Monday, 25 June 2012

Living large in twenty dollar shoes



It occurred to me this morning that if my first marriage hadn't crumbled under the weight of infidelity, we would be celebrating our 32nd wedding anniversary in July. If my second husband would have stuck around, instead of decamping for another woman's vagina, we would be celebrating our 26th anniversary.

Interestingly enough, Mr. Small and his lovely bride -- the one flapping her arms on the sidelines waiting for us to fail -- will be married 30 years and Mr. Big and the White Witch of Bermuda will be married 20 years.

So I have to ask the question: was is me?

And another: what would my life have looked like if either husband had not preferred life with another to life with me?

Let's see. If I'd stayed with Mr. Small, I would have travelled the world. He was a foreign correspondent and early Internet adapter who lived in Washington, New York, Moscow and London.

If Mr. Big hadn't taken up with the White Witch, I would have been very rich indeed with a big house in the suburbs of Montreal and an even bigger estate in the Laurentians. I might have dined with Prince Charles and Camilla; I might even have been invited to the Royal wedding. That would have been cool. The kids would have been private-schooled and we would have a three car garage and five cars -- at least. We would own a very large boat.

Both lives look pretty good on paper, but what would they look like in reality?

I might have liked the first life because Mr. Small gave me free reign to be myself and I might actually have stayed on the journalism track instead of struggling in the consulting trade. The new Mrs. Small did very well for herself in that regard becoming a high flying media exec as she tagged on Small's exceptionally gifted, but horizontally challenged coattails.

But Mr. Small was a giant talent and a ruthless climber with sharp elbows. I always felt lesser in his midst. I might have slipped off his wings as he soared into the sun.

I'm not sure about the second life, either.

Even though I really loved Mr. Big, the second life would have bored me silly. In the seven short years we were together, I spent many nights alone while he mastered the universe and I sat talking to nannies. Being rich was great but having to spend time with rich and entitled people is a crashing bore. You always have to watch what you say, and I was never good at that. Pomposity gets to me.

After years of introspection, I am convinced that I am on the right path, scary and rocky as it is.

I've traded the big house and fancy cars in the 'burbs for a rental and an old Subaru. My current husband -- once a high flyer himself -- is selling Kias and my work can only be described as itinerant.

I've spent many an evening in a bitter snit about having no money or security, but I must admit to being happier than I was with either of those men. It's pretty hard to grow when you're living in somebody else's shadow and I always felt that I was living someone else's life.

There would be no Rose's Cantina, that's for sure.

While I was relatively happy with both men before the whores replaced the madonna, I have to say that I didn't feel authentic.

I was competing with the first one and trying to live up to the expectations of the second one.

I had no voice.

As I sit here drinking my Chai tea, I'm feeling grateful for the small stuff, for the view of the school kids outside my window, for the sound of a snoring pug at my feet. For my kids who were not private schooled, and for my little granddaughter who won't grow up wearing princess togs.

The real world is hard. It beats you down sometimes. But every little victory means something.

At least it means something to me.

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