Half a day wasted

…thanks to a bottle of Shiraz Mataro last night. Now, I know the drill– I need to drink one glass of water for every glass of wine I consume to avoid the pain of being wrung out the next morning. I failed to adhere to my own best advice and so this morning I woke with a pain I will liken to meat hooks stuck in each temple and a gurgle befitting of horror movies churning in my stomach. Damned hangover. I don’t get drunk often, dare I say rarely, but when I do, I tend to pull out all the stops. (Call me an ‘over achiever.’) Luckily this event climaxed with me stumbling to bed, after managing to brush my own teeth, and passing out snug as a bug.

I have a good reason for all of this. I was drowning some sorrows. It is perhaps the most clichΓ© of all reasons to get pissed. I played that card last night. Let me tell you about it.

The initial reason for feeling off yesterday was that it would’ve been my 10 year wedding anniversary to my first husband, and given that he and I are still close friends, it was just an odd day. Though we were in the middle of our divorce last year when the 9th rolled around, we celebrated it in thanks for the good times and that we were lucky enough to spend over 10 years together. We came out of that decade with a strong friendship and a love for each other that won’t ever dissipate. We’re 4000 miles apart now, but video and chat several times per week. He is a best friend and yesterday was the first October 13th we’d spent apart since dating over 10 years ago. I was sad and reflective. I was also grateful.

This wasn’t enough to push me towards the wine rack. I was cool with the meaning of the day thus far. It’s what my mom told me later that sent me to the bottle.

Her husband is leaving her. This only came as a semi-surprise, as I know their marriage has been rocky before. They had separated for a brief time in the past and reconciled. They need each other for reasons I won’t go into here, but they also need to be apart for equally strong justifications. I guess the thought of my mom being alone at 60, unemployed, clinically depressed, of marginal health, without an income substantial enough to support her, and me being 4000 helpless miles away, got me down a bit.

I have a mixture of anger and understanding for her husband. If anyone knows my mom, I do. I know how incredibly wonderful and brilliant she is. I also know the flip side to living with her. She is tortured with the chemicals of her brain in ways no one can claim to empathise with. I understand how difficult it is to be around such a volatile cocktail of a person. But he is not without his own flaws. He too suffers depression on a milder scale. He has a selective memory, he has the curse of foot often wedged in his mouth, and he gives up on that which he doesn’t immediately understand. There have been numerous times over the years that I wondered how they’ve not murdered each other and my initial forecast for their union was not a particularly favourable one. They are different species, my mom and her husband, and it has finally become apparent to them both. It took over a decade to come to this, but the votes are tallied and the marriage will end.

I take a small amount of guilty pleasure in knowing that her husband is relatively incapable on his own. He won’t know how to work the DVD player. He won’t know how to write out his bills. He will be lost without my mom’s cooking. He won’t have her to answer and explain all of the things he doesn’t understand. He relied on her in a nearly parasitic nature for these comforts and now he will have to face it alone. It is a cruel comfort for me and I expect my karma total has been reduced by a couple of points for voicing it. My mom will suffer too, and that scares the shit out of me. Again, I am 4000 miles away. I can do nothing to help her get on her feet. I can’t help her find work; I can’t sneak groceries into her cupboards when she’s out. She needed him in a different way to his relationship with her, and for that she is equally at fault. Not to say the marriage was doomed from the altar– it has been generously peppered with good times as far as I can tell as an outsider. But it ran it’s course. It’s over. I fear for them both.

I know my mom reads my blog. It’s a good way to keep up with what’s going on in my life over here and I think she even enjoys my writing. I’m sure this post will upset her even in it’s censored form. (Names have been purposely left out, and details have been vague. I am, if nothing else, respectful.) No doubt I have only seen what is meant to be seen in their marriage. I know it’s over and I am not surprised. The faults in their union have been in place for a long time. My first marriage wound up with a surprise ending for most people, but the point I had to make over and over was that the public face of a marriage is often very different to the one that is worn behind closed doors. It was difficult, but we divorced. It needed doing and it still hurts sometimes. That’s the curse of ending it as friends. My mom’s marriage won’t end like mine. She is bitter and I understand why. I told her I wanted to keep in touch with her husband, but part of me doubts that will last… For all her flaws, I am my mom’s biggest fan and my loyalty will give me little patience for the man who’s decided that the woman he admired, was intrigued by, was drawn to and felt liberated by, is less a partner and more a financial obligation.

I think that might be enough to take him off the Christmas card list.
It makes me sad.

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8 thoughts on “Half a day wasted”

  1. Translation: You’re looking for spirituality.

    Let me recommend “The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire” by Deepak. Do the exercises in the back, even if you find them droll.

    You love metaphor, from what I can tell. Spirituality is the home of metaphor.

    Also, I once had a professor tell me that it was apropos that “liver” had the word “live” in it.

    Wash behind your ears.
    Don’t talk to strangers.

    -John

  2. Christmas Card List?

    I haven’t done Xmas cards for years. And finally people have stopped sending them to me.

    (And maybe I missed something, but I failed to see the connection between this post and looking for spirituality).

  3. Thanks John- I’m not sure where the spirituality thing came from, and I appreciate your advice, but I am firm and very comfortable in my belief system as it is. I do know of Deepak, though I’ve never read any of his books. I’m not much for that genre of literature typically. I thank you for the well intended tip. πŸ™‚

    I do love metaphor though. Metaphor and simile have always intrigued me.

    Thanks for commenting on a long and difficult post. πŸ™‚

  4. Hi Matt- I know the slippery slope of Xmas card apathy! I actually, (tying in with John’s comment about spirituality), don’t celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday anyway, so I’m not sure why I still feel bound by a tradition that I should send mostly meaningless cards to the people I can’t seem to be bothered to stay in touch with at any other time of year. * phweew * That felt good to type! lol!

    It’s true- I’m not looking for spirituality and I’m intrigued as to what part of my post was misleading in that way. I seem to misread John’s comments often- many times completely missing his point, so maybe he’s read something in my post with a similar misinterpretation. That’s the curse of the written word at times… the total lack of inflection and facial expressions. Sometimes we take that for granted when we write.

    Perhaps I shall weed down the Xmas card list to only direct family and best friends this year… One day I’ll be free of the damn things, but not this year. πŸ™‚

  5. Maddie-
    Mom is still in Janesville about 2 blocks from where I used to live (and Aaron still does). She phoned me after reading your comment and wanted me to tell you that she thanks you for your words and offer. πŸ™‚ I have an update post to generate on her situation and how she’s coping, but that will have to wait until later when I’m in the mood to post.

    We should catch up soon…

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