With This Ring

24 Apr

I’ve lived with my wife’s anger for too many years – it looks like we’re heading for a divorce. I’m sure Ann’s frustrated with me on a whole other level, and if she was typing this passage a whole litany of complaints would fly from her fingers. I had made a vow to myself to wait and see if my success as a screenwriter (if I ever achieve this) makes a difference – if bills being paid and money piling up in the bank alleviates her extreme negativity and fearfulness. It looks like we hit the crossroads before that happened.

One of the things that made her furious is hearing me tell Michael about a tiny nightclub in Santo Domingocalled Secrada Musical, where they play Cuban son and people dance. I was there with a crazy radio personality/politician named Bacho. I was learning how to dance the son – they even poured a circle of lighter fluid on the dance floor, and tossed a match down and we danced in the flames. It was one of those expansive nights – I was sitting by the dance floor and a woman walked by and I gave her a slap on the ass. I told Michael that I’d never done that before – I don’t know where the impulse came from. The woman I slapped (it was more like a pat) gave me a mixed look over her shoulder, kind of pissed and flirtatious at the same time. Anyway, three weeks after listening in on my phone call, Ann starts calling me a sleazeball for slapping this woman on the ass. I thought about what she was saying, playing the event over in my mind, but I couldn’t feel any regret about it. Finally I said I wasn’t sorry about doing it. I guess not begging for mercy was the final straw and she said, “I want a divorce.”

Of course, this isn’t why she wants a divorce – it’s more complicated than that.

The same problems that are causing the divorce – lack of money – will also force us to live under the same roof until we pay the bills down.

I’ll miss what could have been, but I’ll never miss what I’ve been living through the last ten years.

I feel like a dog that just had a bath in the bathtub. I’m squirming under the towel, dying to shake my whole body. I feel like a dog trying to shake it all off.

It’s a good feeling…

Today I woke up, and when my finger was still wet from washing my face, I tried to twist my wedding ring off. It wouldn’t budge. I admonished myself from doing something stupid, like breaking a knuckle playing the role of “Husband Unchained.”

Later in the day, as I sat reading, I grabbed the ring and twisted it off and put it safely away.

There must be a small part of me that still respects the marriage: when my first marriage was over I didn’t save the ring – I pawned it for a bottle of tequila and flowers for Ann.

(2005)

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