Allz Iz can say iz Iz was lookin fur a liddle peaze an da whole ting kersploded.

How could peace be so disturbing?

Chuck’s business was booming; it should’ve given the number of hours he spent tending to it and his clients. He spent as much time as he could at his lake retreat. When the weather was bad or he had to be home for other reasons, we managed a cordial, tentative relationship.

On and off, Chuck would talk of renovating his first office building into a huge loft-style apartment for us where we could live in the winter, thus avoiding the expense of heating our behemoth old house. Part of the massive building already had an apartment in it, but creating a luxury loft would take mega-bucks, so the talk remained talk. That summer (2009) Chuck took a renewed interest in turning the building into apartments as rental income. I wasn’t keen on the idea because he was already so busy and had so little time for us relaxation. He took my less-than-enthusiastic response as another criticism of him. I dropped my objections and repeated my new mantra: “At their core, all souls are good.” 

What do you think of my meditation space? See how hard I'm working on my mantra?

I decided to make Chuck a queen-sized quilt for the lake camp. If I wasn’t there, my handiwork would be, reminding him of me. I designed it especially for him. That summer the quilting was my meditation on love, commitment, compassion, and accepting things I couldn’t comprehend. The quilt turned out looking a bit chaotic, with all the different colors and shapes: material irony.

"Remember Me" hand appliqued, machine pieced and quilted.

My pet menagerie dwindled to just two dogs: Jazzy and Scrappy. Jazzy was very old and decided that life was too hard to live. Early in October we called Alex to come home to say goodbye since she was his dog. After a sad weekend, we all took her to the vet for the final time. She was one of those dogs who asked for little of us and gave everything she could in return. The world needed more souls like her and it just lost one instead.

Sweet Jazzy Girl

The weather turned cold so Chuck had to come home. One week after Jazzy died, Chuck told me he was very unhappy and thought maybe he needed some “space.” He mentioned the apartment building.

“But it’s not ready. It’ll take months to be habitable for you.” Knowing there was a mold issue in part of the building, I was concerned about his allergies. He said he’d been over there and he could have it ready quicker than I thought. All along, I was living in the world of hypotheticals and he was planning for something other than “us.”

We talked through the weekend about “us,” what used to be “us” and what could be but probably would never be “us” because of me. He even enthusiastically showed me around his “new” place. I walked through the building in silent disbelief. He admitted that it might be months before he would move in, if he would move in. Maybe he was throwing me a bone. Chuck recoiled when I, again, asked for counseling and for him to accept the “new and improved” me; he heard these requests as criticisms.

On Monday, he suggested we call Alex to let him know that we were having marital difficulties (good idea), but were trying to work them out (what?). We sat with the phone between us; it was set on “speaker.” Chuck began, “Hi, Lex. This is a tough conversation to have, but your mother and I are having some problems, so I’ve decided to move out this Saturday.”

All I remember of the rest of the conversation was that Alex was very understanding and sympathetic to both of us, hoping that whatever happened, we would find happiness. I never spoke because, once again I was the Dumb Blonde. Chuck ambushed me with his “news.”

We had all the hardware to communicate effectively, but something just wasn't connecting properly. I think we had a serious operator problem.

When he hung up the phone and said, “Well, I’m glad that’s over. That was a tough one.” I just looked at him. “What?” he said.

“You’re moving out this Saturday? And you couldn’t have told me before you told our son? I thought this was a maybe-in-a-few-months thing.” I don’t think I gave him a chance to respond, or if I did, I didn’t hear it because I was what most people call enraged. Only once before had I been truly angry with him, and then I was schnockered. I kicked an empty laundry basket across the room, something he would later bring up as an example of my irrational behavior—and it was irrational to kick an innocent laundry basket when the object of my anger was sitting calming in his recliner.

Old Chinese saying: First practice on laundry basket. Next, attack recliner and occupant.

Chuck told me to calm down. “You must’ve seen this coming. I haven’t been happy for months, maybe years. I need time to figure some things out—to find out who I really am.” “I don’t know what that means,” I replied. “Neither do I. I just know that when I’m around you lately, I feel like I do everything wrong.” I might have said, “Well, join the club.” Maybe I just thought it.

After I calmed downed (I always did), he convinced me this was best (he always did). Then he asked me, “Do you want to go out to dinner on Friday night, you know, before I officially leave?”

Did I hear you correctly?

What do you think Lorna does?