There are certain images from my divorce that stick in my head as momentous, some good, some bad. Certain images represent my taking back my strength and independence, others just represent my fear of my Ex and for the future and what is to be.
Others are just humorous. For the most part, my first husband and I had a “virtual divorce” filled with emails and texts and bantering and puffing up by the attorneys.
One funny image, that ages as well as the glass of red wine that I am drinking as I write this, is the Monday afternoon, when we took turns depositing my car bill in each others mail boxes, as we awaited the Judge’s final determination as to who was to continue paying for that Mercedes that I never wanted. It was too small for my carriage and 2 car seats, but he had to have it. So sneaking around the corner, watching for witnesses, the craziness ensued. His box, my box, his box, my box. My bank account dwindling, I could not pay it. His anger growing, he would not pay it until…. he got a special invite from the Judge to do just that. Telling the story, as I have, many times, over the years, it is funny. I am allowed to be dramatic in my story telling. I have earned it. I exaggerate, of course… the times we transferred that bill from box to box has grown over the years, and when I tell it now, the number is like 50,000 or something. Clearly, for the listener, who has suspended disbelief to listen to me, it is funny. It wasn’t funny at the time. I was terrified that the Judge would say that I drive it, so I pay for it. But instead, it was my first, in a series of little battles with him that I did indeed win. Each time, his anger deepened and I could breathe a little more deeply. His passive aggressive manner was frightening. He never raised his voice. Instead, it was his evil scary expression that even led my attorney to say that he has “ice in his veins”. Not large by stature, my lawyer did not understand why I was so afraid, until he met him.
To This day, I shudder at the exchange that occurred after this comment : “YOU HAD THEM FREEZE MY BANK ACCOUNT?!?!?!?!??!?????!!!!!!!!!”
<Insert chills and shudders>
One buzz of my phone, with that special sound assigned to messages from him, was enough to send a chill from head to toe. Clutching the phone for sometimes minutes at a time, before mustering the nerve to open it to see what I had done this time.
As the years passed, our virtual communication sharpened. He learned the importance of SPEAKING IN CAPS, and he strengthened his clever use of exclamation points as a means of telling me, though subconsciously, that he means whatever he says, and that I need to stop being a pain in his ass. !!!
Stupid little grammatical icon. The Exclamation point! While it has its place in literature, I guess, its purpose falls short on me in natural conversation. Is lol! any funnier than lol, or better yet LOL! Point taken. You thought whatever I said was funny. Adding the exclamation point, seems a bit unnecessary when received from him, and when sent by me, it comes across as antagonistic.
His emails and text messages send me into a state of fear, wondering what I could have done now, and when do we cease to have a connection? Will there be a time when I can see a message from him, and say that I will take care of his nonsense later. Instead, fear of the impending unknown does not allow me to ignore his messages.
Years have gone by, and not much has changed with regards to our communication. I muster periodic episodes of nerve, where I reply to his !! with my own !!!. I always add an extra so he wonders whether I am that much angrier than he is, or if I am making fun of him. We recently had an argument over whether or not he changed the insurance card at the drug store. It wasn’t enough to say that the girl at CVS might have made an error in not approving the repeat allergy medication. Each response contained multiple !!! to suggest that I needed to deal with this, and if an error was made, it had to be mine, not hers, and CERTAINLY NOT HIS!!!!!
Comical as it seems, I now have the nerve to add my own !!! without fear of retribution. Case in point.
YOU MADE ME MISS THE ________ AT SCHOOL!!!
How did I do that?
YOU DIDN’T SEND ME THE DATE WITH THE INFORMATION
Yes I did. If you do not read the emails that I send to you, I am not responsible.
YOU DIDN’T SEND IT!!!!
( I provide the date the info was sent)
Did you take pictures?
Of course I did. Maybe you should apologize to your daughter, so she knows why you missed it.
I guess I still wait for the day when he realizes that I am not out to hurt him or undermine him as a parent. I also await the day, that my fear disappears so that my own visceral responses to his emails and texts don’t send me to find the Xanax!