Twenty years on, I am still rattled by my husband’s fucking ex. Not only has she opened a tiki-themed restaurant too close to my neighborhood, she has recently written the following:
“There was a time in my youth, those long gone halcyon days, when it seemed I spent a large part of my life in front of a camera. In the pursuit of an acting career it was standard operating procedure to continuously update and change the 8-by-10s that were the calling cards of all of us who tramped the mean streets of Los Angeles in constant and often futile rounds of meetings in the offices of agents, photographers, producers, directors and various unsavory characters.
“Perhaps in retrospect it is the smiling [photos] that fare the best, as I was innately happy, clear of eyes and had good teeth. For my fiftieth birthday and retired at that point, I pulled out all the old headshots and plastered them over a large wall at my parent’s house, creating a sort of gallery. They made a remarkable display and told a story of my own evolution, not to mention hairdos. The one topless shot, though artistically done and revealing but a modest bosom, shocked my brother. Frankly, I was rather proud to shock anyone.”
There was one thing that each photo had in common, one through-line, one essence captured. It was youth, my youth. And youth is hope. There it is, around the curve of my smiling lips, in the gleam of my eye, in the open expression.”
I brought up the subject of her uniquely annoying existence with my husband, who flipped out. Why can’t I be normal, he wants to know. It’s easy for him to talk about normal: My ex, though a cunt, stays quietly in his corner and doesn’t open restaurants or write about his modest bosom.
Some things are just awful and they stay awful. Some things fall away in the stark awareness of what really matters. I am waiting for the ex-wife to move from the first category into the second.