Last night I went and picked up some bookshelves from a guy on Nextdoor.
“Your profile says you used to live around here,” he said.
“I did,” I said, “when I was married.”
Divorce is awkward and people don’t know what to say about it so usually they just say, “I’m sorry” which is a real throwaway; it doesn’t mean anything. And I don’t want people to feel bad for me. I am not a pitying case.
But not this guy, this stranger.
He didn’t give me those pitying eyes, didn’t apologize for something that had nothing to do with him.
Instead, he said, “well hey, sometimes things don’t work out.”
And I thought, isn’t that the long and short of it?
Just because two people worked once doesn’t mean they always will. People change and sometimes that’s away from each other. And that is OK. The world does not end. We find new ways to live.
He drew close to me then, like it was in confidence, and told me the woman in the garage is his second wife and it took him fifteen years of living together before he was ready to be married again.
I paid him for the bookshelves and we shook hands, told each other to take care.
Then I drove back to my apartment, hauled the shelves up the stairs by myself, organized the boys’ books in nice little stacks and sections. Then I stood back, looked at all I’d done, and smiled.