Posted by: shelliejelly | February 4, 2009

Let It Go

There are nights I lay in bed, awaken unexpectedly and for no reason I can discern, to stare at my ceiling. Some nights, when I think of O. and I, the reality of the divorce seems like a hazy, distant mirage that flutters in and out of focus. In the dark, my dog resting next to my leg, the thought of us no longer being married seems impossible and a deep ache starts at my heart and stretches to my stomach.

Strangely, though I wanted to be married, it didn’t really mean anything life changing to me. I always thought that a piece of paper wouldn’t change my feelings, and my desire was, I believe, more about wanting to be someone’s wife. I always liked the sound of “This is my wife, Michelle.” Not in a give-up-my-identity kind of way, but in a two peas in a pod or partners in crime sensibility.

But now, with divorce looming, the meaning of marriage seems rife with sentiment and symbolism, more than a piece of paper can possibly represent.

When K. died, I remember sitting on my parents’ back porch, staring out at the trees, absently listening to the birds chatter at one another. When my mother came to sit by me, tears were streaming down my face, and I asked her, quite simply, “Am I single now?” I imagine her heart broke when she spoke the words, “Yes, I suppose you are.”

True then, true now. And perhaps just as painful.

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