“I would never want to be married a third time.” I’ve heard these words before and I think I finally get it. I’ve only been married twice and the weirdness involved would probably be far worse the third time around.
“I wish I’d only married you,” I said to Vicky as we left the Orange County Mining Company last night, and I meant that on several levels. Yes, it was our anniversary last night. Year Two.
I’d had a bad night the night before – insomnia, general nuttiness, the usual – so I wasn’t feeling my best. On top of that, the flowers I’d had delivered to Vicky came late and… well, they were the wrong flowers! Ugh! When Vicky asked me what I wanted to do for dinner, “Do you want to go out or would you like me to cook,” eventually I just said, “You and I are going out. No questions!”
We decided to hit Trattoria Barolo, our favorite, little Italian place. The food is great. The service is nice.
… and they were closed.
“Hey,” a guy called over to us as we tried to walk in, “we’re closed.” Whoops.
But how were we to know they’d be closed on Monday? Seriously?
So, where would we go? I told Vicky we could eat anywhere, as long as I was with her. That’s fine on a greeting card but it got us no closer to dinner. We eventually opted on the Mining Company, which was out in a part of Orange County we normally don’t hit because it’s near where Rosa used to live. I’d always stayed away to limit the chance of running into her. But she’s long gone now – so we went.
Did I say she was long gone? Not actually. She was all over the place and we overlooked the neighborhood she and I once lived in. Don’t get the wrong idea. It didn’t make me miss her; it was just weird. Like eating at a cemetery. Sure, the setting is quiet and green but you’re in a fucking cemetery. In my mind’s eye, I couldn’t help seeing images of the times she and I had been eating at one of those tables, or taking our evening walks on the streets below. It was like our ghosts were all around me.
And that’s what they were, too. Ghosts. Because when you remarry – or when I did, at least – it was like my old life had ended, as if those 15 years didn’t belong to me. As if those people who were once Ken & Rosa were now specters haunting the places where they had been.
I told Vicky that I wish I’d only married her because, then, there’d be just one Ken. I wouldn’t have been cut in half by a divorce. But, also, I wish I’d shared those younger years with her instead of someone who didn’t appreciate me. I wish I had those memories, instead of those spooks.
As we left, I was glad to return to the neighborhood where I share my life with Vicky. But, she said, “So, do you want to see your old house?”
I can’t begin to tell you what that meant to me. In fact, my head did such a spin I’m sure I wiped out several thousand brain cells. “Sure,” I said, because that wasn’t just the house I shared with Rosa. It was my house. I had bought it. I had worked on it. All Rosa did was steal it away from me. I don’t know if Vicky realized this or if she was just making a grand gesture but she turned down Esplanade as if she wasn’t kidding and, before I knew it, there we were.
Not a lot had changed. It still looked a bit dumpy – but that was okay. I liked it that way. I’d bought it that way. It was now probably WAY out of my price range but it was nice to know I’d once owned it. And it was nice to be there with Vicky. That made it a bit less weird.
Love ya, Vic.