One of the most dreaded conversations in life was about to happen. We had to tell the children we were divorcing. Well, kind of.
The Genius had packed his bags. He cleared out the closet, after I told him twice. And, strangely enough, moved half of my clothes to his racks. Appearances clearly mean a lot to him. As if the children wouldn’t pick up on the fact that dresses now hung where his clothes used to be. It must be
simple to be a Genius.
Now we had to tell the children. We weren’t breaking new ground here. Kids all across the world have experienced the conversation where Mommy and Daddy drop the Divorce bomb on them. And, as with anything, there’s a good way and a bad way to do it. The Genius wanted to do it this way: “I’m on the road all the time. Let’s just tell them I’m working in lower Marin and need to stay there. I’ll be back nearly daily to take them to school and be with them for dinner. There’s no need to go into any more detail. They’re 4 and 6. They don’t need to know any more than that.”
Uh-huh. That’ll work. Say it with me: And that’s why we call him The Genius.
“You don’t think they’ll find it odd that you are ‘working’ 8 miles away and need to sleep there?” And you don’t think they already pick up on the fact that we can’t bare to breath the same air? That we don’t hug? Kiss? Speak to each other naturally in any way, shape or form? Sleep in the same room? Yea, that’s kinda not gonna work, Genius. Oh, by the way, the beauty of where I’m at right now is that I don’t have to see you daily (I’d like to not see you ‘life-ly’!). You’ll need to alter your grand plans.
We met with Dr. K. (Couples Counseling Works!…sometimes…maybe) and each communicated how we wanted to tell the children about the implosion of our marriage. My line was that Mommy and Daddy need to be in separate places to work on some problems in our relationship. And that was a compromise, by the way. What I wanted to say was that Mommy and Daddy needed to separate. Period. Our relationship wasn’t working anymore (because your Dad is emotionally frozen as a fourteen year old thanks to his Mom, couldn’t read a moral compass if the Dalai Lama deciphered it for him, and hasn’t thought about anyone but himself in the last 15 years…if not his entire life! Well, let me be honest. Is the penis a separate entity from the self? If so, he’s thought about that. Oh, indulge me!)
You already know what his line was. And are you at all surprised that it was a total lie? Funny thing about lying…the more you do it the less you realize you are doing it. The less you care you are doing it. Eventually you no longer know what the truth is. Lying becomes the norm. The Genius was completely lost in a sea of manipulating the facts to suit his own needs. He won’t swim to shore any time soon.
An hour before the sit-down with the boys I was texting Mr. Jackpot about our hike the next day. The weather called for heavy and steady rain. It could have called for showers of Banana Spiders and cat urine and I was game. I needed to spend the day with a man that I found very intriguing, who was excessively easy on the eyes, and who made me smile.
We had been texting since my trip back East. I’d call it Grade 3 Banter, with Grade 1 being about the game or the weather and Grade 2 being about your life and your kids or job. Grade 3 Banter was about humor and life. Not your life or my life. Bigger than that.
This banter was about Life-At-Large.
Until I texted “Are you going to be out and about tonight?” And then it became about us.
“I was thinking about it. You?”
“I might need a bottle, I mean a glass of wine after this.” He knew the sit-down was immanent.
“Shall I bring you one of my favorites?”
“That would rock.” And so our Saturday hike became a Friday night glass of wine.
I knew The Genius would bolt after our conversation with the boys. Thankfully. At Dr. K.’s suggestion, we told them the truth. How freaking novel. It was just like in the movies.
“…so Daddy is going to be living in another house.”
“Will we get to go there?”
“Can I have some more chocolate milk?”
“Stop kicking my feet!”
“Do you have any questions?” I say. Which resulted in a total “Classic South Park Kyle and Stan Dumbfounded Look” stare.
“So how was school today?” The Genius belches out.
(I could make this up if I tried, but why bother? It’s ripe and begging to be picked. I just have to eat enough blueberries to remember it all.)
At 9 that evening, with the boys tucked in bed and The Genius fumbling his way back to his new reality, Mr. Jackpot showed up on my doorstep.
The dog never barked.