I read Anatomy of a Divorce. While I find it does not speak to me in every breath, it takes my breath often enough that it reads as truth.
There is an unanswerable mystery in all divorces. How does it happen that two people who once loved each other, who promised to live out their lives together, who were not happy when deprived of the other’s presence, who felt incomplete and unfinished in the absence of that person – by what dark conjuring of circumstances, by what sordid legerdemain and by whose dispirited auspices are they brought to that moment of grisly illumination when they decide it has gone irretrievably wrong? How can love change its garments and come disguised as indifference, anger, even loathing?
Jeanne told me of late that she understands I mourn potential.
It is true; I mourn not because I wished for divorce or separation. There was no sense in San’s divorce of me. Twice the same: The first we were abed with me pregnant with his child; the second we were to meet that night. Each time it was “we are cutting contact” and it was done. It was not the natural death of love but an abortion.
But I also mourn what was. San – my San, the San I thought there was, the San that would have told me of problems that we might address them, or at least part in love and affection – was my heart, what is called a best friend, and my lover. He was not these things purely abstractly, although we did not live together. We watched things together, spoke most every day. It is this I mourn.
I used to think I felt him kiss my neck. Sometimes I still do, which means it must have been illusion in the first place. So if I mourn that, do I mourn a dream?
Because I was raised an American male, I will tell that I did not learn to give or receive affection, that I did not learn to weep when I was hurting, that I did not learn to love women in ways that made them feel secure and desirable and needed. I will tell of the day I told the great Atlanta therapist, Marion O’Neill, that whenever I uttered the words “I love you” to a woman, they had the hollow dispossessed sound of someone ordering a meal for the first time in a foreign language. I will tell that I felt inexhaustible but inexpressible reserves of love within me, and I searched for women who were able to translate my silences, interpreters who understood about the inarticulate lover screaming from within.
I looked for women who would make me more like women. And it was unfair and cruel to all of them and far too much to ask.
I think I could understand this, for both. San had such absences, as did I. As do I. And yet, I believe we could have found our way, had he only had a little faith. I know he and his would mock me for my beliefs; snarl and snipe at all the wrongs done to them with no memory for those done.
It is a good article.
I like the end of it. It would have been nice, had he one day wished to tell Mikael the same. And I the same, to his next lover: Good taste in men.
But since he did not say, since he left the way he did, I think I could not say it. I would say he is a good lover, until he is not, and you will never know when the knife will fall.