I never wanted to be a wife, now I’m going to be an ex-wife
… and the latest villain in his story
“Just listen to this album.” He plugged in his 1st Generation iPod and played Beck’s Sea Change. “It’s the most heartbreaking record.” And he was right. The soft vocals pulled at my heart strings. We were in a parking lot with nowhere else to go for the night. That’s when he mentioned her name, told me their story, and showed me an engagement ring he kept in his wallet that he never gave to her. I wanted to be anywhere but there. He was neither the first nor last man with a broken heart that I was determined to woo with my slutty charm. Each time he repeated her name, I memorized it so I could look her up once I got home. She was beautiful and witty. I could never live up.
Fast forward a few years, I’m having a similar conversation with a different man. He tells me about his nameless ex-wife and how regretful he is for loving her so much. Their relationship haunted me and pushed me to compete with an anonymous figure for years to come. I stumbled across her name on his dog’s veterinary records and looked her up immediately. She was unappealing. They had a drive-thru Vegas wedding, I had a $35k wedding by the ocean. She worked at Hooters, I’m a feminist. They were monogamous, I wanted to give him all the freedom to fuck/date whomever he wanted. I wanted him to love me more than he ever loved her.
I didn’t know I’d end up competing for his hate more than his love. And now I wonder if he hates me more than he ever hated her. I don’t know how he will tell our story. If he’ll play a song and tell a tale of a sad heartbreak or drink and curse my name in deep regret. I don’t know if the next girl will look me up to find something about me to adore or loathe. I’ve been listening to Sea Change on repeat tonight, hoping for the former.
This week, we actually file the paperwork. Then we wait. After years of competing with and comparing myself to his ex, I’m going to end up in the same club wondering if I’m really just as despicable as someone who shops at Wet Seal.