My brother Mickey works with teens and adults as a mental health counselor. Mickey began his counseling career while he was a
Setting out onto the yellow brick road of singlehood at 40, I could already see it would be a haunted trail. Those of us, man or woman, who have been married a long time, who have birthed children together, dandled and diapered them together, those of us who thought we were building lifelong partnerships before we were betrayed or bored or desolate or dead inside, cannot help but be haunted.
I am completely frozen.
I have just walked out of a pitch meeting in Santa Monica. Wilshire Boulevard is breezy and gorgeous. It
is 4 p.m. I have been married for 17 years and now, it appears, I'm not. For the last 17 years I had a wife, a family, a home, a dock in the open sea of the world.
Moreso, for the last 10 years, I've had chubby, laughing babies to return to, who then morphed into muscled cyclones, ready to hurl themselves onto my back the moment I walked through the door, then preteens, eager to sing me their triumphs, real and imaginary, at school.
At the end of the day, I knew where to go -- home.
I spent months planning our weekend trip to Las Vegas: from an indulgent massage at Mandara day spa and dinner at Mon Ami Gabi to "Mamma Mia" at the Mandalay Bay. Wendy was having a fabulous time.
But when I suggested we go to the top of the Eiffel Tower replica at Paris, where we were staying, my Francophile stopped me cold at the elevator.
"We need to talk," she said.
Did you have an Aunt Coca? My auntie, to whom I am not genetically connected, was a lady we kindly invited to family gatherings because she was alone. It was silently understood that she was an "old maid," one of those unfortunate women who did not marry and have children.
My Aunt Coca, from my child perspective, was an "old" woman. A distinguished blonde lady, a member of the adult clan who clumsily pinched my cheeks and brought gifts. What seemed old then, is close to home now. Like her, I am an unmarried, 40-year-old woman, and I sometimes painfully feel the same loneliness and single-woman stigmas as she did.