My ex-husband Curt was here over the holidays. He lives in Florida with his girlfriend Kimona, who has family here, and they visit NYC about twice a year. Interestingly, Kimona and I worked together years prior when Curt and I were married. They got together many years later in Florida, and there is no weirdness between the two of us. I always liked her and by the time they became a couple a decade had passed since the marriage had ended. They are both crazy in a way that suits each other and I believe they are happy together. Much happier than he and I could have ever been.
Most of you know the history of my marriage either personally or from other blogs, but for those of you who don’t, here’s a brief synopsis: it was a million years ago (okay 15); we were very young; we both had record deals and it was the ’80’s so things were crazy with groupies, gigs, and travel. Curt was gorgeous and cheated on me constantly; I became psycho and started pounding the crap out of everyone he slept with. The final straw came when he and his entire band gang-banged Lydia Lunch in a hot tub in L.A. That was too much to bear and I moved all of his stuff out of our apt before he got back from the trip, only to end up giving him that apartment back and moving into the apartment directly underneath it and in direct earshot of all his womanizing good times.
The entire relationship was high, high drama, the kind that people only have the energy for when they are that young. There were violent fights and apartment smashings and clothes tearing and screaming into phones and suicidal moments and passionate embraces. I still loved him when I left but I knew it was impossible, we were hideous together and I had been trying to leave for years. I just couldn’t find the strength and I suffered mightily when it was finally over. My heartbreak was epic, I didn’t think I’d ever get over it. It took me seven years to let go completely. I know it was that long because I remember the actual moment when it dawned on me that I was free. It was a shining, angels singing moment.
But before that, directly after we split up he didn’t seem to be bothered in the least and his life became even more of a roaring party than it was when we were together. We had a couple of moments of connection, one where I freaked out hysterically and he sat on the roof holding me while I heaved and sobbed and another girl waited patiently in his apartment. It was weird and horrible and typical, yet another low point in my life. I wrote him a couple of letters apologizing for my part, but he never responded and it only served to make me feel more misused. In retrospect I’m glad he didn’t because it only would have pulled me back in. He chose a new girlfriend very quickly, a 20 year old blonde dipshit of a model who I have also written about, and we stopped speaking to each other altogether. It was a mutual thing. He purposely chose my polar opposite and all the hurt and anger we felt felt crystallized into a solid, icy hatred for each other. We practically hissed when we passed in the hallway. I smoked and listened to him fuck her and wished to die.
One night my friend Storm (who rocks btw– Storm and the Balls) and I got good and loaded on Jagermeister and she kicked his motorcycle over in front of the building. The thing never worked again. He was furious and I was elated. I fucking hated that bike. Then we went upstairs and spray-painted his door with all kinds of obscenities, which got him in major trouble with the landlord, who loved me and hated him for the simple reason that I paid my rent and he didn’t. It was all incredibly immature but the only satisfaction I could wrangle.
Curt became a bad junkie and had to leave town. My insane, control freaking codependency had kept him afloat, without it he was able to freely do all the drugs he wanted, and it took its toll pretty quickly. He dropped his girlfriend (now also a junkie) back into the dirtwater Southern town she came from, never to return to her again, and drove home to his mother’s in Minneapolis to pull himself together. He kept the apartment above me for a little while and sublet it to other random junkies. On one of his trips back to deal with the apartment he knocked on my door with divorce papers. We had both been so freaked out that neither one of us wanted to deal with it. The truth is that I had been so attached that I couldn’t consider it. But it was five years later and time. He was pleasant and not high; I signed the papers and with that we were on speaking terms again.
Now it is fifteen years later and we are friends. When he and Kimona come to town we usually get together for dinner or drinks. They visit the store and Kimona shops on my discount. Drew and I have had dinner with them. It’s absolutely pleasant and adult, or as adult as Curt can be, for those of you who know him.
A few days before Christmas I went out to dinner with the two of them and a couple of other old friends and it was a marvel to me how time can actually clean away all the blood and sorrow. He looks older than he did when we were together, I begrudgingly admit that time has taken its toll on both of us. But to me he is exactly the same, only now I love him without any attachment other than affection and friendship. I enjoy his girlfriend’s company and the way they interact together. It makes me glad to see that he has someone who cares about him. And without the attachment I am able to remember why we were connected in the first place. I get his stupid jokes in a way that many people don’t, and he understands who I am in a way that many people don’t. We were always connected on a deep level and now it feels as if we had a childhood together or were war buddies. The past is just something that happened to us and the pain of it has no real power anymore, except to make life richer for the experience.
At one point we started joking about destroying each other’s belongings (which happened a few times I am embarrassed to say) and he said, “Oh, but we’ve already apologized for all of that.”
I had waited for years for him to apologize, or at the very least acknowledge how much he hurt me. But he never did, and I had long since ceased expecting or even caring if it happen. I know his limitations and had assumed he just wasn’t capable of it, and I had already forgiven him long ago without the apology. But I protested and said, “No way, you have never apologized to me for anything.”
He looked totally shocked for a moment, and responded. “Well, I guess I owe you a Corvette then.” And he picked up the bottle of wine in front of us and poured it into my glass while smiling apologetically.
Okay, it wasn’t Shakespeare, but it was something I had wanted for a long time. Now it came in an Indian restaurant when I didn’t need it anymore. Which is always the way that kind of stuff works, and I can’t help thinking there’s some lesson in that alone. But it made me think about how clean I feel now. I feel blessed to have been through such a giant, horrible, depth-plumbing life lesson with this person and be able to joke about it, to feel a peaceful love for him, and to feel gratitude for some very crap moments in my life. It is further proof that we are really here in these bodies on a fact-finding mission, and that if we just wait, things always change. And as Woody said, if we wait long enough, they get funnier.
To me that’s an absolute miracle.