Monthly Archives: June 2009

On friendship.

On Saturday, I had brunch with an old friend. We were best friends, or at least very good friends, and roommates throughout college.  A little over two years ago, she broke up with me.  The exact circumstances of this breakup are still unclear, but in retrospect I gather that I was pretty much an insufferable asshole.

One of the last conversations I had with her before she dissolved the friendship in the beginning of 2007 was about how I was e-mailing with Cautionary Lover.  I told her I had asked him if he told his wife about our correspondence, and he said he hadn’t because there was nothing to tell.  When I told my old friend this, she nodded once, paused in thought, her brow wrinkled, and then nodded again.  “Okay,” she had said, with a hint of wary.

When she apologized for ditching me, which she did immediately after we greeted each other with a hug, I told her that I don’t really blame her for it, and that the truly amazing thing is when people do want to be my friend even when I fuck up monumentally.

We caught up on each other’s lives over eggs.  A lot has changed in two years.  She’s married.  I’m separated.  Life isn’t quite what we thought it would be.  In some ways, it’s better.  In other ways, it’s worse.  She took my sad story in stride: the affair, the separation, the antidepressants.

We’ve both changed a lot, for the better.

We had planned on going to the farmer’s market after brunch to browse the fresh veggies, but on the way she confessed to me that she heard through her sister’s friend’s dog’s uncle’s brother’s cousin that I’d had an affair.  And her source had a pretty damn good guess on who it was with.

She also told me that, largely, this blog was to blame.  I am my own slanderer.  And Cautionary Lover’s slanderer as well.

After she told me this, right there, in her car, I had a full-blown anxiety attack.  Nausea overcame me, my mouth completely dried up, and my heart began to race.  We stopped off to get me some water, since the 105-degree heat obviously wasn’t helping matters, and, in-between taking deep breaths in through my nose and out through my mouth, I asked her to take me home.

Once there, I took some Pepto, which I drink straight from the bottle nowadays, and asked her to lie down on my bed with me. I put my head on her chest, and, shaking, I began to cry.

“Everyone’s going to find out,” I said. “Not only do I make horrible decisions (a word that I’ve typed so much lately that I was convinced I was spelling wrong just now), I also have to go and write about them.”

“You have a right to write about your life,” she reminded me.

“Yes,” I replied, “but at what cost?”

She nodded and remained silent, stroking my hair until I stopped crying and we found things to laugh about again.



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Ten things I like that begin with the letter P.

Since I am in need of some non-serious (read: non-protected) blog fodder, I have decided to participate in a months-old meme that involves getting assigned a letter by another blogger and listing ten things I like that begin with that letter.

Julienne generously assigned me the letter P.

If you would like to participate, leave me a comment and I’ll assign you a letter with my mental roll of the Scattergories die.

1. “The Party” by St. Vincent

2. Prozac (aka Lexapro)


3. Peonies


4. Poetry


by Ada Limón June 8, 2009

Maybe my limbs are made

mostly for decoration,

like the way I feel about

persimmons. You can’t

really eat them. Or you

wouldn’t want to. If you grab

the soft skin with your fist

it somehow feels funny,

like you’ve been here

before and uncomfortable,

too, like you’d rather

squish it between your teeth

impatiently, before spitting

the soft parts back up

to linger on the tongue like

burnt sugar or guilt.

For starters, it was all

an accident, you cut

the right branch

and a sort of light

woke up underneath,

and the inedible fruit

grew dark and needy.

Think crucial hanging.

Think crayon orange.

There is one low, leaning

heart-shaped globe left

and dearest, can you

tell, I am trying

to love you less.

5. Paisley


6. Pastries


7. Pearls


8. Paris (photo by me)


9. Politics


10. Pubs



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(Not-so) basic equations.

How pretty I feel = How skinny my arms look

How much time I spend on the internet in the morning = How much I don’t want to go to work

How much I don’t want to go to work = How little my boss trusts my opinion

How bad I feel about my marriage = How badly I want to see Cautionary Lover

How badly I want to see Cautionary Lover = How much I want good sex

How sane I feel = How much alone time I’ve had in the past few days

How much Cautionary Husband and I connect = How much Cautionary Husband asks me about my feelings

How much Cautionary Husband asks me about my feelings = How much I nurture Cautionary Husband

How much I nurture Cautionary Husband = How much Cautionary Husband asks me about my feelings



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Just stared at the word “divorce” for so long it looks like it should be pronounced “dee-VOHR-chay.”

Me: I think I’m jerking my readers around. And also I’ve forgotten how to write about non-protected things.

Designated Friend: Divorce, not divorce, divorce? That way?

Me: Yep. Well, more like divorce, not divorce, I love [Cautionary Lover], divorce, not divorce, etc.

DF: It’s not jerking around if you’re just writing about where you are. If you were faking it, that’d be another thing.

Me: Yeah. My life really is this crazy.

DF: And let’s be honest. The back and forth creates drama. And that’s what they’re here for.


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Answers, part six.

Q: (from Word Perv)

Did CH think/suspect you of cheating or that something was inherently “wrong” with your relationship? I assume you felt guilt and remorse and fear and those emotions tend to shine through, even when you’re trying to squish them. Did he ask you if anything was going on or did you just confess at some point?


CH was suspicious, yes.  In the beginning he knew I was e-mailing with CL often, and he said that he thought I was having an emotional affair.  I didn’t disagree with him, but neither of us thought I was playing with fire.  CH knew I had a crush on CL before we even began dating.

