"This is not going to be a story of how I got my groove back after I escaped the clutches of married life"
She put the pencil down, erased the sentence. Threw the pencil in a box of things she seldom used. She called it the island of misfit toys. It was the the box that never got unpacked. It lived under the bed and today she had pulled it out thinking it might have something of interest in it and she found herself fascinated by the pencil. Who buys a pencil? She didn't think she had used a pencil since her last standardized test. She put some teeth marks in it, because that made sense and wrote one erasable sentence.
This was getting to be a habit. The nervous tension that made her search her apartment for a change in direction.
This was most certainly not the story of how she had gotten her groove back. Looking around, she had to admit that this life was most definitely a downgrade from her previous one.
Not that she wasn't doing well. She was succeeding, marvelously, at whatever she was doing. She heard it daily and there was no arguing with the results.
Somewhere around the time she realized that she was actually going to separate from her husband, that she recognized that her instincts were beyond infallible, she began to get the sense that she was playing a supporting role in a drama she should be slightly more central to.
Waking up, she demanded the cafe, and the building it was in. She gave him the house, which was a fair trade but not the one he was expecting. Which was silly, it was a family house, perfect for a couple. She deserved the cafe which quickly moved from "bar and cafe" to simply "bar" because she had always been a night person and wasn't looking forward to meeting each morning with a smile.
That was the first thing she claimed: the right to sleep in, the right to drink heavily. She also left all the furniture and really just about everything else behind in the house which most certainly pissed off the NEW GIRL, who probably didn't want to live among every piece of furniture his ex had picked out. But that was NEW GIRLs problem.
Turning the cafe into a bar turned out to be a great business move and she was able to even afford some staff so she was taking classes again, like she had told herself she would and had wanted to for a long time.
And she bought all new things and moved into the attic apartment above the bar which she renovated with the help of someone who would drink, for free, for as long as she had the bar. And it was nice and wonderful and she only had one of everything which she had chosen carefully and the succinct way she was managing herself was impressive and comfortable to everyone but her.
Because even looking around at it all she still had nightmares in which she was happily married and could depend on sleeping with John every night and could watch a movie on a Friday night at home and and it was an event because he was there. And it was only a nightmare because she woke up and looked around at her nicer, more comfortable space alone. She couldn't get it out of her head that she had slipped backward. That she had a ghost in per past, a memory of a thing that never happened, must have never happened because all of it was so gone gone gone.
And she knew the restlessness was nothing more complicated than loneliness. Not only for John but for everyone else.
That was one thing she had not allowed herself to predict: the overarching the loneliness. The rejection too her breath away. Not just of John's friends which she had expected, but of her own. Her married settled friends, who initially rose up like a warm wave of support.. Her friends who, at first, came by the bar, and invited her to dinners and went berry picking with her and hiking with her and let her know she was always welcome in their homes began to take on a strange sheen. A discomfort. They began to treat her like a novelty, refer to the quality of being settled foreign concepts. As if she couldn't remember having the same life only months ago.
They wanted to hear her exploits, wanted her to bring and bear excitement, but began to forget where their commonalities lay. They would not look at the elephant in the room which did a long and passionate interpretive dance with only one message "this too could be you: all you have could change in the blink of an eye".
So there was that. And there was the not getting invited to "couple" events, and the reality of being a single attractive women (thankfully, still) in a room full of slightly insecure aging people and the distrust that entailed and the way her taken male friends had a hard time breaking away to hang out with her now, for obvious and understandable reasons, and the way her single male friends suddenly had other more loaded connotations.
Yes. definitely a downgrade.
And sometimes she had massive bouts of magical thinking trying to pin down the moment when she could have changed this destiny and found herself picking out the moments she might have forced the hand. Did she make it happen by believing in it?(If you can see it, and you can believe it, you can achieve it!)
In the end these thoughts were about pretending she had ever had any real power in the situation. Ever had a choice. Pretending she could get back something that wasn't really hers to begin with.
But it had been, mostly definitely, hers. And she could feel that and remember that even as history re wrote itself.
This glamorous downgraded life was called the waiting game, and it wasn't a comfortable one that suited her.So she picked up hobbies and studied and exercised and consulted her island of misfit toys, sorting through the tools she used once a year and the souvenirs that didn't look right on the mantle and the other random pieces of crap she was dedicated to one day finding a place for.
And she wondered what milestones ahead would mark the end of the mourning and loneliness because suddenly even she couldn't predict them. What would make the passing of time comforting?
And she was sitting at her window, staring at the busy street, trying to active her powers of precognition, trying to write stories in her head in which all this worked out, when the doorbell rang.
Max was standing at the front door at 11am in the bright sun and holding a bottle of whiskey and he said, with a slight smile and a little annoyance "I am pretty sure you ruined my marriage".