Friday, March 2, 2012

The Ex-Wife Experience


Several days ago, while on a rare cultural outing here in the city of cement and broken dreams, I crossed paths with my Husband’s ex-wife. I suspected this day would eventually come. In my fantasies I pictured myself fresh from having my hair styled, wearing some fabulous outfit and looking like the picture of youth I imagine myself to be. In reality, I wasn’t wearing makeup, I was just getting over the flu and I was wearing yoga clothes. Real life, unfortunately, is a lot less attractive than the movie in my head. The ex-wife, let’s just call her “Medusa”, of course looked fantastic; despite the fact that she’s 13 years older than me.
I was completely and totally blindsided by this sighting of Medusa. She doesn’t even live in Los Angeles. In fact, I’m not even sure she could pick out Los Angeles on a map of the United States. What was she doing here? And why was she at the museum? No one goes to museums here! I moved to Los Angeles in the hopes that I would never see this woman again. Truthfully, I hoped to never see anyone from my past ever again (ok, except that one guy I slept with who was really cute and had a huge dick; him I’d like to get reacquainted with). But there she was, looking great and contemplating the artistic merit of some puce-colored piece of pottery circa 1945. My first instinct was to hide from her – find some large sculpture and hunker down until she got done looking at each and every tiny little thing in the museum and went on her merry way. But then I got a grip. I mean, for goodness sakes, I am an accomplished adult woman. Just because I have visible-panty-line, look like hell and stole this woman’s husband is no reason to be ashamed.
To be fair, I didn’t really steal Medusa’s husband. When I met her husband, now my husband, they were on the rocks. They’d already been separated twice, she had multiple addiction problems, and the Husband was tired of footing the bill for her online designer shopping sprees. Plus, she decided she was a lesbian and was having an affair with a woman. So you can see how the Husband was looking for something younger, fresher, and less interested in, well, women. Despite the fact that I knew she made him miserable for their entire seven year relationship, I’ve always been a bit intimidated by Medusa. I mean, she got him first! And she got to keep the brownstone in the West Village, all the antique furniture and a designer wardrobe. Not that I would trade my Husband for several hundred pairs of Prada shoes, but I really could’ve done wonders with that brownstone. Oh, and did I mention that she once threatened me with a butcher knife?
After taking a moment to do some deep breathing and center myself, I finally got up the courage to take the high road and acknowledge Medusa. I walked over to her, put on my most charming Hollywood smile and said, “Medusa, hi. It’s been such a long time. You’re looking well.” In response, she looked at me with confusion, frowned, and proceeded to ask me who I was. This woman, who I assumed had been sticking pins into a Voodoo doll that looked exactly like me for years, did not recognize me! And that, my friends, was my cue to exit. I muttered something unintelligible about mistaking her for someone else, and then I hightailed it out of there before she could figure out who I was and come after me with the switchblade I’m sure she keeps in her purse. Hopefully by the time my identity finally dawns on her she’ll have left Los Angeles. But just in case, I’m thinking this week might be a great time to leave town for a while.

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