Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Ex- Factor

There it was, in my inbox Tuesday afternoon: An email. From my ex-husband.

Imagine that.

Now imagine the "gung-GUNG!" sound from Law and Order, or any other deep, dramatic, percussive musical effect meant to evoke the heart skipping a beat or leaping into sudden overdrive. Because when I saw his name on my screen, I think my heart did both.

It's been more than a year of no contact between myself and this man with whom I once felt certain I would spend the rest of my days, the person whose sudden amputation from my life caused the deepest emotional trauma I've ever experienced. I've said it before and I'll say it again: a miscarriage is bad, but I'm telling you, it doesn't even come CLOSE to what that divorce felt like.

Understandably, A~ suspected I wouldn't want to hear from him. But to the contrary: as uncomfortable as it was to feel my heart buck and stall, it was easier than stomaching the loss of a deeply trusted best friend. And it's nothing compared to imagining him out in the world, thriving, happy, relieved to be done with me, telling his friends and family, "Phew! Am I glad THAT's over!" I am deeply reassured to learn that I have not morphed, in his mind, into the first daughter of Satan.

Or maybe not until now.

Because — also understandably — he'd prefer that I didn't write about him on the blog. And here I am, spilling the beans all over the place.

Then again, I haven't revealed his identity (or my own, for that matter). I haven't pasted the contents of his email into this post (and I won't). I haven't revealed any juicy personal gossip, like is he still with the girl he left me for? Are they happy? Truth is, I don't know the answer to these questions. But as curious as I am, I know it has no bearing on ME, my character, worthiness or happiness. Whatever feelings I might have about the details of his post-divorce existence can be processed in a less public arena. Yes, in other words, I am capable of respecting his privacy.

At first I thought it might be difficult not to gloat if I were to learn that he is unhappy, but actually, I find myself hoping that he IS happy. In fact, I've cried every night since that email came, feeling sad at the possibility that he is sad, remembering how closely I used to carry him in my heart, feeling strangely disembodied by my reticence to reach out. (Is this the emotional equivalent to the amputee's phantom limb syndrome, phantom love syndrome?)

(To be fair, I've been pretty darn busy this week, and the memories that A~'s resurfacing bring up aren't all sunshine and rainbows and unicorns. Not that we didn't have some very memorable good times. But moving toward each other these days means picking through some pretty treacherous, tedious karmic rubble.)

In her EXCELLENT memoir (oh how I love this book!) Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and IndonesiaElizabeth Gilbert suggests that, "When the Karma of a relationship is done, only love remains."

Wouldn't that be nice?


Alice said...

Really well written post. I wonder if the fact that you wrote that you hadn't heard from him in such a long time prompted him to write you?

Patty said...

"When the Karma of a relationship is done, only love remains."

That is the most beautiful, hopeful thought I have read in weeks!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful, honest post with a quote that stops me in my tracks. Thank you.

Grammie said...

You really write from your heart.

Such honesty is admirable.