The drive across country was absolutely fantastic. I have lots of great memories of that trip, but my favorite image would have to be driving through the Arizona desert with the car top down, ElG sporting an American Flag bandana around his head, with both of us car-dancing to a blaring “I Will Survive.”

* * * * * *

My divorce was final on November 7. There were no fireworks. There was nothing, really. I got paperwork in the mail a few days later.

* * * * * *

I stopped hearing from Marcus sometime in August, I believe. Just stopped. I figured he’d met someone on his travels, which he had. We eventually resumed communicating, but it was not like it had been. I was in the middle of uprooting my entire existence when we’d “met” and he wanted or needed or treated it as something much lighter. I understand that, but it sucked at the time.

The first time I’d meet him would be the day before Thanksgiving, at a nice restaurant downtown. It was weird and uncomfortable. I told him he’d broken my heart at a time when I didn’t have heartbreaking to spare. He apologized, but he had no way of knowing what all I’d been going through.

Nothing ever came of it. He went on with his life; traveling, moving overseas, taking more and more important jobs. Me, here in SF, finding my way.

We email occasionally. Sometimes, he reads this blog. He still makes me laugh.

* * * * * *

ElG and I dated for three years. It was an open relationship the whole time, in part because I didn’t want to rush into anything too serious right away, and in part...

We were always great friends. We never should have dated.

There were lots of things about us that never meshed. We were good complements most of the time, but the rest of the time we just exhausted each other.

After three years – three years of changes and moves and jobs and new friends and new lovers and a million new experiences – we got to That Critical Point in our relationship. Something had to be done. We loved each other completely, and needed to make a decision about the rest of our lives.

We got engaged. That, we felt, would settle everything. And it did, just not the way we’d expected.

Because as these things go, the engagement did not make everything clearer and better; it made everything heavier and more tiring.

About four months later, calmly and rationally and tearfully, we agreed to just love each other as friends. We were both relieved.

Plus four cats is just too many.

* * * * * *

My mother was never well enough to receive chemo. She lived another year anyway.

* * * * * *

In the few months after I moved to San Francisco, Dave would email me a few times, strictly about business (tax filings, car registration, etc.) or to ask if the cats were okay. Not me or my family or my mother, but the cats.

And then he stopped emailing me altogether.

My youngest sister, Samantha (who I have left out of this story almost entirely but who was probably impacted more by our parents’ illnesses than anyone), confronted David. She would call him periodically, reminding him of promises he made to her after he left me.

She went to see his place once. The townhouse he’d bought.

She said it looked exactly like our house. He had a lot of our furniture, and had acquired new things that looked the same. He even had dried flowers (something I had been big into for a while) around the place.

It made me feel better, hearing this. It was evident he’d wanted nothing more than the life we’d had.

Sam also told me she saw a picture of his new girlfriend in his apartment. She told me, “She’s not as pretty as you. And she’s not thin.”


Only once, 14 months after our last conversation, did I get drunk and look up his number and call him. I left a message saying that Healy and Brian were getting married the next day.

* * * * * *

I said a long time ago that I behaved badly but that I thought that, in the end, David behaved worse. And no, maybe it doesn’t matter now. But here is what I find – of all things, of all arguments – most unforgivable.

David never visited my mother. He never called her. He never said goodbye. He and I had lived in their house, under their roof, for over a year. He had been married to her daughter. He had been her son-in-law.

And when she died – it had been almost a year since I’d seen or spoken to him – he sent a paltry fruit basket with a card that read:

To John and Family,

Sorry for your loss.

David _____

* * * * * *

When Healy’s best friend was getting married, her engagement announcement appeared in the paper of our hometown. Directly above David’s wedding announcement.

Which is how I learned that Dave married the girl he started dating the week he left me.

Months later, on a whim, I went to The Knot to see if they’d posted anything about their wedding online. They had.

His wife described how he had proposed, and it was apparent (mostly by her wanton use of exclamation points) that she could not have been more thrilled.

I feel some closure in that.

* * * * * *

Many of you have asked if David reads this blog, and I can only assume the answer is no. It is my belief that he moved on as quickly as humanly possible, and exists now as though our whole life together never happened.

