Watching the Show

Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Life in the Third Degree.

I’m supposed to be devastated. Everyone said I would be devastated. But I’m not. Instead, I’m…bemused.

Working Through Grief

My daughters have just returned home with news that their father has a girlfriend. Having been forewarned and forearmed, I wait for the aftereffects.

“It doesn’t matter if you absolutely hate the man you were married to,” Gina had informed me. “When you hear he has a new girlfriend and he’s moving on, you’re going to be a basketcase.”

“You will be so jealous,” a relative had warned me. “Even if you’re the one who left him, it’s still going to tear your heart out.”

“You never get over being possessive when it comes to your ex and who he’s dating,” yet another friend had told me. “You’ll hear he’s dating, and you’ll be devastated. You’ll hear he has a girlfriend, and you’ll be devastated. You’ll hear he’s getting married again, and you’ll be devastated. You’ll hear he’s having children with another woman, and you’ll be devastated.”

But I’m not devastated. The jealousy and the possessiveness and the hurt and the devastation never come. Instead, I find myself smiling and shaking my head. It’s the most emotion I can muster over this “shocking” news.

I’ll admit that I’m mildly curious as to who would have him, but I’m not stinging and anxious and ready to throw up.

I can see the same old patterns now, this time from the outside. The way he presents himself to the world, to the new woman in his life. I couldn’t see it before when I was the front-row audience. Now, up in the balcony, I can look down and see what’s really going on on-stage and the way the current front-row audience is too close to see. And I’m glad that I can see the show now from a different perspective.

But at the same time, I know someone else is watching the show and enjoying it, not knowing what’s behind the curtains. And it disturbs me that the next show I watch, on another stage, with another playwright, may be too close for me to see what’s behind the curtains. Will I be fooled again, or next time, will I see?