I am sorry I disappeared from the blogosphere last week. I have had one thing after another conspiring against me this past week. I was sick with some sort of funk, then was trying to see patients because I was on deadline and then my laptop died. I was forced to requisition Jumping Bean’s laptop this morning. She is completely delighted with me as you can imagine.
Also, I found a large coil in my garage when I came back in yesterday. Stanley, Stanley.
It’s almost as tall as me. Y’all jelly?
While I was sick, I read a novel by Liane Moriarty called, What Alice Forgot.
It was light reading, but really made me think.
I’m going to skip details but give you the basic plot. Alice fainted while in spinning class in 2008 and woke up, surrounded by people she didn’t really know and believing it to be 1998. She told the paramedics that she was pregnant and to be extra careful with her. In 1998 she was pregnant. She has amnesia from the head injury she sustained while fainting. She can’t remember her children or their births. She asks repeatedly for her husband and finally reaches him only to be met with coldness and hostility. Her sister finally tells her that they are now divorced. She can’t believe it. She loves him still. She grieves it. She can’t imagine what happened to end their marriage.
I have some things I would like to forget, but that would be some heavy shit.
It did make me think back in my own life to 1998. I was also pregnant in 1998, just like Alice, with my first baby. I was a newlywed. I was in love with my husband. At that point in my life I would never have imagined that this could have happened to us. What happened? What if I couldn’t remember the last 10 years of my marriage?
Alice recalls their first date and I thought back to my first date with Stanley. I remember that I heard him pull up in his little black Miata convertible; I peeked out the window and saw he had on a dark jacket and was carrying a bouquet of flowers. I looked down at my jeans and flew back in my bedroom to change. We went to a beautiful and very romantic restaurant.
See? He was romantic at the beginning, what happened?
Alice calls her husband (ex) on the phone and hears the coldness in his voice but her last memories are of their endless talks and laughing together. Stanley and I were never best friends (I don’t think in hindsight) but we were friends. We did enjoy some of the same things and spent our weekends doing things together. We cooked together and watched TV in the same room together, holding hands. We were interested in each other. What happened?
Alice discovers that her husband has forgotten all of the good, just like she forgot all of the bad. I realized I forgot all the good too.
What happened to Alice’s marriage is what happened to my marriage and most marriages, whether they make it or not. Life happens. Kids happen. Careers happen and people spend longer hours at work because it takes a lot of money to live in our society. Resentment happens. There are cutting remarks and long silences instead of love words and laughter. Instead of focusing on the parts of our spouse that we love, we can’t see past our irritation and the ways that they fail. (Exhibit A, all of the beer monkey pictures and photo of coil above.)
Somehow, we remember the bad and forget the good until the good just slips away and becomes hard to even remember.
I remember Stanley as being the most unromantic man on the planet with the worst communication skills who had zero interest in my life. What happened to the romantic man who brought me flowers on the first date and dressed up for me? Did I beat it out of him? Did I ignore and neglect those gestures which caused him to put them away somewhere? Did I become as cold toward him as he did me?
I can’t go back to 1998 or the feelings I had for him then. But if I could, I would do some things differently and try to hang on to the good, live in the moment, worry less and try to maintain the relationship better than we did. I wouldn’t want to forget, I would want to guard it with my life.
As I embark on another marriage I am thinking the hell out of every little thing. Fundamentally, I know that Al and I are better suited than Stanley and I ever were, so we are starting out ahead of the game. But, I also know that both of us know how to grow apart from someone and will work to make sure that doesn’t happen this time. It is a goal anyway.
This time I am determined not to forget.