I’ve written before that 1999 was a difficult year for me. I moved, divorced, lost friends, changed jobs, had surgery and turned 40. It was a big year.
When I moved from my farm into town I went from 20 acres, a 3,000 square foot home, a shop and barn, lots of animals and spectacular views, to a 900 square foot home on a tiny lot, a carport and one dog. We split the dogs up when we got a divorce, but the kids came with me.
So I learned how to share a bathroom with teenage boys, make the best of our small house and go for walks in the park that was just a block away. I was finding my way again in the world, and it was exciting and scary.
All of a sudden there was a bunch of new “firsts”. The first holiday as a single mother, the first purchase of a car by myself, and the first time I kissed a man, other than my husband, in 18 years. That felt so strange I actually laughed. Which didn’t really go over well.
Another side effect of divorce is a shifting of friends. Our couple friends had to sort of take sides after we were no longer one of “the couples”. I didn’t get invited to things that “we” used to, and I even lost my best friend. She was his friend first, so it’s understandable that she would be his friend in the end. But that one hurt.
Other friends were uncomfortable around me too. I could tell. I even had some who were angry with me for getting a divorce. A few told me I was ruining my children’s lives, and asked how could I do that to them. I found myself feeling very defensive at times, and I didn’t like that.
Those things are part of what drove me closer to my new boyfriend, even though I wasn’t ready for another relationship. I had been his apprentice as a saddle maker, and it was hard to be working together and dating.
And then one day it happened…
I honestly don’t know how to write this part. But I will do my best.
One day, while working together, I said something to my boyfriend about how upset I was about losing friends and feeling alienated after my divorce. And without warning he said, “Do you think I give a shit about your fucking friends or fucking divorce? You need to shut your trap, because I don’t want to hear this shit!”
I was speechless, and stood there with my mouth open, but no words came out. I couldn’t think of one single thing to say. Not one person in my 39 years had ever spoken to me like that. I had no experience to draw upon to know how to act, what to say or do.
So, I went back to work, silently. After about half an hour of working, fighting back the sting of tears, he asked me, “What the fuck is wrong with you?” I just looked up at him and said, “I need to go home”.
Later he called to apologize and said it was just too much pressure on him coming up with enough work for me. I felt guilty about that and we agreed I would look for a different job. He was kind and completely sorry for his outburst and then said we should be doing fun things together instead of work, and would I like to learn how to fly fish?
I immediately found a job at a locally owned furniture store just blocks from my house. And the very next weekend he surprised me with waders and a fly rod.
We celebrated my 40th birthday, but it wasn’t long before it happened again.
…to be continued.
Writing this was hard, but reading it was even worse. There is so much more to share with you about this, but I have a headache now and it’s hard to see the keyboard through the tears.