Spies like You

The divorce has been final nearly three months now, but with the transfer of the final auto title today, I’m able to close, no, slam the door to my marriage shut. No more interactions needed. Ever!

In typical fashion, today’s interaction went as I’ve come to expect, and probably different from anything that anyone else could possibly anticipate. No fighting. No arguing, or sniping. Nope. Not a word exchanged at all. The entire meeting lasted 30 seconds, long enough for her to sign the title and for me to hand her a check for her portion of the taxes I’d paid and been refunded.

What’s amusing is the clandestine, John Le Carre’ nature she’s created out of every interaction. Her insistence….”You can meet me in the parking lot at 9:50 a.m…..” The unspoken message…under the oak tree, in broad daylight, with her cadre of sharp shooters and witnesses certainly poised on rooftops all around….you know, just in case.

I don’t intend to make light of failed marriages that pose legitimate threats to one of the former spouses, relationships with a history of violence and abuse. Those are tragic, inexcusable situations. Ours was not like that, though.

Perhaps I should explain….about two months prior to our separation, my ex told me she was afraid of me, physically, I mean. I was floored. Never in my life have I lashed out physically toward anyone out of anger. Never. It’s not in my nature. It’s not who I am.

“Afraid of me????” I remember stammering. “Why in the world would you be afraid of me?”

Of all the things I would have imagined her saying about me and our relationship, a threat of bodily harm would never have entered the realm of possibility.

“You are a trained killer,” she had responded, a reference to my military background.

Now, a confession is needed here… I’ve been a part of some horrific situations and been exposed to things I don’t care to dwell on in this posting, but even as an infantry scout-sniper, I never acted or reacted out of anger. Perhaps that’s more scary than if I had, but it doesn’t change the fact I’ve always been in control of my actions.

The bizarre thing, however, is that much of her behavior since our separation has oddly mirrored her belief when we first met… that her then ex-boyfriend was stalking her and plotting against her. After all, he showed up once at an ice cream stand at the same time she did. I should add that they both worked in a building 100 yards from the ice cream stand.

In hindsight, there’s a pattern here…and I’ve seen it playing out toward me since the day I surprised her by telling her I was actually filing for divorce. I took control of my own destiny, and ruined her plans to remain ambivalent in the relationship (an ambivalence that had strung me along emotionally for nearly four years).

I should also point out that for the last year or so of our marriage, my ex’s favorite past-time had been watching crime shows on A&E, Discovery, and other such channels. Her favorites had been those dealing with crimes of passion and betrayal against spouses and significant others. Is there a connection? I don’t know…but it’s certainly a peculiar coincidence.

As a friend reminded me, however, at least she’s consistent — consistent with odd, unexplained behavior. But that’s little consolation when you’re on the receiving end.

But, back to today’s encounter….

“You will meet me in the parking lot at 9:50 a.m.,” she had emailed me the instructions, nothing more.

Picture a Cold War dead drop….I would leave the documents in an envelope beneath the big oak, mark a nearby mailbox with chalk, and return later for the payoff. With luck, a thick fog would mask the clandestine exchange by two individuals in London Fog trench coats. The transaction complete, we would each walk away, never to acknowledge the other or admit to anything forever.

And that’s almost exactly how it came to pass…..I like spy novels, so perhaps it’s fitting. In any case, it’s amusing, and it’s over. Unlike the intelligence business, however, I hope I can just walk away. I’m done with the spy games. They’re rarely as cool and exciting as they sound in the novels. Life without decoder rings, uncertainty, and ill-inspired intrigue is so much better.

I’m ready for the slow life…and I’m happily riding into that sunset.

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