She'll Never See It
The timing seemed unusual, all these people still wearing suits and dresses, splattering electric blue paint up on the walls of the apartment. I called AJ over and gave him $25 from my wallet. "Here, give this to your mother," I said, "For the paint." I turned to leave and passed my son's new step-father on the way to the door. "Congratulations," I mumbled, without looking at him.
That was how my dream ended last night. It was a long, meandering tale with the setting being some sub-conscious-driven version of X's impending nuptials (23 days, but who's counting). The ceremony took place in a synagogue (!) and I picked a fight with the fey co-ordinator (!!), whom I threatened to "turn into whipped cream," (an awesome challenge in any mental state). At another point, I was naked, for a reason I found wholly legitimate, and was indignant when chastened by the groom's father. My mother was there (!!!) and when I was tossed by the Jews at the synagogue, with whom I also nearly fought, we wandered the streets of San Leandro, CA looking for my car, which we never found.
Yet I still ended up back in the newly-electric blue apartment of my ex-wife, much to the chagrin of a pack of snarling Jews.
I suppose it's fair to say I haven't known how to deal with this imminent wedding. The primary issue is, I didn't exactly know what bothered me about it. I'm confident the Jews are not relevant (I finished reading "Portnoy's Complaint" just yesterday, so I'll assume that's why they were there). My feelings have been the same as when I found out they'd become engaged. No visceral emotion to seize. Some incredulity. I'd grasped some random straws long enough to quicken my blood, but discarded them just as swiftly. All I've had is this nagging itch, familiar by now, but just out of reach.
When I woke up today, the blue paint thing reminded me of another break-up, one long ago when I had my teen-age heart broken. On the day she delivered to me the bad news, she also asked to borrow my new Scorpions LP so she could tape it.
I let her. Regardless of how these women hurt me, I am, as always, the nice guy, which makes me a sap, most likely.
I've been listening to a TON of Airborne Toxic Event. I've said this to other people, but I say it to you all now: If that album had been around three-and-a-half years ago, I might've offed myself. It's all heartbreak and anguish and failure, beautifully, achingly rendered. "Innocence," is the gold standard and there's a line in there that resonates, now, and from out of the past.
"I woke up, tired, scared and sad."
I recognized it immediately, but also not. I used to say, during that time, I woke up either angry or sad, and always rooted for angry. I never pegged that anger came from a place of fear. More than anything else, I was scared. For what was to happen to me. For what was to happen to AJ.
And that helps, because I'm not scared any longer. Sad? Sure. Some days are bad ones. Not because I long for the repair of my marriage, or for the days we were happy together, but for my son's future, for what we will, and already have, put him through. I know it's hard on him still. I see it in his confused face, in his nervous manner, and I'm so sorry for what we've done.
Yet, I no longer fear he will ditch me, as his mother did, replace me with his step-father. Never gonna happen.
X and I sat together at AJ's baseball game last night. She told me my ex-brother-in-law wanted to grab a drink or eight with me while he was here for the wedding. That was pretty cool. Niklas is the only one who reached out to me during The Troubles, even though I practically begged for help from the other members of her family. I don't blame them for anything. Perhaps they spoke for me in private, though, more likely, I was asking them to do something which is not in their nature.
Niklas asked X, "So what kind of places are there to go out?" in our little desert hamlet. X laughed relating the story. "I don't go out," she told him.
Which is ironic. That being Reason #1 for why she ditched me. We didn't DO enough stuff together.
Like my feelings about the engagement to now, I have another thought that hasn't changed. It's one I relegated to non-status after a while, because it didn't matter. It was over. She was gone. But it came back to me last night. That conversation with X was, like my nagging itch, familiar. Other things she said, some recent actions. She's not gone anywhere. And I remembered. Something I told a lot of people back then, something I believed, something that came more from a place of logic than from one of emotion.
She's making a mistake.
Seems rather simple on the surface, yeah? X would, at this point, even concur that what she did was not just wrong, but a mistake. I don't think she'd admit, however, that marrying this guy is also a mistake.
I don't know that it's any of my concern. Certainly, there's potential for AJ to get hurt, but I can't police every one of their actions. But that familiar itch, it's not just giving me a fact, it's telling me I could do something about it. I could pay for the paint. Or loan an album.
I will ignore it, of course. I can't tell her. That conversation would never go anywhere. But that's what it is, reduced to another lyric.
"And this light from the window of my car. She'll never see it."