They’d been married for more than 20 years but hadn’t lived together for most of that time, she firmly fastened like a paper clip to one side of the country, and he to the other, collecting frequent flyer miles in the space between. She made sure their children had a stable home, a decent school, a good group of friends. We understood those things, how parents defer their personal happiness so that their kids can get ahead, which was the supposed reason she continued to stay while Michael accepted federal appointments that kept him based in Washington D.C., so when Kathy made her final announcement, all her friends including myself, expected to hear the d-word. All those years, we’d wondered how on earth they’d managed to hold a marriage together, questioned their faces when they did appear together at annual July Fourth parties holding hands to plaster the cracks. “How are you guys doing?” we asked. It goes without saying that we applauded their successes: Kathy as a mom who had built her daughter’s bulimia into a national campaign, and Michael for having the ear of the Capitol’s environmental policy makers. Most of our marriages had busted up for far less reason–boredom leading to infidelity. If she’d said they were getting divorced, we would’ve been relieved. Why keep up the strain? As friends, we got it. We’d be there for both of them. But when Kathy called her inner circle to say that she planned to move in with Michael, and that they would consolidate households, cut down on expenses, and were considering taking a real vacation for the first time in that many years, the top blew off, everything in disarray.
I called her. “Kathy, honey. Are you sure you’re doing the right thing?”
September 2, Oakland Beast Crawl, The Good Hop, 2421 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland
September 9, San Francisco, Quiet Lightning, Candlestick Point SRA, 10am to 5pm: Literary mixtape readings by: Gracia Mwamba, Rich Baiocco, Lisa Piazza, Kimberly Gomes, Raina J. Leòn, Linda Michel-Cassidy, Tomas Moniz, Peter Kline, William Vlach, Lenore Weiss, Abbie Jeanne Amadio, Yael Hacohen, and Jill Bronfman!
September 16, Berkeley, Poetry Express, 1585 University Avenue, 7-9pm, Open Mic
October 14, Alameda, Frank Bette Art Center, 1601 Paru Street, with Nina Serrano, 7-9pm, Open Mic,
November 1, Osher Marin JCC, San Rafael, 200 N. San Pedro Road, with Rose Black and Andrena Zawinski, 1-3pm
November 12, Jewish Community Library, San Francisco, 1835 Ellis Street, 1:30pm