Chapter 21: Since I Last Saw You

Since I Last Saw You
A story of love, loss and gratitude

“It’s the friends you can call up at four a.m. that matter.”

~ Marlene Dietrich 

Chapter 21

February 8, 2012

Divorce? She said she wants a divorce?” Jackie was caught off-guard.

Shhh! Can you keep your voice down? I know we’re in a public place, but I’d like this to be a private conversation,” Isaac admonished his big sister mildly.

As they made their way to a table with their lattes, Jackie couldn’t help but think how unusual it was for Isaac to be up this early. It was just past six a.m. and from the looks of him, he hadn’t slept at all the night before.

“No, she didn’t say she wants a divorce. At least, I don’t think she did. I can’t remember exactly who said what, but I think I was the first one to say the ‘D’ word,” Isaac explained.

“Do you want a divorce?”

“No . . . I don’t know . . . I don’t think I do.”

“Isaac, I’m stunned! You’ve mentioned that things have been a bit strained between you and Ali for the last several months, but you never let on that it was anything serious enough to start talking about divorce. You and I talk all the time. How could you not have said something before now?”

“I don’t know. I guess I just thought things would blow over and get back to normal. Besides, I know I share a lot with you, but I’ve never confided details about the state of my marriage. That wouldn’t be fair to Ali and it wouldn’t be fair to you. Whatever problems Ali and I have, they’re just between us. If we need outside help or advice, we’ll get it from an unbiased professional.”

“Okay. You’re right. You know I love you and I want you to be happy, so I’ll keep my nose out of it. I’m just a little confused. If you don’t want to talk about it, why did you ask me to meet you here at this ungodly hour?”

“I don’t know. I’m sorry. I guess I’m a little shell-shocked and I’m not thinking straight. Ali and I have had our share of arguments over the years, but neither of us has ever suggested the possibility of divorce before. Somehow, hearing it said aloud really brought me to my knees. It scared me, and I guess I needed to say that to someone. I shouldn’t have put you in the middle.”

“No, you shouldn’t have. That probably sounds harsh, but even though I love you both, I can’t pretend to be neutral. Ali’s a good woman, a terrific mother, and a great sister-in-law, but you’re my baby brother! How could I not take your side?”

“That’s just it, Jackie, I don’t want there to be any sides. There are no villains here. I’m not even sure what the problem is. As far as I know, there are no third parties involved. I’ve been faithful, and I’m pretty sure she has, too. I think it’s just a build-up of all the little day-to-day annoyances. And some of the bigger annoyances, as well.”

“Such as?” Jackie inwardly admonished herself for asking.

Isaac hesitated before answering. “Such as, Ali doesn’t like my pastimes and I don’t like her constant travel. That’s all I’m going to say. Now let’s change the subject.”

“Can I just make one observation?” Jackie asked tenuously.

“As long as it’s not trash talk about Ali. I won’t listen to that.”

“It’s not. I just think this sounds like a Seven Year Itch kind of thing—times two, since you’ve been together more than twice that long.”

“What do you mean?”

“Do you remember the movie with Marilyn Monroe? It’s the one with the famous scene where she stands over a subway grate in that sexy white dress and wind from the passing train blows her skirt up around her waist. Well, the main storyline is about an average-Joe husband whose eye starts to stray after seven years of marriage. For a while, he fantasizes that Marilyn’s character is wildly attracted to him and he has to resist the temptation to give in to her advances. Once he comes back to reality, he realizes what a good thing he’s got with his wife and that he’d be stupid to let his delusion jeopardize their marriage.

“Maybe that’s what’s going on with you and Ali. Even if there are no third parties involved, maybe you both just need to step back, look at what you’ve got, and decide if you want to recommit yourself to your marriage.”

“Huh. You might be right. It certainly couldn’t hurt to do a little emotional inventory. One thing’s for sure: we seem to be reaching a turning point, and I don’t want it to be a decision by default.”

“I’m glad to hear you say that.”

Then, in an attempt to lighten the mood a bit, she added, “One more thing, little brother. Next time you’re feeling confessional, can you at least wait for the sun to come up?”

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Posted by Alice Kuder, December 16, 2013








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