I don’t know where he lives or what he does or if he’s still married or if he has kids.

I don’t actually care that much, either. Except I sometimes wonder if he ever feels ashamed.

* * * * * *

My first apartment in San Francisco was expensive for someone only working part-time, but I didn’t care. It was mine, if only for a year, and I loved it. I loved everything about it.

I loved that I lived in an apartment. I loved the city sounds. I loved overlooking the street. I loved having an old elevator that was broken every other week. I loved having a garbage chute. I loved buying furniture for a single girl.

I know how much ya’ll love my Cheetah Print chair.

I was moved into my apartment by mid-November, with enough furniture that I could actually sleep there. My cats arrived stunned but thrilled to see their mommy.

And nothing was better than “unpacking.” Nate and ElG and I rescued my boxes from Nate's poor, overrun apartment (“Oh, wow! I had no idea I’d sent so many…”) and it was like Christmas opening them.

Oh, hey! Salt shakers! A cookbook! A...light bulb? What? How did underwear...?

* * * * * *

I would eventually do all the things I’d moved to San Francisco to try.

I mean, less than a week after I arrived in the city, I would attend Halloween in the Castro where I’d be kissed by a girl I thought was hitting on ElG. I am pretty sure that Halloween in the Castro is the opposite of Halloween in Fairfield, CT as Mrs. _____ with the nine-year-olds.

But on a grander scale, I would change my whole life. I would have different jobs and would, eventually, re-launch my career. I would take classes. I would try new cuisines and learn to love Indian food and vegetarian chili. I would live in a beautiful loft and throw awesome parties for dozens of people. I would know dozens of people! I would make friends I thought I’d never be able to make as an adult. I would start singing again, and even start an a cappella group.

I would date and find love and lose love and learn that relationships do not have to always be so black and white but that life is made up of our relationships and almost nothing else.

Oh, and I would finally, finally start writing.

* * * * * *

Four years after I would arrive in San Francisco, I would find myself getting ready for my umpteenth first date of the summer.

I would tidy up my fourth apartment in as many years and feed my seven-year-old cats. I would select an outfit as flattering as possible, given my Just-Walking-Around-With-It status, slap on some lipstick, and hope for the best.

I would walk past the cable car – ding! ding! – and head to a tavern in my neighborhood.

There, I would meet a funny man with a bruised smile.

He would apologize for his demeanor. He would humbly say that he’s a bit broken, and not great date material, because, see, he had only just moved to San Francisco from New York. That he was newly separated. That it was painful and complicated. Agonizing.

He would ask if I knew what that felt like.

I would want, immediately and without hesitation to throw myself across the table and hug him, to say I know, Oh God, I know and it will be awful but it will get better. I swear, I promise, there is light here in this city. There is hope and love in this city. There is something mystical about being here, and you will fix what you need to – even if it’s just yourself – and you will heal and find your way. That is what people come here to do. That is what I came here to do. That is what I did.

But I would not say any of that.

Instead, I would just say, “Yes. I know what that feels like,” and I would take another sip of my cocktail and I would smile a little.

“Maybe someday I will tell you about it.”


  1. WOW! I just finished all the stuff I missed while away. If you don't write a book (not nec. about this) I will never read it, but if you do, I will definitely read it and tell everyone I know to read it and have them tell two friends and so on and so on. You know what I mean. Much love from Seattle

  2. You ARE who I thought you were! It's just interesting to piece together the mystery of someone's life from the select clues given. I'm glad you didn't end the story : )

    Naughty girl.

  3. yay - best postscript ever. I'm glad you continued after The End because it still felt unfinished. Now it feels good. Damn I wish I knew you in real life (as in not imaginary internet life).

    good job and a big hug.

    PS. You are absolutely right about that being the worst thing that David ever did. The other stuff was no good, but that was unforgivable.
    PPS. Maybe I will move to SF and fulfill my dreams, because Philadelphia isn't doing it :)

  4. Wow, K. You have the most amazing story. You are an incredible woman.

  5. ok -- that just plain, fucking ROCKED

    Love you!

