Happy Endings

This past Christmas, Skyspook gave me a Kindle Touch. Every year, his employer lets them choose a gift from the company from a list of options, and this year, he selected the e-reader and gave it to me along with a gift card to buy accessories and books for it.

When I received the Kindle, I cried. Excessively.

I’d wanted an e-reader for years, ever since they came out, really, but never could justify spending the money on myself. Not only that, but Skyspook could easily have given me his Kindle and taken the Kindle Touch for himself, and I would have been perfectly happy. That was how Ex-Husband always did things. Since he cared more about having the newest and the best electronics (I admit; I’m often behind the times in a way someone decades older would typically be because I use my gadgets until they break and am hard to seduce with new features), I always got the hand me downs when he decided to upgrade.  I wasn’t bitter about it. It made sense to me.

This is apparently not the way Skyspook operates.

It’s been lovely having an e-reader, not having to consider aspects like shelf space or just how many books I want to lug around on my next move when considering whether to read something. As much as I like certain things, books, clothes, shoes, etc, having too many physical objects troubles me, makes me feel encumbered and possessed by my possessions, tasked with their organization and upkeep. Not only that, but my local library lets me take out books without even visiting them, an extra bonus.

Stripped of their physical form and frequently their cost (via library loan), books have become a truly guiltless pleasure.

As a result, I’ve been reading like a mofo.

I just finished reading a novel about a woman blogger going through a divorce that inspired me. I’d tell you the title, but I’m about to spoil the ending, so I’ll hold back that detail.

I felt so validated and understood reading the book. I’d agonized extensively over not feeling I had the right to leave my former marriage, without movie of the week grounds, being pushed down the stairs or something like that. That as much as emotional incompatibility, his inability/unwillingness to contribute financially to our household, entitlement, incompatible attitude about spending, and his low tolerance of being touched and my burning need to touch and be touched frequently rendered me completely  miserable, I had a hard time accepting they were enough to justify divorce, akin to an amputation of the relationship. It felt like I was abdicating an important responsibility, one that I’d sincerely committed to 6 years prior.

The heroine of the novel I was reading had far less reason to leave her marriage and yet seemed to feel better about it and could justify it better. I was inspired, rooting for her, and in turn, feeling good about my own decisions.

But the happy ending? She got back together with him. It was all just a silly misunderstanding.

Ugh.

I’ve noticed this pattern in quite a bit of  media dealing with divorce, books, movies, etc. The happy ending is the reunion of the embattled ex-lovers. And while I know this does happen from time to time, it saddens me that the cultural imagination rarely has room for an alternate happy ending in divorce, like the one I described in another entry, “In the Dust”:

“One day you’ll wake up and see you’ve grown so much that you’ll realize that what you were staring at and thinking was the sky is just a ceiling – and not a particularly high ceiling at that. As you grow, you’ll burst up through it, shattering it into hundreds of pieces. The impact will be painful and disorienting at first, but soon, free of those artificial boundaries, you’ll be blinded by the brilliance and beauty that waits outside and by the realization that most limits are artificial self-imposed, and you are, they are, we are all freer than we let ourselves imagine.”

That’s what I’d like to see. A happy ending like that. And though I’m sure they exist out there, however many of them there are, it’s not enough.

That’s another reason I’m driven to write this book – to make sure there’s at least one more out there.

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2 Comments

  1. I used to get the hand-me-done gadgets from my ex. It never bothered me because, like you, I didn’t need the latest and greatest. It was only after the fact when I realized that it was a symbol of how he felt about me and the relationship. I don’t need the new gadget, but I want to feel worthy of it in his eyes. Glad you’re enjoying your Kindle:)

    1. Thank you! And it’s funny how well we see all the little details of an unhealthy or less than ideal relationship that give it away in hindsight but we never noticed in the moment. 🙂

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