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September 19, 2011 / districtofcolumbian

Torn asunder

I saw an old friend on the Metro today. We both were getting off at Metro Center, and as we made the short trip from Gallery Place to MC, he waved to me from the middle of the car. I had been asking other friends about him for quite some time, as I don’t think I’ve either heard from him (or much about him) for the past year. I did hear some cryptic news, but I didn’t know why he’d fallen off the face of the earth. As we walked to the Orange Line transfer, I shook his hand, and did the “Hey, how are you doin'”, and was immediately struck by something. He was definitely a different person. You can just tell, and I just told. Turns out, he is recently in the process of a divorce – that explained the change. People change DRASTICALLY after a divorce. They often say, as he did, that they feel more “like their old” selves. I’m not really sure what that means, but people say it all the time. He had this edge to him, that I’m not quite sure I like. I hope that’s not what he meant.

The news really upset me. I hate to hear of breakups – they really tear me up. In fact, I don’t really like to hear of any personal failure. For instance, have you ever seen a new business move into a space that you KNOW is going to fail? You know, that cursed property, where the coffee shop, and the restaurant, and the bookstore, and etc., all failed? Someone’s hopes and dreams – and a lot of money – are sunk into this new business. And it’s hopeless. And when you inevitably see the “For Lease” sign again, you sort of pat yourself on the back, flattering yourself and your business acumen. But if you don’t also feel horrible for the poor business owner, than you really lack empathy. Because it’s the same as a breakup.

How you start and how it ends are so very different. The beginning often feels so un-real, and the end often feels so VERY real. Almost like it was inevitable. It comes crashing down, and it’s over. And even though it may have been building for years and years, like a cancer, the end seems to come at the speed of light. But you really get torn in half, I think maybe literally, when it’s concerning a failed marriage.

As I write this, from a coffee shop (I really need to stop eavesdropping), there are these two women next to me. The woman doing most of the talking was complaining about how her husband didn’t really love her. She was going on about how they were each flying from two locations back here to DC, and how he could have organized his itinerary to be with her, and to have “much-needed sex”. But instead he left early, as her flight was coming in, and they missed each other. She went through a number of other ways he was cruel, or unloving to her. And she really seemed to want him to love her, and to show it. I gathered from their conversation that she had kids, but it wasn’t clear how long they’d been married. Then she went on about her lover.

Turns out she’s seeing another guy, who is himself married, and is comparing him to her husband (and the lover seems to be winning in most categories – notably not all, though). But in the end, it’s obvious that she really wants her husband. What the heck? I don’t even know where to start, the whole thing is so fucked up. And so sad (literally sad, not “pathetic”). There’s no way that marriage is saved, but I suppose miracles do happen…

It may be because I’m a parent of young children, but I want to rescue a person who is about to hurl themselves down 3 flights of stairs on their bike. They just have no idea how hurt they’re going to get.

My heart breaks for you fucked up people. I mean it. I hope your heart breaks for me when I get there.

I offered to get a beer with my friend, and just talk with him. No judgement, or anything like that, just hang out. I hope he takes me up on it.


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