All of us have experienced the devastation (sometimes joy) of a friend’s divorce. We’ve watched with vicarious amazement as demonstrative profound undying love suddenly transforms into the hissing vituperative viper of disdain and hatred. People are mutable, particularly within the emotional realm of who did what to whom. They say “know thy enemies” but I contend it is far better to “choose thy partners well”. For many people, the happiest day of life is not when they got married, but when their divorce was final. Battle-scarred they emerge from the divorce arena wary, but wiser (one hopes). Only time and distance can fade the lines that were drawn in the sand when two titans clash.
One of my friends several years back lived through her personal slice-of-Hell divorce that left her financially comfortable and free as a new born Monarch butterfly of its cocoon. She embraced her new found identity swearing never to dip even a painted toenail in the unchartered waters of a new relationship. Even dating was taboo as she had become the world’s biggest proponent since Greta Garbo of “I vant to be alone.” I listened to her propound in rhapsodic flights of fancy the sanctity of inner peace and the contentment of “no strings attached”. Naturally, after many months of self-imposed isolation and endless lunches with “the girls” the thrill, as they say, wore off. Standing at the kitchen counter in pajamas devouring left over lasagna and brain deadened by the inane reality show The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (she would have been better off watching First Blood) was perhaps not the surest path to nirvana. The revelation that heaven was not to be found at the bottom of a burnt lasagna pan or that Forest Gump’s cliché “life is (definitely not) a box of chocolates” was for her an earthshaking moment of truth. What to do? What to do?
So, let the fun begin… my femme fatale friend was off and running. Naturally, being an avid listener and never one to lack an opinion, I became the joyful recipient of the tales of courtships, that did or mostly didn’t ensue. First, there were the “ghosts of boyfriends past”. What a mistake that was, like trying to resurrect the dead. Some things are better left in the hazy mists of memory, youth, and drink, rather than exposed to the harsh realities of cognizance and the elevated intolerance levels of an emancipated divorcee. Next came the blind first date with a lawyer, recovering alcoholic and member of AA, who confessed to being overcome with “love at first sight” feelings, fell off the wagon and got tanked, and repeatedly proposed marriage in such an assertive loud voice that half a restaurant was perched on the edges of their seats eavesdropping as my friend slunk ever lower in her seat embarrassed, wishing she was capable of dematerialization. In other words, “Quick Scotty, beam me out of here.”
Never one to be flustered for too long my girlfriend returned to her copacetic demeanor and marched forward, which led her to my particular favorite close encounter. Picture Skybox, Lakers game, fun, food, fix-up, friends, and entertainment; sounds good to me. We’ll just call this one “The Texter”. Game over, she goes home (alone), goes to bed. The next day her “blind date” forwards her a strange text message from some guy she has never seen before. She sees a photo of a handsome, smiling black man with the words, “Sorry I missed the game. It sounds like we had a Hell-of-a lot of fun last night. Maybe we can go to a game together some other time.” What you might sensibly ask is this all about? It seems our date “The Texter” in his anxiousness to communicate with his new love interest what a good time he had last night, misspoke, I mean miss-thumbed and reached a black homosexual gentleman who immediately texted him back at midnight eager to arrange a future date. Our “Texter” immediately responded with a text that he must have made a mistake and that the gentleman was not the intended recipient. It seems the texting recipient could not let it rest at that and immediately phoned to press his suit. I guess after a long conversation in the middle of the night the two men worked it out. At least our “Texter” had a wonderful sense of humor and shared the comedic situation. Otherwise, we would have missed this particularly titillating tale and the laughter it delivered.
All good stories should have a happy ending, and far be it from this writer to diverge from that time-honored course. Once more our heroine embarked on that enigmatic phenomenon known as the “blind date”. This time sparks were flying, pheromones were filling the air, and the stage was set for seduction. The wine flowed, little bites were shared, and with effusive gushing remarked upon with favor. When a cake arrived with sparklers twinkling brightly it seemed only natural to partake in it. Our Romeo, thinking that their friends must have sent a cake to celebrate their meeting, immediately picked up his fork (they say muscles have memory) and began to feed his Juliet. The perfect spell could only be broken by a voice from a neighboring table, uttering in astonishment, “Oh, look it’s their anniversary too!”
It seems they were eating someone else’s anniversary cake. Oh, the embarrassment. What to do? What to do? Rather than confess the error of their ways they decided “mum’s the word” and continued to eat the cake feigning innocence. The waiters, knowing the error of their ways, but loathe to confess, ran to the kitchen in a frenzy to procure another cake. Meanwhile, that same voice of a wife wondering where her cake was and why it was taking so long continued to comment on what a coincidence it was that two tables next to each other were celebrating their anniversary. The winds of fate, at least for one evening, had conspired to transform our romantic divorcees into one more happily married couple…?
To be continued…