Sunday, June 12, 2011

Falling Apart

Dread. That was what I felt all week waiting for the mediation. Dread like you'd feel if your teeth were furry and you were scheduled for a cleaning. This will be unpleasant, I said, but good and necessary.

The personal statement of appreciation I was instructed to prepare had to take one of those little numbered tickets and wait as if the muse had a crowd of people lined up. Finally the number was called at 7:30 that morning, and I had something to say that was true. I wrote it down:

I appreciate the innocence of a clean-cut kid who didn't know enough about working in a big law firm to wear dress shoes with his suit. I appreciate the way that innocence mingled with his sense of humor and led him to hang a long neglected formal portrait of a deceased founding partner above his desk, and his blissful un-informedness that allowed him to believe that new associates really were entitled to an entire month of vacation. It was on that very vacation that our first daughter was conceived. Both of our daughters carry their own versions of that happy wackiness, the ability to be comfortable in their shoes, to amuse themselves, to recreate full out, and to promptly seize not just the day but an entire month.

I arrived at the mediator's office first. Not nervous. Not angry, not sad. "I'm hopeful," I told her.

I choked up when I read my statement, but I got over it. Moved on to the crucial stuff. There was a smidgen of drama. Not much. We agreed to meet again.

I was lost when I came out of the mediator's office. Not lost as in upset. Just lost. I could not get my bearings--so I walked to a Starbucks and took forever deciding that I wanted a dulce cinnamon latté and then stood looking out of the windows. I drove down Lake, I said. I turned on Green. Green is a one-way street. From Green I turned right. I had it all figured out then.

I sat at my desk when I got home talking to a friend on the phone about books and cakes and stress and yoga. I decided to have a party to celebrate the end of all this wrangling. But a minute after I hung up I was cold and shaking.

Hours later, finally out of bed, the man who loves me called for the second or third time, and said we should go to a movie. That Woody Allen Paris movie. I don't know, I said, is it a romance? Oh I get it, he laughed, you don't know what to do with emotional involvement right now. I don't know what to do with Paris, I said. And a wail came out of me and the wailing wouldn't stop.

I woke up under two blankets on my couch wearing a sweater, and a sweatshirt and a terrycloth bathrobe. The man who loves me said it was a seductive look. I took a long hot shower. We made dinner. And then I was pretty much okay for the rest of the night.

But I still don't know what to do with Paris.

Photo credit:


stephanie said...

Bad crap led to this, but I think this is one of your best posts.

Allegra Smith said...

Paris will always be there. A new Paris to create new memories, to erase a past that doesn't belong in your present. That is what you need to do with Paris. And btw, I was underwhelmed by the movie.
Somehow all I was interested in was to visit the same streets I once walked in my old city when I lived there, without any people, I agree about the rain and I just wanted to smell once again the old book perfume at Shakespeare and Co.

You must go back. I am sure Paris will be waiting for you. The new you, the healed you, the found you.