I wanted a beer. Or champagne. Something, chilled and bubbly with a kick. I walked along the icy sidewalk with care, stuffing my hands in my pockets as if the depths offered greater warmth. The day had been sunny and cold, a perfect day for writing. But now as the night was opening up and the moon was full, I felt more like myself. I was a moon girl: muted in my glow, revealed in phases, coming alive in the dark.
My friend was meeting me at my local pub, a popular spot in spite of its 90s decor. Or perhaps that was part of the appeal? Today had been just a regular day of work, writing and children, but it was interrupted by a simple request. So simple….
I looked up at the moon and swallowed.
Earlier that day, I had been editing a script when my phone went off. It was a text.
Friend: ‘Hey, can you forward me the email you wrote letting everyone know about your divorce? I just need some ideas.’
Me: ‘Sure. No problem. I think it was kinda personal though.’
In truth I barely remembered what I wrote; it had been nearly two years since I’d written it. But, I diligently set out to honour her request. I had to log into my old email address with my married name and try to remember the password. Then I had to recall some keywords so that I could find the email itself quickly. Two minutes later, the words filled my screen and I was thrust back into what felt like an alternate universe.
“I have some news…” it began.
Every relationship ends for different reasons. The end of my marriage was…unusual, although it seems to be something that happens more and more these days. My ex came out as a gay man, something we worked through together for those final two years. And as I read the first four words of that email it all came rushing back to my chest…the pain, the fear, the ache…all of it. Right there in my chest.
Oh the email was personal alright.
“Our life together has not been a lie. We were in love. We were best friends. Walking away from this marriage is the most difficult thing I have ever done. I adore this man. But our children need to see that we can face our deepest fears with unconditional love and respect and come out the other side wiser, gentler, happier.”
I cried for ten minutes. Then I hit ‘forward’. And then I realized that I was about to enter into another phase of grief, but I was wise enough not to name it. If the past four years had taught me anything it was that my best bet was to cry, write and reach out (to God, to friends, whatever felt right). Analysis was fruitless. I was a spiral of highs and lows, of sobs and celebrations.
And looking at that moon, all I could think was how much of myself I revealed. I received emails all the time from people around the world thanking me for my honesty. It still surprises me. If you’re going to lie, why write at all? And if you’re lying, where do the words even come from? The words I write flow out like moonbeams on still water. They are natural and luminous and beautiful. Truth makes them so. Anything less seems pointless.
My thirst was growing and I thought back to my divorce email….wiser, gentler, happier. Wiser? Most definitely and only because I know I still have so much to learn. Gentler? Yes. Without a doubt. Happier? In a way, yes. In that I am more open to what happiness looks like. My ideas are so small. God knows better….so much better.
I rounded the corner, the moon at my back now. Where was I in my journey to get over a ten-year marriage, seventeen-year relationship? I had no idea. For right now, I would have a beer with a friend and I would laugh and then go home to my kids. It was cold and it was dark, but love was alive and well.
**Originally written February 12th, 2015 **