(This is for Fragments of Fiction)
My name is Jack. I am a single father who works as a journalist for the local paper. I have a a bi-weekly column that is read by more than 1 million people and I am the author of three books, with a contract to write more.
On the weekends I coach my son’s soccer team and drive my daughter to dance class. I have two girlfriends who really are just that, girls who are friends. Sometimes I wonder what the difference is between a girl friend and a wife. They both tell you what to do and neither put out.
I suppose that the real distinction is that the girl friend doesn’t receive a piece of my paycheck each month so that they can live in my house with Rudy, the flying Dutchman.
I know, that sounds overly bitter. My therapist told me that I should be happy about this. She said that it would be good for the ex to have a man in her life, that it would make her happier and as a result she would be easier to deal with.
I tried to look at it that way, I really did, but there is 6’2 of stupid preventing me from doing so. The same 6’2 of stupid that is shtupping my wife, sleeping in my bed and enjoying the house that was the fruits of my labor.
Don’t get me wrong, we’re better apart. It was a long time coming and something that I should have done years ago. I didn’t mind her taking the house because it was easier than uprooting the kids. But I won’t lie about being irritated about the cold Germanic figure that lives there now too.
We might not have had the greatest marriage, but we had a great house.
And now instead of having a bad marriage and a great house I have a bad apartment and a lot of freedom. So I suppose that there is something to be said for that. The girl friends keep telling me that if I moved out of the bad apartment I’d find it easier to date.
I keep telling them that I don’t want to date, but they ignore me. So then I tell them that misery loves company which is why they want me to get involved with another woman. I think that it is hysterical and every time I say this I crack up.
For some odd reason they don’t. And for that same odd reason they aren’t interested in hearing about what I think women are good for. That is ok, I don’t really want to tell them.
A while back my daughter found some old love letters that a lost love once sent to me. She had a field day with that. Ever since then she has been pushing me to try and look her up. She tells me that she can tell from the letters that she really loved me and that no woman who wrote those things ever stops loving the man she wrote them about.
I smiled and thanked her. She smiled back and told me that I was too young to give up. I think that the girl friends and her must be talking about me when I am not around, because I am getting tag teamed.
Anyway, I am on deadline for my next column. Since the ladies of my life are so intent on pushing relationships upon me I decided to show them by writing about the end of relationships. Something really bitter and biting, that ought to shut their mouths.
So here you have my first draft of my next column. I think that it has real potential.
Always On My Mind– Willie Nelson
Thanks to technology there are a million new ways to break someone’s heart. A million new methods of letting someone that you once loved or perhaps still do that you just can’t do it anymore.
In the age of instant gratification and social media it won’t be long before we hear/read the tales of dismissal. Husbands who let their wives know they are leaving them by unfriending them on Facebook or girlfriends who let their ex know their new status by tweeting it.
It is kind of funny in an I am not smiling kind of way to think how these time saving tools of communication can take the intimate and personal and turn it into something mechanical, cold and sterile.
What do you call people who do this? Awful, callous and cruel come to mind. Descriptive words that fail to capture the essence of how truly horrible being dumped in this fashion can be.
But let’s face it, being dumped isn’t a pleasant experience. It is not necessarily easier to stand or sit in front of someone and listen to them tell you that they have lost that loving feeling. I suppose that it doesn’t make a difference, even if they haven’t lost it, but are ending things because circumstances make it impossible to continue.
In the end you still ask those questions. You still wonder what you did or what you could have done. Surely there is a word or gesture that would have spared you the angel of death speech. Had you only known then they would have passed over and you’d be ensconced in your cocoon of love and happiness.