asked told to be home at 10am. 11, 12 and 1 rolled by and no Mort. I called the hotel they said that he had checked out by 10am. He was also not answering his cell phone. In he staggered somewhere around the 2 o’clock mark.
I dragged him into another room so as not to play out the scene in front of the girls. It was pretty short and (not at all) sweet. He claimed to have spent the morning at the park just randomly watching the ducks and no of course he hadn’t been drinking. WTF….the rage thumped inside me and came out as delirious laughter. Once I got it out, my face turned to stone and I said, “I am filing for divorce”. He started in with the “but what have I done wrong, I don’t understand” I screamed with a whisper “are you fucking stupid, let me slow it down for you”. I spoke really, really slowly…”I…will…not…be married…to an…alcohlic….I….want ….a …DIVORCE”. It took a second for his brain to process and then he said “did you just call me stupid.” In all that, that’s what he objected to. I left the room.
I went to join the girls on the sofa with a book when he came barreling into the room saying “you want a divorce, you want to divorce me?” He then crumpled to the floor and buried his head in his hands. Prick, he was playing it for the girls. “What are you doing to us, what are you doing to them?” he slurred, with a theatrical sweep gesturing to the girls.
It all came unhinged.
Clare went to school with some friends whose parents had divorced. Years earlier she had made us promise that we would always be together and never divorce….of course we wouldn’t divorce, we had a great marriage, couldn’t see any reason that we would….but that was when I was married to someone that I knew. I didn’t know this drunkard on the floor playing mental manipulation games with my girls.
Clare lost it and burst into a body shaking torrent of tears. She looked at me with pain, sadness, despair and worst of all, the look of one who has been betrayed. “How could you, how could you, you promised me.” And here was the real stinger…..as I tried to hold her, she pushed me away with the last of her fight, as the tears died and the hiccup style sobs began,”you have broken my heart, broken my heart, YOU have broken my heart.”
Maddie was curled up in my lap now also a ball of sweat and tears, besides her own she was being rained on by mine.
This family tableaux is a moment that I will always remember, though I would love to forget …both visually and viscerally.