Consciously uncoupling

I could be divorced right now. Well, separated, at least. Before you freak out, let me tell you the truth: I’m still married. I suspect I’ll always be married until, as they say, death do us part.

I love Geoff in some kind of irrational, passionate way that I know without a doubt that I’ll never find with anyone else. I guess you could say I’m crazy about him. The thought of life without him doesn’t add up. It’s annihilating.

That doesn’t mean anything about our relationship. We’ve struggled for a while now, and at times things have felt impossible. I’m sure that Geoff would agree. Have you ever been in an impossible situation? It feels dehumanizing. It feels like I imagine it would be like to be in solitary confinement. I hate it.

The funny thing about impossible situations is how much they make you change. Just when you think you’re stuck, a tiny secret passage opens up somewhere and the impossible becomes possible. For Geoff and me, this struggle has made us more aware, more deliberate. It’s made us question everything we ever thought we knew about each other, and it’s been good for us.

I like the term conscious uncoupling. It’s easy to interpret it in a literal way, two things coming apart, separating. I prefer a more metaphorical sense. I’m consciously uncoupling from Geoff. I’m thinking about what I want to experience, and I’ll admit it, I’m giving myself space to be selfish about it. I’m questioning things, seeking, and finding answers that are not his. I’m consciously uncoupling from other things too. I’m uncoupling from my old ideas about myself. I’m uncoupling from the status quo. I’m uncoupling from boringness.

It’s not all in my head, either. I’m trying new things, in reality. I’m putting myself in situations that used to be off-limits, and sometimes I drag Geoff along.

Geoff is doing it too. We’re doing it side by side, together. It’s messy and difficult, and pretty awesome. We’re finding hidden passages all over the place.

Consciously uncoupling. You ought to try it.

I like black

Black brought us together twice. The first time I was four years old. Your mom brought you over. We went outside to play, our moms had coffee inside. I slung my new pink purse with the cherries on it over my shoulder. Tucked inside I had my art book and my crayons.

So we went outside to play. I led the way up the hill, that hill that seemed so large back then but that was really rather small. We climbed it and sat down next to each other at the top. I opened my purse and pulled out my art book.

“Can I see it?” you asked.

“Okay,” I said and handed it to you.

You flipped through my drawings as I pulled out my crayons and lined them up on the grass. Your eyes roamed over my pages, taking in my imaginary friends, my master plans for a motor home, my silly four-year-old dreams.

“They’re all black,” you said, confused.

“Black is my favorite color,” I told you, putting the crayons in rainbow order because they were not all black. I like to choose.

You laughed.

The laugh cut through me and I hated you. I reached for you and yanked a handful of your sweet, shaggy, golden hair.

You cried.

Your mom saw everything through the window and blamed me. But she was wrong. You deserved it. I gave you my secret and you tried to destroy it.

Years later you reminded me. “Black was your favorite color,” you laughed.

Yes, I know it was. It always has been.

The day before you asked me to marry you, you hid my engagement ring in a drawer. I looked. Damn my intuition.

The next night you wanted to walk on the beach. I knew what you wanted. I stalled, lurked in the bathroom, and bided my time. I don’t know why. When we reached the gloomy beach just after sunset, you got down on one knee and slipped the ring on my finger. You didn’t even have to ask. We lingered awhile until we couldn’t see each other anymore, the black night sky dropping heavy on us and the black water crashing on the sand. The scene was straight out of my art book.

It’s funny, black brought us together and black sealed the deal. You always knew what you were getting, even as you laughed about it. So I think that you like black too.

I dated a guy in a band once

The guy was young and awkward about his shaggy good looks. He was cool and funny and he loved his guitar. The guy wrote sad songs and he liked being in a band almost as much as he liked having a girlfriend.

I was young and shy and I should have gotten up on stage with him to sing his sad songs. I could have shaken a tambourine and snuck sips of beer. I might have flirted with his weirdo band mates. I should have had more fun than I did, sitting quietly on my barstool playing the good girl, wishing I was at the library studying instead.

