Two weeks ago, I broke the heart of the person I love the most.

I’m a hopeful optimist, which also makes me an often under-estimator. I do try to plan for the worst and hope for the best but when you have no prior experience in something it’s impossible to really know where the low end of something is. Thus, when the task of informing my seven year old daughter that her mother and I are getting divorced and daddy’s going to not live at home anymore presented itself I knew it would be hard. Being what I am, I had no idea how hard it would be.

Our wedding was a simple event. A few close friends and some family. It was in the TINY basement wine cellar & event room of the restaurant & bar where we had our first date. A professional comedian friend of ours from my time spent moonlighting as an open mic comic officiated the ceremony. There wasn’t much pomp & circumstance planned and that worked well for me as I turn into a crying man-child at very strong emotional events. Being more man than child I don’t like others to see this emotional vulnerability. The one item that scared me was somewhat early in the ceremony. ‘Our song’ was to be played and I was CERTAIN, I would lose it.

Our song was a not so well known single by the reasonably well known and now outcast all female country trio The Dixie Chicks called “Easy Silence”. The Dixie Chicks are a real anomaly in country music. An all female progressive thinking country trio that were among the first folks in all of pop-culture to call the 2nd Bush’s war in Iraq on the bullshit that it was. Years later it’s universally accepted by folks of all political stripes that particular war was a mistake but at the time and as a result of their outspokenness against the war it cost these women their super-stardom. Their ‘base’ of fans burned their albums en masse at the time and over time, as they were proven to be prophetic, no one came back to apologize and forgive them. Some people never like to admit they’re wrong I guess.

Easy Silence is a beautiful, haunting song that I can no longer bring myself to listen to, but I invite you to give it a try if you’ve never heard it before by clicking here. (full disclosure, I did in fact just listen to it). It’s about the aftermath of their political statement. I found a dual meaning in the way it seemed to describe turbulent early years of my wife and I’s relationship and how when whatever mini-crisis was scuttled, there was an eventual familiar comfort I found in sitting in silence with this woman. There’s a scene in this movie where Kyra Sedgwick’s character describes it perfectly.

When the calls and conversations
Accidents and accusations
Messages and misperceptions
Paralyze my mind

Buses, cars, and airplanes leaving
Burning fumes of gasoline
And everyone is running
And I come to find a refuge in the

Easy silence that you make for me
It’s okay when there’s nothing more to say to me
And the peaceful quiet you create for me
And the way you keep the world at bay for me

So she’s coming down the aisle, or we’re getting ready to exchange vows that neither of us took the time to think of or write (we didn’t actually think of vows until the stand-up comedian brought it up at the dais) regardless, the cue is made and Easy Silence comes on… the big moment that I’d been dreading where in front of 35 or so of our closest people I’m going to start bawling uncontrollably. But a crazy thing happened on the way to our wedding. Somewhere among the immediate family and the friends that we’d had for decades a couple sets of folks that really were more or less, um, not as close or important as everyone else there that were invited. I’m sure it happens at weddings great and small. These people were to be the saving grace that would intervene on behalf of my more austere sensibilities. As the song starts to hit the emotional crescendo and we are standing there, out of the corner of my eye I see… is that what I think it is? “WHY DO THESE MOTHERFUCKERS HAVE THEIR CELL PHONES OUT FLASH PHOTOGRAPHING US FROM 6 FEET AWAY DURING THE MOST EMOTIONAL MOMENT OF MY LIFE TO THIS POINT?!? HOLY SHIT HOW IGNORANT IS THAT? WE HAVE A PAID PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER HERE. WHAT IN THE FUCK ARE YOU POSSIBLY GOING TO DO WITH A CELL PHONE PIC TAKEN DURING OUR WEDDING CEREMONY WHILE WE ARE AT THE ‘altar’ FROM 6 FEET AWAY? And so the flash of white hot anger saved me. I wasn’t angry for longer than maybe 3 seconds as a feeling of incredulity set in immediately thereafter. There would be no crying. I was bewildered laughing on the inside at how simple people can be.

But we can be so unnecessarily complex too. In what other universe do beings have a child together that they love not only unconditionally, but supernaturally; only to then raise that child up to an age where she’s cogent enough to have a clue as to what’s going on and then WHAM-O.

“That happy secure little 2 parent foundation we’ve built for you? We’re getting rid of that. Mommy and daddy just can’t fucking get along. We tried. There’s lots of reasons why but there’s no need to get into that because it doesn’t have to be anybody’s fault. We just can’t agree on much anymore. All I’ve wanted to do since the moment I found out you were born is protect your innocence. I love you more than anything in the world and I know you can’t understand right now and will likely choose not to once you can but this is what we have to do.”

How perverse are we to create something beautiful and loved and loving as an innocent child and then one day, intentionally and matter of factually break this little girl’s heart. This isn’t the death of a pet or a grand-parent that we have to break the news about… “Mommy and daddy just can’t get along, so daddy is going to go live away by himself.”

Children lose their youth too soon 
Watching war made us immune
And I’ve got all the world to lose
But I just want to hold on to the

The easy silence that you make for me
It’s okay when there’s nothing more to say to me
And the peaceful quiet you create for me
And the way you keep the world at bay for me

Two weeks ago, I broke the heart of the person that I love the most. I really could have used some yokels with cell phone cameras at that moment.

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