Today would have been my eleventh wedding anniversary with M. I probably wouldn’t have really noticed (more than one October 7 has gone by without comment), but I also just got a bunch of wedding pictures back. When Creepy Tranny Cat and I tried to move to Canada (long story, but I’ll tell it eventually), we lost one bag; the one that had my yearbooks and my wedding scrapbook in it. So, I only had three wedding pictures left. Which sucks!
But while I was helping my mother unpack and sort things, we came across a stack and she said I could have them. So I’ve been leafing through them and remembering. It wasn’t a bad relationship or anything. We met in college. Had a few classes together, had a few mutual friends. I was dating my “high school sweetheart,” although that makes it sound charming and romantic, when really, it was pretty trashy and kind of violent. When that guy dumped me on the first day of summer break, M found me crying in the computer lab. He took me out for cheesecake, and hung around with me almost nonstop the whole week.
A couple of weeks later, we went to see Bill Clinton, who was campaigning for reelection (fuck I’m getting old) and ended up spending the whole night talking. We moved in together way too soon after that. M was quiet and nerdy and safe. It took me until I was seventeen to start dating, and even then had only actually dated one guy. The thought of being single was intolerable. And we both liked Star Wars and Mystery Science Theater 3000, which gave us plenty to talk about. And we made each other laugh.
I was pretty happy a lot of the time with M. He wasn’t bad to me. He was affectionate but distant, even at the beginning. Friendly and funny, creative, but never passionate. I was pretty volatile at that age, and pretty pompous and domineering, so it’s hard to know how much of M’s personality was overshadowed, and how much was just him. I think I bulldozed the relationship ahead and M just went along for the ride. He was pretty passive and didn’t like confrontations; maybe it was easier for him to have someone else running the show.
The thing that kept us together was the TV station. We were the only people who applied when they added a News Director and an Entertainment Director to the station. I’m slowly getting the stuff we made online; it’s hard to find the time to convert old VHS episodes. We worked night and day on that stuff, filming, editing, writing like mad when normal college students were going to parties. We were the total A/V geek couple. We had a good run for a few years.
We were both pretty immature. I wanted to be a grown-up and get married and make babies and do all the things I’m actually doing now, but I lacked the maturity to actually make it happen. M had been in college for seven years and eventually had enough credits to get a Bachelor’s degree in “undeclared.” I went directly to college after high school and graduated in exactly four years. We were both also incredibly sheltered. Neither of us had ever had more than a sip of alcohol. I would occasionally sneak a cigarette like I was fifteen. We were hopelessly, painfully, annoyingly square.
Once we were in the “next step” I think we had absolutely nothing the fuck in common anymore. I am sure he was just as unhappy as I was; we just drifted farther and farther apart. There wasn’t any spark between us and we didn’t really share that many interests once the TV station was gone. The separation and silence became so pronounced that we sometimes went a day or two without saying more than a few words to each other. We were both bored, and both escaping into fantasy worlds; him into video games and RPGs, me into the internet and Fandom. Every day, we’d go to work, come home and go to separate rooms like irritable teenage siblings. I’m honestly surprised one of us didn’t end up going Emo.
Anyway, I’ve already written about the reasons for our divorce here, so there’s no reason to go there. I can’t say it was amicable, because by the time we divorced we pretty much hated each other. But I can’t say it was bitter, either, because we never actually fought over anything. There wasn’t much emotion left by the time we called it quits. I don’t honestly know how he felt. I haven’t seen or heard from him since, and the ending so abrupt that I can’t really speak for him.
I don’t wish him ill. I hope he’s happy and that he loosened up a little. I hope he grew up. I know it took me until I was thirty before I actually grew up, so I’m plenty sympathetic. I’d apologize for turning into a crazy person towards the end, there; I’m not proud of my behavior at that time in my life. I hurt a lot of people, and I have no doubt that I hurt him. I’m sorry for that. I said hurtful things about him, though not most of the things I was later accused of saying.
It all seems so obvious now, but when you’re young and stupid and you think you’re in love (whether you’re swept up in a romance or plowing ahead with your system), blindingly stupid things seem perfectly rational. I thought then that I was all I was ever going to be. Now, a decade later, I know I have barely started. I thought that the three-bedroom house and the pretty wedding meant we had arrived at adulthood. The big error was in thinking adulthood was a destination