It comes up in almost every conversation I have with my close friends, “Has Husband #2 called you at all? Have you heard from him yet?” It’s the same answer every time: No.
I am beginning to think that I’m the only one who doesn’t expect him to call. I guess they don’t know Husband #2 the way I know Husband #2.
His mind is like an egg carton. Life is sectioned off into different areas which don’t overlap. Boundaries are stark, hard, and not to be crossed.
Meanwhile, back closer to home, I continue to forge a life without Husband #2. Yet things happen that bring him to mind. Whether it’s a phrase in a book, the mention of his state of residence on the Weather Channel, or the familiar scent of coffee wafting towards me as I open the door to the cabinet where we used to store his beans.
That’s what I am, a yummy mess covered with butter and a little bit of garlic.
I know I won’t hear from Husband #2 until our 10th anniversary nears, for that is when we discussed the filing of papers to end our union. Nothing personal in this timing, just the logical financial business of being eligible for each others’ Social Security benefits.
I don’t wonder if he thinks about me, I know he doesn’t. Once placed in the egg carton section, thoughts of me are not allowed to bleed over to the sections dealing with holidays, work, family, housing, or hobbies.
As I think through my life puzzle pieces, I see all of the connections laid out like a huge circuit board. My retirement plans depend on my work availability. My future housing depends on the kids finishing up college. The choice of a new car depends on the weather in my new area.
As I continue moving forward, I slowly take pieces of my spaghetti brain out of the old bowl and start adding them to my new bowl. When the kids finish school I’ll buy that retirement house (aka the place where I’ll die) and that will signify a final removal of Husband #2’s presence in my life. As it stands, I see his work efforts and ghost in this house. Every day I walk down the steps he carpeted. I unlock the front door we installed together. I get my tea cup out of the cabinets we picked out and assembled together. I heat my teapot on the stove we shimmied into place. My elliptical occupies a space that he built with his own hands, pouring in the blood, sweat, and tears (and one minor scar over his eyebrow).
I loved those times of working together on the house….
But once I move, there will be no more Ghost of Husband Past. My spaghetti will have transferred bowls. I will have plenty of new twists and turns to my noodles and they will no longer involve Husband #2. That bowl will be washed and packed away, just like the pasta bowl that used to contain my noodles from Husband #1 Days.
For now, I’ll allow my spaghetti to remain mixed up and let those thoughts of Husband #2 surface. One day I’ll stroll down memory lane and it will feel like a different person was a part of this life, which will be true. I will be a different person in the future. And as I go back, reading past entries in my blog, I’ll remember this quote:
The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours. ~ Alan Bennett
Just in the same way I look back at the person I was when I inhabited my teen body, my 20’s struggles, and my 30’s heartbreak. I’ll see a person who was and wasn’t quite me as I am at the present.
By then my spaghetti may be fettuccini alfredo. It will still be entwined.