A few weeks later, there is a large Christmas party for the children’s group, along with a board meeting for adults. I arrive with big boxes to deliver and discover that I wrote the time of the meeting down wrong – although I’m not the only person that is late, and the other person thought the meeting started at some other time. Yet another person turns up late and is similarly confused about the meeting time.
I end up sitting behind Mr. Faraway, and observe him quietly. I have no idea what’s being discussed so there’s not much for me to say in any case. He seems calm and in control of things, and I think how nice it must be to have a divorce where both parties are able to act together to make it go smoothly.
The meeting breaks up and the party begins. I ask one of the women who knows Mr. Faraway whether she knows what happened.
Sort of, she replies. She said she “outgrew” him. She moved out yesterday, and she’s here somewhere, just so you know.
She’s here? I ask. I’ve never met her.
Yeah, I don’t really know her either, she says. But she came today.
Mr. Faraway is nowhere to be found. Occasionally I see him sitting at a table with his kids, or posing for a portrait with the caricature artist, but he’s never still long enough to talk. I don’t want to say much – I only want to offer a bit of support if I can. I know he doesn’t need it – he has 500 or so Facebook friends, and I’m sure some of them would qualify as close friends, the people you talk to when times are rough.
I want to offer anyway, but don’t seem to get a chance.
So I just enjoy the party. There isn’t much for me to do – everyone else seems to have things under control.
When it’s time to clean up, someone grabs me. I need to move my car, I’m blocking someone, who turns out to be Mr. Faraway’s soon-to-be-ex. She seems pleasant enough, and I am utterly baffled.
I go back inside, but by now the cleanup is almost done. I see Mr. Faraway, and try to say to him what I’ve been trying to say all afternoon but not had a chance. I’m sorry this happened to you, I finally tell him. He’s running off, moving a coffeemaker into the kitchen. But he’s talking to me at the same time, so I follow. I get a better sense of the situation – he’s a bit confused, a bit frustrated, and a lot good at not showing it.
At some point, I mention the cost of my divorce, and only then does he stop and stand still.
Good lord, he says. He’s speechless for a moment, and then finally says, I feel like I just got punched in the gut for you. I can see him process this information for a moment, then decide to move on from it.
He says, I wondered why you stopped posting on your genealogy blog. You started and then just stopped. It didn’t make sense until I saw your post about your divorce being final.
I’m still writing, I tell him, just my mind is on other things. You can read it if you want.
Sure, he says.
Too bad you live so far away, I say. If you ever come into Seattle, we could have a drink and trade divorce war stories in person.
A drink – definitely, he says.
He gives me a hug goodbye, and then he’s off again. There are so many things to keep a person busy, when they need to be.