Divorce. It’s just a word, until it’s happening to you. Oh, you’ve felt it. You’ve known it since junior high when your best friend’s parents got divorced. It was like someone getting cancer but not dying. You didn’t know what to say except ‘sorry’, the lamest of words when your friend’s world is falling apart.
Marcia stopped loving me. It was little things all gathering at the dam, and then it broke, and she didn’t want me anymore.
It felt like she dropped a fucking anvil on my heart off the Observation Deck of the Empire State Building. Right there, on 5th Avenue, I had my first heart attack – but nothing was wrong with me. We had been holding hands, and the last thing I remember is an old lady sitting there on one of those wooden camping chairs with the canvas seat, holding out a red sweater. Marcia let go of my hand and I don’t know how I knew, but my heart started pounding like that time we were walking near North Slope and that douche-bag crack-addict pulled out a knife, and I dropped him. How the hell I did it still awes me, but we got through it – and it was like a war medal. I protected my wife from an attacker – without even really trying. It almost felt too easy – like whenever we brought it up at parties, I was somehow lying – but I just got lucky.
As lucky as it felt to be Marcia’s husband. Except I’m not anymore. That old lady must have thought I was some kinda freak after Marcia said she wanted a divorce right there on the street. On the fucking street! I’m not a crier, but I did that day, because I knew. There was no going back. No reconciliation. How a crater didn’t open up and swallow me whole is mind-blowing. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t speak. I was a fucking gusher right there for the world to see.
The old woman actually told me to move along – something like I was hampering business.
And I did.
My legs carried me into the Empire State Building lobby and I considered buying a ticket and just staying up there to rot, but I somehow got a cab to our friend, Tim Malory’s, down on West Houston.
It’s been a year today. Some days are better than others, but I’m still here. It’s true what they say – life goes on.
Last year, I finally broke away from my go nowhere life. Jack and I hadn’t been fighting, but life wasn’t happy. I wasn’t happy. Life is neutral. It’s just a thing, ya know? You gotta make it be what you want or it’s never gonna go anywhere. Jack and I went out for brunch at the Martinique, and everything was fine. We were going along. He always liked holding hands, and I did, even though it wasn’t really me – but it was sweet, right? He loved me, and I really wanted to love him.
We were walking down 33rd after eating and I had to tell him. I couldn’t live with myself anymore. I needed more – or different. I don’t know, ya know? I just had to tell him. I let go of his hand – a hawker was holding out this horrid red sweater – but I told him right then and there. I’m awful, I know, I’m awful. I’m a horrible, terrible person, but I feel so much better – so sue me.
I make it sound easier than it was, because I did love Jack. I loved his kind heart and his – simplicity. He reminded me of the country, but I’m a city girl. City girls don’t do well in the country.
I hope Jack found someone really great. I do.
I don’t care if I’m single the rest of my life. I’m happy. I mean, really happy. Not everyone belongs with someone, I guess. I hope he’s good. I really do. I hope he’s happy too.
Mavis Staples. That’s my name, and if you ask me again, I’ll tell you the same. Oh, hooowee – you know she’s a singer? Well, good for you, sugar. It’s still my name.
I’ve been an in-de-pen-dent con-tract-tor for plenty of years now. I’ve seen plenty. I know what it’s like to live here for real. I make my money though, maybe mostly pity funds, but I take it. I knit, and I find bargains, and sometimes I get a boost in inventory from some of the other in-de-pen-dent con-tract-tors you see here on our street. We don’t let just anybody sell here. No, missy. We’re a family and we look out for each other – mostly.
We’re watchers. We know who might bite and who probably won’t, but we’re equal opp-or-tun-ity sellers, so we call everybody to look at our inventory. Yes, missy, we do.
We’ve seen good days, bad days, and all in between. Once I saw a lover’s quarrel that didn’t let out more than a squeak, but I saw the bottom drop out of that man. Yes, I did! I saw his heart dangle there while his woman’s eyes remained dry. Dry! I wish my red sweater could have held his poor heart – or stopped hers – oh, yes!, I mean that sin-cere-ly. I had to tell him to move on by. He needed direction, and I gave it to him straight! “I’m doing business here, you move on down the street.”
He looked just like a little lost puppy. Yes, missy, he did. I felt bad for him, but I gotta make a living, and I knew he’d be okay. Not that day, but he would. He just needed some direction. But her, she brought that cool breeze in, and it buffeted him all the way to the Empire State! I wouldn’t let her sell on our street. No, missy, I would not.
Now, are you going to buy something, or do I have to move you along too?
© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.