Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Farewell the child bride

Rachel filed for divorce Tuesday. The great state of Utah (where she lives now) is allowing us to waive a 90-day waiting period, which means all that is required is my signature. I'm not sure why we get to waive the waiting period; I would have thought that the traditionally conservative Beehive State would be keen on imposing that sort of thing. Perhaps Rachel told them I have socialist sympathies, so they've decided to rush it through. Tomorrow Gov. Gary Richard Herbert will himself show up at the front door: "Hey, remember that scene in Bourne Supremacy when homey uses a magazine to kick a dude's ass? I got a copy of the Ensign right here, yo, and I'm 'bout to fuck your shit up if you don't put your name on the dotted line."

Actually, I'm quietly hoping that the divorce papers will be served as in films and television: some creepy bloke in a cheap suit will more or less ambush me and shove the papers in my face.

"Mr. Cope?"
"Consider yourself served," he'll say, pressing the papers to my chest and then clicking shut his briefcase with snooty aplomb.

I am going to keep my video camera by the door in hopes of filming the moment. I may first make the solicitor chase me down the street a bit, me running in comedy Big Ten style, holding my hands to my ears and shouting: "La, la, la! I'm not listening! La, la, la!"

If my life were a Coen Brothers film, we would encounter crazy sword lady mid-chase and the whole episode would then lead to my getting entangled with a small-time criminal gang from Splott, who would bury the solicitor's body at Millennium Stadium. There, it would be dug up amid a critical scrum in next week's Wales vs. Scotland rugby match and Lee Byrne would again face a ban because there would be too many men on the field.

But in real life, I'll just sign the papers, put them in the post, and gone will be the dreams of that young man who stood more than a decade ago amid the painted rocks of Southern Utah and held the hand of his fiancée, bringing it to his lips, kissing the fingers, and said: "Isn't it amazing? There'll be a wedding ring on this finger soon. You're going be my wife; I'm going be your husband. I'm so happy."

Change is the only constant.

I am heartbroken over it. My brain doesn't work. I just sit and stare. If you want to see me cry, all you need do is give me the hug I so desperately need and I will fall apart.

It's not that this was unexpected; it's just that it's happening. It's kind of like crying at a funeral. If you show up at a funeral, there's no surprise. You know someone's dead -- that's why you're at a funeral. But the formality of it seems to intensify the grief.

Rachel left in September, and when she did I cried so hard I felt my lungs would burst. But over time I developed the brilliant technique of just sort of shrugging my shoulders and making that teenager "I dunno" sound when people would ask me what was going on. Rachel did not make that sound, and when I would hear from her I could tell that this was coming. Becoming a statistic, as J. Scott Wilson once phrased it, became inevitable. So, when Rachel told me Sunday that she would be filing, I wasn't surprised.

"Yeah, I know," I thought in my head, and quickly attempted to change the subject by telling her about rugby.

She steered things back to reality. There were long pauses. And I felt as if I were in a space capsule where the airlock had been opened and the ambitions of ten years were escaping, dissipating, into the great emptiness. Those dreams we dreamed, those plans we made, those things we said -- gone. And the loneliness of this house wrapped around me and squeezed. There are some kind souls in Cardiff, but in a practical sense there is no one here for me to lean on. My very best friends, my pillars, are thousands of miles away.

And I'm here. The fridge whines, the silence sings.

Rachel sent an e-mail Wednesday to let me know about certain details of the divorce -- what I need to do, by when, etc. But she also said this, which she agreed to let me post on my site:

"I don't regret the past 10 years. It seems like it would be easy to do... But I am the person I am today because of the past 10 years. And I like who I am. And I would not have become this person without you. Thank you for all you have given me. You have made me stronger and more tolerant and more well-rounded and well-travelled and more knowledgeable about many things. I'm thankful for the good times and for all the things you have given me and for the love we shared."

And I'd like to return that sentiment. I don't plan to write anything more about the divorce or Rachel because they are not things of entertainment. When I write about people they become sort of characters in the narrative of my world and I fear that Rachel's having left would somehow make her seem like the bad guy. She's not. So, that part of my life will go back to being hidden. But I would like to say this:

I have never met a person who is so completely wonderful as Rachel. If she has a fault it is only that she will give the whole of herself. She is beautiful, brilliant, caring, patient, funny, industrious, a hell of a cook and one of the most genuine souls I've ever known. And I can say honestly that I quite possibly would not even be alive if it weren't for her. I don't regret the past 10 years -- they were some of the best of my life.

Farewell, the child bride. I love you.


Huw said...

*fist bump / tentative hug*

Afe said...

Your story made me sad. Then I read the story about the woman who had her face ripped off by a chimpanzee, and things seem pretty good for you.

*awkward high five*

erin said...

I'm glad that things wrapped up neatly for you both. I've heard of some really horrendous divorces and while it's undoubtedly devastating what you are going through, I'm glad you are both still civil to each other and able to remember the good things.

At least now you are free for your Strictly Come Dancing Ladies. Probably too soon. Best wishes, Chris.

Donal said...

You are in our thoughts Chris.

Annie said...

Oh god Chris, what a sad post. I hope you're okay.

*virtual hug*

Crystal said...

Afe is funny.

I read your post last night and it was so sad and so sweet that I closed out my google reader and didn't read anything from anyone else.

Wish I could give you a hug!

But not because I am nice. I am selfish and just like pressing my boobs on people who think that I am just hugging them when really I am groping the hell out of them.

Chris Cope said...

Crystal - In light of that, I, too, wish you could give me a hug.

Rose said...

I would say 'I'm sorry' but I'm afraid it might come off as trite.
Just know that there are other out there that are feeling what you're feeling and going through what you're going through..... and then go mad and start gouging peoples' eyes out.
So, keep up the sanity on your end and I'll keep it up on mine and you're welcome to couch surf in humid/sticky south Mississippi. All of us broken, lonely hearts have to stick together.

heatherfeather said...

Crystal has my hug taken care of, apparently.

Kris Pierson said...

Wow. You are an amazing guy, Mr. Cope. It takes an incredible amount of intestinal fortitude to write what you wrote in a public forum.

*least expected-overdue hug*

~ Pierson

Banksy said...

Crystal appears to have rumbled my hugging technique.

But if you're ever in North Yorkshire I'll buy the beers, and talk rugby.

Debbie said...

If ever you need a hug, someone to go for a beer with, or have a bit of fun with on the Wii, there is always one of us crazy people next door who would more than love to oblige.
Learnt a lot about you from reading this. You are funny, sensitive and bacically a great guy. {{{{{{{Chris}}}}}}}} hugs
The Baldwins at number 5

Lucy said...

I'm so sorry to hear this Chris, sorrier still to only be reading about in now. Hope you're doing better.

jay are said...

This is all just so sad. I haven't read your blog for so long---don't know why; I've always thoroughly enjoyed it and your writing---but my husband has still always read it. So when he told me this news tonight about developments in your life, I was shocked. I had to come read it, and it's just all so sad. I'm so sorry; I can't imagine what you're going through. I hope that there are slivers of light that show through now and then.

Take care.

(And honest---I'm absolutely positively NOT making this up: my word verification is "hugfuls". How is that possible?? Like has been mentioned, tho, Crystal has that covered)

Rob said...

Tough thing, dude. Sorry for both of you.
This is where we say something that makes it all better, but there isn't that thing.
Hang in.