I suppose this was inevitable.
How wretched — or maybe darkly bemusing — to see your life reduced to this kind of cliche. So maybe it’s the writer in me compelled to say that the “twentysomething actress”, still very much in my ex-husband’s life, is not what you might assume her to be. The ex informed me at some point in the summer that she is “very mature for her age” (a couple of years younger than I was when I first moved in with him), but in my experience this is what men say when involved with much younger women.
Although I haven’t met her, some of my friends certainly have, and maybe the one negative thing that came filtering back to me was some mild comment about how the black Versace top was wearing her and not the other way around (that’s the kind of top that I would choose and he would like, although at her age I was jeans and sweatshirts, maybe a skirt if forced). By all accounts she is bright and sweet and of course beautiful, and about as personally responsible for the death of my marriage as she is for the dynamic that played out inside it. In other words, not very.
Also, she is not blonde, and I do find this refreshing.
No one who knows my ex-husband would accuse him of being weak-willed. The same qualities that helped bring about his extraordinary success dictate that the life you lead with him is his life, you have to want the same things he wants, and that there is no middle ground (not least because he has no time to find it).
So the life I now lead — apart from however we work out the co-parenting — is my own, which means I’m still figuring out a lot of it, and I can open up this blog to things and thoughts I might not have risked otherwise (as for what such things will be, I have no idea, but the prospect intrigues me). Which I need to do in any case since falling out of my marital life includes most of the VIP social life that made for such great — and impersonal — material.
And I wanted to slow down. Way down.
For all the things my ex and I had in common, and all the things we did not have in common but served to complement and counterpoint one another, in the end I wanted smaller and slower and closer where he wanted grander and faster (or at least to maintain the same pace, which requires a twenty-three year old just to keep up with him). In and of itself, this is not a reason to divorce when five children are involved — but it does mean I can exchange the thrill of the crowd for deeper if fewer friendships, and the subjects discussed over dinner no longer revolve around technology of any kind.
Having said that, I still like the clublife, not least because I can venture out well after I’ve put the kids to bed and told the twins their nightly Darth Vader story (although at moment the favored character is Chewbacca), which I make up on the spot and tends to involve Princess Leia going to karate class or stormtroopers browsing the aisles at Whole Foods (…write what you know…). But now I go to a club once in a while, drive myself to meet the girlfriends, leave early, and don’t exactly take it for granted that I’ll be sitting at some table with a five-thousand-dollar minimum. Since I’d rather dance than sit, and love to drive at night — the sweeping lengths of empty road, the lush shadowed beauty of these neighborhoods — and can generally only take one or two hours at the place — turns out there’s not so much to miss.
In other words, I club like a grandmother.