Sunday, February 28, 2010

Breaking up is hard to do (unedited)

It wasn't that many years ago I attended Holly's wedding. It was barely four years ago, and I remember it fondly. It was that rare occasion where I enjoyed a wedding reception.

Holly use to sell advertising at the newspaper. Yes, THE newspaper, the one I've now been working at for 12 years. For a year or two she sold ads in the same area I covered. We chatted about the coverage area now and again, which is how we got to be friends.

It was during those years that she had a long-time relationship with Frank. I don't know a lot about Frank's background, but he's one of those colorful characters who had many exotic tales to tell. He was also some sort of real estate mogul. Perhaps that's overstating it, but Frank developed lavish lake homes for the wealthy, it seemed. His life, not surprisingly, mirrored that lavish lifestyle.

I have no idea how Holly met Frank, or what exactly they had in common, but they were a couple. Holly didn't come from a wealthy family, as far as I know, and I couldn't help but wonder if some of the attraction to Frank was the lavish lifestyle he enjoyed.

I'm not sure what happened, but eventually their ongoing relationship came to an end, and Holly had a hard time dealing with it, this I know firsthand. She made peace with the end of their relationship and moved on. So did Frank. He married some woman, younger than Holly it sounds like, relatively quickly.

Holly, meanwhile, moved on, too. I don't know where or when she met Phil, but she did. I only met him once, at their wedding, but from what I knew of him, he was far more blue collar than Frank. He struck me as the type of guy who remained friends with those he grew up with, never fell into the trap that bigger is better and enjoyed a decent living, but believed in working hard for it. He wasn't the type of guy who was going to fall into a boatload of cash by dumb luck, nor was he looking to. Maybe I have him pegged all wrong, but that's the impression I had.

I went to Holly and Phil's wedding in 2005 and assumed it was happily ever after from there. I think both were in their 40s at this point. I assume when you reach that age you know what you want out of life, what you can compromise on and what you will not accept in a relationship or marriage.

Whatever the reason, Holly and Phil got divorced last fall.

This was news to me, as Holly and I had lunch last August and she gave no indication that she was headed down that road. I'm not one of her closest friends, so I didn't expect her to tip me off. I found out last month when I e-mailed her, asking if she wanted to meet for lunch. She replied with the divorce bombshell and noting she now lives in Los Angeles.

Since she was no longer married, she decided it was time to move somewhere fresh, new and exciting. She was selling advertising for a direct-mail publication and was able to transfer to the L.A. area and continue working for her company. So on Christmas day she arrived in Los Angeles, intent on starting her life anew.

Given her family is in Minnesota, I found the move to L.A. to be a bit odd. But she does have friends and/or acquaintances there, evidently, so she's not a complete stranger in that town.

In barely four years she went from married to divorced and living in California. All the money that was spent on the wedding and reception, from photos to dinners, and all those gifts that were given to the newlyweds seems all for naught.

People wait far less than four years to decide they made a mistake and throw in the towel on their marriage. But four years still seems like they pulled a rather quick trigger. Had you told me that their marriage was only going to last four years, perhaps I wouldn't have bothered to go to the wedding. Why go through the motions. Sure, I enjoyed a nice dinner and party, but why go through the motions of buying picture frames for the newlyweds in exchange for dinner? It all seems rather wasteful.

I've been to a few weddings where the happily wed husband and wife have thrown in the towel. Ironically it has been weddings of the last 5-7 years that have been negated. Most any friend whose wedding I attended 10 or more years ago remains married today. I was quite the lucky charm for many years, it seemed.

So now Holly is out in L.A., perhaps never to return again. (With her family in Minnesota, I know she'll be back once or twice a year, including a trip she already has booked this summer.) We'll always have e-mail, telephones and social networking, we will never lose touch. Yet somehow I'm a bit irritated by the recent turn of events. I can't quite put my finger on it or explain it, but I'm more ticked off about it than I should be.

No comments: