I was married to the wusband for 7 years. We were together for two before that. I have two kids with him. Neither of us moved out of town after we separated. There will always be echoes of our marriage around. Last night I went to a great farm party. New friends mixed with old friends and the beasties had a blast. However, there are always echoes of my ex.
The first echo was a woman who I see often around town. She hopped out of the car, ready to have a great time, giggling in her cute outfit and sassy swagger. She and I, though we have known each other for years, completely ignored each other. This woman had never been particularly friendly to me, but soon before the wusband left she became downright cold. A few months after the wusband left I saw her in a restaurant. I spoke to her aunt who I have known even longer than I have known her. The daughter totally ignored me and was really downright rude. I didn't understand it. I could not remember ever doing anything to her.
It was when I sat down to enjoy my ice cream with my kids and that all the hair on the back of my neck stood up, my whole body became cold, and I knew with certainty that that woman had slept with my husband. I have not had a moment of clarity like that ever before and I haven't had one since. Now, almost four years later, I see her around town every few months. We pretend we don't know each other. Sometimes I want to ask her, "When did you sleep with him?" But then I realize it doesn't matter. He's gone now and whether he slept around will not change the fact that our marriage is over and I am free. She will always be an echo of my marriage. A memory of what was my life.
The second echo at the farm party was a friend of mine who is a writer. She has been so great about supporting my writing and promoting Sassy Queenpin Mama. She loves to tell the story of The T-Shirt, and actually, when she tells it, it makes me laugh and reminds me that yes, sometimes, I am a badass. My wusband moved out 16 days before his birthday. He used to come back in the mornings and stay with the kids during the transition between me going to work and childcare starting. The wusband and I were cordial as I rushed around making breakfast and getting kids ready. On his birthday the wusband came in and it was business as usual. I just didn't give a shit that it was his birthday. At ages 1 and 4 my kids didn't even know what day it was. That night I received an angry phone call, "I can't believe you didn't even acknowledge my birthday. I can't believe you didn't have the kids do anything for me." After I came to from my rage blackout I began to make The T-Shirt. Out came old black t-shirt and silver sharpie.
The morning after his birthday my wusband came in and it was business as usual. I may have seemed a little chipper than usual as I got things done in the kitchen, I actually think I moved a little slower just to make sure the shirt was readable. The wusband sat at the table watching, reading, fuming. We went through our normal routine and all the while I was sporting my newly made T-Shirt which read, "Fuck you, (insert wusband's name here)" on the front, and on the back it said, "Fuck you coward." I finished making breakfast, kissed my babies (neither who could read), and walk out the door to work. My only regret is that I didn't have a Bedazzler to give that shirt more pizzaz. As my friend retold the story at the farm party it was another echo of the wusband. Another reminder of how my life used to be.
The funny thing is even though the echoes of my wusband can be painful and embarrassing, I am the one who promotes the echoes the most. I promote them because I am currently building a business based on the pain caused by being left. I am currently building a persona based on my new life as single mama Queenpin. When I think of that, I think about how grateful I am that the wusband left and how grateful I am for the echoes. Though I will always be tied to that man, my life has become so much bigger without him, and because of him. I shout out my pain, my laughter, my embarrassments and they echo back giving me new perspective on who the Queenpin is today. The echoes land at my feet and I stand on them. Building my future based on what I have learned from the past.