I probably don't deserve it, but the dynamic of my divorce and remarriage is blessedly modern, even easy.
I probably don’t deserve it, but the dynamic of my divorce and remarriage is blessedly modern, even easy. There’s a warm vibe between me, my ex and current husband. The three of us have known each other since college–I was a teenager when we met–though this explains our shorthand, moving from youth to middle-age, our shared history is a story for another day–or decade. The point is, these two men REALLY know each other. They remain as different from one another as twenty years ago, but there’s still a humorous, kinetic energy between us. Which may stem from their agreement that I’m a permanent pain in the ass.
We’re together at parties, games, here in my kitchen, all the time. Youth sports and our kids’ raging social lives are a logistics Jenga tower. It involves the three of us moving bodies from place to place and shooting the shit with great regularity. My son likes to point out how much “fancier” his Dad’s car is, and what “dorks” we are for driving a minivan. We ignore him. We don’t even respond to the back of the cabin, where he’s riding in obvious resplendent comfort. His car-bullying is instructive because it’s the kind of thing his father would mock us for. And does, all the time, whenever we descend from the chassis.
Between my husband and I, we have four children. My two step kids spend time with my ex-husband as well. Sleepovers have happened at his place. My stepdaughter calls him her “favorite babysitter.” He comes to our house and watches all four of them. They think he’s exciting, unpredictable. He lets them stay up late and watch movies, which they tell us about the next morning in exhilarated confession. It’s a big, bulky family, sometimes moving like a purposeful falcon, sometimes like a sparrow trapped in a house.
My ex is hardwired to engage in a certain kind of gentle teasing. He and I even used to tease my current husband. He didn’t mind. He’s an enviably relaxed, confident person, and besides his need to watch Wedding Crashers every time it’s on, is exceedingly grownup. He laughs at himself all the time, and laughs at me even more, which I love. But back then, we’d tease him for being overly serious, or for using dipshitty words. My husband happens to be, serendipitously, just the kind of guy my ex likes to rib. This makes sharing our August beach rental a landmine of fun.
Years ago, my husband wrote a check to my ex for our portion of the rental. Later, as he was going over his bank statement–crucial here is my ex assuming my husband is the type to REVIEW cashed check images–and he noticed something strange on the one he’d written for the house. He had to squint to make out some tiny words added to the memo line. In a florid scrawl, it said: You’re a douche.
A special message! We laughed so hard, and for so long, that I thought my core would split. First, because my ex knew my husband would only discover this message if he reviewed cashed checks, confirming his personal feelings that he was in fact, a douche for doing so. META!
Second, because what had inspired him to send an unprompted reminder of his “complicated” feelings? Did he laugh when he wrote it? Was it impulsive? Menacing? Douche can be mysterious! And third, because of ‘douche.’ Not asshole, dickhead, and best of all, not douche BAG. Just the monastic simplicity of douche. At the risk of exposing my juvenility, can we all agree that declaring someone a douche remains one of the funniest things a person can do? Whether they’re a douche or not? I think we can. And personally, I’d only marry people who feel this way.