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A World Apart
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"Those whom God hath torn asunder, let no man join together" our poor priest intoned on the day of my wedding, and I still think it was pretty funny. Was he dooming us to an eternity of being forever asunder? No, but he was just a bit prophetic.

I said I'd write an essay so here it is, not quite "Our Wedding And Other Miracles" but what can I say. After 5 years of seriously trying not to get serious, we blew it all in one night when my soon-to-be-transferred-to-Toronto best friend stammered out "wanna get married?" and I whispered a firm "uh uh?" that led us to our 13 years of wedded whatever.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, if the Lord don't get you, the devil must.......Sorry, that's the Irish in me. Can't help that. It's been just about six months since I lowered the boom and officially said enough already;  tonight it is Saturday and I am writing and doing my web wizard things while our progeny play at daddy's. It's quiet, something I haven't known in a long time. Now that the dust has settled, I am fulfilling a promise I made to those people who were stunned to discover I was getting married, and who are  now equally stunned by my latest pronouncement.

It would be easy if I could claim all those nastier reasons for a marriage to go down the tubes, but I can't. I can't even claim teenage idiocy because I was 26 when I got married (so now you know my age, but those who know me know I'm eternal, hee hee) and after endless discussions with people I am very nearly all talked out. So, as porky pig says, tttthat's all folks! This is it for raking the coals, the last thing I'm going to say about the subject out of respect for everyone involved and  because it isn't good to dwell on the past. It's time to move on.

What it all comes down to is this. Philosophy. As write this, a vision of a friend's father comes into my head, the time when she said she was taking philosophy and he retorted in a voice that got progressively higher, "Philosophy!! Philosophyyyyyy!!!!! Why not just take basket weaving for Christ's sake!!!" And umm, well, my taller half was a little like that. A thinker, and a brilliant one, but there were things that worked as friends that didn't as a couple. Philosophy, as you may have guessed, was one of them.

I'm not a vindictive person, nor am I a bitter person.  In my life, of all the people I've known there are really only three I wouldn't give the time of day to unless the world would come to an end if I didn't. He's not one of them. We're still friends, always have been and always will be, I think. Life is too short to hold grudges, and it's too precious to spend it being unhappy. It isn't easy to acknowledge that maybe you're the one who is the reason for someone to feel that way. I was, and though I tried very hard to be what he wanted me to be, I couldn't. I can only be me.

I have a philosophy about marriage. Basically, it's that the person you marry should be the person you simply can't imagine living without. They need to be someone you can talk to about anything, they need to be someone you believe in and  can support no matter what crazy plans they get in their head. They're the one who will hold you when your world comes tumbling down, who will wipe your tears when you cry. They're the someone who will listen then tell you their wildest dreams in the dark of night, head on pillow, and will laugh with you when the feeling hits. They're someone who understands you; who appreciates you for who you are, not how you should be or could be or were, but are, and that has to work both ways. Now that's a recipe for a good friend, isn't it? There's more. Most of all, there has be that "spark", that magical, heart thumping, beaming-smile-generating wow! you feel and they feel when you're together. The indefinable something that goes beyond personality into the realm of chemistry and spirit.

Yes, I'm a dreamer. I'm one of those weird creatures who writes stories on napkins, who will write a song to sing to the neighbours because it's Tuesday and the power's gone out  and they're bored too, who will paint a painting of a cat on a roof and call it art. I'm even silly enough to send stories out endlessly to get rejected, only to keep at it, because maybe I'm pig-headed enough to believe that my words might have some meaning to somebody else.  I'm someone who believes in karma, and auras, and spirits, and that we are all basically good at heart (except for those rare few who don't have a soul, you can see it in their eyes, look at a picture of someone like Hitler for instance), and that our purpose in life is to love. So that's me.

Now take someone whose vision is the greater picture, the world at large, someone whose mind is razor sharp and understands that the answer to all of life's ills lie at the very crux of existence where molecules link in the great dance of energy that swirls in spaces much too small to see. These are facts, and they are real. There is a purpose, and a formula, and a reason behind all of that.

