I can’t get a real grip on what exactly I was thinking when I decided to get married. I feel that I just made a decision and then became obstinate: I would go through with it. I knew he was the wrong person…and yet I was in love with him.
It astounds me now to hear myself say those words: “I knew he was the wrong person.” And I married him anyway. How could I have recognized what was fundamentally disastrous in that relationship, and at the same time have felt we would be married “until death do you part”. It doesn’t add up: I could acknowledge the weak spots, but couldn’t envision the future consequences. I couldn’t see down the line of that inevitable sequence of chain reactions.
Still, I didn’t take his last name. “I want to write a book someday, and when I do, I want to use my own name.” And if he ever had to explain it to someone, that’s exactly what he told them. Hearing it gave me a pang of guilt and sadness, and I felt like a fraud. I felt sorry for him, and wondered if he really cared. He said no, but we weren’t always honest about what we were feeling.
As a simple statement, it was true. But I didn’t admit that there was more to my decision than books I never really expected to write. What I didn’t say is that I wasn’t ready to give up all of myself. Not to him. I was not through with her, the girl with my name. I was not willing to relinquish whatever it was that she represented to me. Maybe it was the idea that I should someday be more, and I wanted that more to be branded with my own name.
Not to him. But that’s the kicker: not to him.
Maybe I didn’t trust him enough. Maybe I didn’t have faith that he could lead.
Of course, I was right.
Last time: lighting myself on fire
Next time: Honesty