The Scintilla Project, Day 7

19 March 2013

image credit: Rubber Slippers In Italy

This post is inspired by
The Scintilla Projectday 7 prompts ~ (A). Write about someone who was a mentor for you and (B). What have been the event horizons of your life - the moments from which there is no turning back?

(A). Write about someone who was a mentor for you.
He watched me, from afar, for at least a year before we spoke, before we first met. I, a naive 17 year old catholic girl did not think it creepy to have a married man stalking me. In fact, it made me feel special, pretty, important. I liked the seemingly random sightings at the shopping centre on a Saturday afternoon. It didn't take me long to figure out his schedule and make sure to take the same bus home from school. Yes, I was still in school; grade 12 to be exact. An entire day centred around one very small moment, in which I walked past him on the bus. This stranger, he consumed me. Suddenly my whole life revolved around him, around his timeline. I never thought it dysfunctional. I never considered the appropriateness of a thirty-something year old married man making the moves on me, a 17 year old girl who'd never been kissed.

We met. In an instant he grabbed my heart with such a fierceness, never to let go. I loved him so intensely and obsessively. It hurt to love him. I raged at the confines of our relationship, caged as it was by his familial obligations. Parts of me wanted to let go. Most of me simply could not. I could not let go of this relationship anymore than I could survive without a heart beat. And so I hung on. And while I longed for some one true and steadfast, as I watched my friends, one by one, get married and have families of their own, this entrapment of a relationship felt quite safe to me. He never demanded sex, in the way that men do when they feel they've earned it. 

Going against his better judgement, he became my boss, creating a position for me in the government department branch which he headed. Windows had just come out. DOS was still the norm. Corel Draw was on version 3. He taught me all about computers, the nerdy nuts and bolts stuff like DOS lingo. He purchased my university text books. He proofread my essays, helping me streamline my writing. Looking back, I think he felt like more of a father figure/mentor than he did a lover. And I lied to myself, refused to believe that, as long as I remained, clutching onto him, waiting for his marriage to end, I would close myself off to any other possibilities, to any real chance at true love and devotion.

image credit: Tristam Sparks

(B). What have been the event horizons of your life - the moments from which there is no turning back?

The divorce became final on December 25th, 2011. We filed jointly. When we signed the various documents that filing entails, I knew in my heart of hearts that I'd reached the point of no return. We'd come to a mutual agreement that divorce seemed like the best step we could take to save the we of he and I. You see, divorce didn't end our relationship, it provided a new beginning. A new beginning at which I can no longer reach for that which dissolved into dust behind me. Martin and I see each other several times a week. We live in the same building, on the same floor. We share often share the supper meal together. He remains devoted, as ever, not really needing a piece of paper or jewelry to live monogamy. I realize, now, that he never, ever did.

Still. My divorce has been this dirty little secret I've chosen to reveal to very few people. As in, I could count the number of people on one hand. I so proudly displayed my married status on Facebook before the divorce. Now, though, I've chosen to leave that space blank. I do not feel pride in my status as divorced. In fact, I feel a spectre of shame wash over me whenever I think of myself as divorced. I failed the relationship. I could have done some things differently. I could have been less of a selfish and manipulative control freak. 

Guilt. That's one of those few Catholic remnants in me that refuse to die. Then there's belonging. Society tells those of us who aren't married that we don't belong. Marriage seems like a kind of society-sanctioned co-dependence ~ two become one. Co-dependency had a stranglehold on our marriage. It provided a vehicle for dysfunction to creep into the relationship. Divorce has sliced through all that. We're still together as a couple. We definitely still love each other. And we each have the solitude which our introverted selves require, solitude which tradition married life does not provide. This, I believe, strengthens our relationship. 

“Sometimes I wonder if men and women really suit each other. Perhaps they should live next door and just visit now and then.” 
 ~ Katharine Hepburn


Heidi Willis said...

This is so beautiful. It still amazes me every day that love - this thing we cannot see or smell or touch - has such incredible power over us - can range the entire spectrum of emotion, can render us weak beneath it for both good and bad.

There is no shame in the journey life has taken you on. We live, we learn, we move along, a little better for it touching us.


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