Time really does heal wounds, maybe not all, but many.
Long ago I was married to a guy I met in 9th grade. It was a terrible marriage. We were both too young, too broke, too a lot of things for what we’d taken on. His dad — one of the handsomest men I ever met — followed the Calabrese method of wife and child rearing. It was all my husband knew, though he did take it to new levels. Not dissing Italians AT ALL. It’s just that he came from a strongly paternalistic home where the husband physically enforced his role as the master of the family.
I finally extricated myself. That was an interesting process, and another blog post, maybe but probably not.
Years later I had been places. I’d been in China, married a different guy, moved to San Diego, far, far away from the scenes of my first marriage. I was with friends at a lecture at the art museum in Balboa Park. We took seats in the second row. At a certain point, I looked up and saw my ex escorting his wife into the auditorium. They sat almost directly in front of us.
I was stunned and bewildered. My ex seemed only vaguely familiar, though it had only been 10 years since our divorce. I said to my friend, “That’s my first husband.”
She knew some of the stories of the marriage.
“Oh my god,” she said, “What are you going to do?”
“Nothing unless he sees me. That’s over and done with it. In fact, I barely remember it.”
“How can you ‘barely remember’ being married to someone?”
“I don’t know, but I’m glad about it.”
He didn’t see me, so I escaped that moment in the easiest possible way, still perplexed and filled with wonderment that the intervening years and experiences had healed what had once been a gaping wound.