The 1,763-Day Weekend
Part 15 — Even Bad Things Come to an End
I still remember how I felt, sitting in the Village that Saturday night he left.
Was I sad? Was I moping? Did I feel guilty?
I had gone to Oka Beach by myself earlier in the day, came back home afterwards to clean up and headed to the Village by myself. But what I remember most vividly of that night is that everything seemed sharper, clearer than it was just 24 hours earlier.
It was as though, without realizing it, I had been looking at the world — at the city I had adopted — through lens that were smudged and greasy. But not that night. Everything was so clear. Everything was in focus. I felt like I had just arrived in the Montréal where I had intended to move in the first place.
That’s strange to me as I think back, because that night I was still thinking that I would go ahead with NowEx’s PR application. I had not yet been convinced that it was a bad idea. That night, NowEx and I were not yet totally estranged. We had put the word “divorce” on the back burner before he’d left. Yet that night I felt light. Liberated. Relieved…
That night — August 22, 2009 — was my first real night living in Montréal. Yet all I did is sit there and look at people go by. But I met again with the Maurice I had once known and the city I had chosen.
For the most part, that feeling lasted for six months. I won a cruise for my work six weeks after NowEx left, and somehow that made me feel vindicated: I had made the right choice. When I visited family and friends in the Maritimes later that October, I felt triumphant: phoenix rising. I threw myself into my work but, alas, that soured when, after the cruise in January, I was assigned to the Worst Supervisor Ever. That threw me into a slump from which I only recovered late last fall. And I put off the obvious business that had to be done: formalizing the divorce.
It’s funny, because there was no doubt after September 14, 2009, that the divorce was inevitable.
NowEx and I had called each other only once several days after he’d returned to Mexico. Truth be told, in those first few days, feeling so suddenly liberated, I avoided calling him. And when we did speak, the call was short and tense.
Several more days passed. He tried calling me several times until he finally just sent me an e-mail message so vile that the last shadow of a doubt I may have harboured evaporated, not to say shattered in a million pieces. The following reply from me was our last communication ever.
I’ll spare you his bile that provoked my ire. And, by the way, this is the first time I’m showing this to anyone, so consider yourself priviledged. ( LOL! )
You start off by saying that I’m the one who has to call first (“Now I’m thinking I’m not calling ’till you are man enough to take the fucking phone and stand the shit that you gave me,” you wrote), but just a few hours later you start calling me? I suppose you changed your mind because you figured I wouldn’t be “man enough” to call. Not “man enough” to put up with your constant mood swings and changes of mind. Give me a break! Why the hell would I want to subject myself to more of that?! Why should I?
Yes, last night I chose not to answer your calls despite my writing earlier that I would answer, because I was absolutely infuriated after reading your reply which even included a flourish (if I read your prose correctly) of calling me “stupid” for not doing as you do and blurt out whatever crosses my mind — other persons’ thoughts and feelings be damned! You can choose to call my behaviour “evading” you, but the truth is that I couldn’t stand after that the thought of talking to anyone but especially not to you. As for this morning, I didn’t answer not because I was evading, but because I had started work early for a phone appointment. Now I’m just taking a few minutes to acknowledge that I know very well that you’ve been calling, but I can’t answer because I have to work. And won’t be answering the damn phone until this evening at the earliest. And even there, I’ll see. I don’t see the point of my screaming and hollering, yet that’s all I feel like doing right now. I don’t see how that would be constructive because when I get this angry, I can’t make sense of myself let alone think that anyone else could make sense of me.
NowEx, no one simply “decides” that he is not happy. That is NOT a decision. Nobody “decides” how he FEELS!
So, in your mind my silence is somehow very typically white/anglo. Well! Heaven forbid that it should be viewed as simply the way I am, as an individual — the son of Robert who felt deeply but simply couldn’t get it out. And heaven forbid even more if I were to make a similar generalization about you by implying it’s because you’re Mexican! Except I wouldn’t make such a generalization; I wouldn’t make such an extrapolation. For someone who is so sensitive in decrying when certain words, actions or attitudes are racist when you think they’re directed towards you, you certainly have no qualms in making similar remarks without thinking of how egregious such generalization are.