I should have been different. I should have been less careful. I should have grabbed my camera and gone to more of his shows. I should have put on a skimpy dress and cheered louder than I did. I definitely should have demanded a quickie in the alley around back.

Once I dated a guy in a band and who played guitar. I should have told him that I loved his music more than I loved him. I should have photographed him, drawn him, painted him so that he could see himself the way I saw him: awesome. I should have let his thing be my thing because if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that there are two kinds of love. There’s the scared kind, where you say no and hold on too tight. Then there’s the true kind where you say anything is possible. Anything, even the impossible. And you let go.

I dated a guy in a band once, and you’re not going to believe this, but I told him to quit. I told him that the band was not for me. I told him to choose.

I’m telling you, he should have let me go.

Is love adorable?

What did you think of my story?

You haven’t answered me. Did you read the comments? Were they right, is love cute? Is the photograph of us on the hill as kids truly adorable? I don’t think so.

Maybe you disagree. Maybe you treasure those old memories the same way that you might enjoy taking the kids to the top floor of a tall building and showing them how to crush people on the street below with your thumb and forefinger.

You can’t really do any damage, you know.

The photograph on the hill captured the start of our love. Imagine it as a delicate wrought iron cage, its door left open to let the birthday guests run back inside for cake. Nothing is really locked up yet, just held loosely.

Years pass with the cage door still open. You even escape for a while, leaving me light and wondering. Can you believe that I desperately asked myself, at twelve, if anyone would ever really love me? The answer was always there, a little clue tucked inside my photo album.

At nineteen, when you brought me flowers on my birthday, you were not shy. You snuck up on me quietly in the rain and stashed those flowers inside the cage. I didn’t even notice you slip the door closed.

At twenty-one, you brought me a puppy wrapped up in your shirt and while I was playing with him, you used the new leash to tie up the cage door. You were not shy.

At our private, sunset engagement party, you were bold. You asked the question as if you already knew its answer. You dead bolted the cage with my diamond ring, and I was thrilled to be inside with you.

Now that we are older, the cage is getting full. It’s cluttered with tombstones and birth announcements. Adventures are falling out, littering the floor underneath. The mess has made us both shy, wary. Inside the cage, we stoop down and flip through the pages of our photo albums, searching for that one reminder of what we both really are.

Only the photograph on the hill doesn’t really exist. I made it up.

Is love adorable? I don’t think so.

Go back and get it

Let me tell you a story about when I was a kid. I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ve known Geoff since I was little. We were, much like we are now, best buddies. At some point our moms broke off their friendship and I thought that I had lost Geoff forever. Years went by until we reconnected in college, and when we did we gave all the credit to fate even though friends really brought us back together.

This year I’ve been able to reconnect, separately, with two people whom I love. Two people whom I had written off as lost, people whom I’ve loved but not loved quite enough, people who loved me but whom I thought didn’t love me quite the way I wanted to be loved. Both relationships were imperfect and difficult, and they scared me.

This year I decided to take a chance, to be honest, to open up to these friends. I realized that I missed them and that I couldn’t continue until they knew that. I went to these friends and let them know how much they mean to me. And do you know what happened? Those friends have come back to me.

I still believe in fate. I think the universe will find a way to lay the things we need out of life in our paths at just the time we need to find them. But I’m revising myself. I also think that we have the power to ask for what we want and we have the ability to get what we need for ourselves. The hardest part is admitting our fear.

It’s important to remember that it’s always possible to go back and fix our mistakes in life. Sometimes all it takes is a simple apology, a hug, or an “I love you.” Sometimes it’s as easy as accepting our own imperfection. Sometimes it’s a matter of letting go of what we think we have and trusting in fate to bring it back if we truly need it.

I’m serious. Many things are out of our control, but you’d be surprised by how much power we have. To my two old friends who are new again, thank you for teaching me this. Now go ahead, give it a try. I dare you to go back and fix something in your own lives.

