Bedmates

We sleep in the same bed, never touching. Our dog sleeps sprawled at our feet or between us. In the morning he often burrows down under the covers. It’s been this way for over three years, well before the February 9th declaration. Nothing new to which divorcing added a sudden unwelcome dimension. It’s been a barren bed for a long time.

Is sex important in a marriage? Does having no sex three out of the four years of being married count as actually being married? Should I have believed my wife’s reasons then, or her revised assertions now? I know how the situation occurred to me. No sex is no sex. Depending on the circumstances, I could be compassionate or resentful—but that’s my internal state, not the fact of the matter. The fact of the matter, the action, was that a deep, intimate connection went missing. And I settled for it.

In eighteen days my moving pod arrives. Another three days and I’m gone. I say goodbye to our dog; I leave the house. I wonder if she is counting the days as I am. I imagine she is.

Our final days together are a superficial re-enactment of all the other days, as though our time together will stretch on and on. Who walks the dog; who chops the onion while the other spins the lettuce; little reminders to be sure to clean out the sink; who will let the gardeners in; who buys what at our respective farmers’ markets.

I don’t know what I expected. Surely there are words of parting to be said; or not. What I realize is that I really don’t know this woman, and that what has been revealed is sadly unattractive. To know more now, at this late date, after the end has been written, is neither helpful nor nourishing in a life sustaining way. It would only subtract. Put the past in the past. I don’t need to be adding more past to the past.

Earlier in this chronicle of my unraveling marriage I conjectured about what it might be like to come back together someday, what would have to change, be different. That I still loved her.

Love is a funny, so indefinite, state of being. Yes, I do still love my wife. Or I love the memory of the woman I fell in love with. I still see that woman, fleetingly, in the woman today who is divorcing me. She’s still there, under layer upon layer of self-protection. She calls it independence.

Tonight at dinner I commented that I found it remarkable that so many people at the South End spent so much time there without their partners, not just for the sports activities, but for the now weekly social events, the happy hours, impromptu dinners, the bar that seems now always open. My wife’s predictable response was that not all people held my view of relationships, that people lived independent lives.

Independence is one thing; not living a life together is another. Maybe I am too dependent on companionship, shared experience, trudging that happy road of destiny together.

I think back to the early days of our romance. Like many athletes, my wife has a quilt sewn from the many swimming event T-shirts she had collected. One T-shirt, commemorating a South End swim, has a photo of one of her former lovers on the front, a man I know, and like. This quilt was on her bed. She was truly surprised when I said I didn’t want to sleep, much less make love, immediately under his picture. It was inconsequential to her. Was this a sign I should have noticed, or heeded? Or that I would be asked to take her first husband, still her friend, swimming in the Bay? On that day, we could have been three of my wife’s lovers, all together sitting naked in the South End sauna. Am I over sensitive to think that’s weird? This is experience I don’t have. Maybe there are men who share women over time, and even talk about it, talk about what it was like. That’s not me.

So today I’m thinking about what loving this woman means. It definitely does not mean loving the fact she’s dissolved our marriage, evicted me from her house, moved me out and moved me on. Can she be separated from these acts?

Time will tell. Not today.

Previous Post
Next Post
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: