Sunday, August 15, 2010

As trial marriages go, it wasn't a failure

My relationship with him was a great way to spend my 20s. But compared to where I am now, it was a life that was so. radically. different.

Married shortly after I turned 22, I gained a step-daughter who is 18 months younger than me. My new husband - her father - graduated from high school the year I was born.

A few months after I married him, she herself got engaged. Since her mom (a wonderful parent though just 16 years older than her) was geographically distant, she asked me to join her and help choose tuxedos.

We shared a giddy adventure that day.

The sales rep guessed we were sisters. We gave each other a knowing look, then laughed a bit too loudly, and he tried again. Roommates? Neighbors? Childhood friends?

She told him I was her stepmom. He chuckled, trying to get the joke, and then started shifting in his shoes when we didn't offer a punch line.

He somehow managed to complete all the paperwork while we delighted in his discomfort caused by our non-traditional relationship, and we went out for lunch afterward to celebrate and giggle some more.

It's been 23 years since she and I first sized each other up in the kitchen of her dad's house. Ours is a friendship born of circumstance and nurtured with love - one that survived my phone call 15 years ago, telling her that I had to leave the marriage.

It even survived my explanations, over a decade later and unknown to her until then, as to why I had to leave.

Although I should have been expecting the message she left for me a few days ago, it still caught me off-guard.

She's convinced that he's not going to live to see his 61st birthday in October.

It's bad. His demons may have finally won the war.

Truthfully, my heartstrings resonate with only an off-key chord of sympathy for him. My biggest concern is for her - for the happy and balanced life she's built for herself, for her two amazing children, and for the drama-free life she lives without his influence.

Still...I have albums of photos...nine years of both adventure as well as threads of everyday life. These are fibers woven into the fabric of my being...a fabric that reflects many lessons learned...like knowing what I wanted when I found it on a mountain bike trail 12 years ago.

Wishing him well...I guess. Whatever that means for him.

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