The Boy From Virginia on Christmas (Part 1)

Christmas Day. It is my understanding that it was supposed to be an “exciting and fun-filled day” (judging from the numerous texts messages I received from people saying “have a good time, today!”). But a parent once told me, “Christmas (just like Trix cereal) is for kids.” Even on the actual day, I was waiting for the burst of excitement to show up. This year’s lead up to Christmas seemed to be so underwhelming that the only time I truly remembered Santa was on his way, was on Christmas Eve. But that realization only came because I realized I’d be getting a day off from my show (doing 4 splits a day is fun, yet agonizing). From here on out, I will explain what I did on my day off a.k.a Christmas day.

            Despite an underwhelming build-up to the day, I found myself surprisingly overwhelmed with thoughts about distressing news I’d received only 2 days prior to Christmas. I believe a bit of back-story (and thought) should be implemented at this point: 

            There is a married couple that I’ve been watching from the sidelines and I’ve admired them for years. The ability to say to someone, “I love you and am going to be brave enough to spend the rest of my life with you, silent farts and all” is a statement which anyone should respect and applaud. But like most co-habituating couples, they haven’t been without their struggles. There have been compromises made, promises kept and broken, agreements about punishments for their children, and disagreements about whether their finances would go towards a night out or towards new furniture for the living room. All in all, the couple was quite functional and normal. Of course, the couple consists of the following types of people: 1) an extremely strong, outspoken, confident woman who has spent many years establishing who she is independently and could survive without a man, if need be (actually, the fact that she re-married was a surprise in and of itself) AND 2) a quiet, somewhat constantly befuddled man, who is content with working long hours and coming home to a well prepared meal and watching sports on T.V. And of course, let’s not forget that these people have children, meaning their decisions these days have more to do with them than themselves.

            Well, as I said before, I’ve been observing this couple for a while as I am really good friends with the wife. One could say she is almost a mother to me. Well she gave me a call two days before Christmas to say “My husband and I are getting a divorce.”

I could hear the tires skidding to a halt in my inner ear (or it could’ve been the car outside of my dressing room window). But I was completely stilted for a bit. Why should I be so surprised? Well, only two hours before that car crash of a phone call, I’d made a silent promise to myself that I would do the unthinkable: open up my heart to love in 2011. Up until that self-made resolution, I’d been realizing that so many things I’d been reading, seeing, hearing, all had something to do with Love. I‘m in the quintessential fairy-tale about love (Cinderella) playing a happy, single womanizer, yet who’s happy that his homeboy, the prince, can find his happily ever after. I also read a passage in a book by Simon Callow (see previous blog entry) about love opening creative doors.

With so much love to go around, I was sure that everyone was going to in love with someone or something by the end of the holiday season. So I made the assumption that love would be the theme of 2011. Yes, I may not have found it in the romantic sense, but I felt I’d gotten an A+ in the self-love department so why not make the grade elsewhere? So in my dressing room, right after I finished sweating my way though the number “Somebody to Love,” I decided I would find someone to love…next year.

            But then the tires skidded in my mind and I was suddenly whisked back into reality. This couple, which had been giving me hope was, in fact, hopeless. Despite years of hard (very hard) work of keeping the love alive, nothing could help the fact that the husband in this situation was unappreciative of the good woman he had.

            In other words, he cheated…More than once.

The first time was forgivable, but still unexcused. I’ve noticed that this happens a lot in marriages. Though it shouldn’t happen at all, I think the slip-up is either the trigger that the spouse is weak, or simply not into monogamy. I know lots of people who have said…”Ok, once I can forgive. You will be highly punished, but at least it’s once.” Those who are too self-righteous think “I should’ve been enough” (to which I think, no ONE person is ever truly enough). But as a person who’s never been in a relationship, I can am probably being too objective about the idea of first-time cheating. Still, like any other sane person, a person who goes out of their way to cheat a second time is not to be respected at all. At that point, the cheater has calculated their deception, which makes them a bit too cunning for their own good. And it is this unexpected cunning that has made me lose ALL respect for my friend’s husband because he cheated on her twice. The second offense caused an international storm as his mistress was living in a completely different continent. Not only did he have a life at home, but he’d created something abroad as well (a sort of exchange program, I guess). It would seem that love does open other doors of creativity…

Whist the doors of deception had been open and thoroughly explored, I was thinking about all the other doors that had been ignored. For one, that man has a wife who loves and cares about him enough to overlook his flaws. Not only has she stuck with him through rougher times, as a wife does, but she also cared enough to forgive him his previous transgressions. Having had experience with a previous marriage where her first husband cheated (and was also a sorry excuse for a father) it is clear that she is now a fan of the motto “Make it work.” So, unlike her first marriage, she has actively tried to make this relationship a longer lasting one, not just for herself, but for her children as well. The question becomes though, with all that hard work she put into “making it work,” should she go back to her day job of being independent? Or is there enough love in their relationship to fix what’s been broken: the trust.

The other doors that were ignored, of course, were the children. Not only is this man a father, but he also is like a father to me and having him visit me and speak so highly of his wife, while having a mistress, is more than fucked up. It’s enough to make me look upon him with disdain for the rest of my life. Acting stupidly when you’re my age…I can kinda buy. But when you are old enough to know better and old enough to be a role model for someone, you have to put the children first!

Ok…rambling over. That was the back-story. Funny enough, the back-story was what I spend most of my Christmas Eve thinking about and those thoughts trickled heavily into my Christmas Day, which, contrary to all the texts I’d received…was not fun and full of good food and gifts…

(At the time this was published, the couple are still in limbo about actually divorcing)

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One comment on “The Boy From Virginia on Christmas (Part 1)

  1. Beth Davis says:

    As always, great writing Tommy! You had such a gift with words.

    Don’t give up on love. You will find yours and the journey to it will be worth it. Xoxo

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