young, and he is quite the teller of tales. I'll spare you the boring details (Oh, sure, THIS time!), but she was being fed one truth, and I had lived another. At least now I know what her truth was, and she's pretty clear on mine.

I'm convinced she wrote me without guile and without an ulterior motive. I don't think she realized it would hurt me. More important, I don't think she ever meant to be a homewrecker or the second-sorriest loser to come out of Emory. (But I adore you all for your venom on my behalf.)

It's sad that I tend to dwell in questions for years. But it's so much easier for me to live in the present if I can understand the past. Besides, creating a family is pretty significant in a life, and its dismemberment makes for a long recovery.

I feel better, though, since she provided me with more context. All I ever want is real dialogue, whatever the issue. I can forgive almost anything if someone talks to me sincerely.

I hope she can forgive me for accusing her of anything more than the very same stupidity I was guilty of myself. She's smarter than I am, by the way; I swallowed his stories for ten years.

And with one final nod to National Poetry Month (this from my "new" manuscript), I'm retiring the subject of my ex-husband, from my poems and my blog. No doubt, we've all had enough.


Because she had no good man to measure him against
(not her father, that midnight car in the driveway;
not the teachers and coaches of her youth, that crowd of hands),
he got away with it.

Seemed the fairy tales had mapped it all right, Pops
never around when the wolf hijacked Grandma,
when the witch offered the noxious apple. And where
was Jack’s father--Jack with his little palm full of beans?

Her life seemed normal enough in context. She did everything
but the taxes, and the three children grew like stalks,
like the tower of her loneliness, while their dad, cool
as a prince, played an extra nine holes.

Then, one by one, they appeared (no trumpets to announce
them, no capes or crowns), those ordinary men, rare as unicorns,
pointing her toward the second chance:

Her old friend, Thomas, at the kitchen table with her fifth-grader,
history homework spread out like an empire;

her boss, Hank, convening with his classes--glad apostles--at 5 a.m.,
communion of coffee and Krispy Kremes;

(what to call him?) David, constant as red clay, steadfast as granite:
unexpected landscape of her resurrected faith;

and occasionally, even a stranger, like the new neighbor,
a war vet, home by supper every day.
She’d see his small platoon of kids in the yard, and him,
swinging a plastic bat with his one good arm.


Kathy said...

Beautiful. Glad for both of you.

And I'll keep asking you to write a memoir or collection of stories (in your spare time, of course - easy for me to ask a working wife/mother of 4 to take a little time out to write a book). I read the Modern Love column from Sunday's NY Times last night and thought how much I'd love to see one of your stories here.

Tania Rochelle said...

Think they'd publish my naked-on-the-roof story?

Kathy said...

Yes - but you'd have to include in longer story. Modern Love is usually half a page.

Jennifer said...

Does this mean we can't call her Chlamydia?

Anne-Davnes said...

Well that's beautiful. I can see your point. Sorry I was so harsh. It's a happy ending. And a real one.

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