To be a creative person by nature, that's something inborn and it's a personality. To be a logical person, that too, is how a person's brain is wired, and it's a personality. Both valid, both necessary, and two ends of a long spectrum who see the world through very different lenses. And the truth of it is, when what is fundamentally important to one isn't to the other, you deny that person's very essence of being.

We came from rather different upbringings. I had to learn how not to show emotion, and that was very hard since I am an expressive person by nature.  And me, I bugged the hell out him, always looking for affirmation when of course he loved me, we're married aren't we? Yup.

So anyway, there came a day when it dawned on me: you can't make somebody love you. So I gave up. And when I did, I felt better.

The biggest criticism I've had has to do with the children. But you have to understand, that when things aren't going well, and one or both people withdraw, it's the children who suffer the most. One of them said to me once, "I wish I had two daddies - my real one, and Drew Carey" ('cause he makes me laugh), and once, when I was angry, I was asked, "if you hate him so much, why did you marry him?" I said, I don't hate him, I just don't like him very much right now. But then the questions got to be harder, things about divorce, and tears about why we never went out anywhere together, and you can't raise healthy children in that atmosphere. I knew that all of this was because of me, and when I wasn't there he was good to them, so I knew that we would all be better off it we went our separate ways.

A couple of weeks ago my daughter said to me, "We had a good weekend. Daddy's happy!!" and I smiled and I said, I am too. That's why I did this. And she finally understood. So now you do too, I hope.

When I said we were getting divorced, the first thing my daughter said to me was, "are you going to get married again?" I told her that I wouldn't unless it was with somebody I couldn't imagine living without, someone I knew in my heart would be the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, someone I was sure felt same way about me. So it probably won't happen, but, you never know. The only advice I gave her was: never, ever, change your name! That's your identity! Don't do it! She laughed.

"I wanna know where my confidence went, one day it all disappeared, and I'm lying in a hotel room, miles away, voices next door in my ear. Day time's a drag, night time's worse, hope that I can get home soon, but the half finished bottles of inspiration lie like ghosts in my room.....I wanna go, I know I can't stay but I can't run feeling this way, 'till I am myself, 'till I am myself, 'till I am myself again......There's a seat on the corner I keep every night, wait 'till the evening begins, I feel like a stranger from another world, but at least I'm living again. There are nights full of anger, words that are thrown, tempers that are shattered and thin, and the moments of magic are just too short, they're over before they begin......I had a dream, that my house was on fire, people laughed while it burned, I tried to run but my legs were numb, I had to wait 'till the feeling returned......I don't need a doctor to figure it out, I know what's passing me by, when I look in the mirror, sometimes I see, traces of some other guy......I wanna go, I know I can't stay, but I don't want to leave, feeling this way, 'till I am myself, 'till I am myself , 'till I am myself again." ©Blue Rodeo, Casino, 1990

That was my anthem for the longest time, I'd play it over and over as I drove home on the 401, trapped in traffic, trapped in life.  This was a time when, partly by fortune, partly by will, I did a lot of traveling and spent long nights in hotel rooms in Ontario, thankful for the quiet, missing my children and wishing there were someone out there missing me. I felt lonely. And you know, when you live with someone and you feel lonely and there's nothing you can say or do that can breach that gulf it's time to call it a night.

Now I listen to that song and it reminds me of all those nights, not when I was traveling but when I was home and felt alone, and how sometimes the right thing to do is also the hardest but if it is, in the long run it works out, and it has.

We were put on this earth to love one another. That is our mission in life. It sounds simple, but it isn't, because love takes many forms, wears many guises and the one that really clicks between a man and a woman is special and rare. It can happen when you're 20 and lucky, or when you're 70 and wistful, doesn't matter. So now I've got my fingers crossed for sometime between tomorrow and 95, and I dearly hope he finds the love of his dreams too, he deserves it. We all do.

As a mother, I wanted our children to see best of us. The times when we were apart was when we both shone, and I'm sorry to say, we all looked forward to when one of us was gone. So now, with two houses,  two sets of toys, two people who are talking to each other like friends again, four people who are happy and relaxed, life is good.

©2001 Catherine M. Harris