It had been 2 years since Drew served me with divorce papers. Our detached, albeit agreeable ending, appropriately followed what had become our dry dispassionate marriage. We tried to do the dance, keeping up social appearances for our friends, thinking it would get better in time, but it had not. In the end, we were forced to acknowledge, that we needed to go in different directions.
Or at least that’s what I told myself. I longed for Drew now almost as much as I had during the final days of our dying cancer patient marriage. Not the Drew he had become, and not as the person I morphed into. I longed for our life the way it had been before, our happy little boy punctuating all the lovely moments, before the nightmare unraveling began.
After the divorce it did get better, eventually. When Drew stopped calling to make sure I was OK, for a few weeks or if he was curt with me when I called to make sure he was OK, it was just enough to make me feel like we did the right thing, like I could have another life, play with a whole new cast of characters, a cast that did not include Drew playing a crucial role. But then, he would call me out of the blue, asking me out to dinner or for a walk along the beach.
Each time, despite my best efforts, a small voice inside would whisper, “Maybe he’s had a change of heart. Maybe he still wants me. Maybe…?”
But each time, in an almost retaliatory response, intended as a way to protect me I guess, Drew made it obvious that this was just a friendly call. He enjoyed our friendship, just the friendship, nothing more. That’s when the other words would invade, slicing into my mind.
“You’re no good, you’re a failure. You’ll never do anything with your life. You were a failure as a wife. You couldn’t even keep your son a live.”
My destructive internal phantoms, scraped at my psychological scars, puncturing them repeatedly, savagely until they opened again. The cleansing emotional blood would gush out then, and I was at ground zero all over again. With silence, time and reactivation, the irritant rose up and the cycle began again.
I was relieved that we had been kind, gracious or sophisticated enough to remain civil, but not quite friends. If we were friends, we would still be together. We continued to have the thought provoking conversations we had in the beginning and sometimes even spent the day together. But actually, I felt this was just to mollify the guilt Drew felt at having been the one to say it was time for him to move on.
“I just can’t be responsible for trying to make you happy anymore. I spend my days asking myself what I can do, how can I make you happy, how can I help you to get through this? Robbie was my son too. I have to focus on how to make myself happy now.”
“What a load of shit! Through everything, especially after Robbie died, you were the sun and I was a crappy satellite, orbiting around you, trying to help you cope. You always came first.”
“Maybe that’s why I lost all respect for you, always fawning over me like you didn’t exist. You should have cared more about yourself. Maybe I could have valued you more then.”