There were many reasons to feel sad when I finally made the decision to divorce my husband. Of course, angry and bitter outclassed sad, pound for pound, truth be told, but it was still there lurking in the shadows and from time to time it would hit me, like a bolt from the blue. For me, sad vs. angry and bitter was the emotional equivalent of a welterweight dancing around the ring with a heavyweight and although it wasn’t the norm, once in a while, sad would do some fancy footwork and get a punch in, making itself known. At those times, I would have to consider that emotion and give it its due, although I would have preferred to ignore it altogether because it was just easier that way; it kept me from lingering when all I wanted to do was move forward.
But I was sad, for several reasons. I had failed at being married, which was something that had seemed like a no-brainer at the time I said “I do”. And I was sad when I realized that I didn’t love my husband anymore. I was sad that I had wasted so many precious years trying in vain to make things work and I was certainly sad that I was the one who had to bring things to a head. But the thing that made me the saddest of all was the fact that he was the sole owner of all the artwork that graced our walls and he would be taking it with him when he moved out; this more than anything made me want to cry. I swear, I actually considered staying with him simply because I couldn’t bear to part with those paintings, which is pretty outrageous, or artrageous, if you will. But it is a fact although not one that I’m proud to admit.
When our separation came to pass and he carefully removed the paintings, packed them up and took them away, the walls of my house looked as sad, in their bare state, as I felt. Looking at them, as I passed from one room to another, was a constant reminder that, once upon a time, there had been something hanging there. Something I had adored. It’s funny how such a seemingly small occurrence can make you realize the emptiness that divorce brings, not only to the rooms where furnishings used to reside but also to your heart.
It has taken me years to hang anything in place of those paintings which walked out the door with him so long ago. This is partially due to the fact that the plaster walls of this old house make hanging pictures difficult, even when using a drill and the proper attachments, because often the plaster will give way, leaving gaping holes in their wake which requires copious amounts of patching and a new coat of paint. And it’s hard to replace the pieces that I grew to love over the years because nothing looks quite the same or fits as well in the overall scheme of things. For a while I just let all of it go and lived with bare walls, which was soothing in an odd way. It was like wiping the slate clean and making the decision to wait until I really had something to hang in place of all that I had lost. Little by little, I have come to replace those paintings with new works of art that are mine and mine alone. And they look great and they make me happy. But there will always be a tender spot in my heart for the pieces that used to grace these walls and for the memory of how good it was when they did.