fourteen years ago this month, i was in the middle of the worst place of my life.
the marriage i'd endured for nearly 14 years had disintegrated into an abyss of hearings and petitions and baseless accusations aimed at punishing me for having the temerity to file for divorce. one of my ex's favorites: i was having lesbian affairs with my writer friends. (he couldn't accuse me of heterosexual affairs, because none of them were men.) if there was a light at the end of the tunnel, i sure couldn't see it. i was holding on to my children, my house and my sanity with the slenderest of threads.
every morning, after the kids left for school, before the daily nightmare began, i'd sign online and chat with four other women from all over the country. it was a relaxing way to begin my day, until one day in the summer, i noticed a male intruder screen-named PARKPLACE more and more in our midst. men were not high on my list of favorite things that summer. i didn't appreciate the way he changed the dynamic of the chatroom. i ignored him, as best i could, but he didn't like being ignored.
until one day, late august or early september, two of the women independently of each other said the same thing: you should talk to PARK.
why should i talk to PARK? i asked, completely taken aback. in the chatroom, he was obnoxious and rude and vulgar. when i wasn't ignoring him, i wasn't liking him.
you sound just like him, they both said.
my fingers dropped, my chin hit the desk. both times.
BUT IM NICE!!! i protested when i could... to both of them.
never let it be said i won't try anything - once. the next time i saw PARK i sent him an instant message. i don't remember the exact day, but i do remember i figured out that behind the churlish persona, he was nice too. (i sort of understood that - after all, my alter ego had spent years romping free as an 8 foot warrior-lizard named Kaa in a game of Dungeons & Dragons.)
he was also bruised from a very similar sort of relationship. as shakespeare observed, ripeness is all.
i like to think that we've helped each other heal.
so happy birthday, my Beloved. thank you for turning out to be the Light at the end of that tunnel.