the Mammal Chronicles: December 2009

when it comes right down to it, ya lactate or ya don't.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

When a Family Falls Apart...

Divorce looms on the horizon. It happens for a million little reasons that one day all add up.

My friend Donna sent me a novel in the mail; she often does this because I am the only person she knows who has the same odd fascination with time travel plots. Plus she's kind. There's that too. In any case, in the early pages of this novel (Replay by Ken Grimwood), a line caught my attention:

"Now it would merely continue as before: the dissatisfaction, the grinding loss of ambition and hope that had either caused or been caused by the failure of his marriage, he couldn't remember which anymore."

The passage doesn't quite capture my situation, but it has echoes of it. The unraveling of my marriage seemed to keep pace with the unraveling of my happiness at my institution, which reached a crisis point this summer when the new provost rejected me for a position I'd held as interim for over 2 years, when the end of my sabbatical loomed, when furloughs and resultant paycuts were announced, even when I was awarded tenure, which seemed in so many ways to be anticlimactic after all the work and stress that I'd invested in its achievement for so many years.

So for the past few days, in a house that has been largely empty but for me since late October, I've sat glued to this couch -- I've settled in here for the duration it seems, finally succumbing to retrieving my good pillow and a quilt because lately I've been sleeping and living (such as it is) in this spot. My 12 year old "puppy" sits curled on the quilt to my right and my husband's cat purrs on the armrest to my left.

The three of us comfort each other in the emptiness.

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