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I first met my husband in the fall of 2003. He was the brother of a friend I had met while on an organized trip to Europe after college. She and I kept in touch after the trip through emails, and one day due to the traveling nature of my job I decided I would fly to Toronto to see her for a weekend, since my job paid for the flight. I flew from Louisville, Kentucky, where my software project was at the time, to Toronto, where she lived with her family in the suburbs.
She and her brother both
She and her brother both still lived at home; I arrived in time to have Friday night dinner with her family, her parents- two retired teachers. It was a large but simply decorated home, and the conversation flowed, and after dinner we watched a movie –The Life of David Gale – a dark movie not befitting of the light-hearted family gathering we had.
During the movie, I exchanged glances with her brother –a shy, handsome, green-eyed 29-year-old guy at the time, who I desperately wanted to attract. When we went to the Eaton Mall the next day,
When we went to the Eaton Mall the next day, I made a point of buying a white sweater I thought made me look good – so I could wear it in the evening, when we would go out with the brother and another guy for a double-date at Medieval Times.
H was a guy after my own heart. I felt immediate attraction to him, and one of the things that impressed me most was his gentle and kind nature. He was quick to make his companion comfortable with whatever one needed. He opened doors, made you a coffee,
He opened doors, made you a cup of coffee, brought you a blanket to warm your feet, all without asking. I almost jokingly called him ‘the last gentleman on earth’.
When I returned to Kentucky – where I was dating another guy at the time – I called him one Saturday morning, to tell him that I liked him, but that I was dating someone else now and that I would like to invite him to Kentucky, but it wouldn’t be appropriate given my dating situation. He responded with what I thought was a twinge of disappointment, but he later told
He responded with what I thought was a twinge of disappointment, but he later told me that that was not the case at all, and that in fact it was excitement that a girl like me took a liking to him in the first place.
About a year later I moved to New York City and broke up with my Kentucky boyfriend, in a saga that I had written about but which I will not dwell upon here. As soon as I broke up, I called H in tears and asked him what I should do. He responded by sending
He responded by sending me flowers in a porcelain mug that had a picture of a lady on it with the wording ‘The Queen of Everything’, a mug that we have since used to collect small change, and which I intend to leave to him once our divorce is finalized and I depart from Toronto for good.
Being newly single, I invited him to New York City for new year’s 2005 – and this is officially when our relationship started. He landed in Newark where I picked him up, and we then took the train to Jersey City.
I pause now to think about my great-grandparents’ relationship, which is the best true love story I’ve ever come to know. I remember how my great-grandfather wrote in his memoir that their wedding took place on December 31, 1918, and lasted until the early morning of January 1, 1919, in a small village in Hungary. He wrote that they joked how their wedding feast – which included at least 10 geese and strudels both of the nut and poppy seed variety – lasted a whole year that night, because of the date change.
I know exactly what
I know exactly what he was talking about. For me, that night when the clock turned to 2005, was a night that lasted a whole year – it was me and my future husband, and the whole city around us – and – as I was pushing into the crowd to see the ball drop, I swam out ahead of him, and we missed kissing each other exactly on the second, but we did kiss a moment later, me turning back to him and he behind me.
I wanted to ask my great-grandfather, who died many years before I was born,
I wanted to ask my great-grandfather, who died many years before I was born, how he made that leap of faith, and how did he know that she was the one for him? After all, we all did it at such a young age, and what did we really know about each other and the world, and what was to be? I mean, did he guess that she would later burn in the gas chambers and turn to dust, and he would remarry again and live 30 more happy years with another woman? Did I divine that my husband
Did I divine that my husband and I would get marooned into god-foresaken beaches of infertility, job loss and unhappiness?
No, but there is a difference – although my great-grandfather took up with another woman after the war, he only did it because the first one died – and still, the blood that’s flowing in my veins belongs to the first wife. My great-grandfather truly had a story for the ages, not because he did great things but because he did the right things in extraordinary times, and told them extraordinarily well. He put one foot
He put one foot in front of the other, and by God when he looked back at the path he had taken he had a story to tell. And that’s exactly what I should do. But his story is one that is still ongoing; mine is one that will have no continuation, because of no children. Who will ever know what happened to me?
I lived in a studio apartment in a tall building in Jersey city right above the Holland Tunnel, almost overlooking the river. I say ‘almost’, because in order to get that view you
I say ‘almost’, because in order to get that view you had to pay a lot more money. I had a friend across the street – we went to the same school – who lived in the adjoining building, and his view was really the most interesting – he overlooked the Holland Tunnel directly and could easily cover traffic from where he was living for one of the morning stations. My particular studio only overlooked the entrance of the building below, and that was fine for me. The hallway usually smelled of some awful Indian cooking that was constantly taking place, and twice
The hallway usually smelled of some awful Indian cooking that was constantly taking place, and twice I called up the roach people to fumigate the roaches in my kitchen. They were incessant; I ended up never leaving a dirty dish or a piece of food out, otherwise they would be all over it. In general, I avoided cooking, and took to eating out most of the time. I looked the best that I ever did for my time – I had lost 10 pounds and weighed as much as I did in middle school, and I looked good and knew it.
On my desktop, I have a word document file, titled ‘Joint Assets’. In it, there is a table that lists 23 items, divided into 6 categories – joint assets, joint liabilities, his assets, his liabilities, my assets, and my liabilities. There is also an appendix that lists 12 different regular bills, and who will pay them after I transfer title of the house to him. This is how our marriage will culminate in the courts – the joint assets of such and such, decided mutually to be split this way, and that’s the end of the story.
