Was I Voted “Most Leavable Girl” in High School?

I hate to say "I told you so," but there's a reason most people don't go out to dinner before they separate.

Chuck is leaving and has invited Lorna out to a “Farewell” dinner. How does she fare?

Since I couldn’t didn’t believe Chuck would really leave, I think I held off giving him an answer to his dinner invitation. I have permanent amnesia about that week. Each day passed and I got out of bed to pee, but I can’t be sure. I kept a “gratitude journal” to help me focus on being positive, but entries for that week aren’t helpful:

  • “I walked Scrappy very early. The stars were bright, but no moon lit our way. My senses were keener even as I felt invisible, melting into the darkness, into a shadow. I’m a shadow and I feel safe. Quiet. Thank you for this quiet moment before I face the daylight chaos.” (10/19/09)
  • “The gentle rainfall welcomed Scrappy and me on our pre-dawn walk. I’m grateful for my sense of hearing and for my awareness of the magical songs of nature.” (10/22/09)
  • “If pain and disbelief fill me, then I am grateful for these unlikely friends. They keep me awake. My wish is that everyone who feels this kind of loss will find a way to feel whole, find comfort, feel loved.” (10/24/09, the evening Chuck left)

Were we kind toward each other? Did I try to convince him to stay or ask him “why?” a million times? Was he away preparing his apartment? I don’t know.

I declined his dinner invitation. Crying non-stop has a way of ruining your appearance.  I told him “no thanks” when he got home from work on Friday (I think.  Remember, all this is fuzzy).

I tried blow-drying my hair. Nothing camouflaged the evidence of crying for a week. Plus I didn't feel like dealing with my persistent peri-menopausal facial hair.

Chuck was livid. By declining his invitation, he felt I was rejecting him. But, wait. Wasn’t he leaving me? I was living in a world where “down” was “up” and “this” was “that.” The only constant was that I was Mrs. Wrong and he felt like he was Mr. Couldn’t-Do-Anything-Right. He marched up stairs and packed his bags. I stood there hyperventilating frantically taking cleansing breaths.

I remember what happen next as clearly as a recurring nightmare.

When we were in Hawaii for our Honeymoon-That-Wasn’t, we each purchased gold bands with inlaid blue opal that reminded us of the Pacific Ocean. He lost his the prior summer; I was wearing mine. I took mine off and found a small box while he was banging around upstairs. He came into the kitchen with a face washed with anger and disappointment—double barrels aimed at my tender spots. Assume all portions of my part of the following dialog are punctuated with tears, sniffling, and general discombobulation.

Maybe Chuck didn't react well because he didn't recognize this hysterical woman. I don't either.

“So I guess that’s that,” he said.

“You’re not really walking out of that door are you?”

“Yes.”

“If you’re willing to stay here and work this out with me, I’ll do anything to save our relationship. But if you walk out on me, Chuck, it’s a game-changer. I’m going to have to do my own thinking about what I want and who I am.”

“Fine.” Chuck was succinct when he wanted to be. Me, not so much.

“If you’re dead-set on leaving me, then I want to give you something. Buddhists say that when you give something away, it should be something you deeply care about. It makes the giving more meaningful to both parties. So I’m giving you this.” I handed him the box with my Hawaiian gold band in it. He opened it and looked at me with softer eyes.

“Every time you look at this, let the gold remind you of my hair and the blue remind you of my eyes.” It was a bit more choppy when I said it through sobs. He cried too. Then he hugged me, tucked the box in his pants pocket and walked out on me. I hoped my sappy tender ring-speech would change his mind. The sound of the door closing was the emptiest sound I ever heard. I felt like the most leavable girl in the world: my dad left me, all my boyfriends left me, my beloved pets left me, Alex distanced himself from me, and now my husband walked out on me. Someone could write a top-of-the-charts Country-Western song about “Leavable Lorna.”

Introducing Miss Hammy Swinette with her new hit Single, "Leavable Lorna, She Never Met A Man She Couldn't Shoo-Shoo-A-Do Away."

I called Chuck’s parents telling them that he left and I was worried about him. They said they would call him. Then I called my sister, Tina. All she heard was heavy gasping breaths and stuttering. I’m surprised she didn’t hang up. I finally told her that Chuck left me. I never knew Tina to be a good actress, but she played the part of a consoling sister to a tee. She told me later she did a “happy dance” after she hung up the phone; she never liked Chuck.

Thus began the official phase of an unofficial separation that had gone on for I don’t know how long. At least Chuck had the courage to make it official. I wasn’t that brave.

He left me. What did that mean in the cosmic sense and the common sense? We never discussed the details of  being apart: money, mail, mortgage. How would I ask him? How long should a dumped wife wait before she calls her estranged husband? I didn’t know “separation etiquette.”

Castles built out of sand? Near water? Adults! If they're trying to prepare us for life, all they're doing is confusing us and burning our butts.

Let’s see how Lorna navigates life on her own…

~ by Lorna's Voice on November 5, 2011.

24 Responses to “Was I Voted “Most Leavable Girl” in High School?”

  1. […] complex carbohydrates will assist you to have more vigor while taking in less. Great blog post. (Most Leaveable Girl in High School) Oh, I get it. You saw the title of the post and thought I got dumped because I was […]

  2. Obviously I don’t like what happened. Not because Chuck left, but because it cause you so much pain when you tried so hard. But what the others said is true, the writing is very good. I’m a little confused why he got so angry when you declined his dinner invitation. Is it because you were sticking up for yourself and not just going along with whatever he said?