What’s yours is mine

So, remember a couple of weeks ago when I mentioned that Geoff might be getting fired? Well, it’s happening. Only, he’s getting laid off, with what will most likely be a big severance package. And – here’s the really funny part – he already has a new job. No kidding. He got the offer letter last week and he’s accepting it today. He even gets a big, fat signing bonus.

I know, I know. I sound awful. It’s not that I don’t feel lucky for this good fortune. I do. It’s not that I’m not happy for Geoff, because I am. Like I said before, he works hard. I’m glad that he has a great reputation that travels well. I’m excited for him for this new opportunity. Truly, I think everything will work out for the best for him.

But I’m jealous. I want what Geoff has. I want the recognition, the extra pay, the opportunity. I want an easy transition to my next phase of life. More than that, I want the necessity. Why would it be so much easier for me if I needed to do it for money?

Geoff did make me an offer yesterday. He promised to help out with the kids over the next few months before he starts the new job so I can work on my writing. He told me to take some of the extra money and hire a sitter during the day so I can write. He said something about being my benefactor. I’m thrilled and scared. Of course I’m taking him up on it.

Oh, and have I mentioned how much I love him?

You’re going to like this one


It dawns on me that I haven’t told you the story yet, at least not completely. I’m warning you, this is a good one. It’s a story like a train without brakes, taking everything in its path.

It started back in 1981 or so. I was four years old, so was Geoff. Our moms each shared a close friend, Maureen, a Carmelite nun. She’s my namesake. Each of our moms came to her during their pregnancies, each one a story of its own.

In 1981, Maureen left her monastery for a time and traveled far away. Knowing that she would be gone for a year, she introduced our moms. Geoff and I were four. He and his mom came over. While our moms got to know each other, we played outside. As the story goes, I pulled his hair. His mom got angry, defensive. Somehow or other, our moms patched things up and forged a friendship in Maureen’s absence. They spent lots of time together, and so did Geoff and I.

We were buddies. We went to camp together, I took trips with him and his parents. He cut up my food in restaurants. We had sleepovers where we shared each other’s beds.

When we were six, I told him that I loved him. He kissed me on the forehead and told me that he wanted to marry me when we grew up. We kept it a secret.

Two years later, our moms had a fight and split up. It felt like the fun parts of my life suddenly vanished. For the first time, I hated my mom’s control over me.

Ten years passed. Freshman year of college, I heard from Maureen that Geoff and I were in the same city. Weeks later, I got a call from a friend who had run into Geoff.

Listen. I was dating a guy. I loved that guy. I even thought he was the one. But I was wrong. From the moment that I knew Geoff was in my town, that other relationship was on the tracks. Six months passed and Geoff and I were dating. The train snatched us up and we’ve been aboard ever since. Next week we’ll celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary.

Now, what do you think? Does hearing the story make you believe in fate? If this were your story, wouldn’t you do anything to protect it, to preserve it?

You Complete Me

I am strategy, logic, reason. I am literal, focused, strong. I am stubborn, unwavering. I am success, ambition, determination. I am visual. I am music. I am yours.

You are psychology, literature, art, beauty, passion, fun. You are positivity, inspiration, creativity. You are dedication, devotion, strength, comfort, and undying passion. You are a thousand piece jigsaw puzzle that only I can assemble.

You are smart, insightful, and beautiful. Without you, I would leave but a geoff upon this world. Without me, you are wonderful, yet incomplete. With you, we are the world, complete.


Geoff, objectively

Just below 6 feet tall. Light skin. Stick-straight, short medium brown hair. Blue eyes. 165 lbs. Long limbs, long fingers, long toes. Huge feet. Beautiful, full lips. Nice teeth. Strong arms and chest, but not ripped.  Jutting hips. Wide cheekbones, large nose, angular face. Strikingly handsome in a tuxedo or anything black.
Oh, and he wears a Stetson.