A writing prompt came under my eyes this morning: “What did you know in your heart one day in July 1990.” (Natalie Goldberg, Old Friend from Far Away). Is she joking? Pluck a 22-year-old memory out of thin air like that? <snaps fingers>
Still…what can I recall?
Let’s see. July 1990. I was 33, three years away from meeting the man who would become my second husband. Two-and-a-half years from divorcing my first one which means (ugh) that we were still married. 1990 is before the move to Pittsburgh. That happened in 1992. We must have been living in Troy, NY, in the second floor apartment owned by our somewhat crazy, but good-hearted Texas-born landlord.
1990. Five-and-a-half years into the marriage. Could it be that July 1990 is when we briefly split, the moment when I finally admitted to my heart that I’d had enough and kicked him out, only to take him back a few months later…mostly because I felt sorry for him? There was a certain sense of freedom in being cut loose, even for that short space of time. I could breathe again. What on earth made me decide that suffocation was the better route? Well, obviously, I had more to learn.
God, I hate it when I’m dense.
But that’s when I knew (in my heart, like the prompt says) the marriage was over. Oh, it would struggle on for almost another two years, but I knew it was damaged beyond repair…beyond any desire of repair…and carried that knowledge in my heart until a bright moment of epiphany (the crack of a single straw crushing a camel’s back) showed me there was no way to go but forward.