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Welcome to Post-Divorce Hilly. I’m sitting in my favorite sushi-Thai restaurant in a perfect little corner, on my laptop, waxing reflectively. A few months ago, while still married, I impassively missed this very scenario which had for so many years been a part of my life before marriage. Chunks of my entire life have been spent in restaurants this way, pad and paper(s) spread across the table with a copy of whatever book I was into, or, laptop (in later years) glowing on said book, fingers wildly hammering out thoughts before they escaped my head. Or just the book, splayed open with a sugar holder or set of salt and pepper shakers. Whatever.
During busy lunches and slow, 5:00 PM-early-bird dinners, over a lovely cup of tea-bliss, in the lilt and lull of foreign tongues and clinking cleared-away cups, I mulled the things I read, found the parts I related to, and churned over the parts I did not. I parsed out my life in fairly unremarkable keyboard chapters. Poetry, songs, fiction and non….(bless this keyboard I bang on. HA. Sorry.)…plays, scenes– that book I’ve started and stopped since Moses wore short pants…..
I write and read in this scene far better than I do in the quiet bosom of my own home. The goings-on become white noise, until that ONE damn kid can’t stop kicking my chair or clanking their metal spoon against the water glass, which Mummy finds so darling, especially when he hops out of the booth and goes barreling down the aisle with a wooooooooosh and a banshee wail.
“Isn’t he precious? Now he’s a truck!” (Yes, Mummy, dearest, and I wish the front axle would snap off his cab so he’d careen off the……).
But the writing. The purposeful reading in places that inspired me, free of home distraction. The love of looking up for a pause and seeing life go on around me, all of its moving parts, in people bustling and in their actions and faces.
Why had I stopped?
This was not an abandonment of self, before we traverse down that road. This is not that huge and popular statement on women in marriage, that “losing myself” in the gnarly-knuckled fist of institutional patriarchy, etc. etc.; no. This was just a turn I took because something else pulled my attention away for a spell. A 4-year-spell.
Why did it happen?
Why does anyone stop doing certain things they love to do? Maybe as a show of consideration toward a significant other? Maybe just not time enough? In my case, when there was a choice of doing something in free time, I mostly chose to do things with my partner. It’s kind of the point, n’est-ce pas? Having a partner with whom to do things? We did many things together, and I didn’t notice or miss the practice of purposefully dining/having tea alone whilst creating. Until one day, I did.
Laze. It is too easy not to explore, to discover, to spill, to wrap up, to release, to mull, to orchestrate, to produce, to bear fruit. This is choosing the couch over the walk in the park at the end of May: you know it will thrill you if you can. just. get. up. And go. But Neflix just released the 4th Season of the Dr. McNuggets hospital drama…..and the decision is made, and the page is left unread, and the word left unwritten, and the brain bleeds from being spoon-fed a story you didn’t take the time to read or write yourself.
And you turn your back on who you are, on God, really, when you think of it. My mother always said, “It’s a sin to waste God’s gifts.” Who are you to sidestep what God gives you???
Parallel and akin to, “Oh- you’re not going to church again? You don’t have one hour for God?” I’ll have an hour next week, right? Dr. McShitbird ended last season in a widely publicized affair with Datia, the 11-fingered Ukranian Foreign Exchange Student turned Candy Stripe-trix. God understands.
My point (there might be one) is that we sometimes make decisions to stop cultivating significant pieces of who we are for spells. It’s okay. I was never empty-handed. I was filled in other ways, and in result, seem no worse for the wear. I didn’t fully stop reading, I didn’t fully stop writing, I didn’t ever stop being Hilly, I just stopped this particular routine and took up others for a while.
I am glad to have this time again, and I’m glad to sit and sip with an old friend.
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