“It’s not you, it’s me.” That was the cliché Lance dropped on Chase when he walked out the door. Three years of marriage he is willing to throw away and the best he can do is hand her that tired line. So now she is left wondering whether she should be angry, sad, or guilty. She asks herself if it really is her. Could she have been more patient? Could she have been more supportive? Should she have been more aware?
All the expected worries march through her thoughts. She wonders about the late hours he spent at the shop with all the college girls that work for him. Doubts about her own appearance sneak into the equation and she examines herself in the mirror. Years of yoga, Pilates, gym memberships, and more have staved off gravity, but not enough. She is old, at thirty-two, and not as pretty as all those women in the shop, no matter what she wears, how much make-up she applies, and despite the coy glances from the boy at the supermarket. Why wouldn’t Lance want someone else?
It is so much easier, for both of them, to make it about that. It is so much simpler to make it about sex and mid-life crisis than to look back at what they both knew, or more importantly did not know. For instance they did not know that getting married because “I am pushing thirty and should have a husband/wife” was not a particularly good idea. They did not know that ignoring all the basic values that were in conflict was asking for unhappiness. They did not ask themselves how well they really knew each other. So now they are here, and rather than looking at the foundations they never really built, they are building a new foundation to create a temple of bitterness.
Because “it’s not you, it’s me” and suspicions of infidelity are less difficult. It is so hard to say you were wrong, and “I am sorry” even when it is to yourself. There is so much less effort in loathing, of oneself and the other, than to walk through that door to real happiness.
- The comics artist Lynda Barry joins the University of Wisconsin faculty as an assistant professor of interdisciplinary creativity. (althouse.blogspot.com)
- I Write, Therefore I Am (swimminginthemud.com)
- Weekly Writing Challenge: Backward (rossgunning.wordpress.com)
- On Creative Writing (rosevoc2.wordpress.com)