“Well what the fuck do you want me to say? For fuck’s sake, Jennifer, you’re getting a divorce. The world’s not coming to an end. I don’t see why you ever got married in the first place. But if you had to do it, you also had to know this was a possibility. What’s the statistic now – 45%, 50%? You’re a bright girl, didn’t you realise that? I thought you were a feminist anyway. . .”.
That was Honey. Honey Belle Evans. My best friend. My mentor. My strength. My hero. I loved her to bits. I mean to absolute bits. But, well, sometimes I wouldn’t have minded if she had maybe softened her words just a little.
“Honey. Honey, I know. I know all that. I do. But can’t I feel a little bit sad, too? I mean my marriage is ending. I know you don’t ‘believe in’ marriage.”
“Don’t be stupid, Jennifer. Of course I believe in marriage. I can’t not believe in it. It exists. God, I hate it when people say you don’t believe in something that definitely and indisputably exists. Of course I believe in marriage. I just don’t agree with it. I just believe it’s an unnecessary social construct that is not good for women and that has been transformed from an admittedly hideously sexist institution that nonetheless served a cultural purpose into a hideously sexist institution that serves a purpose for big business and profiteers. And divorce lawyers.”
Honey also had some strong views on . . . well on just about everything.
“Okay, Honey. Okay. I know all that. I even sort of agree with you. But, still, can’t I be sad?”
“Of course you can be sad, Jennifer. It would be weird if you weren’t. But be sad. Don’t be some sort of stereotypical jilted wife. Don’t let those brainless automatons you work with get in your ear about how you’ve been mistreated and how you need to do this or have to do that to get him back. That’s bullshit. It’s bullshit and you know it.”
I did. I did know it. She was right. We were sitting in a coffee shop downtown. One of those trendy funky hippy-dippy ones where the staff all were pierced to the hilt and unbearably beautiful and achingly earnest. I never really liked these places, and I didn’t understand why we couldn’t just go to Starbucks like everyone else, but Honey hated big business and brands and anything that had even a hint of mainstream about it. And more that almost anything in the world, I wanted to please Honey. Truth be told, I wanted to be Honey. Had wanted that since the day we met at college.
She always had been the only person I trusted to tell me the complete truth. And now that’s what she was doing. Even if I didn’t particularly want to hear it.
“Jennifer. Are you listening to me, Jenn?”
“Yes, Honey, I’m listening.”
“What I’m trying to say, Jenn, is that you knew this was coming. You’ve known for a long time. Hell, Jennifer, you told me months ago that you weren’t sure this was working the way you wanted it to. You told me you didn’t want to turn 40 and have 2 point whatever kids and a dog and a Volvo and realise that was it. That you were only halfway through your life and that was it. Didn’t you say that?”
It was true. I had said that.
“And didn’t you also tell me that if that junior in the office, what was his name, Bryan with a ‘y’? Ryan? What was it?”
Sometimes Honey also got distracted. . . .
“Dave? Why did I think it was Bryan with a ‘y’? Huh. That’s odd. Anyway. Dave. Didn’t you tell me that if Dave the junior or Dave the intern or whatever it was Dave did that if Dave so much as gave you the signal you’d do him in the stationery cupboard?”
“Honey. Honey, I don’t think that’s the point.”
“No, Jennifer. That is the point. Because don’t tell me you weren’t serious. Don’t tell me it was just a joke. You meant it. You skipped the Christmas party because you were afraid you two would wind up sucking face after a few too much of the open bar. Jennifer, it is the point. You weren’t happy and you were looking at other people in a way you hadn’t for quite some time. You were thinking about how you might enjoy life in a slightly different way if it weren’t for that annoying little certificate called marriage. Now you’re changing your tune a bit because somebody else said it out loud first. That somebody being your husband.”
“Oh, Honey. I know, but what will I do?”
“Oh for fuck’s sake, Jennifer, you’re not Scarlet O’Hara, you’ll do exactly what you’ve always done. You’ll take care of yourself. Jesus Christ, Jennifer, what have those nitwits done to you. . . .”