Watching the Show
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Life in the Third Degree.
Iâ€™m supposed to be devastated. Everyone said I would be devastated. But Iâ€™m not. Instead, Iâ€™m…bemused.
My daughters have just returned home with news that their father has a girlfriend. Having been forewarned and forearmed, I wait for the aftereffects.
â€œIt doesnâ€™t matter if you absolutely hate the man you were married to,â€ Gina had informed me. â€œWhen you hear he has a new girlfriend and heâ€™s moving on, youâ€™re going to be a basketcase.â€
â€œYou will be so jealous,â€ a relative had warned me. â€œEven if youâ€™re the one who left him, itâ€™s still going to tear your heart out.â€
â€œYou never get over being possessive when it comes to your ex and who heâ€™s dating,â€ yet another friend had told me. â€œYouâ€™ll hear heâ€™s dating, and youâ€™ll be devastated. Youâ€™ll hear he has a girlfriend, and youâ€™ll be devastated. Youâ€™ll hear heâ€™s getting married again, and youâ€™ll be devastated. Youâ€™ll hear heâ€™s having children with another woman, and youâ€™ll be devastated.â€
But Iâ€™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. Itâ€™s the most emotion I can muster over this â€œshockingâ€ news.
Iâ€™ll admit that Iâ€™m mildly curious as to who would have him, but Iâ€™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 couldnâ€™t see it before when I was the front-row audience. Now, up in the balcony, I can look down and see whatâ€™s really going on on-stage and the way the current front-row audience is too close to see. And Iâ€™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 whatâ€™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 whatâ€™s behind the curtains. Will I be fooled again, or next time, will I see?