  6. It did rock and I must say that you make me feel oh so more ok with the fact that I have been just where you talked about.

  7. k, this has been so touching and heartbreaking and uplifting to read....

    thank you.

  8. Love for you and everyone in this Story.

    Well, except David. Although I did love to hate him at times.

    Cheers to the postscript!

  9. Beautiful story, k! And the postscript was the perfect follow-up! (Except I STILL wish David had been run over by a bus . . . what a prick . . . :-) )

    {{HUGS}} from an IIF in Central Illinois . . .

  10. K, just wanted you to know that I have read EVERY SINGLE POST, over and over again, sometimes twice in one sitting. (Okay. Sometimes it was more like five times.) I haven't commented until now, but I have been there EVERY STEP.

    And a COMPLETELY RANDOM question: why do you suppose we refer to "slapping on" makeup? I mean, foundation, sure, I occasionally slap that on, and maybe concealer, but I never "slap" on lipstick. (Although that's usually what it looks like.) And do you suppose that's why those "in the biz" refer to makeup as slap?

    Just trying to lighten the mood. Although now I feel that is the wrong thing to do. Because this story was that beautiful.

  11. Yay for the postscript! Consider yourself much loved and hugged.

  12. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

    The postscript was wonderful. I feel like I have left a fabulous movie where all you can do is sit in silence in the car and not speak for half an hour.

    But it isn't a movie. You lived it and you told the story with honesty, humility and graciousness. Thanks again.

  13. Chills. Actual, physical chills. You are amazing, and strong, and an excellent writer and story teller. I'm fortunate enough not to have had to face anything even half as difficult as any of the things you've been through, but hope that when I inevitably do face that wrenching break up and parental losses, I'll come out stronger and wiser, as you have. Blessings on you for sharing your story.

  14. Oh, my!

    I have to ask, b/c I think I know, actually I'm about 99% certain, and maybe its none of my business, but its plainly obvious...

    are you "Bonnie"?

    Oh my!

    An amazing story. Truly addicting - heartbreaking and heartwarming. I think you are amazing.

    Love from Washington DC

  15. You totally rock. That was incredible.

  16. Awesome wrap-up.

    I am still pissed at what a fuck head David was and I am sad to say that I bet he never "got it" or felt ashamed.

    Thanks for giving us closure to it all.

  17. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

    This last entry, from "bruised smile" on, I read through bleary eyes while my heart swelled for you.

    I love reading your blog.

  18. wow...thats all..just wow

  19. Great ending! Not to defend David, but maybe he felt that given how bad the ending of your relationship went, he didn't want to intrude on your family afterward. I once had a bad breakup with a guy who was very close to my family. I recall being furious with him for trying to keep in touch with them after we broke up. It felt disrespectful of my feelings.

    I would not have wanted him to send anything more than a simple card if I'd been in your situation because I wouldn't have wanted to have to pay attention to him, how I felt about him, what he was feeling, etc.

    From what you wrote, it doesn't sound like his intention would have been to be respectful of your privacy and space, but I thought I would mention this perspective anyway.

  20. Bravo, you beautiful, amazing woman. So glad I found your blog last summer!

    I like your funny stuff, but this has been at least as interesting and engaging.

    Love you!

  21. best ending (as in last two lines) EVER. I had to wait a few hours to comment. You took my breath away.

  22. Is bruised smile guy Ish? :)

  23. Thank you so much for continuing to share with us despite your recent heartbreak. Your stories really make my day! I am constantly amazed by your strength, both in your past and currently.

  24. When your first book comes out or you wind up on Comedy Central (whichever comes first), I'm gonna nod nonchalently like it's no big deal, but say with a little bit of pride to whoever I'm with, "Oh, yeah. I know her." Because I feel as if I do.

    There are people I see regularly that I know--and love--far less well. Thanks for being (which, of course, also means thanks for writing).

  25. Wow. That's just amazing writing and a stunning amount of perspective and insight. It's very strange to read your blog and realize that I'm getting to know you even a little better through my computer screen than I did already having known you all my life (minus the one plus year you delayed joining me in this world, but I suppose I understand you needed to wait for Em).

