Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Notes from the Treehouse

As I lay in bed with the man who loves me, light poured into his kitchen as the sun lifted its head over a far hilltop and settled itself just above the hill he lives on. The Treehouse (my name for his place) feels combustible in the pre-coffee hours of the morning, but we were safe in his dark narrow bedroom I call "The Bunker." I need a bunker these days. "I can't forgive him," I told the man who loves me, turning the conversation to Mr. Ex after we'd discussed a recent betrayal by a friend of mine. I was wounded by my friend, but we'd talked about it. She apologized. I forgave. Chapter closed. Happier pages await in our story. Not so in the three-and-a-half-year divorce saga with Mr. Ex.

Yesterday the barrage of emails from my attorneys left cartoon character dollar signs imprinted on my eyeballs. We're into the land of six-figures now. Spent in the struggle to get my half of the community property. Thirty years of marriage. A third of it with begged and borrowed furniture, our first meals cooked in a donated and dented electric frying pan. I put him through UCLA Law School. Supported him with love and money. I want to hate myself for staying home and raising our daughters and trusting him, but it's hard to hate the memory of that. So I hate him, the way he Bernie Maddoffed me. The way he secretly plotted and schemed for months to leave us and then dropped his bomb just before M. left for college. Not even the courage to let her know before she committed to a school far from home. I hate him for delivering his message of doom by cellphone to C.---a thousand miles away when she'd just been home and he could have told us all when we were together. I hate him and his ruthless conniving Little Missus who, in my mind, deserves to have her family destroyed. I hate him more with each passing day and dollar.

"Something could happen that might change everything," said the man in the bunker. "If he gets sick, say." Oh, there could be a deathbed reconciliation, I suppose. But I don't really see myself in that scene. Even if my daughters are there,  I see a hole as big as a bomb crater. A hole with years lost. Years that can never be found.


Elizabeth said...

This makes me want to cry for you. Weep and gnash my teeth and pull my hair.

Allegra Smith said...

Dante forgot to add a circle in Hell for the likes of him. But it is there, oh yes it is.

Anonymous said...

SIx figures! I only got up to an ugly five figure payout to my lawyer and it felt really bad. Why must some men do this?

I do have to say that not all men behave so badly, I have seen some willingly offer so much in a divorce that they were left wanting, but than can be pretty rare.

I would never respect a man who was as scheming as your ex has been with you. Do you think his new wife really feels safe. She's married to a man with no integrity and she has to know it. I wonder if it keeps her up at night.

Anonymous said...

I forgot that she had sex with him in your house while he was married to you so she's got no integrity either and I guess she's not bothered after all.

Jules said...

I wish I could say it gets better, but in my experience it doesn't. I get better at dealing with the bitterness and at not blaming myself for his decisions...but it's still there: the anger and resentment, the seething rage waiting for an opportunity to erupt and purify the landscape by covering it with molten lava. The perfect foundation for a fertile future of lush rainforest. My best revenge: rejoicing in my freedom, and my un-solicited liberation from caretaking and co-dependency...my amazing, resilient children who will never again go to bed listening for sounds of violence.