birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

First Impressions

I never thought much about first impressions until the night I met my second husband at my divorce support group.

I’d been separated for 6 months, celibate for the last two years of the marriage and lonely for the last 7.

My ex had finally decided that he might get serious with one of his dalliances and asked for a divorce. The dalliance’s husband found out and reeled her back to reality. She called me and told me that she “ was not going to marry” my husband thereby giving me leverage so he might have to pay alimony. A softer ending to a bad play.

So I took the two children and moved to a smaller house and began nursing school and a divorce support group. Three months into the group and this fellow comes in and sits down amongst the 75 people or so and I see him out of the corner of my eye.

He has in a red sweater and he is handsome. He sorts and listens and seems very in self conscious. He catches my eye and smiles. I look away, startled by the idea that he is cute. Warning says my head- warning!

Most of the attendees were older than us by about 5-10 years. Either we were early bloomers or dumb as a box of hammers. There are also widows and widowers in this group. They are a little above us in the pecking order because they really are victims in sense whereas with divorce, the element of choice follows us like a bad smell.

His ex was also uninterested in matrimonial monogamy.

I remember the committee in my head quickly rallying a last minute meeting and saying something like “ oh no, she can’t possibly be looking at another man...” her picker is completely broken and will not be fixed for at least a couple of years. Her warranty was invalidated after he hit four dalliances and she started wearing mom jeans.”

I proceeded very slowly to get to know him and we ended up in a group of mostly single women with children. It was a great group to attend things that really required two adults at a time to manage kids and the real world like Christmas at the Zoo or a restaurant.

He had paid off three thousand dollars worth of his ex’s debt and she gave him the kids and the house and the dog. He was certainly a good negotiator in my estimation.

And so for a year, we remained friends. He was funny and kind and he liked to fix things plus he liked kids.

Then one day he asked me to go on a date.

By that time I had been to more divorce resolution meetings and I was totally confident that I could do this without getting attached.

We have been married now for 23 years.


Not Constantinople

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