Mr. Ex was the center of the moral universe in our house. I was the moon. Changeable and moody. One day full-faced and bright, the next just a sliver of myself in the dark. Mr. Ex knew the Bible, the law, and the general gist of the tax code. I read poetry and the newspaper, got fat on fiction and gorged myself with my own intuition. If our marriage was going to end, anyone you'd have asked would have told you that I'd be the one to fly the coop.
"Denise ran off to Paris? I'm not surprised," they might have said.
"Denise is living in a yurt in the mountains above Santa Fe? Well. It had to happen eventually."
"She ran off to Vegas with the refrigerator repairman...hmmm, I'm a little surprised, but......"
We don't know each other. Or we do, but not totally. Or when we are with the people who love us, what reflects back is the brightness of love, and it blinds everyone in the room. Or we just don't know jack shit about anyone.
Everyday in the newspaper murderers are described as the nicest of neighbors. Clowns are revealed as killers, journalists unveiled as spies. When I was growing up in Iowa, a public service announcement came on the TV every evening. Parents, it's 10:00 p.m. Do you know where your children are? There were plenty of parents, I suppose, that might have been surprised or even completely shocked.
My children, as of a week ago, are all adults. I don't keep tabs on them. I haven't for some time. But I hope they are living lives free of dark secrets. I hope they tell the truth to their significant others. And to themselves.
Maybe that's the confusing part. Maybe we don't really know ourselves.
Maybe I wasn't the moon at all.