The Impossible Choice That Destroyed My Marriage

Photo: Courtesy of the author

Even as we were falling in love, we were getting divorced.

Perspective is a slow train comin'. You can hope for it, wish for it, even try and force it to appear before your eyes, but none of that will work. You've got to be patient, that's what I've found. You've got to be open for it and eager for it to arrive. But at the end of the day, all you can do is stand there at the station, staring down the tracks with eyes wide open. 

That's what I've done with marriage. It fell to pieces awhile back, so I just figured I'll hang around and wait on clarity. No point in forcing it. To reach conclusions swiftly would likely mean I'd reach the conclusions.

Besides, there's this other truth I've been flirting with accepting as well, and that's this:

With a lot of stuff in life, I'm never actually going to have answers I can package up and file away in my Department of Mysteries Solved. Love doesn't work like that. Hell, almost nothing worth having, even for a short time, ever works like that.

With each passing week/month/year, I'm finding weird solace in knowing that I'm never going to know. I'm never going to have a concrete answer about what "destroyed" my marriage. I'm never going to know the moment or event or trigger that caused two people to fall away from each other forever.

Instead, I'm learning to live with the fact that there's something strangely cool about never ever understanding. Because in accepting that particular notion, I'm liberating myself from the categorical pressures of putting a pin in the Map of Where I F*cked Up. 

Change, real divine human change and growth, has to rise up out of murky understanding. Love, especially, is Impressionism. It's magical realism. It isn't life-like accuracy; it's splotches and swabs, the very real crashing into the bumpers of our wayward dreams. Retrospect is super-valuable to any human wishing to evolve. No doubt about that. But that evolution comes from glancing backwards into a heavy-ass mist, and not upon some crystal-clear day. 

So the way I see it, the impossible choice that destroyed my marriage more or less occurred the moment I met the woman I married. In a flash of life light, in a bar in a valley in a faraway land, I laid eyes on a smile and crawled up into a laugh, and I let myself go without a care in this world.

I fell in love. I let myself do that. Quickly. Maybe instantly. Whatever. Who cares. Decisions came fast and furious after that but I never thought of them as decisions, really.

You don't overthink sh*t when you're falling in love. That's the magic part of it all. You decide to not decide. You cut all pesky ties to rational thought. You follow your heart. You do what no one else on Earth is doing that night, except all the other people falling in love at the exact same moment as you. You forget to remember all that you know. You skip the checklists and the think-it-over. 

You go pure fool. And there's nothing so wonderful in this world.

I did, anyway. And now that it's all over and the dust has settled, it turns out that a lot of that dust must have been friggin' Angel Dust — making me crazy in the end, making my heart beat so hard and my head go so crazy, pushing my mind in and out of hallucinations brought on by the toxic blood that races through your veins when your heart breaks open, when the dream is dead. I'd be a straight-up assh*le to stand in front of myself in the mirror and say that I ever made a single choice that destroyed my marriage.

It simply wouldn't hold up. It can't. We're never that smart. We're not wired for that level of understanding. Otherwise, falling in love would feel just like falling out of love. And f*ck that noise.

We decided to get married. That, in a nutshell, was the only decision that ever destroyed our marriage. We could have never destroyed a thing that we hadn't created in the first place. Yet, if I dig through the murky past, I come up gasping, three kids in my arms. Three beautiful kids.

And I pull out some smiles, too. Smiles we made together. And I hear quite a bit of laughter, down between the yelling, back behind all the bullsh*t that reality brought on. We crumbled across almost a decade of traditional marriage and eventually/predictably, the whole thing came crashing down. 

Was that regrettable, though? Do I regret the marriage to begin with? Hell no. Regret is for p*ssies. Do I look back then and recognize a single choice that took our kingdom down? Not really.

Not unless I throw that one moment on the table like some overdue bill. That moment when I first let myself go. That decision that isn't actually a decision at all. It was the second I fell in love. And to try and convince myself that I regret it because it ended like it did, what would be the point? I'd be lying to myself.

I fell in love. We got married. Our fates were not controlled by us; they were written in the goddamn stars. Because everything went down like it went down. And it will never go down like that again. Not between us. Not in that bar, in that valley, on that night. That's little bit sad when I think about it.

Even as we were falling in love, we were getting divorced. Even as we were doing all this living, we were dying so hard. 


I need to sit down. 



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