Monday, May 11, 2009

28. 1 becomes 2 (unedited)

I was sitting at a city council meeting tonight, bored, tired and sore. My spring bicycling is underway, and it's always painful. Thirteen miles feels like a chore at the beginning of the season. My ass is extra sore from the seat at the beginning of the year, and this year I'm getting pain in my neck and shoulder that I'm not use to. Of course I won't go to the doctor unless it cripples me.

So as I sat at the city council meeting, pitying my life, I wondered what I could possibly be inspired to write about tonight. then, as I was driving home, I had new messages on my phone. There was one from last night, that I didn't know I had, and a second one tonight from Chuck, a college friend. She's getting divorced.

This news wasn't a total surprise. Chuck saw this coming back in December, and was prepared for the end, right before the annual holiday pilgrimage to visit the families. As it turns out Chuck and her husband decided to continue to work toward saving their marriage. Well, that has come to an end.

I remember meeting Chuck for dinner one night several years ago. She had ended a long-term relationship with a real dufus. He was a likable guy, but he wasn't originally from our planet, I decided. He was 12 or 13 years older than Chuck, had never been married, if I recall correctly, and had a solid career as a school teacher. His life was pretty decent, and clearly he wanted a relationship. Chuck wanted to get married and have a traditional life. The ex-boyfriend didn't, evidently.

You'd think that a guy in his early 40s might be willing to make a few concessions if he wants a long-term relationship. I promise you this, if I meet a woman 12 years younger than me tomorrow who doesn't irritate me constantly and doesn't already have a litter of kids, assuming I'm attracted to her I'd consider myself one lucky son of a bitch. Maybe Chuck's ex never wanted kids, being a school teacher and all, and knew that it would never work because Chuck wants children. Whatever the reason, he wanted to maintain the status quo, but Chuck didn't want that in her late 20s. End of relationship. (The ex didn't handle it particularly well, I heard. He wasn't psychotic, but he was rather remorseful and regretful, but for Chuck there was no turning back.)

Enter her husband. Chuck and her husband were set up through mutual friends, having met a few years earlier. Chuck didn't like the long-distance aspect of the potential relationship, but against her better judgment she went on a date. Nothing really happened on night 1, evidently. But Chuck consented to a second go of it, and something happened on night 2, Chuck recalled at dinner. It was as if everything magically clicked in her life. She was quite happy, or so it seemed.

But there was the issue of distance, about 75 miles or so. Chuck lived in the Twin Cities, her husband did not. And to make matters worse, his employer asked him to transfer out of state indefinitely. Chuck and the husband decided he should do so, and shortly thereafter she would join him out west.

Within a couple of years they were married, and not long after that they came back to Minnesota. They ended up in the town her husband had lived and worked in prior to the transfer. That was great for him, but a bit tough for Chuck. Sure, she was 90 minutes away from her friends and family in the Twin Cities, a lot closer than she had been, but she had to adapt to a life her husband knew quite well.

Her husband did well for himself, and Chuck found meaningful employment in her profession(s) difficult to find outside the Twin Cities. The fact she didn't have to work 40 hours per week might make many jealous. But for Chuck it was a bit of a sacrifice.

What seemed to be a well matched pair wasn't quite the perfect match. Chuck still wants to spawn a child, (why are people drawn to that I don't understand,) but it hasn't happened. And clearly it won't at this point.

So after seeing multiple counselors and attempting to find a reason to stay together, they failed. And although I only have one side of the story to judge by, it's safe to say things are going to get a bit ugly.

Her husband proposed resolving the divorce without attorneys or a court battle. Chuck was fine with that. Something changed, because quite to her surprise Chuck wound up being served with divorce papers. So now Chuck is trying to find an attorney to represent her, (which isn't as easy as you would think,) trying to line up an apartment in the cities, preparing for periodic trips back and forth for a future legal showdown and trying to find any sort of a job in the worst economy of her life as she prepares to go it on her own after years of relative dependency upon her husband. I don't envy her.

And once again my meaningless life doesn't seem so bad. If only I could afford a massage or three.

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