Wednesday, December 3, 2014

got gas?

My ex-husband loved himself a good fire in the fireplace -- the kind that crackles, warms the cockles, and makes the house smell all log-cabiney... the kind that’s a pain in the ass to build and maintain. He always did the dirty work and I appreciated the fruits of his labor. At the same time, I also wanted to be able to walk through the door, flip a switch, and (poof!) have a roaring fire at my fingertips. Gas logs were out of the question… until he moved out. One call to my handyman and I was in business.

It was a home improvement laden with symbolism. Getting gas logs meant I was calling the shots, I was in control and could do with my house what I wanted. It meant that I no longer had to compromise, and that while I was losing many things, I was also gaining a different kind of independence.

On a cool fall night, I poured myself a glass of Cabernet, lit my fake fire, and got out a legal pad of paper. At the top I wrote, “What I Hate About You,” and proceeded to write down all those things that bugged... the stuff I put up with and wouldn’t miss, things like:

  • What your lower lip looks like when it’s stuffed with chewing tobacco
  • How you insisted on buzz cuts when I loved your hair long
  • The Reyn Spooner Hawaiian shirts that you still wear even though 1988 is OVER!
  • How you’re still involved with your fraternity, thought you graduated decades ago 
  • That you sleep naked!  Hello?  What if there's an earthquake?
  • That you own and proudly wear a Speedo… in PUBLIC!
I ripped each item off in strips, rolled it in a ball, thought about how much it annoyed the hell out of me, then tossed it in the fire and watched it burn. That lacked a little of the drama I was going for since I was dealing with a gas fire, but nonetheless, it eventually burned. And with it, a piece of my pent up anger went, as well.

Each time I turn the key to light my fireplace, I feel empowered. “My Way” plays in my head because that’s how I can do things now. Regrets? I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention… but mention them I will, because split happens.


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