# # "for after the divorce"

Brother, I Can See Your Skull.

Brother, I Can See Your Skull. - The Coreyshead Blog

“for after the divorce”

Poking about my “writings” folder, I discovered this piece entitled “for after the divorce,” written circa 2006. Intrigued I read it and was stunned by both its honesty and darkness. I knew I wanted to share it but I wasn’t sure why and so I mothballed it again until I understood the urge. There are some uncomfortable moments here and so much has changed in my life – all for the better! – why dredge up the clotted ichor of the past?

I eventually realized that the urge to share it had to do with the realization that we are so often capable of pulling ourselves out of the deepest and darkest places. Very shortly after this was written – a few months or more – I started that elusive career and, though my marriage did fall apart and even harder times were to come, it was an adventure that has led me to the amazing place I am now.

Is the darkness gone? Are all hard times banished to my past, never to return? Doubtful, very doubtful but the strength to inspect the positions we find ourselves in under the barest of lights, to acknowledge and understand the hows and whys of our failings, is the only path to salvation – even when there is no solution. With that in mind, I offer this very personal moment of crumbling momentum.

cae 4-29-2013



I am supposed to be worried. I should be out of my mind with worry. My marriage is at an end. My wife may be planning to throw me out on my ass. It could happen at any time. I am broke and soon to be homeless. I own little beyond frivolous items and have only a few, underdeveloped skills. My job situation is shit; tomorrow I will turn 39 and I still haven’t “found a career.” I was more financially secure when I was 22.

But I’m not worried. Things will work out or they won’t.

We bought this house but, as a condition to moving in, I was forced to sign a quit-claim. In a small, stale room full of stiff, grey clothed people who looked on with a mixture of pity and contempt, I emasculated myself with a pen. Ten years ago, with a sense of hope and new beginnings, we looked together to build or buy a home together but the years passed, along with our love, and now I am but a squatter, an unwanted guest in the family home.

The basement room I have been given to use (relegated to) while I am here has but one finished wall and a long, dark hallway. The rest of the walls are either bare cinder block or studs backed by the sheet rock which makes up the walls of the abutting room. The ceiling is similarly unfinished; a low rib-cage of supporting joists and duct-work, pink fringes of insulation hanging down here and there like rent flesh. Whenever anyone walks on the floor above, dust sifts down through the cracks of the floor boards and powders the surface of all below. Things creak. The room is humid, sections of the concrete floor are clammy with a thin, spotted, clay-like surface. All my books have swollen slightly and I await the development of mold. The previous owner used the space as a grow room for various species of rhododendrons. It smelled like an open grave. I still find little balls of mercury on the floor from what must have been numerous carelessly dropped thermometers.

I am sweeping the floor of the room with a whisk broom and dust pan. For some reason I have decided to take some of my useless belongings out of their boxes and place them on shelves; hundreds of small, Japanese monster toys upon which I have squandered not only my money but the money of a bank whom charges me such an exorbitant monthly percentage that I have no hope in hell of ever getting out from under their thumb. My own thumb. The toys have rested in dark boxes for almost a year. Now, on the day my wife and daughter are supposed to return from a two month long trip to Colorado, I am taking the toys out. The action makes no sense. I know this even as I am doing it but it’s like building a wall of hope against the inevitability of my failure as human.

I’d make a good mouse, though.

As I sweep behind a case, I step on something which sticks to my bare heel. Reaching back to my lifted foot, I blindly sweep at whatever it is and a small shard of glass becomes embedded in the side of the index finger of my right hand. The wound bleeds as I stare at it, dimly comprehending. I watch as the crimson rivulet makes its way like a casual shopper down my finger to the tip, where it gathers, trembling, uncertain and bulbous, before dropping to the floor; an impossible glossy red. There are more and I watch as they form, thinking of a short story I wrote some years back – but here there is no perversely placed cat to lick up the blood, no food within my person. Shaking free of my ever-incomprehensible mind’s hold, I staunch the flow with a bit of toilet paper. The small wound continues to ooze as I return to work, the fragile seal of dried blood cracking now and again with my exertions to Rorschach on itself and its nearest neighbor.

I am afraid of my wife’s return and what that will bring. We’ve lived the lie for over 12 years, now. Miserable, distant; two utter fools. Spoiled children. Helpless idiots wanting the divorce for a long time, perhaps even since the first day of marriage, yet holding it together, through weakness. The rift grew along with the lies that allowed us to pretend that the ever more tenuous bonds between us were strong and real. When they finally unraveled it was like a tree going down; a few snaps, a slow twist, then, with ever increasing speed, down to the unsuspecting forest floor below where it is difficult to remain decent over even the most innocent cups of coffee. If I am anything in the relationship, it is the not-so silent groundskeeper, the consistent one enmeshed in a tireless effort to not only to preserve his own sanity but also the all-important facade for the world. She does the same but the paths are separate and her vision of the family contains one less individual than mine.

playing with fireTwo nights ago I had a dream in which I punched her in the face. In the dream we were out driving to talk the details of our failing relationship over. I don’t know what she said but I punched her and she became more attentive. Even in the dream it is a shock. In the waking world I would never resort to violence with anyone except in self defense. I’ve not been in a physical altercation since the 9th grade. I don’t like violence and do not use it with living organisms. People who know me would say that is because I am a nice, caring, moral person but the truth is I am a coward; afraid of the fight, afraid of my own rage and where it would take me were I to ever give it its head. The sense of wrongness generated by my dreaming self’s action is overwhelming even as I do it and I awaken nervous, the fear flapping wounded in my gut. I do not confuse the dream with reality but pull back from myself with revulsion at even the conception of the possibility.

Later, I am done fussing about the room and the beers go down easily, too easily and I am smoking cigarettes – an old, dead habit resurrected as if the poor choices of my youth reenacted can somehow comfort me. Such a bad idea but it works. I want to drink another beer, to pretend that I don’t have to go to work in the morning, to pretend that my daughter isn’t coming home, too. I want to see her, I miss her very much, but my wife will be there, too. I crack the beer and goes it down easily, imitating my sense of self.

My wife. Wife. It sounds like a combination of “life” and “why?”

I want another beer. I want to go on drinking until I fall unconscious. I should have gone to bed an hour ago and still they are not home. Where are they? Just like her to be late. Just like her to keep others waiting and then expect them to receive her with relief and fanfare. Just like me to be so tired. I want to drink and not wake up.

I write this, instead, my bloody fingers clumsy on the keyboard. Then I check my email, hoping for a message from a friend – something – to occupy my thoughts.

Nothing. I turn off the laptop and relate to the dying glow of the screen.

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