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 her...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 was...my 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.