Sunday, December 13, 2009

Just Another Piece Of Shrapnel

It was a shock to us all when it happened. Now over a year later the reality of the decision is still hitting some hard. Namely myself. I wish I could say I can't imagine what that family went through. Being pulled apart from the inside. Like so many of us however I've been there and done that as they say. The questions never go away. An air of mystery will always surround those involved like the smell of burnt leaves off in the distance. Each wondering if they know the whole truth of how it all went down. The real reasons why divorce was the only option left to take.

It's only natural based on my own personal history as a child of divorce that my first instinct is for the little girl. The entire geography of her existence being ransacked as if someone had broken in overnight and stole those items that mattered the most to her. And essentially isn't that exactly what did happen? Her home was sold, her family cut in half, daily routine shattered. Weekdays with Mom. Weekends with Dad. Who gets her for Christmas this year?

Not once did I think of him in terms other than "How could he do that to them? I guess I didn't know him after all" Best Friend is such a juvenile term. Fred throws it out like a prize at the county fair. Only bestowing it upon those who have earned a special place in his heart no matter how fleeting it may be. Thirty-four year old men don't have best friends do we? We have buddies, the gang, the guys. Still I guess that's what he best friend. After he dropped the bomb everything he knew laid around in him in ruin. Friends like myself were left stunned by the announcement. I never even heard his side. One weekend we were playing golf and the next thing I knew a year had gone by since we had spoken.

Last week we bumped into each other at the Christmas parade. I tried to avoid him, but he pushed the issue by coming up to talk. Good for him. It should have been me that asked how he was doing. Inquiring how he was making it now that things were final. Instead I just responded stone faced answering with phrases like "Same old same old" and "Tell me about it." Letting Lucy carry the awkward conversation. I did manage to say "Merry Christmas". Even as I said it though I began to wonder what his new life was like and how bad things must have been towards the end. Trying to imagine what the final straw was that made him think that there was no repairing his broken home; all the while understanding that once the ink hit the page no one would ever be the same. All my life I have been the victim of divorce, my relationships, my personality, my likes and dislikes, a consequence of divorce....but never the proliferator. It wasn't me who pulled the trigger, I'm just one of the many that got hit by the shrapnel.

When I see my friend again I'm going to do my best to let him know that although I don't agree with what he did, I do hope he's in a better place than he was. That he has my forgiveness. It may not mean much to anyone else, but at least I'll know that I tried to be fair. That I attempted to look past the pain he caused and into the root of why he did it. That if ever he needed someone to lean on, he could still call me friend.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Missing The Big Event

It was all anyone could talk about at work. "Go Gators!!" "Roll Tide Roll!!" "Come on over Saturday we'll be serving gator meat during halftime." At church our preacher worked it into his sermon Wednesday night. The clerk at the Piggly Wiggly asked me if I knew what time it would start. Every wife in town was wondering what they would do with the kids while daddy disappeared for 4 hours on a Saturday afternoon. During a stop for a routine headlight change my mechanic Ken couldn't help but notice my red sweatshirt which just happened to be the color of the Mighty Alabama Crimson Tide. We spent twenty minutes talking about Bama's chances against the Florida Gators. Not only was that afternoon's game a rematch of last year's for the SEC Championship, but both teams were again undefeated guaranteeing a game that would be talked about for years to come.....and I was going to miss it.

After finding out that Lucy and I would be taking Fred to the annual Toy Land play which was scheduled to begin the exact same moment as kickoff, a friend left this on Lucy's Facebook page "I'm just curious how you get Bill to do these things and miss football? Ted does not do anything that will interfere with football so guess where we will be today at 3:00????" The answer of course isn't an easy one because for starters how do you respond without speaking against Ted? Another thing that got me was the first thing my machismo did was take offense to the thought that somehow I had been tricked by Lucy to spend time with my family. Needless to say my first comments to this particular Facebook message were deleted before they ever reached the home page. What I didn't say......what I wanted to say was this:

"Please understand that in no way am I trying to speak against Ted. He seems like a great guy, a good man, and a fine father. I don't know what his schedule is like or what issues he may be facing. That being said what I do know is that last Friday I watched the Alabama/Auburn game. Saturday night I watched three games at one time. Flipping between LSU/Arkansas, Tennessee/Kentucky, and some other game that I can't even remember. Sunday I caught the Colts Vs Ravens. Monday night the Patriots faced off against the Saints. Thursday night it was Oregon and Oregon St. Friday night I watched the last half of Ohio and Michigan St. Before Toy Land starts Cincinnati/Pitt will be on and afterward Texas/Nebraska. Sunday night the undefeated Colts play the Titans who are on a hot streak. Given I didn't watch all of these from start to finish, but I did see a majority of each. I don't know if Ted saw all or any of these. I'm not a baseball fan. I don't like basketball. I play a little golf every now and then. What I like is football and while it's in season Lucy is willing to move things around so that I can catch the big games. For me though this weekend's big event doesn't involve the gridiron. It's seeing Fred's face when Darth Vader sits down next to him like he did two years ago. Or when Spiderman swings from the rafters just in time to save Dora from Cruella de Vil like last year. Hearing the cheers when Elmo and Big Bird come skating across the stage causing Tom to slam into Jerry. Sure the game will be on, but I'll catch the one tonight and maybe the one tomorrow. This afternoon though, at least for me the Big Event is being where my son is."