Naked in the Bath

shower-handleWhen I was divorced the first time – still a virgin to divorce – I lost all sense of reality. My house was being sold, my goods auctioned, and my life shattered into a million sharp lethal pieces. I had no way to move forward. The land was too foreign, threatening and unknown. I lost half my body weight.

The night before the auction I went out alone and drank a full bottle of wine. I have a system that does not tolerate alcohol, so a full bottle took me to even more unknown places, all dismal and not numbing enough. I somehow made my way home, opened the car door, spilled out on the lawn, and slept the night.

In the morning people began coming to buy up my life. I rolled from the grass, pushed through the crowd and locked myself in the bathroom. I listened to my life being physically dismantled from the cold enamel of the tub, one material object at a time. Who would I be now, I wondered?  No home, no identity as wife, no job skills, no child support, two small children and a backlog of depression.

My body did not want to participate in the ordeal that lay ahead, but somehow I lived through the day. I rose again and lived through another, and another still.

I met a woman at the library. Her name was Joy. She asked me if I wanted to go for a ride on her motorcycle.

Oh boy, do I ever!

Joy was getting divorced too, from an engineer; mine was a highway patrolmen, neither man a good match for free spirited women.

Joy and I moved in together. She got a job modeling and selling Leggs pantyhose. I sang in the clubs, fronting a rock and roll band.  Eventually, I worked with a classical guitarist, who was a much better fit for my quiet spirit.

At night, Joy and I had long conversations, me perched on top of her refrigerator, her being the more responsible one, and setting limits.

Karen, I don’t like it when you give away my toothbrushes to your friends. They need to buy their own.

We stayed up all night laughing, talking and often crying. We understood and loved each other.  We were full of smiles and raw open pain.

That was 36 years ago. We stay in touch, because I’ll never stop loving her for the way she filled my heart during those lonely confused beginnings. She helped me out of the bathtub and into the world.