  3. We had, indeed, chosen different paths and his timing wasn’t all that bad, really.

  4. I agree with Phil .. I almost hesitated to click on the “Like” button. It wasn’t the content I liked. It was the way you were able to pull yourself out of a tragic situation and become the real, Lorna. Painful as it was, I’m sure eventually you realized what you had known all along but were finding it hard to vocalize or act on. The time was right. he chose his exit when he knew you would be able to go on.
    Life and all of its’ chaos …
    Namaste,
    Izzzy

  5. You were well rid of that selfish, horrible man.

  6. I blame it all on Buddhism! 😉

  7. I find your grace under such immeasurable stress to be totally admirable and inspiring. What an amazing heart and sense of gratitude you possess, Lorna. I find you a very unique and special human being!

  8. Thanks so much (for the “very good post” part). This was a sad time in my life, but the not-so-sad part is that I learned that I was/am a pretty courageous person for having navigated the turmoil without an instruction manual.

    I’m glad you dropped in, read and took the time to comment. Please come back!

  9. I believe you’re right–about releasing me, that is.

  10. I never thought about the dinner as a way to soften his guilt. Thanks for that.

    And I hope that this story of a broken relationship can be a reminder to those in a relationship to cherish what and who they have. We can learn both by good and horrible example, right? 😉

  11. This just hurts so much. Noble to give the ring to him, smart to turn down the dinner invite…what the heck good would that do–assuage his conscience. The story of broken relationships always saddens me…and, to be honest, scares me.

  12. I feel as though I’m reading my own life with these entries. Do men go to school to learn how to treat women like this because this is just so typical of my ex’s behavior as well.

  13. I applaud your decision to work through this difficult part of your life–it’s much better than letting the bitterness eat away at you. So many people let the bitterness consume them and that’s a terrible way to live one’s life.

  14. Another by the way, my ex invited me out after we’d split. I drank a lot of wine and was about to give in to his suggestion that we go “home” for an “old time’s sake” quickie. Went to the ladies, scrubbed my face with cold water and came to my senses. He was pissed!

  15. I think it’s courageous that you try to find the humorous in something that most people would cover with pathos. You go, girl! By the way, this is better than anything on TV. Just wish it wasn’t over so fast (or took so long between commercials). Waiting with bated breath (again I ask, what the heck does that mean?)

  16. Lorna I find this ex of yours a total… I was going to say something rather rude there but I would imagine that you have already called him every name under the Sun, I find his ‘Last Meal’ scenario rather insulting, as he wasn’t satisfied in crushing your world, he had to drag you through the deepest of pain barriers also, which in my way of thinking is highly offensive and truly unforgivable…

    You have come through sheer hell my wickedly fine young friend…

    Androgoth XXx

  17. Gratitude Journal entry 11/5/11: Are there words to express empathy and gratitude at the same time? Despite the limitations of my vocabulary, I am grateful for Lorna’s courage to write and even to relive pain. Lorna is a gift I treasure. She teaches and inspires. Lorna is real. Lorna is loved. Thank you for Lorna. I’m grateful, too for words from a musical. “When you walk through a storm, keep your head up high, and don’t be afraid of the storm… walk on, walk on with hope in your heart and you’ll never walk alone.”

  18. There’s that old nugget – ‘what doesn’t kill us helps us grow stronger.’ That strength makes our ‘today’ so much sweeter.

  19. I think the time you give him back the ring was very touching.

  20. Lorna, don’t take this the wrong way but I find the comic pictures in this post to be out of place and a bit jarring. Here you’re writing about a painful moment (more than a moment, I’m sure) in your life and it doesn’t need interruptions. This is something I find, from time to time, in your other posts.

    You won’t be able to use these pics in the book you’re writing that all this is ‘rehearsal’ for.

    Just wishing, for myself, that I could see your writing in a ‘straighter’ format – not instead of, but as well as, the way you do it here in your blog.

    Thankfully, I’ve not been through what you’re writing about. Lots of other severe problems, emotional, traumatic, but not the same… but I do feel for what you went through.

    I’ve some catching up to do with your posts… haven’t been reading blogs much recently.

  21. The moment when you gave him that ring back is poignant. But more than that, it is was a defining moment – for you. I know you hoped it would change his mind, but doing it released you more than it did Chuck.

  22. The gratitude was genuine. I learned not to deny my emotions, but not to dwell in them either. Focusing on something, anything, positive was my way of staying sane in the midst of the insanity. I don’t talk in the stories about how much I wailed and sobbed and asked “why me?” although I did a lot of that, too. Maybe I need to include those moments because those were part of the journey, too. I always came back to the gratitude journal and found something to be grateful for. It wasn’t forced and it wasn’t a trick to avoid my pain; it was a survival strategy. But some days I had to dig pretty deep to find something to write. 😉

  23. A very good post in a very sad way.

  24. Hitting the “like” button seems a bit inappropriate, but the writing is good – very good.

    The situation, on the other hand, is awful – very awful.

    I read the journal entries above, but I have to wonder, were they forced observations, scratching and clawing at anything that could be positive? Did they in fact ameliorate the hurt, or were they merely empty words now that you look at them with some perspective? I wonder because sometimes you need to acknowledge the hurt, touch it, let it sear you, and allow it to be. Perhaps you were in fact doing these things, but in the writings, I sense you were more in a state of denial than anything else. That too of course is totally understandable.

    The act of removing your ring and giving it back to Chuck is incredibly touching and moving. Clarity in a sea of fog moment.

    I really don’t get why he would want to have one last dinner out. What in the heck would that accomplish? That he got angry about it is baffling.

Silence can be just what the doctor ordered. You know I'm a doctor, right?

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