Noilly Prattle: Looking Back: 33 – send in the clowns

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Looking Back: 33 – send in the clowns

     My old university friend, P., was living in Springfield in the Connecticut River valley when I loaded my car and left our condo in Worcester in the Spring of 1971 barely half a year after our wedding. I badly needed someone to talk to simply to unload my emotional garbage on someone who would listen critically but without judging. I telephoned him and asked if it was alright to come down to Springfield and spend a few days at his place. I outlined the situation and he unhesitatingly said yes, come and stay as long as you need to.

tornado on the Connecticut River -
Springfield, MA, June 2011
        So, I drove to Springfield in my car loaded with all my personal stuff and over the next few days P. and I renewed our old friendship from UMass and reminisced about how great it had been in those halcyon days seen now through a glass darkly. Little by little I talked about the circumstances that had led me to this latest crossroads on my meandering path. Why did I get married? Don't know really, it just sort of evolved. Did I love my wife? Thought so at first, but obviously not deeply enough for the commitment of a marriage. What bothered me the most? Loss of my freedom and feeling trapped by the costly life style expected by my wife and her family—at least as I perceived it. Was I ready to walk away? Yes. What was I going to do next? Face the music.

       I called M. and told her where I was and asked if it would be alright to meet and discuss the situation and where we would go from there. She was restrained on the phone and suggested that I come to our apartment and talk it over. I preferred a more neutral setting but she had a little boy from a previous marriage and said it would be difficult to get away from him. I had gotten fond of little Chris and didn't relish the idea of an emotional meeting both of them, but agreed to meet there anyway.

        Accordingly, I returned to our apartment. Chris was there and that made a long wrenching discussion along the lines I had discussed with P. all the more difficult. Little by little, however, we were able to agree, not without recriminations, but with a glimmer of understanding that I hadn't expected, that she would file for divorce charging me as the party at fault. We parted with a modicum of amiability and acceptance. I think the presence of the little boy had a beneficial effect on our overstretched emotions. Afterwards, I felt guilty and depressed but at the same time as if a storm had passed and a great weight had been lifted from my shoulders.

        The divorce, uncontested by me, was granted on June 25, 1971 about seven months after our wedding and finalized six months later, ironically on December 26, 1971—my 30th birthday.

To be continued...

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