Today would have been the fifteenth anniversary of my ex-husband and my first date. If we had made it. “You kinda made it,” helpfully supplied my eight year old at dinner last night. “Sure we made it,” added the perennially optimistic ex, “We’re still a family, aren’t we?” Indeed. You don’t escape being a parent that easily.
My new motto as outlined above is “Life sucks, and then you die.” Perhaps it’s clear now why my ex and I broke up, all that crap about “opposites attract” as the immortal drug addict Paula Abdul put it, is just that- crap. Sooner or later it was inevitable that my natural Soviet pessimism or what my mother calls “realism” reared its Communist head and ruined our idyll.
For idyllic it was, and ideal too, for at least eleven years my husband was my knight in shining everything, the one who saved me from a life of getting my heart smashed by assorted assholes in New York City. How grateful I was to him for that, I thought I would love that man to eternity. Well, as my son said we “almost made it.”
I do still love my ex and have a few unwholesome feelings left for him as well, but not enough to go backwards to where we were. There’s a reason time travel movies never get nominated for Oscars and that’s because everyone knows that shit never works.
I will never again be the starry eyed twenty-three year old my husband met in a friend’s apartment, and immediately fell on one knee to impress. I will never be that naive yet worldly girl with a slutty past in my twenties, looking up to the man who would marry her even once he knew what she was really like. And I do not care to re-visit that woman of thirty who gave birth to a kid, then another at thirty-one, emerging shellshocked and bleary-eyed to find that the man she had them with still had her back.
So my new motto in life is “Life sucks and then you die.” I know you’re thinking, “That Malibu Mom is a regular Susie Sunshine isn’t she?” Well, yes, but the great thing about “Life sucks and then you die” is that no one can disappoint you. There’s nowhere to go but up. If perchance a day or an hour or more likely a few minutes at a time don’t suck, you’ve got yourself a winner. As for the dying part, can’t help you with that one. That one’s coming for all of us, even for Louise Hay, and Deepak fucking Chopra and the Right Honorable Dalai fucking Lama. Death doesn’t care about your “positive attitude.”
And as it emerges that there is no longer anyone who can shield me from heartbreak, I am surprised to find, as the steel band of pain squeezes my ribs with every breath, that I am proud of this too. Whatever you could say about this emotional pain (why bother when Paula Abdul already said it all in the 80’s?) at least it belongs to no one but me.