I stopped telling CH that I was e-mailing with CL when the first “I love you”s were exchanged.  CH didn’t ask about it again until almost a year later, about a week before CL and I consummated our love.  He said, “Why don’t you ever talk about [CL] anymore?”  I think he had a spidey sense.  I lowered my eyes and said we still talked sometimes, but it wasn’t worth mentioning.  It was the first time I outwardly lied to CH about the relationship–the rest of the lying was all done through omission.  I wanted so badly to see CL.

A little over a year ago, I made a road trip to visit my family and to say goodbye to CL.  The goodbye part was harder than I thought it would be.  When I returned, CH told me he had found a website I had bookmarked on my laptop (which I had left at home while I was gone), a message board for people hopelessly in (often unrequited or impossible) love.  He asked me what the hell it was, and when I wouldn’t answer, he looked up the term “limerence” on Wikipedia and asked me who I was in love with.  That’s when I told him everything.  So it was a mixture of him asking and me confessing.

There wasn’t any honor in the confession, and I had no idea how CH would react.  Mostly, I didn’t have the strength to keep it a secret anymore.  I was an absolute wreck, and I was ready to stop living that way.


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Answers, part five.

Q: (from Anonymous)

a) After you and CL consummated your relationship, how did you feel?

b) Did you know you were going to have sex before you did?

c) What sparked your interest in CL when you first started caring for him, and did you ever imagine at that point that you would end up having a relationship?

A: I feel the need to post a disclaimer here.  These experiences are beautiful to me, even if they were wrong.  So it’s difficult for me to answer these questions without coming off as overly nostalgic.  This may be offensive to some people, that I hold these memories as dear, but I do.  Mea culpa.

a) Immediately after, exhilarated.  We lay in each other’s arms for a while, laughing and talking, dozing and caressing.

A couple hours later, numb.  We went to a restaurant for lunch after the first time, and I remember thinking while we were eating that it hadn’t actually happened, that I’d imagined it.  Then I went to the restroom and was actually shocked to find the proof of our transgressions there on my undergarments (sex is SO messy).  I didn’t even know what it was at first, and I said, “ew” aloud to myself there in the restroom.  And then I figured it out, and that’s the moment it became real.  I knew somehow that my life would always be different from then on.

A couple days later, heartbroken.  He had to go back to his other life.  I was left behind and inconsolable.

b) I didn’t know.  We didn’t plan it, but we knew it was possible.  I didn’t know it would happen until the moment it was happening.  We were sitting on the bed in his hotel room, my left hand on his cheek, and I was saying “I love you” over and over to him, looking into his eyes.  Then he kissed me, and it was different from the previous kisses we’d shared.  More urgent.

c)  I think I said in a previous post that I cared for CL for a long time before I acted on it because he was married.  At first, I had a crush on him because of his charm and intelligence.  Later, when I began to know him better, when I began falling in love with him, it was his tenderness and insight that astonished me and compelled me to know more.  And because he understood me so well, the more I learned about him, the more I learned about myself.

Cautionary Husband knew I was going to spend an afternoon with Cautionary Lover when we were very first e-mailing regularly.  Cautionary Husband knew him.  He told me to “be good” before I left, and I laughed at the thought that anything would happen.  Not because I wouldn’t let anything happen, but rather because the thought that Cautionary Lover could’ve been interested in me in that way was unbelievable to me.  Too much for my mind to conceive of.

I believe this incredulity is a large reason we fell in love so recklessly.  Turns out neither of us could conceive of it.  Nothing happened that afternoon, but, in a sense, everything happened that afternoon.


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This is not a test.

When Cautionary Husband and I were first married, I used to have nightmares that we were getting divorced.  It was always based on a huge misunderstanding because I would clearly never want to divorce him of my own volition, but I was helpless to stop it.  What’s done is done.  What must be shall be.

In some of these dreams we were divorcing because I’d cheated on him, but the cheating usually occurred before the plot of the dream began, and I was very confused as to how in the world I let something like that happen.  I’d plead with him, “But I don’t know why I did it!  I wasn’t in my right mind!”  He wouldn’t hear it, though, and I’d be left with the consequences of my actions, a life in shambles, completely different from what I had imagined for myself on my wedding day.

Occasionally I’m struck that, in the most literal sense, my worst nightmares have come true.

Luckily, my life is not a product of my twisted subconscious.  Or, at least, I’m working on that.  Cautionary Husband, it turns out, is much more forgiving in real life.  And I’m not helpless to stop the divorce.  But even if I were, my life would not be in shambles on the other side.  What’s done is done, but I’d have to disagree with Juliet: what must be doesn’t have to be.  She proved herself wrong, anyway, and killed herself before Thursday next even arrived.

All of the comments and encouragement I received on my last post was overwhelming.  I’m so grateful to each of you, for the support and love you send my way.  But I’m not sure I deserve it, and I wanted to set the record straight.  Some of you said I’m brave, but I’m not.  I feel like a coward.  Some of you said that at least I can move on knowing that I did everything I could do to save the marriage, but I don’t know that at all.  And I need to before I sign those papers.

I haven’t done much to honor my wedding vows, but Cautionary Husband has, even in the face of infidelity and betrayal.  And somehow I just can’t convince myself that I’m holding up my end of the bargain, wanting to get divorced because…what?  Because he doesn’t understand me?  Because he doesn’t meet my needs?  Because we don’t connect?  It just doesn’t seem substantive enough.  It might seem that way to other people, but it doesn’t seem that way to me.

I need better reasons to stay than I have, I know, but I also need better reasons to go than I have.  Until I have those, I’m not going anywhere.

And in the meantime, we’re gonna have a whole hell of a lot of fun together, Cautionary Husband and I.


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