After we went for our final mediation session, we had sex, and I told him, jokingly, that getting pregnant was the last thing we needed right now, and he said, ‘but don’t you want to get pregnant, isn’t this what it’s all about,’ and then he paused and said, ‘I guess not with me anymore.’ I did 3 loads of laundry – one whites, one darks, and one was darks delicates – and I folded his underwear quite carefully into his cabinet drawers, so as not to cause a jam, since that drawer seems to be quite overflowing perpetually.
On Valentine’s Day, I was caught speeding while gunning for a green light at the end of the street, and the cop nailed me with 4 tickets – one for speeding 65 in a zone of 40, one for not wearing a seat belt, one for not having my insurance, and one for not having my registration. I didn’t argue, and when I arrived at my work building’s parking lot, I sat for 15 minutes and cried. When I returned home late that night from work, I saw flowers, a card, and a stuffed beating heart on the bed.
His card read – ‘I dread thinking that this might be the last gift I give you or the last greeting card I write you. I just want you to know that I have A LOT of respect for you and all that you have accomplished! You have fascinated me constantly with your sharp wit, your smarts, your academic and work accomplishments, and your ability to make friends. I want you to know that I will continue to remain fond of you and that I truly love you VERY much! All the very best luck and happy Valentine’s Day!
That same night, I turned to him and said, ‘is there any way we can make it work?’ and he said, ‘well, we already paid so much money for this divorce. Let’s just go through with it.’ And I turned around in bed, I don’t know if more disappointed or more relieved.
I already have more than 10 boxes packed, and the trickiest part is the underwear. Since I need them on a daily basis, they are unpackable, but I want everything out of the drawers. So I keep them on top of the dresser, and tonight, after
So I keep them on top of the dresser, and tonight, after I leave for Boston for a few more days and his parents return from Chile, I hope they don’t come into the bedroom and see them along with the box of pads that is now there as well. His parents won’t come into our house anymore when I’m inside, but they will come if he tells them I’m away, and will look to see what I’m taking. They have stopped talking to or addressing me ever since they found out it was over.
At work, my account has gone into a tailspin after the client announced to our CEO that they want to take back all the business. This is not something that has surprised anyone, but still, nonetheless, the formal email announcement has caused the entire team to reconsider our current course of action and what should be done.
J, whom I deeply admire as an executive, flashed a smile at me as I walked into the board room and sat down for the impromptu meeting that my boss called 10 minutes prior. Just a few months before, L and
Just a few months before, L and I completed a special project for J that she was pleased with. I had reported directly to her for a brief period of time, and although I no longer report to her as of a few weeks ago, she was still the one to call me up and tell me about the bonus I’d be receiving (just under 4% of my salary). She told me I have had a reputation of ‘walking on water’ and that I’ve done a great job.
A 4% bonus is certainly a huge thing
A 4% bonus is certainly a huge thing for this company, and the way it has compensated its employees. In order to do that, I know they had to drop other people’s bonuses, and I know they don’t have a lot of money to go around. This company is run by finance. You have to show them blood to hire anyone. So the bonus shows I’m highly valued or more likely that they want to keep me and don’t want to lose me.
I’m not sure what ‘walking on water’ means or if
I’m not sure what ‘walking on water’ means or if it's a dangerous position I’ve put myself into. I’m not willing to put my soul into this company. My time is more precious than my money. And I am just now getting divorced, leaving this city and heading into a huge unknown in my life. All I want, I told my sister-in-law, is a house like hers, with a little baby, and a husband who can co-provide for the household. Excuse me for acting like an idiot because I’m hurting so much inside.
So our account is in deep crisis and there is no saving it now. It is truly the titanic. Their exec is pissed after the latest incident, and he needs to save his own ass and therefore has pointed at us as the blame for picking up their mess and basically holding the bag. Not that we’ve done a graceful job of it, either. And we surely haven’t been great at protecting our own interests.
Meanwhile, on the home front I’m still in the midst of packing. My brother is flying in 2 days to
My brother is flying in 2 days to help with the long UHaul drive back to my parents’ house. But it will be good bonding with my brother. I'm still packing up my stuff in the basement, and there are 6 heavy boxes with a ton of school crap that I need to sift through. If I don’t have to take it, I don’t want to. There's also a whole pile of stuff for a garage sale that my soon to be ex-husband and I will need to sell in the summer, when the weather warms up.
I’m not sure I’ll tell my husband about the bonus or about the $500 I had hidden in different places in the house in case of a disaster. I took them out from their hiding places and put them in my pocket. The $250 downstairs I didn’t exactly remember where I had put, but using my own logic, I looked for it in the right place because down in the recesses of my mind I knew my earlier self well enough to know what I was thinking of where to put it before. How brilliant I get!
My mom was very happy to hear I got a bonus. She said the right person got it at the right time. My husband told me that I’m uncompromising and that I’m not going to find anyone better. Boo hoo! I don’t know if he’s right or not. I do know that I’m uncompromising and very demanding and that I need someone to be my bitch. I know all my faults and I choose to ignore them. And my husband knows well that at the end of the day I'm out of his league.
It’s too bad that I’ve been so naïve and it took me 5 years to figure that out. If I do get married again, especially to a single man, I’m going to be so jaded about a wedding. I seriously am. I’m so past that, I just want the kid part to happen. There’s a part of me that’s very resigned, that is thinking that I no longer know what God has in plan for me, that maybe I’m just set to never have kids. I’m very paranoid about this topic.
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