Tracy’s Story, Part Three
I have asked myself a time or two if I would have ditched CJ so fast if I’d really loved him. This is a back-asswards way to figure out if you love somebody, but I think love had too little to do with my marriage. CJ was a man who could have chosen anybody, but he chose me. Of course now I realize this was not exactly true. There were probably lots of women who saw beyond the flash and dazzle of CJ’s life to the cell being swept and readied for him. Wiser than me, they declined his attentions. These were more mature women. These were not young women playing at a career while Barney and Denise DeLoche guided them down the path to unimaginable riches and prestige.
Have I mentioned that my parents also succumbed to CJ’s charms and after the wedding, they transferred the bulk of their investments to CJ’s expert ministrations? Or that Barney will now have to continue straightening teeth and perfecting bites well into a future he planned to spend on the golf course, while Denise was forced to sell the family home in Bel-Air with its view of Catalina Island and move to a bungalow in Del Rey? Or that these days, despite their divorce, my parents are united in the belief that I somehow caused their downfalls?
So presently I am persona non grata in Southern California. Barney and Denise are hoping that if I stay away long enough, memories will grow fuzzier and people will move on to the next scandal. There is never a lack of possibilities in greater LA.
Months have passed since the divorce decree, and I haven’t given much thought to what I learned from my aborted marriage. I’m not a navel gazer, unless I’m debating whether to have it pierced. I’ve always thought that if I have to spend time ferreting out the meaning of the things, then the lesson was pretty much lost. I’ve always been a fan of simple in clothing, jewelry, manicures and philosophy. So here’s what strikes me about my past.
I was raised to value appearances over substance, but I was not sufficiently warned that appearances could be deceiving.
Loving the way someone made me feel about myself was not the same as loving them.
Loyalty isn’t earned by gifts or social standing, but perhaps I don’t have what it takes to be loyal under any circumstances, anyway. I’ve ditched my husband and I’m not suffering a lot of guilt.
I was shortchanged in the parents department.
Being booted out of my former life leaves a sinkhole in my present, but if I don’t stand too close to the edge, I don’t think I’ll fall in. I got through the divorce without much support. Except for a stalwart few, my friends seemed to fear contamination, or just as bad, being pulled under by my neediness. And even those who were genuinely sorry expected me to get through this the way I’ve gotten through everything. By paying other people to take charge. So I was left alone to fumble my way through it, nearly alone. And in the fumbling I learned one last thing.
In the midst of the million useless details I was taught in my childhood, there were a few valuable lessons. There must have been, because in the end, I managed to get through the worst parts of the divorce and the dismantling of everything CJ and I had built, all by myself. I survived. The fact that I could was a revelation.