Sunday, July 11, 2010


I did manage to have a child with my former wife, but it wasn't for lack of not trying. I tried, as it were, but she wasn't really into it. You know, sex. Not such a good match. I say this because I just got a letter from her, from England. First contact since N's high school graduation eight years ago.

Somehow she thought it would be appropriate to send me a copy of a long and extremely personal letter to someone I do not know and have never heard of. A sort of autobiography. I appear in it once, I think. I've only skimmed it. I am described as having grown enraged and verbally abusive. Seems like I'd rate a somewhat more detailed description, seeing as how I am the father of her only child.

So when she talks about me now, these 20 years and more after the death of that marriage, this is what she has to say. Her various friends, she writes, have urged her to send me the copy of that letter -- you know, the autobiography, where I appear as the enraged and abusive man who demands sex. She writes that I demanded my "conjugal rights." She provides the quotation marks. I am more than very sure that I never uttered such a phrase in a context that she would quote here.

It's sad to think that she has changed so little. The urge to be understood by people who have just moved on. Yes, this little blog has sprouted some toadstools of the soul, but I don't target my audience. You invite yourself. It's that same circling-the-drain adolescent angst that sucked me into a relationship with her in the first place -- me listening to her stories about how badly men had treated her, and me getting all mad about it, and protective and outraged. Funny how my outrage became enrage. Point is, it's almost 30 years later, and the stories haven't changed. Not as much growth as we might have hoped, for all the talk about Pluto and Mercury in retrograde.

The only thing I ever say about my former wife is that she was a very good mother to a little boy. Then I say that she did have a problem with the boy when he got older, because she had a problem with masculine behavior. Then I shrug, with a wan smile, and a hand-movement that's meant to communicate go in peace.

She has written on the top of this very long letter that it is to be destroyed after reading. "Please destroy after Reading." I'll probably destroy it before reading. I'm just done with all that. I wish her well, I have kind feelings, but I will never again, I say, be sucked into her nightmare. I think being cast as the abuser is not the role I want for myself. And I think that any honest opinion, actually communicated, would be misunderstood and interpreted harshly. I've just seen it happen too often -- inevitably. So it is highly unlikely that I will respond. Perhaps a meaningless courtesy note, the sort of small talk that I am very bad at, vapid, platitudinous, Life is good, hope this finds you well.

I don't see how I'll ever have another wife. But did I ever even have one before? My judgment is not good. Not to worry. I have things to do. I was up all night doing some building. Everything takes much longer than you'd think. Something about Jesus here. How he was a carpenter, and everything takes longer than you'd think, to build it right.


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