honest: I get tired pretty quick of reading the stuff divorced people write.
Everyone has the right to tell their own story however they want to or need to,
no doubt, but sometimes I get to thinking that a lot of these people who try
and document their personal experience with the end of marriage, they
exaggerate the good; they shine all their flashlight beams on the upsides and
the bright sides in an effort to help themselves get through a really rough
there's no doubt in my mind that moving on from something as devastating as
divorce requires a certain amount of selfie-style brainwashing. I get that. You
can't just break up with someone you really loved at some point in time and not
feel like battered ass. You need to turn the camera around at some point and
zoom in on your own face, on the fact that you're still alive and kicking and
that you ain't going down in some fiery emotional airplane crash just because
you have a broken heart or whatever.
For a lot of
people, it would make sense to just write about how liberated they feel now
that the chains have been hacked apart. I understand that. Writing is a two-way
street, a lot of people forget that or simply never even consider it to begin
with. But most decent writers write because the very act and art of writing
itself is wildly good for them. The words are tiny headaches falling out of our
mouths; the immediate relief of getting them out of our physical body and out
into the wide open world is practically orgasmic at times. If that doesn't make
any sense to you, you aren't a writer. Nothing wrong with that. I'm just
telling you what's up.
But all that
aside, I can't dig it really, this modern divorce writing that goes on. It just
seems too slanted for me. I read people saying that they feel good and alive
and all and I think to myself, "Well, yippy-yi-yay for you." But it irks me in
a way, all these articles and essays leaning hard towards optimism, and rarely
dabbling in the darker side of things: of regret, or bone-cutting blues.
the long lingering confusion that has settled down on my world? How come I
don't read much from anyone else writing about that kind of thing?
about the kitchen?
kitchen now, you know?
all those kitchens we shared across a decade of marriage and three kids, there
must've been at least six or eight, what am I supposed to do with the fact that
I stand in my own kitchen now, cooking man-n-cheese for the kids/cutting up a
shitty Walmart tomato for my dumb little salad, and the whole thing is ruined
for me in a way.
If you ever stand there in the dark of my bedroom with me, you will feel it coming off me like sexual heat: me wishing we were still under one goddamn roof, maybe taking turns with the kids when they need us instead of handing them off ...
We used to
laugh in our kitchens.
We used to
get in there some nights and I'd be cooking my stir-fry for the two of us and
she'd be sitting there drinking a bottle of beer, the windows open to the warm
summer air, and she'd talking hard and fast about something, about anything
really. The kids in bed, or even before kids, that was our time, man: just two grown-ups standing there in the peanut oil
smoke/drinking beers/moving through the early evening peace that comes with
sharing a kitchen you rent with someone you care enough about that you would actually
fistfight a mountain lion at some point, if stuff ever somehow got super
muffed-up and someone was holding a gun to her head and saying:
"Look, bro, you either slap that
mountain lion in his face like he's your bitch or I'm gonna ice this chick
right here, right now."
Even at our
worst, I would have cold-cocked that lion's face right before he tore my throat
out and ate my esophagus like a Sunday gravy braciole. I just would have.
people don't write about that kind of thing so much? How come at least some
writers can't just admit that the kitchen basically sucks now? And that
everything else sucks in a way, too.
I get so
bummed. Write me some real shit, man. Tell me it sucks. Tell me you suck for letting all this happen
all this waking up in the middle of the night to pop the baby's bottle in his
mouth? I do it. I don't mind doing it. I love the kid, obviously and when he's
here he needs me to help him because there isn't anyone else around to do it,
you know? There aren't any benevolent ghosts walking out of the walls to tip a
bottle back to his 3am crying lips, you know?
And even if
there was, it wouldn't be the same anyway. It's either me or his mama he wants.
Even without saying it, I know that's what he wants. What he needs. So that
sucks as well.
You ever stand
there in the dark of my bedroom with me, you will feel it coming off me like
sexual heat: me wishing we were still under one goddamn roof, maybe
taking turns with the kids when they need us instead of handing them off, back
and forth, like hot novels or Blu-Rays we share with like-minded culture
vultures, walking to them alone. One. Or the other. One. Or the other. That's
what you get. That's what we get.
It might come. But it might not. Wounds are wicked. Scars are gross. Don't tell me that everything always
works out when it comes to love. That's not true. You have to work it out
yourself. You have to be honest with yourself, stare yourself in the eyeball
and not be afraid of anything in the world. So many people don't live that way.
That's probably the leading cause of divorce right there, bud.
down through a lot of my days like I'm tripping on a dream of vines. I get so
tangled up in tiny things, missing moments when I guess other moments ought to
be replacing them.
divorced people are like haggard Civil War veterans long ago. Look at them, showing up at Gettysburg on a hot summer day
(Reunion Day!) to reminisce and drink lemonade or hooch under the shade of some
infamous tree. It all seems so perfect and fine, everyone chatting away and
pecking at the cold chicken, waving the flies away. They tell their stories
with heroic twists. They romanticize the epic pain.
every son-of-a-bitch there is missing a limb or some shit.
off by cannonballs.
off by miniballs.
of your jaw just gone, sheared off by some drunken cavalry dude's ratty sword
many moons ago.
vets try not to stare, but they're like, "Day-uhm,
son! Look at this guy! I can see the sun shining through the back of his
divorce really doesn't hurt for a lot
the first guy in the world to ever stand in his divorce kitchen and want to
punch a mountain lion in the face really hard just to prove an unknown point to
I guess what
it all comes down to is that I wish there were more people who were like me in
this world, more writers especially. When it comes to divorce, you can tell me
you are writing it down, honest as you can, and that everything feels good
after a while, but I don't buy it.