The 1,763-Day Weekend
Part 2 — The Guilt of the [Recovering] Rescuer
Okay, I admit I selected that image for the caption, just to be a bit salacious.
I first went to Le Maître’s office late last September, while I was off work for a few weeks, to finally start the divorce proceedings. I should have started them a year before — perhaps even sooner to get the ball rolling ahead of time in preparation for the inevitable — but I was in a state of inertia in all aspects of my life. Initially, I wanted to spare my mother of the anxiety; I wanted to simply casually tell her one day that not only was it over between NowEx and me but that it was legally over, too. However, I delayed and delayed filing for divorce. My mental tailspin last year wasn’t because I had to file; rather, the delay was one of the results of my tailspin. There’s a difference.
While I didn’t want to admit it to myself that morning I drove NowEx to Trudeau International, a full four months before he absolutely had to return to Mexico due to not yet having his Canadian PR status, I knew deep down that we had crossed the point of no return. But I still reserved, in a tiny corner of my heart, a place to hold onto the desperate belief that the sudden separation might somehow be reparative rather than be marking, as it was, the official beginning of the end.
Why? Probably because, as any good recovering Catholic, I also felt a lot of guilt: guilt for being the only one among my siblings to have failed at marriage (as in, why could they succeed where I couldn’t, not as in what will they think of me when they learn the news), guilt for having ignored all the signs telling me — nay, SCREAMING at me — not to marry NowEx in the first place, guilt for unconsciously having attempted to rescue him despite himself, guilt for essentially sending him back to a country where life is hard and opportunities to fulfill his full potential are few (despite his frequent and tiresome claims until his penultimate day in Canada that everything in Mexico is superb and everything in Canada is not as good or downright contemptible).
I also felt some guilt for having had two very clear opportunities to rescind the marriage proposal itself but doggedly staying the course. Rather than recognizing the signs, I rationalized them away, converting those signs into proof to myself that I wasn’t trying hard enough, that I lacked sensitivity. Little did I know that NowEx would intuit my rationalizations and sense of guilt and come to project them back at me to accuse me of always and only thinking of myself first.
But I would be misleading you if I dove into an exposition of my missed opportunities “post-proposal” without first coming clean about the signals that should have had me running the other way and never propose in the first place. In fact, whenever I think about the “pre-proposal” signals I chose to overlook, I can’t help but feel some shame. However, today I’m choosing to look at the whole debacle as similar to an alcoholic having to reach bottom so that the only way from there is up, except that my addiction, as I’ve established, was the urge to rescue people.
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