Thursday, March 3, 2016

Chapter 2 (3/3/16)

My phone call to my parents was full of more lies.  For starters, I didn’t admit to them that my divorce was already final.  It would have broken my mom’s heart to know how long I delayed telling them.  Frankly, I wasn’t interested in anyone’s pity, and I knew my parents would be full of it.  I’m not entirely sure where my mom’s pity came from.  She had not just one, but two starter husbands before she married my dad.  Divorced twice before age 30.  At least I wouldn’t carry that honor.  I was too close to 30 to manage another relationship, marriage, and divorce before that big day. 
The conversation went about as well as I expected.  My mom cried.  My dad demanded to know what Kevin had done.  I fed them the same bullshit I had told Chelsea.  I don’t think either of them believed me, but they didn’t push.  At the end of the conversation, my mom asked, “So is he going to be coming home with you for Christmas?”
“What?  Of course he isn’t,” I replied, baffled that she’d even ask.
“What are we supposed to tell people, then?”
“People like who, Mom?” I asked.
“Like your grandparents.  And your uncle.”  She said it as though I should have known exactly what she was talking about.
“Tell them we’re getting divorced,” I replied, struggling to keep the frustration out of my voice.
“But what should I tell them the reason is?”
I sighed heavily.  “Mom, I don’t care.  Don’t tell them a reason.  Make something up.  Do whatever makes the most sense.  Figuring out what sort of family gossip I want to be isn’t high on my priority list right now.”
“Jenna!” my dad admonished me.
“Sorry, but this whole thing is stressful enough without having to decide how to word the press release,” I replied. 
“I think you’re being a little bit dramatic,” my mom huffed.
“What else is new?” I knew I was acting like a child, but I was past the point of caring.  I didn’t want their sympathy, but I also didn’t want to talk about how my mom should tell people, either.  Just tell them.  Figure it out.  I don’t care.  I was so completely over talking about this divorce.  “I think maybe I should get going,” I said, forcing a softer tone of voice.
“Okay,” my mom replied.  “Let us know if you need anything.”  I assured her that I would, then hung up the phone.  I flopped backwards on the uncomfortable guest bed that had been my bed for the last 7 weeks. 
7 weeks since the condom wrapper fell out of his pants.  6 weeks since I told him I wanted a divorce.  5 weeks since we’d sat at the kitchen table, grimly dividing our furnishings, electronics, and bank accounts and typing out lists of all our marital property into the “his” and “hers” columns of the “Minnesota Petition for Dissolution Without Children” online form.  You get the bed, I get the sofa.  You get the Xbox, I get the Wii.  You get the house, I get the silverware, the dishes, the Keurig, 12% of your paycheck, and the ability to live rent free until I can find a suitable place.  4 weeks since we’d signed on the dotted line, then ridden the elevator down to the parking lot together, silently.
Have you ever said goodbye to your soon-to-be-ex-husband in the parking lot of the courthouse, minutes after signing your request to be unmarried?  If you think that’s awkward, imagine returning your shared house (soon to be just his house, I guess) after work that same day.  And the next, and the next.  I refused to slink off to a shitty apartment with my tail between my legs.  I’d negotiated delaying his first alimony payment until I moved out if he allowed me to stay until I found a decent place.  He’d agreed, but I don’t think either of us really knew what we were getting ourselves into.
As an emergency room physician, he worked long hours, weird hours.  We didn’t see much of each other, but the evidence of him was everywhere.  A dirty dish left in the sink, a sticky spot on the floor from where he spilled god-knows-what and didn’t clean it up.  It made me imagine how satisfying it would have been to run him over with my car in the parking lot of the courthouse.
At least I had an entire floor of living space to myself: a bedroom, full bathroom, and a living room.  Shortly after I’d informed Kevin I wanted a divorce, I’d hired a couple guys off Craigslist to move my bed, dresser, desk, vanity, and the contents of my closet from the second floor down to the largely unused lower level of the three-story house.  If we didn’t have to share a kitchen, I would have had little motivation to move out. 

