Last week I discovered that D.’s ex-wife has been blogging her memories. D., quite respectfully, has said that they divorced a long time ago and he is not interested in reading it. I, however, cannot help myself. It’s like watching an autopsy in which the pathologist is mutilating the corpse, and I simply cannot look away. I can list a hundred excuses why I’m reading the perspective of this woman I’ve never really met (it’s even related to my field of research!), but it feels more like a sickness in me than anything else.
What’s fascinating me most, though, is her willingness or desire to rehash the past. She goes at it with a hoarder’s eye for detail, recounting textures and senses, shadow and light, with precision that doesn’t seem possible for memories that are as many as 40 years old. She has overtly taken a stab at scientific observation and objectivity, trying not to speculate on stories that are not her own, but the complex images she draws only lead me to believe that these are well-rehearsed memories. I don’t believe scenes from our childhood or even five years ago can remain vivid if they are not continually conjured. This leads me to an even more sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach as she has just begun to blog about meeting, dating, and living with D. Her project, which is reading as a journey into finding and heeding an inner voice, is setting up their entire relationship as a big misstep. I cannot read it without thinking about my own first marriage which I would certainly recount as something I should not have done but that taught me a number of important lessons. But would I take the time to go down the paths of memory and recount excessive details of meeting him and so on? The very thought makes me shudder with nausea. It just simply isn’t a consideration – I have a beautiful life right now, even when it’s difficult. D. turned out to be the love of my life. We have a beautiful daughter, successful careers, and a love between us that I had given up believing in when I was still a teenager. One person’s trash, another’s treasure? From your hoard to mine?
It’s excruciating to watch someone else dissect the person you love so deeply and to have no control over how they put those words out into the world. I’m only thankful that he turned out not to be the perfect person for her, because he really is the perfect man for me.