Ordinary Tragedy

I’m stunned by the normalization of the most dire, most tragic, aspects of life. Things that make me blanche, make me cry, wrapped up in all that’s ordinary. Everyday occurrences happening all the time. To people everywhere.

Today I received from her attorney’s office two documents “for my records.”  A Declaration for Default or Uncontested Dissolution” of our marriage, and its accompanying “Request to Enter Default.” Just pieces of paper, or rather their digital versions, signed by her. She signed away our marriage. And, no I did not contest. Why contest the inevitable. Why add time, expense, and agony to heartbreak? In California only one party in a marriage is needed to legally end it. It’s no different than in Sharia law when all a husband has to do is say three times “I divorce you.” Much quicker, less expensive. The pain in the heart over in a moment of shock.

That’s what she did. She whose name—my wife’s name, the name of the woman I married, the woman I loved—whose name I can’t write unless I want to receive another threatening cease and desist order from her attorney. No name, no wedding photos. Identity elimination. Nothing to connect her to me. She was never connected to me. It’s an apt metaphor for our marriage. No names, no photos. Erasure.

I was wished well on this painful journey.

It’s all so ordinary.

I go with my son to his chemotherapy infusions every other Friday. Normal hospital procedure. Many people being infused with lethal chemicals. The normalization of cancer. I am chipper, and positive, and my heart is bleeding. I am there for him; we will get through this. It matters what’s happening. If I could trade places, let it be me not him, I would in an instant.

He is strong; he will be strong.

That she doesn’t ask how’s he doing, your son, your beautiful son, is testament to her disassociation, her own self-protection more important than caring, than compassion. It was always more important. Compassion withheld.

Of course she feels vulnerable. Of course she’s withdrawn. Of course she can’t speak to me, see me, acknowledge me. Of course she can only communicate by way of her attorney. It’s all so ordinary, the way she is, has always been, the way she wound up being.

I can almost forgive her. If it wasn’t so ordinary, expected, and sad. If it didn’t break my heart.

God help any man who thinks he might get close to her. Closeness spells the end. Closeness triggers leaving. That she could not accept the great blanket of my affection, that she found it invasive, is all on her. What she told me I won’t repeat. Why bother repeating her words when she only denies her words, says they misrepresent. It must be hard being her.

I loved her. I gave her my love. I gave her all of me, and all of me was too much. I was made to feel that to want togetherness, to want to be a married couple in spirit and practice, as well as on paper, was some kind of neurosis—she after all the brain specialist. All my problem.

Never call me your wife, it implies I’m your property.

Never call me your wife.

Never call me by my name.

Never call me.

Cold bed. Cold heart. Cold comfort.


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