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Friday, January 7, 2011

You Can't File for Divorce on a Sunday

You can't file for divorce on a Sunday.  I think that government offices are closed on weekends in order to curb the number of separations.

A few weeks ago, I cursed this government office policy.  Because I desperately wanted to file.  With all of my heart.

Who goes on a bender the night before an early-morning Sunday newborn parenting class, you ask?  Well, look no further than my husband.  My life partner.  The father of my unborn child.

But maybe, partly, this is my fault.  I was trying to be "cool." I said, sure go out, have some fun tonight, I'll just stay home, all pregnant, and you have a high school reunion party with your friends.

But I didn't say drink gin all night and don't get home until 3 a.m.   I laid awake, alternating between wanting to kill him and worrying that he was in a hospital somewhere.

I guess I'm not as cool as  I hoped I was.  Because if I was, I would have taken pity on his hungover ass the next day.  I would have said, oh honey, you look terrible, you just stay home and I'll go to this newborn parenting class all by myself, I don't mind.  Instead, I just wanted to shoot him.  Or put a permanent end to this married union.  Anything to forget that I had volunteered to live with this man in sickness and in health.

But I didn't say a word.  Instead, I woke up at 7 a.m., showered, dressed, and threw shoes down the hallway until the blob under the blankets began to move.

Rise and shine, HONEY, I said.  You didn't forget the newborn parenting class did you, sweetie??  (of course he didn't, I told him like five times the night before). Here, I'll make you breakfast!  He practically reeled when I presented him with scrambled eggs and toast.

But still, I said nothing. I made no mention whatsoever of the fact that his eyes looked like roadmaps.  Or that his pallor resembled a corpse.

Oh, I know that he didn't want to attend this class, that's for sure.  What are we going to learn at this thing, anyway, he had said weeks before.  But we're going, I said.  And we've got to learn the swaddling, I reminded him.  And that was that.  And here we were, in an airless, fluorescent-lit room in the basement of our hospital.  Waves of food smells from the cafeteria next door kept wafting in.  The special that day was chili con carne.  Even I was starting to feel queasy.

You've never seen a more pale, worn out, nauseous, and miserable-looking person than my husband on that day, a doll propped in front of him, awaiting swaddling.  His eyelids flickered, and he smelled like a distillery.  He kept his jacket on the entire time.

He said barely two words, but somehow, he made it through the three hours and  the swaddle techniques part of the stupid, inane, parenting class.

Then he disappeared.  For the next three hours, the seat next to me was empty, and all the other couples kept glancing at the chair.  I was mortified.  The teacher took pity on me and didn't ask a thing.  And angry beyond words.

I found him in our car, still wearing his parka.  He was snoring.  I put the key in the ignition and once again wished  there was a way to file for divorce on Sundays.  But I didn't have a leg to stand on. The class turned out to be really stupid, designed for people who have lived outside of civilized society since birth.  The only thing worth knowing was the swaddling.  And I could have looked that up on the Internet.  But still, I hated him.

So I didn't mention his absconding to the car, he didn't say I told you so about how ridiculous and inane and unnecessary the class was, and we drove home in silence.  Barely three words were spoken the rest of the day.  When it was time to go to bed, I was still fuming -- angry at myself, at him, at the class.

Sometime during the early morning hours, he rolled over and faced me.  To this day I am not sure if he was awake or asleep.  But he took my head in his hands and kissed me all over my face.  Then he rolled over again and went back to sleep.  I sighed.  I would no longer file for divorce on Monday.

1st millennium B.C., Near Eastern fertility goddess