Lifestyle: When Marriages Go Wrong
I feel cold, empty daggers of ice shoving their way into the depth
of my soul. All this will pass they all say,
Sometimes I wake up and try to remember how I used to feel. Back when
life had a shape, love had a focus, dreams a reality. I try to remember
the feeling of my skin being touched, my heart being ignited like a
fire catching the wind on a barren desert night. The electricity of
a kiss. Storms of passion circle in my mind. I feel the pain rising
to the surface and I sob bitter tears of regret, strong waves of shuddering
emotion pulverize my shaking heart as I try to be a warrior in the face
of negation. The courage to be is a lifeboat I cling to as the dark
clouds swirl around my soul tearing away at the structures I have called
home for years. The comforts of home, the basic necessities of heart
and mind are turned inside out and I look at my world turned upside
The roof drips with the foundation I used to walk on, the dreams that
had spread like glue through four individual lives, together called
a family, is suddenly dripping down the walls like some ugly massive
explosion in a microwave. That mess will take years to clean. Memories
stuck to the glass door that has slammed shut between now and then.
Yellowed with time, it is antique already. Its been less than
a year. Years of love, the moments of joy crash upon the shore of my
definition of who I am. Huddled in front of a campfire my energy is
fueled by my fear of a cold void. I feed the fire, throwing in the chunks
of memory that defined my life for the past 20 years. The pile of memory
wood is never ending, it in fact seems to grow by my selfish focus on
grief. The crackling embers, the firewood still wet from tears. The
rhythm of every single day, every single minute, every single second
pound inside my head, like the sound of the water lapping on the shore.
Constant, annoyingly cadenced, reassuringly present. I try to gain warmth
and sustenance from the flames that lap around my eyes. My skin is pierced
by pieces of flying debris, burning at an atomic level into my soul.
The wind is blue, dark and wet, and despite the knowledge that all this
will pass, all we be well, the platitudes of recovery just bounce off
the wall of my healing heart digging away at the shallow reassurance
that wisdom comes from pain. I feel cold, empty daggers of ice shoving
their way into the depth of my soul. All this will pass they all say,
but the dark teal clouds that are rolling towards me, purple like a
deep bruise, followed by black and only a glimmer of light in the very
distant moon that dances in a playful teasing way. Come find me, its
tiny annoying, yet all powerful voice calls out in a mocking way. Laughing
at my feeble attempt to rebuild, restart and redefine. I dare
you to come search it says, (teasing) for release, jump into your
future feet first, heart last, but first you have to create your vehicle
of transformation, the suicide car that will drive me from the old world
where I live today and the carefree, sparkling world of dreams. Tuscan
dreams at the movies speak of a fantasy rebirth, an illusion of Hollywood.
The world where I used to feel is running in a parallel universe to
me. Colored by the reality that the friend I called my husband for years
is living a new life of passion, kisses and dreams with a woman he may
love for another 18 years. The gods have other plans for him I say to
myself, but the love I felt so deeply for him refuses to let me hate.
The fire catches a gust of wind and my hair is caught in a shimmering
explosion of multi colored light that I frantically reach out to capture.
Instead, my hands are burned and the blood is sticky and warm with sharp
glass fragments sticking out. The tears gush out of my heart and the
fire is suddenly a cold and blue grey ash. The moment is one of clarity
and death. I look into the sky and see a trail of sparkling colors from
emerald to purple bliss, like a comet that comes once a century, I feel
I have experienced a moment of true understanding and been blessed with
a unique chance to view my life actually taking shape past and
future captured in a spark of hope. Just a tiny spark, but I take it
to be a sign, a gift of possibility.
The world where I used to question the tiny moments of my life as if
I were icing a cake. We had everything, everything sweet and light.
The nourishing creation of my childrens lives, adding the ingredients
of unconditional love and patience, hope and the magic of forgetfulness.
The pain and mistakes are transmuted in the depth of a sequence of memories
that, at the time, seemed so incredibly important, so amazingly real.
The decisions, the day to day vision of a bigger, grander world. My
children who will find joy in their moments, find blessings in the small
things while focused on the big things in the world.
Like a birthday cake with the candles blown out, there is a sense of
hopefulness, that somehow the wish that rushed from the heart as the
candles were blown out, flickering in the winds of change, defying the
fact that dreams dont come true all the time, that the chance
that wish will come true is as remote as the distant vista of their
past successes. As the icing starts to melt in the sun of time passing,
grace under pressure allows an ignorance of the fact that the moment
is passed, the wish has been declared, now the hope for just a small
response from the god of dreams. My grief could devour an entire cake
of dreams in a single setting. I am hungry so I consume the memories
in a panic, as if they will dissolve and disappear if I take my attention
off of them. I panic that eighteen years will vanish in a moment of
cosmic negation if I dont watch them every minute. A mantra of
hope. I cling to the shapes, the words that nourished my soul, the places
my body traveled in time seem an illusion, so I eat and eat and eat
and eat. Still hungry for that one combination of thoughts that will
secure something permanent. The wind is picking up again and I reach
out for something to hold on to. The desert sand stings my face. The
sky is churning, the darkness is overwhelming. I drink the poison of
my anger in violent and bitter, sad and manic passion. One gulp of pain
that fills my heart with a thousand painful calories. I feel heavy,
overweight with grief. It is time to stop eating and start walking
Where do I walk? How do I dream? I just dont know anymore. Spinning
in circles, I can hardly breath. My life is a contradiction between
the world of life that I know must be courageously declared and the
inner pain of defeat and withdrawal that shouts priority. And so each
day, one step after the other. One moment in time.
Every act of kindness is heartbreaking. A lady call Felice, responds
to my online auction for a treasured watch. I need the money but I also
need the memory. She tells me that she would love to buy my watch, has
always wanted one like it (just like I did years ago) but she understands
the sentimental value. Reaching out across an anonymous online void,
we connect. She understands. I cry.
Every memory now is like an overwhelming weight of emotion. I want to
be lighter, to float over some of this drama. My heart is breaking.
My head is hollow. I try to go on each day, making a cup of tea the
water sizzles and steams and I go away somewhere in my head, remembering
balconies with private mornings, Indian tea at the Raj Vilas in Jaipur,
green tea in Shanghai, white tea at our favorite Thai restaurant. Coffee
from a thermos on the beach. I get dressed and the memories of beaches
and flowing saris and jeans on our summer trip to Yellowstone, the suit
I wore for my wedding, the stark and sacred nakedness of our lovemaking.
I wash my face, remembering the parties, the operas, the nights where
streaks of lipstick told of a wild kiss.
I hear my toothbrush like a drill reverberating in a void. My mind is
empty of depth, I skim the surface, afraid to go towards the center
of my grief. I circle it like a person gazing at a dead body, carefully
waiting for it to jump back into life. Poking at it with fear and dread.
Is it really dead? I look at my relationship with Jonathan. Lifeless.
I want to shake it, hug it, kiss it back to life. The scream is pounding
in my chest and I almost can't bear it. I want to go back in time and
erase all the hurtful words, dilute the pain with the wisdom of time
and understanding. I see it all so clearly now but its just too
late. I have gained so much wisdom but at such a price. But then there
is the love too, the mind numbing intimacy of marriage.
© Margaret Manning Jan 2004
Divorce by Margaret Manning
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