Today I went into a store and there behind the counter, facing away from me, was my ex-wife. What was my ex doing in Boston Georgia? What was I doing in Boston Georgia? That’s a long story, really, but I thought about simply backing up through the door I had just entered and walking away. But then again, it’s been fifteen years this year since the divorce was final and legal, and it was a few months longer since it was over, even if it was not final and legal. Odd, isn’t it? We’ve bought into the idea that the government can decide when something is final, even after it is over.
In the beginning, when there was the first conversation with a lawyer, he told me that whatever else happened, if that woman was killed by snake bite, lightning strike, or abducted by aliens, I was going to go to prison for it. He’d done this before and seen things go horribly wrong, and the husband in the middle of a divorce is presumed guilty until Jesus and six disciples can all sign an affidavit affirming innocence and they can all pass a drug screening. I decided not to drink until I was legally single again. It’s was fairly easy because I was broke.
What I cannot prove happens but I have seen happen more than once, is that the two lawyers get together and decide how long they can make it last. Mine lasted five months. My lawyer made money off the case even if I called to ask him what the hell was taking so long. Her lawyer got shafted because she didn’t have any money and didn’t get any from me. Long story there, really.
I never did anything that was mean or hateful and I let her live with me rent free until she found a place of her own. After it was all over with she did something I don’t talk about to this day, and she’s lucky not to have gone to jail for it, or have someone beat the hell out of her, or maybe even both. “It was supposed to be funny but it got out of hand”, she told me. Yeah. Right. But at the end of all things, it was her way of trying to reach me again, emotionally, like the last bit of beer in a bottle that is made of spit that’s made up of beer, and the two mixed together are something no one ever wants to own up to creating.
Today I decided to make peace with the past and speak to her. This was an odd feeling, not unlike the day I asked for the divorce, or told her it was going to be, and just as I started to speak the woman turned around and it wasn’t her at all. She looked at me oddly because I must have had a really strange expression on my face.
It’s been fifteen years and I can’t get that taste out of my mouth.