WHEN my ex-husband called, four months after our divorce, to tell me he was getting married, I laughed. That he was marrying an old friend, a woman who had been a guest in our home, struck me as the final ironic gesture in a relationship that had been, from the first, predicated on well-meaning but doomed intentions.
He had acquired me, as he had acquired his house, furniture and car. And I had allowed myself to be acquired through a faulty syllogism: youthful passion is doomed; this was not youthful passion; therefore, it would be a good marriage. His earnest proposal, not a month after we had met and before any hint of love, expressed his desire for me to teach him to enjoy life. In exchange, he would love and cherish me, and take care of me always.
After my initial rebuff, I began to consider his reasoning. I was an actress, a writer. In other words, I was unemployed. He was a master of the universe on Wall Street.
“Have you no sense of self-preservation?” I asked. “You don’t even know me. I’m an actress. Don’t you know what someone like me could do to someone like you?”
He was utterly unlike any of the sly, egoistic, impecunious boyfriends I had tortured my parents with. He was goofy, besotted, inarticulate and defenseless. He was a gentleman. And a stellar salesman. One by one he struck down my arguments against our union, until I had none left.
I wasn’t in love with him, and he knew it. But he claimed I would grow to love him, and he was right. He was kind and generous, and I began to believe that there was no better course my life could take than to bring happiness to this man who worked so hard and seemed to enjoy so little.
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