We've jettisoned decades of memorabilia in preparation for the open house on Sunday and my ultimate move to WhoKnowsWhere. Yesterday, I jettisoned The Man from San Antone. It made me cry, of course. I've been crying a lot lately - especially Tuesday even though for the most part Buzz Kill has actually been stellar. In fact, he's been a better partner during this final stage of separation than he ever was during the marriage. On Tuesday, though, as I watched taking a cart filled with things we've been sentimentally attached to for decades out to the dumpster, it occurred to me that he threw away our marriage too.
I cried so much my eyes were puffy until I went to bed the next day. He could not help but notice I was falling apart, and eventually when he asked what to do with some Gourmet magazines I'd been saving since before Velvet was born, I told Buzz Kill that I felt like he'd thrown away me and the marriage. He just said, "Don't even go there with me," and kept doing his job. The next day he bought me a new coffee pot - exactly the kind I like and wouldn't buy for myself - and a giant bouquet of flowers for the living room. We needed flowers because the real estate agent was coming to take pictures of the apartment to include in the New York Times advertisement for our open house on Sunday. Buzz Kill chose my favorite flowers - Gerber daisies. I had them in my wedding bouquet.
That's how I know Buzz Kill is really sorry. He's never been one to discuss his feelings. Fortunately, I grew up in the South where people often rely on indirect communication - so I recognize a meaningful gesture when I see one. As it happens, understanding indirect communication was the reason I jettisoned The Man from San Antone.
Over the last year and a half or so, The Man from San Antone has been avoiding me. Sometimes I think it's because we got too emotionally intimate on September 11, 2008. He was in town to argue a case before Federal Court. I never got the whole story, but it was a big deal because all his lawyer buddies had refused to help him with the case, saying that he was wrong about the law. It had to do with bad pharmaceuticals or some other medical malfeasance. For reasons I never learned, he could have landed his own self in jail if he didn't win the case - but that might have been because of money that had nothing whatsoever to do with the case itself. He won it though, stayed out of jail and made nearly a million dollars for himself in the process. The minute the news of his success got back to the boys in Texas, they started calling to congratulate him. He was so pissed off at them for abandoning him in the first place that he wouldn't pick up his phone.
September 11th has a certain significance in contemporary American culture, but it also happens to be the day The Man from San Antone's father died. The Man from San Antone always believed he was a disappointment to his father. His mother, too, I think. She's also dead. He went out of his way to be a Black Sheep, which was an accomplishment in that family of flamboyant alcoholics. It's hard work being The Man from San Antone. Over dinner, he kissed my hand and said that of everyone in the world he could be with that night, he was glad it was me. He then proceeded to indulge his self-destructive tendencies. I hadn't phased off my meds back then, and had a Depakote in my purse. Valium, too. He took the depakote, then crushed the little valium and snorted it in his hotel suite - and that was after several drinks. Seems like he was drinking bourbon, but I might be wrong.
The next year, of course, he sent me a nice sum of money to help pay off my therapy bill (Stonerdate 09.24.09). I always interpreted that gesture as him making sure that he had the right of first refusal if I ever felt like being in a relationship again. I figure that men don't give you money because they want to have sex with you, necessarily. They give you money so you won't have sex with anybody else. I never mentioned that to The Man from San Antone, however. I was appropriately grateful, from a respectful distance. By Christmas vacation that year, he stopped responding to my texts and voicemails -except for the time Velvet got arrested. He responded instantly when Velvet got arrested.
The thing is, though, that if I'm not in trouble, I don't exist for The Man from San Antone. He finally called me back after I raised that issue last month, and he promised to at least acknowledge my messages with a text. That promise fell by the wayside this week. when I sent him a text saying I would be in Texas at the end of the month and wanted him to join me for a party in Austin. More than 24 hours had passed and he hadn't taken 24 seconds to respond, so I said I would conclude he was dead and preferred it that way. He wrote back then to say, "Screw you, Trish. What kind of a text is that?" I replied that I had loved him a lot for a long, long time and finally understood it meant more to me than it did to him which really hurt.
You can't leave a hundred messages for someone who never even acknowledges s/he got them without coming to the conclusion that the individual does not want you in his/her life. Granted that person may be having a personal crisis, but every single one of my other friends takes a minute to respond somehow - even if it's just to say they'll get back to me later. I figure that The Man from San Antone has been so helpful to me since my divorce not because he loves me - even though he will say he loves me effusively when he's been drinking especially if there's an audience. It's because of his own need to be somebody's savior. If I don't need saving, then he's as unavailable as all those other unavailable men I've dedicated myself to at one time or another.
I'm pretty sure that The Man from San Antone has forgotten that he and I had chosen April 1, 1982 as a wedding date. Once we set a date, I realized I didn't want to be married at all, but I really wanted a party and a new dress. To that end, The Man and I started throwing the Annual Bluebonnet Cotillion which was essential an acid party that barely remained in control. We had three or four more before he went to law school in San Antonia, and I moved home to go to grad school. He wouldn't remember that I'd be in Austin at Cotillion time - an anniversary of what might have been our wedding which would certainly have ended in disaster. That's a good time to have a drink together and celebrate a lifelong friendship.
There will still be bluebonnets, though, and plenty of friends around the camp fire when MeanJean and JimBob celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary on their land in the hills west of Austin. I bet the stars that night will even be big and bright.
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