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Long live all maidens

easy and beautiful !

Long live mature women also,

Tender and loveable and full of good labor. 

Gaudeamus Igitur

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Monday
Apr052010

Cosmic Jokes

Hello Adria,

So sorry to hear about the (not your) arthritis and I’m sure if anyone can find a way to live with it or beat it or disown it. I’m looking out my window and I actually see the buds on the trees and the tulips are up at least 6 inches. So hope springs eternal ... I read a line from Tolstoy last evening in The World’s Greatest Diaries - Hope is bad for a happy man, and good for an unhappy man. What exactly does that mean?  

Easter was my absolute favourite time of year when I was young. I basked in all the rituals. Good Friday being a solemn occasion, we were not even allowed to listen to the radio, and we were all in Church at 3 pm for the Veneration of the Cross. Then on Easter Sunday morning the family walked to Church, all of us in new clothes from head to toe. I loved the sound of sand crunching under my shoes. At that time, Montreal sprayed sand on the winter ice, so when the snow and ice melted, sand was left everywhere. And the scent of wet mud! What happened to that spring smell? When J was small, I kept up the traditions and felt the mysticism of the season. I still do get Easter lilies and tulips and set up a display outside of daffodils and pussy willows, in years when it’s warm like this one, but I seem more preoccupied with fighting off the squirrels. Is this a new ritual?

I’m sorry Adria, but I doubt that this email will bolster your spirits. In fact, what follows will dampen your spirits even more. However, it is a tale that has to be told, as it is so apropos the discussions we have been having on marriage and monogamy. And I heard the story only last week and the shock of it has remained with me all weekend.

There is a teacher at school that I have known for many years. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned her to you. She is retiring this year also and we have become even closer, discussing many of the things that you and I discuss. Two years ago, she was separated from her husband a few weeks following a huge 30th wedding anniversary party held for them at The Four Seasons. Everyone who knew them was shocked! Her ex is a small, non-descript looking man with a big ego and a BIG job, a type A personality, friendly yet distant. He travels all the time, at least one week out of four, but she told me many times that she was willing to accept this because they had an expensive lifestyle: a huge house, a cottage, private schools for three children and exotic trips.

 Anyhow, last week I was telling her about my planned trip to Buffalo with D, for a little shopping and Buffalo wings. I also mentioned that I hoped the line-ups at the border wouldn’t be too long and how nervous I always get at the border. From one minute to the next  her expression changed and she seemed tense, uneasy really. She asked if I had time to go for a coffee after school. So we did, and she told me the exact reason for their separation.

For their 30th anniversary, she had wanted to go New York City for a long weekend.  Her husband had been reticent about going and suggested the Bahamas instead, but she just couldn’t take that much time off school. So he finally agreed to drive to NYC.  On the day of, the radio reports were that the line-ups getting into the US were long and her husband kept saying that maybe they should turn back and it would take a while at the border and they would be checked. She thought the last comment was odd, but let it go. As they approached the border, her husband pulled out a paper from his pocket. When she asked him what it was, he said: Nothing. Don’t worry about it. She said she was worried, but by then they were at the booth and the immigration officer had their passports. The officer seemed to be moving rather slowly, with lots of keying in information on his computer while questioning her husband. He then asked for the car keys to check the trunk, as he was doing that two other officers appeared, one on each side of her husband and told her to park the car and then come inside. They waited in a room filled with Indian, Chinese and other foreign families. She questioned her husband again, but he said to wait and he’d tell her later. Finally her husband was called. When he reappeared a few minutes later, he made light of the fact that he had to be questioned.

Finally, she blurted out: “Were you caught with a hooker or something?” He replied just as quickly: “What?  Are you a mind reader? Let’s go for coffee.” She refused. So he told her he had been arrested the previous summer while in San Fran. for ‘lewd behaviour’.  After lots of prying and angry exchanges, he told her that he had been caught in a public place having sex. Because of the offence, it seems he’ll have to report every time he crosses the border. She said that at that point, she started laughing and told him that she had underestimated his need for adventure.

I almost dropped my coffee at that point. “WHAT? Are you serious?” I asked her.  She nodded meaning she was serious.  “I wish I could say he was with a prostitute.  Well maybe he was. But it was a guy.”
 
She also said that she never felt devastated, as they did both lead quite separate lives. It was more a feeling of being made a fool of or being part of some cosmic joke that would change their lives forever.
 
They never made it to NYC and a few days later, she told her husband that she did not want to continue the farce: 30 years of living a seemingly normal life - the births, the deaths, the love making. She would not celebrate another anniversary with him.

Well Adria, that’s my Easter story. I know she’s moving out west after June, so you’ll never meet her. Her story is just one of many I guess. It’s all so ludicrous and incomprehensible: like flies to wanton boys are we to the gods.

So, what do we do about Eddy and Francis?   

Sarah

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