How Great Thou Part

I bid my barista BFF, Elizabeth hello and I utter my order. It’s the long-winded, order of a Starbuck’s veteran. The kind that infers you are speaking another language. I’ll take a decaf grande skim, extra hot latte. I swipe my beverage off the counter and make my way through the accompanying Barnes & Noble. It’s a good fit for the writer in me. I like to joke that over time I have spent the kind of money there that most women use for their shoe splurges.

I sip a bit of coffee and wander towards the Best Seller shelves.  I know what I am searching for. I am sandwiched between the other readers grabbing the newest romance, aka, Nicholas Sparks or the latest David Baldacci novel.

My eyes scour the shelves and sure enough I spot a few books on relationships, marriage or divorce. I pick one up, sift through a few pages and it’s expert laden, heavy, emotion’ease’ so I move towards the self-help section.

I grab one off the shelf and once again I find more textbook size, expert advice. In the midst of these I find a few sandwiched post-divorce memoirs, a couple of relationship recovery how to’s and starting over reads.

I take another sip of my coffee. My shoulders slump with fatigue.

I think back to the days of babies, of up all nights and wild mornings after. I am not reading parenting books as in my leisurely, What to Expect When You’re Expecting  days. That type of bedside reading went out with the delivery.

You can’t read parenting books when you’ve been up all night and then navigate the chaotic beauty of tiny people.

Likewise, it’s difficult to read when the heart’s been up all night. To concentrate on classroom wisdom while the playground has worn you out.

I don’t know why people always reference the heart as broken? That’s not what it feels like to me. It feels like someone is picking up my heart and shaking it like a salt shaker until there is nothing left in it. It does not feel broken. It feels emptied

I can’t soldier through a relationship expert or read how to recover from a heartache when I have yet to fully move through it.

I want another person to grab my hand. I want them to cry with me or dry my tears. I want them to shout in outright indignation that I have been done wrong and then throw their head back with thunderous laughter when we can both have a great laugh at just what a mess I have become through my ‘marital Olympics.’

I want someone to look back for me to make sure I’m following them safely since they’ve walked this path before me. I want another behind me to shove me back in the right direction when I have veered away from our ‘wounded pack.’

I stare at the jam-packed shelves. There is no book for me here.

For the first time in my fave store I can’t find a pair of shoes that fits.

I know I have to make my own pair of shoes. Write my own story down. I have to make sure that I can grab another’s hand and be there to look back and nudge them forward.

There is a heaviness to marital problems and to divorce……a weight within you. A time where tears are prosperous and smiles far too endangered.

It is as many have said before me grief.

I was 28 years old when I lost my mom and dad. They died six months to the day apart. Grief, as anyone who has experienced it knows is a journey that the heart would avoid if only it could.

Grief is a solitary journey. A lonely journey no matter what anyone else says to the contrary. You can be surrounded by many, but utterly alone in the room.

If you are one of the lucky ones who are experiencing marital trouble as a pair and working hard to put your faith and family first, then I would say that you are fortunate because you are still on a journey of ‘two.’

I eventually ended up in marriage counseling ‘alone.’ What I call my own personal oxymoron.

For me and sadly, for many, a decaying marriage and potential divorce are meant to be a journey of ‘one.’ If you still think it’s ‘two,’ then there are too many people in your divorce.

I spent so much time believing that I was still on a journey of ‘two.’

It is a journey of one. It needs to be in order to move forward.

I finally get it. I am what I call, “Divorce Barbie.”

Barbie is just a happy word for us girls.

Can you blame me for needing a positive moniker? After all, I’m no longer sitting in our Malibu Beach House and Ken took off in the camper.


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