Posted by: shelliejelly | November 1, 2009

I’ve been so

I never wanted my daughter to feel the divorce. I told myself over and over and over again that I wasn’t going to make the same mistakes that I’d witnessed so many other couples make. The bitterness. The bile that’d spill out of their mouths when they spoke of the person they once had pledged their undying love to. I never expected these people to have happy divorces; I just didn’t think they needed to wash their children in the same unhappiness they bathed themselves with every single day.

I was going to be better; I was going to be an example, to myself, to my daughter.

But doing so, making it easy on my daughter and, by association, O., has only made moving on harder for me. He comes to my house and stays some weekends because he doesn’t have a place of his own. No, it’s no trouble, I’d say. I want my daughter to know her dad, I’d think, persuading myself that the boundaries we redrew with the thick, black lines of divorce papers wouldn’t be blurred, wouldn’t disintegrate as we trudged back and forth and back and forth and back and forth over them with no regard for distinction.

But I was wrong, and I’ve been so foolish. I remember telling C., my counselor, how I sometimes couldn’t fathom the divorce being final. There has always been a part of me that honestly believed we’d find our way back to one another.


I can hear him talking in the other room. I’m in my bedroom with my eyes closed, taking a rest, willing away the tightness in my chest. I walk around the corner and ask him who he’s talking to, half expecting him to be singing to himself. He stares at me for a minute, a pause, a second, letting the question hang in the air.

Sarah, he says. And I turn around and go back to my room, silent. His footsteps follow, the hardwood floor moaning until he stops beside my bed. Can I get you anything? Do you want some tea? So benign, maybe contrived; he’s gauging how I’m feeling about his talking to Sarah, even if he’d never admit so when pressed. No, I’m fine, I say to my pillow.


He doesn’t have to tell me that he’s interested in her romantically; I know. When I tell him that I can’t believe he’s talking to her while staying at my house, he questions me, as though my anger is somehow misguided. Not everyone thinks the way you do, Michelle, and that doesn’t make everyone else wrong, he responds to my calling he and Sarah thick for not having the faintest idea of how inappropriate their behavior is. I sometimes wonder if I’m the only one who would find this action so amazingly inconsiderate, but then I think of at least a dozen women who would be sympathetic to my annoyance and shrug off his attempt at turning it toward me.

What I am guilty of, what I will fully take responsibility for, is my own belief that somehow my life would put itself back together again, the misery rewound until the fracture lines in the once whole picture evaporated, invisible.

I’ve been so foolish

I’ve been so naive

I’ve been so focused on the impossibility

that I completely forgot to put one foot in front of the other, to wrap my hands around my leg and forcibly remove my foot from the muck, shaking off the thick ooze of pain.

I forgot to soothe myself

I forgot to find my own succor

I forgot that I count, too



  1. […] once again reached a breathless moment. Since Sara, the reality of my divorce  has once again crept up from behind, hammering me over the head. Like […]

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