    A few notes of my own, I don't think I have anything to really add to the story, but I ;

    - As you know, Dave and I got along famously when you were married. We were in touch through much of the beginning of this ordeal, I kind of think I was one of the only guy friends he had to talk to. And on my end, until it turned the corner, I thought I was just helping family get through a tough time. Anyway, I just wanted to chime in that at first, Dave was very upset and confused by everything, and he just wanted what you guys had. It was so shockingly odd to listen to someone talk somewhat passionately about wanting the cookie cutter suburban life in CT. Being older now, I understand it much more. But over time, he veered into a bitterness. My perception was that he was mostly extremely upset that he couldn't control events. He couldn't magically say something that would change everything. And it became apparent to me that he was increasingly pissed off that all of this - the marital challenges, his wife's emotional crisis, his mother in law's illness - all of that was an inconvenience to him and his life. At times, he started voicing contempt for our family, not overtly, but it was clear that was what was behind some of the things he was saying. I may be totally wrong on this, but I think that to a degree he saw himself as "saving" you from the unconventional turmoil of our family. And when somehow his (deluded) white knight vision of himself proved to be not true, when the "saved" all of a sudden made it clear that they didn't feel saved, it made him angry. Coming from a place where he and I were close family members, and watching him pull away the veil to show he wasn't the grounded, mature person, but an emotionally unstable control freak, was surreal to say the least. This is where we pretty much stopped talking. We swapped emails occasionally for a little bit, but when it started to become clear that he had been so awful, those stopped, too.

    - The boxes. Oh, my, god. I compeltely forgot about those. That was really funny, although I remember being more annoyed than amused at the time. Sorry about that!

    That's all. I need to wrap up and go garden. Because I now live in semi-suburbia. Which is kind of strange, perhaps I need to go back to SF for a couple years!

    Much love,

  26. hi nate,

    i think your perspective on dave is great and helpful. i also think you're very right about his feeling like he "saved" me and our family. i don't blame him. he was (sort of) the calm, rational, force of stability in our lives there for a while.

    but what's really kind of funny -- since i'm throwing all this "perspective" around -- is that i sort of felt like i was saving him, too. saving him from a life of cold, from an existence where conflict is ignored instead of resolved.

    in the end, like R&M made mention of at the services, we SO have more fun.

    i think at this point, both dave and i would look at each other's families and say, "oh, that's too bad."

    (as for your life in semi-suburbia, it seems to suit you. it seems like you've found a great balance. but i wouldn't object to having you back here.) :)

  27. Wow, your journey has been amazing. And I'm with you on the "worst thing" he did...that's unforgivable. My sister went through a divorce with the guy that she married out of high school. When our mother died, despite the 12 years he was with us -- heck, my mom took him in when his parents wouldn't -- and despite the fact that this woman was his two sons' grandmother, he didn't call, write, or send anything. I can forgive the S.O.B. for a lot, but not that. And not ever.

  28. Re: unforgivable...

    Remember the guy I commented on who made fun of me as I was a pile of emotions on the floor? Funny thing - the day my Dad died...we all lived together, and Dad died in the house..I came home from work to tell my 9 year old son that his Papa was gone..and he wanted to go see my ex, get some man support and all that. I took him there, and Scott would only spend a minute with him, and WOULDN'T LEAVE WORK. I got no hug, I got no support, and he wouldn't even leave his stupid-ass convenience store job to be with us. (even though one of his co-workers was standing right there and offered to fill in for him after I left) The day my father was buried he also had to work. Took off from the store for all of 20 minutes to catch the prayers at the graveside, showing up late. 2 of my girlfriends took the day off and drove 2 hours from Western MA to be with me, and drive me. Not Scott, he's "just no good with that kind of thing"

    Do you suppose Dave changed his identity and I was one of his victims too? Sucks to believe that TWO people can go through life so cold and distant.

