The Moment You Are Free

I talked to my ex-husband yesterday.  Sometimes, we talk three days in a week.  Sometimes, we go for weeks; months without talking.

We’ve gotten along much better lately.  Perhaps because all of our unfinished business has finally been separated after two malingering years.  Perhaps because the fact of our marriage is so far behind us and we simply…irritate each other less.  (I mean, sometimes he still says some very irritating things, but after seven years together and having known each other for just under a decade, one gets used to it).

On Saturday, I had said to him:

I need to drop something off for you, are you home?  I’m coming out of the park and I can swing by your house?

No, I’m in Connecticut?

(Remember: we speak to each other in questionmarks).

As it so happened, about an hour later, it became apparent that I was going to be able to retrieve my kayak that day — which meant a trip to both New Jersey and Connecticut.

Hey.  I’m going to be in Connecticut.  Shall I drop it off to you there?

Radio silence for a few hours.  As it turned out, he was leaving Connecticut that night and going down to DC.

What’s going on in Washington?  Work or pleasure?

(Many of our friends from law school still live in the DC-area.)

Both.  Seeing a girl, and working in the DC office on Monday.  Say a prayer that this goes well?

I’m sure it will, I said, Remember that Washington is a place where you thrive; keep your heart above your head?

The heart above the head thing was something my yoga instructor said lot; something she asked us to practice — both physically and emotionally.  I figured it was good dating advice, even if I wasn’t taking it myself.

Thanks?

And off he went, to Washington and Beyond.  And off I went, to finally retrieve my kayak.

When my cheating ex (who insisted upon accompanying us to get the boat) got in the car, he recounted a story of having seen my ex-husband a day or two before at a bar.

He didn’t stop and say anything.

Why would he recognize you?  He has no idea who you are in person — met you only once; just knows the story of all that happened.  He’d never be able to put a name to a face.

We were with CJ.  He didn’t say anything to her, either.

Oh.  Not unexpected, really.  But also not surprising that my ex-husband wouldn’t say hello to a woman who was so deeply embedded in my life at the time of my divorce; whose constant presence in our house was probably the only thing that kept me sane and kept Andrew and I from killing each other at the worst of times.

(As I found out later, he sent a friendly text after leaving the bar, and realizing he hadn’t said anything; she responded in kind, and that was that — which Bill probably also knew.)

We drove to New Jersey in awkward relative-silence.  We retrieved the kayak — the thing that had been integral to my getting-together-with-Andrew; the item that was the hallmark of my Washington life — and ferried it back to Connecticut, where it belonged.

So we talked yesterday.

How was Washington?

Date went really well, thanks.  Your advice was really good.

And there it was, a statement.  Something we’d barely made to each other since the early days of our courtship.  In just a few words, he’d been able to take something for himself and give me something in return.  With that, a misaligned piece had finally been righted, and something caught-up had finally been released.

Looking back on my marriage, I had so many moments of knowing it was over; have had so many moments of feeling trapped and broken — feeling unworthy of love, feeling generally ungood.  But there are moments, now, where the dynamic has changed.  Now deep in the true business of moving on, there are these remarkable moments when I know that I am free.

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