He really didn't like sex with me. And he really, really didn't want kids. He called me "Mom" accidentally, one too many times.
The trouble was, I was crazy about him. To further the trouble, he was crazy about me. After nine years together, we were still in love. In fact, we were soul mates.
I loved him for his honesty, his genuine character, his one-of-a-kind quirky sense of humor, his compassion and his looks. He had a feel for food, loved to cook and loved to eat. And the killer: He played the guitar. Nights, he'd sit by the bed, get out the guitar and sing me a song.
Our marriage counselor helped us say goodbye. It wasn't easy. In truth, leaving him may have been the most difficult thing I'd ever done in my life. For him, it was devastation.
We had another ring ceremony, seven years after the first one where we'd put them on in front of the people we most loved, including all of his family whom I adored. We had a mutual love and respect for each other that was rare, I believe, with in-laws.
At our second ring ceremony, we drove to the ocean. We went into the water and removed them. We cried our hearts out, the water lapping at our legs, but unable to wash away the pain. All that water.
There was grace in our ending. There were no arguments over silly things like who gets what. I took what I wanted and that was that. Only, I couldn't take our wedding dishes with their lovely lemon print. I kept envisioning a plateful of tears.
I took a vacation after that. I went to New Mexico with my mother. I took a wrong turn and ended up in Abiquiu instead of Santa Fe. How could I have taken such a wrong turn? How? How? How? I pulled over to the side of the road and pounded on the steering wheel. Why? Why? Why? I sobbed and sobbed, my mother sitting silently beside me. I would never, ever wake up in the morning and see his kind eyes looking at me on the pillow next to me. Never, ever.
I listened to a sermon this morning on my computer from the minister who speaks at the Universalist Unitarian Church of Peoria, where I used to attend. I sat at my desk in Belgrade, Serbia, drinking my coffee. My two boys were in the other room watching "Sesame Street." As the minister spoke about appreciation, gratitude and grief, I remembered. The old wound resurfaced. He said, grief needs to happen in order for there to be creativity. The eggs need to crack in order to make the omelet, he said. That's how the creative force continues
And that is how I understand the pain I went through. It led to my two boys, sitting there in the other room. I met another good man. He wanted children, and he has a healthy sexual appetite, to boot. Talk about appreciation. Talk about a happy ending.