I have an ex-husband jar. Did you know that? It’s not a rinsed out Black Cat Peanut Butter jar in which I somehow keep you in it like a Bonsai Kitten (although that would be interesting enough to trend on Twitter for a day). It’s more a metaphorical construct, the equivalent of a swear jar invented by a male friend who told me I talk about you too much.
I haven’t paid much into the ex-husband jar lately. Until last night. Because today is the anniversary of our divorce, my divorsary as I call it, and I wanted to find out how you are doing. So I did the one thing I shouldn’t, which is Google your wife. It’s easy enough because her name is relatively unusual in Sydney (unlike your name, which is very common) and she blogs, so she’s out there, along with photos of you and your two sons. She’s very talented; she writes beautifully — far better than I do.
An interior designer and an architect — I always chuckled ruefully at this. You couldn’t have found a more perfect match. You have a lovely family. You’re lucky. I hope you are happy, and that you have what you want in life. That the anger and frustration have been replaced by purpose and calm.
You do appear to be much happier than I am, and I’d be lying if I said that doesn’t bother me. That I hate the idea of being a preface to your happy ending. There should be symmetry in these things, shouldn’t there? We caused each other an equivalent amount of misery, and this should be balanced out by an equivalent amount of benevolence from the universe for each of us.
But I’ve internalised you in ways that are difficult to reverse. When I saw the photos of you, my heart started racing. I felt a bit sick. That same feeling you get when you run into your nemesis at the local mall and you make eye contact and you blank each other, but the emotional impact echoes ripples into time and space.
Do you ever Google me? Does your heart race when you read my name? Did you remember the significance of this day in your life, eight hours ahead of mine? Do you remember anything of our life together?
Our — my — Persian cat is eating from her bowl as I type this. She’s twelve years old now, and seems over her kidney problems, although she still won’t let anyone brush her after you tried to shave her all those years ago. Remember how she wouldn’t let you upstairs for two weeks without trying to attack you?
The memories, even the bad ones, are fading now. I could look at photographs and use them as a rail to guide me into the past, but the emotional content has evaporated, leaving only a tide mark behind.
Like the jar, you’re becoming a theoretical construct. You hover beside me, but you’re not really there. Except these occasional moments, when I am reminded of you. I pay my tolls, and every day, little by little, you disappear, until one day, you will be gone, and I will be free.
Image – www.sxc.hu