At present, having recently got divorced, I am feeling somewhat cynical, even world-weary, about marriage…
…though not, interestingly enough, about love.
I have kept my bright optimism concerning love, I think because I can see it outside the narrow context of marriage and recognise that it can burn as fiercely for a parent, a child, a sibling, a close friend as it does for a spouse.
Mine was not a marriage which included the diamond. I had no engagement ring to jettison at the end of the process because we did not actually get engaged. Nor did I get married in flowing white. Nor in a church.
My wedding band has now gone. I assume our wedding certificate, from Weston-super-Mare’s Registry Office, lurks in the house somewhere. Neither of us, in the gradual de-cluttering of the place, has either mentioned or claimed this document. Our nineteenth anniversary, which would have happened two days ago, passed with as little comment as the previous eighteen had done.
I am, currently, in limbo; so, to be fair, is my ex. We continue to share the same house, though not the same bed or room. It is an uneasy truce, an uneasy time. We try our hardest to keep things as civil as we can, both for our own emotional well-being and, more importantly, for our son.
We have very different ideas when it comes to de-junking. This has not given rise to any overt conflict – though there is a kind of passive-aggressive simmering, a Summer of Discontent – but, for me, the symbolic chain it creates drags the boat perilously close to capsizing.
You see, and to continue my boat metaphor started yesterday, the shared vessel has to be cleared of all baggage – all those shipping containers full of goods from countries all over the world which make the boat so heavy – before the passengers can disembark, take their own coracles and paddle up a new stretch of the river or explore a previously unknown part of the ocean.
I seem to have floated far from marital cynicism, don’t I? But, perhaps, the distance is less than it appears; perhaps it is, in fact, a mirage!
The reason we did not get married in a church was because my ex already was, and had, an ex! He now has two ex-wives! Bags battered from Marriage One took up residence in Marriage Two. They will now accompany him, along with the baggage from Marriage Two, into whatever emotional ties he takes on in the future. Marriage Three? Who knows! Not my business! But Wife Three conforms with the trio motif which so litters our fairy stories and folk tales. Third Time Lucky and all that!
Me? Once was more than enough, frankly. I have unlimited capacity for love; but my desire for, and patience with, the formal State of Marriage, is very limited, and I very much doubt that I will be collecting Husband Two (no matter how much I may come to love any man I get involved with in the future!)…
It could be argued – and probably has been by those who have chosen to take my ex’s side – that he was very unlucky to pick two rotten apples from the Uxorial Barrel, and from two different countries/decades to boot. Poor chap!
I am also not going to claim that I was the perfect wife. I wasn’t. Who is? I’ve never met her myself – other than within the pages of fiction, that is! – have you? But I was not, and am not, a rotten apple. A bit bruised, maybe, and withered from age – but not worm-infested or purulent within!
But, for all my faults – and they are many and, by and large, recognised by Yours Truly! – I am now filling sacks with rubbish as fast and efficiently as I can and bunging it overboard at a rate of knots. My rule of thumb: If I had no idea it still lurked within the corners of the garage/hadn’t played with it for decades/had forgotten I had ever bought it, why keep it?! If it wasn’t important enough to remember, it certainly is not important enough to take up valuable space in a down-sizing exercise!
Was I ever tempted to get out the club, give my ex a terminal bang on the occiput and then use the spade to lob him under the patio? No, of course not! I’d never have got the bloodstains out, for starters, and the smell would have precluded any hope of a successful sale of the house. More seriously, for all that he and I have parted, he remains our son’s loving father – and I would venture to suggest that a Kit- Form/Soggy Dad is neither use nor ornament.
Besides, for all that I can be a cynical and sarcastic old trout, I do not have that much hatred or violence within me – and I did love the bugger once upon a long time ago!
Oddly enough, I wish my ex well in his new phase. I hope he will be happy and successful, that his life will be the way he wants it to be.
Revenge is corrosive and pointless. I would far rather tip vengeful thoughts over the side with all the rest of the unwanted baggage – and only keep small cases containing forgiveness, creativity, love and light.