    In any case, I don't drive a bus, but I'm still in Massachusetts. I'd be happy to rent one and take a roadtrip to find Dave for you and deliver some Karma. ;)


  29. Loved the postscript. It completes the story.

    You are a wonderful writer. The entire story kept me enthralled, and as with many really good stories, made me kind of sad that I've reached the end of it now.

  30. I can relate to your ex checking up on the cats - But I'll take it a step further. My ex, who had moved out of town, for whatever reason was in town and wanted to stop by to SEE THE CATS (only reason). So he did. And my now husband (then boyfriend) was there. The visit was brief and awkward. He saw the cats. We never heard from him again.

  31. I think you might have married my ex-husband. Cold as ice, that man. But, having met his mother, I completely understand. Unfortunately, people don't develop these traits in a vaccuum.

    I'd take your (or my) chaotic family any day.

  32. Loved reading this! It's not really over, is it?!

  33. Sigh. What a wonderful postlude!

    I want to read it again. So, I'm going to do just that.

  34. Oh! So lovely!

    I was crying at the end, too. Man! It's like a movie. I can just see you two.

  35. LOVE the ending! (i think this is more the ending than the "ever after" post!) :)

  36. I have enjoyed and agonized over everything you've written. I have been through a divorce, with two children, and although the circumstances were similar and so different, you have captured the essence so that all can see. Thank you...and I wish you a wonderful and happy life.

  37. Wow.

    Just wow.

    This postscript was the perfect ending to a painful but ever-so-eloquently stated period of your life that is, luckily, over. And now you can share your knowledge and empathy with Ish.

    It's funny how people come into our lives just when you need them - or they need you.

  38. Just wonderful, Kristy. I could relate to just about every part of it.

    Imagine, though, my horror when I looked up MY ex on The Knot and read the story of his courtship of his now wife, including the dates of significant events. Dates during which he was still married to me. Ugh.

    Thank god we both got out, my dear!

  39. xt,
    that must have SUCKED. ugh.

    thanks! though i hope you'll understand that i'm keeping those posts separate.

  40. Very well done K.
    Thanks for sharing.

  41. I stumbled upon your blog a while back, but just today started reading your backstory and have not been able to stop.

    I am still waiting for our house to sell. It's been on the market for a year, and I feel as though my life is on hold indefinately. I alternate between the joy of thinking about my eventual move to the city when I finally find someone to buy my lovely home, and stark terror when I realize that selling will force me to face all the painful memories and finally sever that tie. I have no doubt that I will spend several hours rambling about potholders, etc. as well. But I am so grateful to be reminded that there is light at the end of this very long tunnel.

    Thank you for restoring my faith in a different future.

  42. Honestly, I don't remember now how I came to your site, but I just sat through the whole "Serious" divorce entries, all in this one afternoon.
    You have talent girl. I kept waiting and waiting for news on your the point where I wanted to cheat, and read ahead to KNOW.
    I'm adding you to my fave's, so I can come back from time to time.

    You've inspried me today.


  43. Thank you. Just...thank you.

    I can barely see the screen through the tears. It is good to know there is light at the end of the tunnel.

    God bless.

  44. HEY! I have been reading your blog for a few months. I just found this entry when I googled you while searching for you blog while at work. I have always loved your writing, but I after reading that I feel like I just finished a book by my favourite author.
    *You are a truly gifted writer* :)
    I agree with everyone's comments.
    Please keep up the writing!

  45. oh my god, Kristy, I have been reading your blog since you were pregnant. My daughter was pregnant the same time and I used to send your funny stories to cheer her during horrible bouts of morning sickness. Today while wandering around on your site I saw the divorce section and just read the entire thing through, without stopping (while at work)! You struck a nerve with me, brought back memories of my painful divorce and ended on such a high note. It was like reading a book. Without paying for it.

    So thank you very much, for the gift of your story. I can't wait to read more.

  46. I just discovered your blog yesterday and am finally finished reading through the story of your divorce. Wow! Part of me wants to wrap my arms around you and give you the most giant hug, and another part of me wants to high-five you and throw back a bottle of wine with you to say congratulations. Your story is incredible, and I think it's awesome how you mustered the strength to move to SF and start a new life. Cheers, friend. You did it!


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