When my ex and I were separating there was a lot of anger. Emotions were running high and a lot of things were said and done in anger that were not kind. At the time I can remember thinking that I still felt like the same person, but that I thought that some people he cared about (namely his parents) would absolutely cringe to hear some of what he was saying or to learn of what he was doing. I’m not saying I was perfect, but I was certainly (far) less awful than he was.
One of the worst things he did was to come in one day to pick up some of his things when Krystal and I were out. That had been agreed to. When she and I returned home my eyes went right to where the video camera, case and tapes were kept on the bookshelf in the living room. What stared back was an empty space. Rage and sickness took over. I didn’t care so much about the camera, but the tapes were everything I had of Krystal from the moment I met her. In my opinion the tapes were hers.
Over the next few weeks and months he used those tapes as leverage whenever he could. He threatened to destroy them. While we used a mediator to handle the divorce rather than hiring attorneys who would take all our money, we probably weren’t very good candidates for mediation. He was very angry, which was how I now realize he expressed pain. The marriage, if not the actual divorce, was quite expensive for me. It wasn’t until we were divorcing, a process we started before our third anniversary, that I realized marriage is a legal blending of two people. You basically form a corporation with another person when you marry. Silly me had thought it was about love. I do not know if I will ever marry again, but if I do, it will be with that knowledge, and I do not rule out a pre-nup. It’s not unromantic, it’s business.
As far as the video camera and tapes go, he showed up unexpectedly at Krystal’s final gymnastics class that year with the camera, took some video, and then without fanfare handed me the camera and case, with tapes inside. My heart was pounding so loud and hard I was sure he would see it through my shirt, and my mind was spinning with how I could run off with it before he grabbed it back. But he didn’t. They have been mine, and will be Krystal’s, ever since. He did remove the tape of our wedding, but I didn’t care. I assume he took a hammer to it, or ran over it with his car, or tossed it in Lake Ontario as he drove by one day, and whatever happened to it is OK with me. I got what was precious.
A few other things relating to our marriage seem to be missing too. While he got the engagement ring in the split (even the mediator was shocked he would ask, but I was stupid and didn’t care), our marriage certificate was mysteriously unable to be found after I moved. I might not have noticed except I changed my name back after our divorce and needed it during the adoption process for Belle. I was able to get another copy, but the lingering question to me was why? Why would he take it? My wedding band has also been missing since even before the move. I’ve never been a jewelry person, but I did like wearing a wedding ring. When I realized the ring was missing I actually bought myself some costume jewelry rings that I occasionally wear on my other hand. What he wanted with the inexpensive band I wore is beyond me.
When Krystal was little, and before we got married, two of his family members gave her savings bonds. They were issued in her first name with his last name, which was never her name. My mother has offered to help get them switched over to her correct and legal name, but the bonds are missing too. I did ask him several months ago if he might have run across them – I have learned to let things be his idea – but he said he didn’t think he’d seen them, and so far he has not produced them. I am willing to believe he doesn’t knowingly have them, and if he does come across them in the future, he will give them back. Four years ago I would not have felt confident saying that.
This morning Krystal was poking around with the myriad of things on my dresser. One of these things is a small wooden box that closes with a buckle. I’ve had it since I was about 9 or 10, just a tad older than Krystal. I keep old money in it – some $2 bills, Kennedy half dollars, silver dollars and the like. I don’t think I’ve opened it in years, but it’s not something I’d ever consider getting rid of. She was fascinated by the money “They make $2 bills!?!?” and wanted to know where I got it. Then she pulled out a gold ring. My wedding ring. What is it doing in there? I’m reasonably sure I never put it there. Did he hide it there? Or did I and promptly forget about it?
The inside of the ring has an inscription: Love is in the details.