Reunion Weekend!

My college reunion is coming up this weekend. It gives me the opportunity to indulge in a LOT of great memories, like rowing crew and presenting a paper at Harvard like an academic rock star. It also gives me the opportunity to dissect exactly where my marriage came irreparably apart. We didn’t split up for a little more than a year after my graduation, the blood blister that was the end of my marriage fully formed during my time at Wellesley.
I admit…it’s hard to complain—if complaining is what this is—about a husband who tried to control you while talking about attending one of the top colleges in the country. But my attendance at college was not contingent upon his supportive nature. Thankfully. If that were the case, I would have had to plan for a college career that consisted of community college and unrealized dreams. To be fair, we were falling apart long before I ever got to Wellesley, even if neither of us wanted to admit it at the time. And this isn’t a chronicle of the demise of my marriage so much as a consideration and reporting of memories that are a mixture of both intense highs of personal growth and emotionally bankrupt lows.
Yay, I was going to college…but he wouldn’t move from New Jersey to Massachusetts with me. Even though he worked in the computer field, so his skills were pretty easily transportable. Yay, I was in a rigorous academic program that rocked my soul and required a lot of intense studying almost every night…so I had to stay on the phone for two hours every night to assuage a certain ego. I remember breaking down in my advisor’s office, telling him my Russian homework was the only thing that kept me sane. To which he replied, “…uh…I can give you extra-credit work, if you’d like..?” Funny, but no. Yay, I was surrounded by intelligent, interesting, amazing women and had great study buddies…but he would still track me down in friends’ dorm rooms. And so on, and so on. Perhaps my favorite juxtaposition of happiness and WTFness is from the day of the crew race. In my senior year, I joined the Davis Scholar dorm crew team (and realized I should have joined it two years earlier, because crew rules). Much like any dorm crew, we were up every morning before classes for practice, and for months we worked our butts off. Long story short—we won! I called my ex- to tell him the good news and he said, “Well, looks like another thing went in your favor.”
*mental flatline*
“Traditionally,” I said, “this is the part of the conversation where you say, “Congratulations.” But I don’t want you to work up a sweat or anything. Just, you know…when you’re ready.”
He said, “It’s just…you know…everything’s working out really well for you right now. I mean, you presented those papers at conferences, your classes are going really well, and now you won this…”. While he let that statement dangle I said, “Again, these are all things that, traditionally, inspire the response “Congratulations.” I can’t believe you’re mad at me because things are going well.”
And that, in a nutshell, is the fucked-up dynamic that defined my marriage.
As I said, this isn’t intended to be a screed about how bad our relationship was in its final years (sorry, Homies, but I really didn’t realize it at the time) but rather, a look at a complicated set of memories. In intellect and self-confidence, I was growing like a weed, and those memories nourish me. But my marriage was like the lone potato at a blight convention, and it’s hard to separate and reconcile the accompanying conflicting emotions.
Ah, fuck it. Enough already. I’m just gonna go, have a great time, see some old friends and dig the Massachusetts springtime. And here’s the thing: I can choose to let a memory affect me…or not. Time to sort the bad hoodoo into the dust bin.

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One response to Reunion Weekend!

  1. Amy

    SOLD! I’m getting the Tara series, and I loved this whole post. Lone potato at a blight convention being my favorite image of the day. And I’ll say it, “CONGRATULATIONS!”, you rock!

    Like

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