Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A divorced man's death in Pleasantville



Things are fine until they're not. For gods sake don't disrupt. Routines set like cheap glue. The pieces fit. They fit until they don't. Deviations disrupt. Divorces disrupt. The cracks creep in. Cracks conspire. Pleasantville might crumble. Don't disrupt.

Apparently the neighbors bore my divorce well. They're not speaking to me either. Neither are they waving. The waving has altogether stopped, as though deliberate and planned in secret. For gods sake don't wave.

Before, as neighbors, we were the masters of the waving. We loved waving, from our cars, yards, porches, from the ends of dog leashes, and living room windows. But especially from our cars. Easy waves those waves were.  

One diligent hand on the wheel, the other hand shot up, eager, to meet a neighbor's offering like a high five between teammates, but with 50 feet of buffer between palms. Throw in head nods for extra credit; smiles for even more.

Happily we waved, glad to see each other we waved, after long days of herding cattle, teaching, healing, litigating, law enforcing, selling car parts, and/or mothering.  We well-wished the ones who left, and welcomed their return back home again with enthusiasm. On it went with the waves. Like clockwork, the waves. In waves, the waves. 

Until the waves stopped. No more waves. Just awkward offerings to empty spaces. Something died and sent the waves into hiding. Hands remain planted in front pockets like bodies buried among gravestones. Their hands don't rise to meet my hands anymore. They mourn now. No more waves.

A death, you see. The demise of a marriage, you see. My own. And other deaths, the deaths of their relationships to her — a fellow neighbor — who left in a moving truck on a cold afternoon in December.

A death in Pleasantville, so it goes.