I stretched and rolled off the bed, walking over to my dresser and yanking open the third drawer.  I pulled out the new running tights I’d purchased two weeks ago.  I tugged off my sweatpants and wriggled into the tights, then found a sports bra, long sleeved shirt, and fleece to put on. 
Two weeks after demanding a divorce, I realized I needed an outlet and way to release some stress.  I tried yoga, which was an absolute joke.  After failing miserably, I’d picked up a new pair of running shoes, threw some shorts on, and jumped on the treadmill that was collecting dust in the corner of my new living area.  I figured that running was a thing you were supposed to do when you wanted your life to be better. 
I was still working on actually running.  Most of my runs had lasted approximately one block and were followed by 7 blocks of trying to catch my breath and a few more blocks of casual strolling.  But I was too stubborn to quit, so I’d purchased some more cold-weather-appropriate running clothes and forced myself out at least a couple times a week.
I headed up to the kitchen to eat a banana before I headed out.  As I stood inspecting the bunch for the best one, I heard the garage door going up.  I groaned and glanced at my cell phone to see what time it was.  It was a few minutes after 2.  Kevin had never gotten home this early on a Saturday when we were married.  Of course, when we were married, he needed to pretend to be at work when he wasn't in order to sleep with other people.  Now he could do it whenever he wanted.
I abandoned my mission to find the perfect banana and went to find my shoes, hoping to slip out the front door before he made it inside.  Too late, I remembered that they were sitting by the door that went into the garage.  I hurried over, trying to grab them and get out of the way, but he came through the door as I was hightailing it through the kitchen.
“Jenna,” he said, sounding surprised.  I turned and he gave me a weird look.  “Um, what are you doing?”
“Going for a run,” I replied, rolling my eyes as if it was obvious. 
He raised his eyebrows.  “Since when you do run?”
“Since I decided I needed an alternative hobby to plotting your painful, grisly death,” I replied sweetly, turning on my heel and walking towards the front door.
I heard him mutter, “Bitch,” and I could imagine him grinding his teeth as he bent to remove his shoes.  I didn’t care.  You don’t get to cheat on me, lie to me, and manipulate me for two years and escape without a little of my wrath here and there.
I pulled my shoes on and slipped out the front door before he could make that far.  I shook my legs out and started running right away, in case he was watching from the window. I made it all the way around the corner until I slowed to a walk, wheezing slightly in the cold December air.  “Boston Marathon, here I come,” I muttered sarcastically to myself. 
I forced myself to stay out for 40 minutes, wandering in the cold and occasionally jogging a block here or there.  By the time I made my way back into the house, I couldn’t feel my nose.  I went straight downstairs to shower and get warm, ignoring Kevin, who was dozing on the couch in the main floor living room.
When I stepped into the shower, the hot water stung my cold skin and turned it bright red. I adjusted the temperature and stuck my head under the spray. I shut my eyes and let the water soak my hair and run down my face. 
I spent entirely too long in the shower, and when I turned off the water and pulled back the curtain, the air was heavy with steam.  I dried off quickly and wrapped my towel around myself before walking into my room.  I pulled on my weekend uniform of yoga pants, t-shirt, and hooded sweatshirt and then sat at my desk and opened my laptop. 
I hadn’t even made it to Facebook when someone knocked on my door.  I took my time getting up and walking to the door, then pulled it open about two feet.  “Yes?” I asked, staring blankly at Kevin, who was standing there, looking slightly uncomfortable.
“Hey,” he said.  I raised my eyebrows and waited, completely uninterested in fake pleasantries.  “I just wanted to let you know that I’m going to…well, have some female company tonight.  In case you wanted to leave, or just so you were aware.  I don’t want anything to be weird.”
“Because it’s not weird for you to come down here and give me a polite head’s up about your fuck buddy that’s coming over?” I snapped back, rolling my eyes.
He frowned.  “I’m just trying to be nice and let you know.  This whole thing is hard enough with you stomping around acting like a bitch all the time.”
I snorted.  “You?  Trying to be nice?  Yeah, sure.”  He was so calculating, so manipulative.  Few people could couch an attempt to make me feel shitty as a friendly and considerate notification as well as he could.  And he stuck to it so well that sometimes it was enough to make question if maybe, every once in awhile, he really was trying to be nice.  …Naaaahhh.
“You could stand to give being nice a shot,” he muttered, turning and stalking away.
The hurt, petty, immature part of me wanted to stick around and make tonight as awkward as possible.  Luckily, I knew that was a bad choice.  Instead, I texted Erica and Kelly, my two best friends in the area.  “Asshole is having one of his concubines over tonight, save me?” 


8 comments:

  1. Really like the story! Thank you for continuing a blog

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  2. LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!

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  3. Oh my gosh this was funny and painful and awkward and so fun!!!!! I love this already!

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  4. Yikes. This is as painful as I would imagine living with your awful, cheating ex-husband to be. I am so intrigued!! So far, I love Jenna's sassy, spit-fire personality with just the right amount of sarcastic undertone. haha Sounds a lot like... me! :)

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  5. so different from all of the other blogs out there, and the voice is really different from Liv's! Can't wait to read more.

    Your blog in particular has really inspired me to start my own! I'd love it if you and your readers would consider checking it out. First post went up today!

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    1. http://massivemissteps.blogspot.ca

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  6. Seriously? I realize they are divorced and it is his place, but can he show a little decency and not have female company? mum

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