And one last quick thing before I go. I want you to think of all the times you admonished me. I know that’s a difficult exercise for you because you like to forget about stuff like that immediately after. But, in doing so, you’re only absolving yourself of responsibility. I want you to think (as in, putting yourself in someone’s else shoes) about how those admonishments and orders, big and small, could have accumulated and led me to feel like a mistreated “pet.” And about how, after three weeks of not having been made to feel that way, I’m not exactly keen on going back to that over the phone.
The shit that [I] gave [him]? Really?
And by the way, what did he call my shutting down in silence after he’d hit too many of my buttons at once?
Violent… Such violence…
Remember what I was telling you about his tendency to project back his failings onto me?
I rest my case.
It’ll be three years in September since everything ended with that reply. Perhaps I did have the last word, both literally and figuratively. Perhaps my reply was a “got ya.” Perhaps he was shamed because he recognized that everything I said about him was true and free of hyperbole.
More likely, however, my reply just pissed him off finally and totally, and he did what he does best: he cut me off. Just like he cut off his own mother for seven years in his late teens and early twenties. Just like he cut off Jorge. And Jovana. And Martin. And Cleopatrick. And Cleopatrick’s sister. And Brian in Toronto. And I can’t remember who else. Anybody who has the temerity to disagree with him in the slightest or not say or do or behave exactly as he expects them to. And not only did he defriend me or anyone he met through me on Facebook — that was expected! — he also managed to make himself quite invisible on the Web.
In fact, this two-year-old article is the most recent evidence I’ve found to prove that he’s still around, although I nearly blew coffee through my nose when I read that he works (or claims to be working) as an interpreter “acting as a go-between to assist Latin Americans living in the USA whose English language skills aren’t sufficient enough to understand legal jargon, government documents, and insurance claims.” Dog helps those poor people who rely on him!
But none of this is about whether I won or he won. The truth is that we both lost. Except now that the divorce is finalized, two things still bother me.
- It’ll be three years in September since our total estrangement, and I sincerely doubt his life and his thoughts have been affected one-tenth of the extent mine have. I’m sure he’s moved on long ago. I doubt he ever has a thought about me, good or bad, whereas I’m only able to bury all of this now that the divorce is finalized and I’ve written this series of long blog entries.
- We all wag our finger in disapproval at politicians, particularly in the U.S., who have affairs or divorce their spouse while the latter is gravely ill. I know I’m not a clinical psychologist and my therapist Lucy’s ethics prevented her from making a formal diagnostic of NowEx, but based on what I told her about him, she did timidly venture that my appraisal of BPD and anger management issues sounded very plausible. Therefore, a teeny tiny part of me feels like I did like one those sleazy politicians who divorced their sick spouse.
But I manage to clear my conscience pretty quickly by saying for Point 1, “Big deal! Get over it…” and for Point 2, I plead “pre-existing condition,” not to mention “too far gone.”
For you know what? I’m convinced NowExMotherInLaw knew about Point 2. I regret that my Spanish was insufficient to call her to formally say goodbye to her and to say, “You know as well as I do why it has come to this…” She may not know the term BPD but she’s his mother, for chrissake, so she knows… She knows…
I still wear my wedding band and I plan to continue wearing it for two reasons. The first reason is that I never would have spent over $1,000 on jewelry for myself, so you bet I’m keeping my Cartier ring! The second reason is that I only need to look at it if I feel the urge to rescue someone, and it forces me to stop and think: Am I about to do the right and kind thing, or am I about to go too far? Moreover, what is my intuition telling me?
I’ll be turning 47 next month. I won’t say “never,” but I seriously doubt I’ll ever marry again. I really can’t see it happening. As for what might be in store for another relationship, I can honestly say I’m still not interested in looking right now, nor am I the type of guy who feels the need to be in a relationship. I don’t feel lesser or empty without one.
That said, never look a gift horse in the mouth. I think I’m fundamentally a solitary person, but that’s not saying I’m a loner or a recluse. I’m comfortable in my own company; always have been. So I tend to think that, especially as I get older, there must be other guys who are like me and who might be comfortable with a “relationship loosely defined,” which doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t be close and intimate and loving and giving, but which simply wouldn’t be measured by getting a joint mortgage and spitting toothpaste down the same drain every morning. I just don’t see myself fitting into that mould, ever.
But it’s early days still. It hasn’t been a month yet since I’ve become…