All the Single Ladies, Divorce

Second Verse, Same as the First

I’m waiting for LP, who is at an extracurricular, and I’m sitting in a downtown coffee shop in City By the Sea. (Have I called it that lately? I loved the days of the nicknames.) I’m drinking a Milky Way Latte (decaf), which is almost indescribably delicious. This is a coffee shop that used to be further down the block. I remember sitting on similar furniture worrying aloud with a friend I never see anymore about how the price of heating oil had hit — gasp! — $1.25. When was that? 2000? 2001? A long time ago.

I’ve lived here a long time. I’m starting to re-recognize people. And I’m living out a repeat of an unpleasant chapter. No matter how good an idea it is to get divorced in a particular situation, even if you wanted it, it’s not fun to know your ex is out there meeting people via the personals. When Ex1 (The Father of My Children) and I divorced in 1997, all the personals that were personals were in the back of a weekly newspaper that doesn’t exist anymore. You recorded a message, and people could call up and leave you a message in a mailbox. I never ran an ad, but I did leave a few messages, and to my horror, one time, I called to listen to a recording and recognized my recently former husband’s voice. Ack!!!

Now this time I’m not looking myself, but I’ve had the rather hilarious post-marriage experience of having my first ex run into my second ex at a well-known local walking path, where they discussed the health and welfare of my children, after which my second ex thought it appropriate to mention that he had met a woman known to my first ex (they are both contra dancers), and my first ex decided to tell me about it. He theorized that the meeting of his friend and my second ex probably took place courtesy of that new hotbed of personal interaction, Craigslist.

Given that Ex2 had been finding rooms to rent while away at work via Craigslist for the past few years, this all added up.

Although I knew Ex2 was back in the area, I hadn’t let myself think about his social activities. But now I am on the lookout. And today it occurs to me that it’s a happy thing he doesn’t drink coffee, because there’s a very low chance that he’ll make a Craigslist personals date in a coffee shop. So I feel free to drink my Milky Way Latte in peace.

All the Single Ladies, The Inner Landscape

September

Last September I wondered if I would ever feel whole again, if I would have a sense of hope for the future, if I would be able to manage a new call with a heart breaking over a dying dog and a broken relationship and what I feared would be another door closed.

Last September, despite all that, I went to all the meetings and appointments that were part of the new school year for my daughter and the new program year for my church.

Last September I spent literally sleepless nights reading Psalms and emailing friends in other time zones.

Last September, I awaited the visits of friends coming to dig me out from under the rubble of emotional shock and awe.

Last September, our backyard apple tree had exactly two apples.

Last September, I survived. I remember my relief when it came time to turn the page on the calendar.

This September, I’m mostly adjusted to my new reality. My neighbor (another single gal) and I agreed to forgo the plow service this year and shovel the darn snow our own selves. LP offered to help.

This September, I’m feeling the average pastor’s version of Autumn Overwhelm.

This September, I have a different old dog, who doesn’t walk well on the leash and defies all efforts to train him better. He makes me laugh.

This September, I await a visit that will symbolize the new normal and the distance from last year.

This September, the apple tree has enough fruit for a pie, and I’m going to bake it.

This September, I’m beginning to understand what it might be like to feel whole.

All the Single Ladies, Personal History

Bad Hair Year

It’s been a complicated, challenging year in many ways. It’s almost the anniversary of Snowman’s car accident, and from around that time, other things devolved, and here I am a year later, happy to have a live son but still in the latter stages of grieving our dog, Sam, and wondering how thing turned out the way they did, and learning to live with my new old dog and my new old name, too.

To make things worse, I was having a Bad Hair Year. There may have been days or evenings here and there where my hair was reasonably presentable, but I have spent just about the past year growing out the tragic layers of a haircut that was little more than a shag.

It’s my own fault. I encouraged a very nice hairdresser to cut my hair for curls I don’t really have. What I really have is waves, waves that occasionally, under the right combination of humidity and barometric pressure, do curl. Somehow she coaxed them to life, every time I saw her, and for the “do” she created, the layers worked. But at home, under my less accomplished hands, it became a shag. A shag!!! I didn’t even have one of those when they were popular. How demoralizing to have one 35 years after they were sort of fashionable!

For the past year, almost, I’ve been living through growing out the layers. And today, after a heart to heart with my new hairdresser, I gave the order to cut over 2 inches and  make those tired ends go away. It’s already starting to do its own thing, including waving in places where my new hairdresser made it smooth.

I’m a hair-changer. I don’t know if I’ll keep it this short. But I’m hopeful I’ll keep from doing anything too radical. My hairdresser could tell you, there was a time last fall I came in and discussed cutting it super-short and/or dying it red. (She could also tell you she doesn’t do that kind of thing without sending a client home to sleep on it. Smart woman.) It seems like I’ve passed the danger zone of emotional hair choices; I believe this will be a Good Hair Year.