Before We’re Golden


Nothing has happened. Not one thing has happened at all. I see him rarely now, basically only when he takes the dog, which isn’t often since I came to the city. And when I do I feel like I’m talking to a ghost. His body is there, he smiles, he pets the dog, he picks up the dog’s leash, and I can see that the leash goes from the dog’s body to the body of my husband. It’s not floating in midair like you might see in a movie about a ghost ex-husband who comes to walk the dog. Maybe we should start mediation in June, I say, after school ends, it will be a year then, eliciting only a blank look, the tiniest of nods that could mean yes could mean no could mean could mean could mean, it’s kind of a sideways nod, a shrug that’s barely even a shrug. I feel like I could wave my arm in front of me and it would go right through him.

We email or text only about business now. I have learned that seeing him leads to conversations that can buckle me for days. This week nothing has happened but my bud is out of town, and I’m in the apartment alone, and I haven’t lived alone in fifteen years, and I’m not used to it, and I’m out walking around alone thinking about being alone, and when will I get used to it, and will I have to get used to it all over again after we have to give up the apartment, whenever that is, and am I just putting off the inevitable, but also honestly why do we all take so much pride in being fine alone, why can’t we just say we’re someone who doesn’t like being alone, why can’t we all Golden Girls it up before we’re golden, why are we even on this earth if not to be with other people, and it’s a lot of thinking, and this tends to lead to no good end, and now I’m crying on the street, again, and come back to find the kid waiting for me at the front gate and it turns out the kid has been crying on the street too, and we laugh about it and talk about being alone, the kid has never lived on her own before, and she does have a boyfriend who basically lives with her now, and she also has a lot of friends, and isn’t alone all that much, but sometimes feels alone even if she’s with other people, that thing, and I tell her what I’ve just been thinking about, why do we all think we have to be okay alone, and how much I like having the kid and her dad there, whether we’re hanging out together or doing our own things separately in the same room, just knowing these people I love are there in the room makes me so happy, and why isn’t that okay, and the kid says It is okay, and that she loves it too, the kid says sometimes she just gets sad and doesn’t know why because everything is so good, and I tell her that’s pretty normal, and remind the kid how much change she’s been through in the last year or two, and how amazing she’s actually doing, and the kid thanks me and says I couldn’t do it without you, and I’m thinking she really could, but I’m really glad neither of us has to right now.

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