I remember the last time I saw my ex-wife. It was eight years ago. We met for lunch at a yuppy bar on the north end of downtown, called The Iron Horse. I hadn’t been a fan of this bar since they changed locations, and their entire look and feel. It had gone from a nice, calm, hang out and chit-chat type of bar, to the kind of place where rich, stuffy assholes make business deals, and do lines of coke in the bathroom. The place did have a decent lunch menu though. I remember I ate a chicken sandwich and fries. I don’t remember what Cindy had.
She’d emailed me a while before hand because she was selling her car, and my name was on the loan, so she needed my signature.
After our divorce, we’d maintained a friendly relationship. We didn’t hang out, we barely talked, but when we did talk, things were amicable enough. During this lunch though, I had something of a revelation:
I found her incredibly annoying.
I forget what it was she was blathering on about as I realized this. I was fully aware, sitting across that table from her, that she was saying something, and giggling, and I was no longer listening. Instead, I was wondering if she had always been this annoying. Yes, I decided. Yes, she had. I just never noticed before. Why had I not noticed this before? Maybe for the same reason I believed a lot of her lies over the years. I just wanted things to be good, so that’s how I saw them.
She grew quiet, which finally snapped me out of my daze. I suddenly just wanted to end the lunch and leave.
“Why didn’t you try to work on us, after I left?” She asked me, breaking the lull in the conversation. “You just stopped talking to me.”
This was the case. She moved out, into a little basement apartment across town. We didn’t talk until she contacted me a few months later, about getting on with the divorce proceedings, which I initially refused to pay for, since this whole mess was her doing. In the end, I relented, just to get it over with.
I thought it an odd question. It had never even occurred to me to try and save our marriage after she moved out. The question typified just how self centered and ignorant she was, and had always been. Once she’d walked out the front door of our little apartment for the last time, I knew we were done. I washed my hands of her. The first thing I did, the first weekend after she left, was go out to a bar, pick up some cute, little hippy chick, and spend a good portion of the night having sex in what used to be our bedroom.
Cindy left me for one of my best friends. One of my female best friends, I might add. She was a lesbian, something we both came to realize during our tumultuous, six year relationship. She was raised a good little christian girl, and had been fighting her sexuality for all of her adult life. Her marriage to me was part of that fight. In retrospect, the red flags were everywhere. Due to my own fundamentalist christian upbringing, I sprinted enthusiastically passed those flags, with the narrowest of tunnel vision, and a smile on my face.
During the last eighteen months of our marriage, they both lied to me repeatedly, to my face. For her to be sitting across that table from me, asking why I didn’t try to save our marriage after she left me, was clearly her trying to play the victim, again. She was actually trying to elicit sympathy from me.
“I tried for a year, before you left.” I said, very calmly. “I got us into marriage counseling, and you never took it seriously. I gave up Bailey, because you hated him, and I wanted to show you that you were more important.” Her smile faded when I mentioned Bailey, the Senegal parrot that I had raised from a tiny ball of fuzz. She quit looking at me, and just stared down at her hands in her lap.
I continued. “I put together that trip for our anniversary, trying to rekindle something with you, and you spent the whole time talking to Jackie on the phone. I showed you that I loved you, every day, and gave you every opportunity to reciprocate. You never did. You lost interest in me, and you were in love with someone else. You left our marriage long before you walked out the door. There was nothing to save.”
I didn’t yell it. There was no malice in my tone, no anger of any kind. I just said it all matter-of-factly, as I ate my chicken sandwich. I contemplated bringing up all the stories I’d heard from our mutual friends, lies that Cindy and Jackie had told them about me in an attempt to make me out to be the bad guy. But I didn’t, there was no point. Those friends came to me, and told me those things because they didn’t believe them. That had always been a small point of vindication for me.
“I’m sorry.” Cindy finally said.
I wasn’t sure exactly which thing she was apologizing for, and I didn’t really care. In the span of that lunch together, my opinion of her had plummeted even further, and I wondered how the hell I could have been as naive as I’d been all those years. I had reached a point years before that lunch, where I no longer needed an apology from her, or even an explanation. I had fully put it all behind me.
I don’t remember any details of the conversation after that. I’m pretty sure one of us changed the subject. At some point, I signed the paperwork, making sure it was actually what she said it was. We paid the bill, and we went our separate ways for the last time.
I have not heard from her since.
It wasn’t all bad, being married to her. We had our moments, and we were happy for a very brief period at the beginning of it all. I’m no longer angry about it. I am occasionally stupefied at how dumb I was back then, how willingly gullible I had to be to buy into the bullshit she fed me on numerous occasions. The anger though, it’s gone.
I’m happy now. Laure and I are very happy together. Thirteen years in and we still behave like we just met last month. It’s really good, and I’m grateful for it every day.
Not sure why I got to thinking about my ex today. I just did. So there you have it.
Here is Laure on the beach of our little island a few weeks ago.