My folks chose not to come to
my second wedding. After all, it might have resembled getting
my life back together. If I married Mr. Right they could no
longer cast themselves as heroes, taking responsibility for
the daytime care of my one and only son from my first marriage,
as though he was their own. In real life, they had four daughters,
no sons. So I had something they wanted. And they didn't want
me to change it.
My parents liked that I was a
screw-up by their definition, so they could cast themselves
as my saviors. It created a life for them. They never really
had a life. But then that is another story.
What my parents failed to realize
was their own inability to give up having us in their daily
lives. They became so desperate they began a destructive campaign
of threats. We will never speak to you again. We will attempt
to gain custody of our grandson. By then, he was not mine
anymore, according to them.
They had their reasons. It didnít
take a statistician to recognize the bad odds for me as Mr.
Rightís third try at the altar. I found my second husband
in a classified ad. "A perfect 10," he described himself.
"Swash, hard driving, man about town, entrepreneur, loves
to dance and hold hands on moonlit walks." Standard-issue
romantic ideal. And it was mostly true, so rare in such cases
of self-promotion. I liked him from the start, and I made
a quick decision to marry him. Too quick.
Fast forward to now, seven years
later. Seven years, I hear some of you sneering and snickering.
Letís not even go there. Lesson learned: there is no romantic
I moved out a few months ago.
I am living in my own apartment with my son from my first
marriage. I can move back to my second marital residence (enter
lawyers) anytime. It is now less a home to me than a place
where my second husband runs a business and his employees
run in and out all day. I let him build his dream on top of
mine, and lookee there. They ran me off.
My husband says he still loves
me. So what? Even if that is true, I am still on the lam,
as they say, homeless, alone, and jobless. I like being on
the lam, defined in the Encarta dictionary as "a hasty
escape, especially to avoid arrest." Yeah like cardiac,
or of judgment, or of development.
My second husband now seems like
a bad date I canít get rid of. How did I get here? I was his
beautiful wife, we had a beautiful house, and we had a good
life sort-of. And my parents, well, how could I have been
so dumb? They are now banished to a private Siberia of enforced
silence. My sisters, in a rare act of solidarity, no longer
call either. So I am mostly loveless, too. Such loss is balanced
by reduced social expectations and the assurance that things
cannot get much worse. With people like this in your life,
who needs enemies? And I have learned that bad people in your
life beget more bad people in your life. It becomes a neverending-cursed-family-legend
in which you bear the big-L legacy like some psychic-bad-karma-sign-on-your-forehead.
I have learned to accept the truth about the wages of betrayal.
You got it, more betrayal.
Iím catching my breath after
months of revelations from interesting characters. An adopted
adult stepson who spent most of his adolescence and four years
of adulthood in prison. A step-grandchild born to this ex-con
stepson and his scummy porn-queen girlfriend who at age 21
had already brought four illegitimate kids into the world.
An ex-boss who sold me out to the new owners of the company
where I worked the past twelve years. His wife, my ex-attorney
and a local prosecutor, who sold out my sonís child support
case against my first husband. Now that's another true tale
of marital betrayal...guess who introduced my ex-boss and
my ex-lawyer who subsequently tied-the-knot. Remember no good
deed goes unpunished. And realize that a sleazy cast similar
to the aforementioned can show up unexpectedly in the best-educated
and most-successful families. If you think you have a sure-fire
amulet against all harm, guess again. Better to pay attention
Given my present circumstances,
Iíve had many chances to ponder this whole married versus
single thing. It reminds me of a poltergeist. Dead things
from your past rear their shrunken bobbing heads. You just
thought they were dead dust. They reinvent themselves and
come back to haunt you in ways that remind you of an exorcism.
There are definitely two sides
to every story, and two ways of thinking about the whole matter
of living as a single or a married person. Am I up to sharing
my life and home, maybe my whole being with someone I now
know well enough to distrust? Or am I just as happy watching
reruns of Law&Order and eating Healthy Choice dinners
while I exercise more and dream about finding another someone
who will be Mr. Right after all. Do all relationships end
up in betrayal and unforgivable events? If so why open a vein?
Or does hope which springs eternal, truly refresh everything
in the end, because we couldn't stand to give up the notion
that everything we do turns out for the best? I know our family
values had a solid grounding in the philosophy of Disneyland.
I look at things a little differently
as a pseudo-single, and I notice married women look at me
differently now that I am pseudo-single. I am a weird hybrid...married
or single, a little of both, not purely either. Am I now a
threat? Hmmm. Within the bonds of matrimony, I am not a threat.
In the free world of dating, I become a threat. Bondage or
freedom, is this for real? Out, in, in, out, I am the same
person. Or am I different? Why are peopleís eyebrows furrowing
up and down? Or is it just a nervous tick?
For starters, neither Confucius
nor Jesus ever married. Single life was seen as a more holy
lifestyle by St. Paul in the New Testament, although Jesus
described marriage as a sacred sacrament, a true vocation.
All of these wise men agreed that we should "Do unto others
as you want done to you." And I do not think they were talking
about the most satisfying forms of sex, as some of you he-men
try to make us women believe, that sex is the only way to
your hearts. It is the worst and last reason to be in a relationship,
and women and children know this is true.
At this point in my life, I donít
have time for metaphysical altruism or Zen balance. Thank
God, I have a strong belief system. Eveyone needs one. Given
my particular alternatives in life, I felt I had to the make
the most of the few opportunities that I was able to recognize
in my micro-middle-class-cookie-cutter-don't-question-anything
world. I had to believe in me. I still do.
Placing myself apart from my
second husband, I suddenly realized what I have gained. The
luxury of embracing fantasy or misery...my choice, all by
myself. I do not have to accept the spin and spit the world
casts on my life story. I can make it up as I go along. I
can be strong with or without a mate.
As I contemplate my fate on the
fence, at a proverbial fork in the road, I deliciously ponder
my future. A dramatic turnaround, marriage as I choose it,
with equality and respect and partnership on my terms in some
alternative arrangement? Or the new independent adventure,
my way on the highway, with variety and new risks and new
chances for experience and knowledge?
I think itís time to think outside
the box about the most defining choice any of us make. Your
tax status and mine: married or single? We shouldn't be in
denial, a parrot in a glass cage, let's-smile-and-pretend-everything's-all-right
in a marriage. Or bitterly soul-searching, clicking away in
the chat rooms thinking about the one who got away, with nobody
permanent who knows our psychic zits, boils and all, who will
share our ups-and-downs at the end of the day.
Future explorations of Pseudo
World hijinx will include real life stories about dinner,
block, office, client, and family parties; business meetings
and travel; and other examples of social hell, where the dual
worlds of singles and marrieds bump into each other. With
the holidays approaching, youíll be sure to tune in for the
next installment, wonít you? You wouldn't want to miss out
on a potential insider tip, which could mean the difference
between enjoying the main course or being the main course.
So for now, thatís all the cold
bare naked truth in the hard core cruel world.
Email Gritty at: Gritty@hybridmagazine.com