There’s a strange force-field that surrounds us, almost an aura of swirling past. Hurts and joys collide in the air between us and we dance a wary jig. To an outsider, we appear cordially quaint and kindly to each other.
He and I weathered those moments that define life; deaths of family and friends, the birth of our daughters. Moments of intense mortality, shared but forgotten in the struggles of everyday life. How can I not see that moment we brought home a tiny human, laid her on our bed and stood back in awe at what we had created? He spoke eloquently at my Dad’s funeral when I had no words. There were dark times of illness and pain, and incidents that became our history when viewed from the space of years.
We began our life together in our late twenties. He moved from Philadelphia to Boston, to be with me. There were lazy Sundays floating on the Charles River in a rented canoe, Fall weekends at the cottage in NH where we dragged the bedding out in front of the fireplace and dreamed of the future, houses bought and sold, homes that grew more grand and rich with animals and kids.
The farm was the pinnacle. The massive home was seldom without guests, the barn chock full of horses and hounds. Our social life included fox-hunting and black-tie balls. The holidays centered around massive meals and entertainment. We worked hard, perhaps too hard, to support and grow the illusion.
Here, ten years since we went our separate ways, I look at him and see the man I was supposed to grow old with. Though we have dated others, neither of us have remarried. Could it be we had found our life partner but were too impatient to stick through the tough times? I joke how strange it is to visit his home and see relics of our life together, just as he must think the same in my house. “I know exactly where that painting hung or when we bought that rug together.” Children bind us and I am humbled that we manage to rise above our own personal disappointments and be together as a family once in a while. It is counterproductive to examine the “what ifs” or search for blame. Nothing will change the fact that we parted and built new lives. No amount of apologies will ease the hurt we suffered upon each other. Better to remember the joy and support we shared and respect each other’s way of dealing with the reality of our divorce.