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"My first wife will forever have the flu on our honeymoon and my second will always have a cold."

My first wife had the flu for our honeymoon. My second caught a cold. My third wife caught nothing except me, an infection for which there might not be any effective cure, thank heavens. My first marriage ended after I'd fallen in love and turned into a giddy and somewhat irresponsible seventeen year old at thirty-five, my first and most significant mid-life crisis. My second marriage ended after I told a terrible lie. Accused of carrying on an affair I had not engaged in, I admitted to it after realizing that I could never convince anyone, who's identity so utterly depended upon me being such a cad, that she'd just imagined my infidelity. She despised my kids, anyway, which meant in my mind that she deeply despised me. Neither of these disconnects ever got talked out, for each was beyond words to explain. My first wife insisted that we go see a marriage counsellor, but refused to go back a second time when she discovered that the counsellor wouldn't take sides. I continued seeing her and still speak with her today. She's served as my fair witness and refuses to take pay because she insists that I'm an interesting case. My second wife just asked that I thereafter think of her as dead.

While both relations became beyond words as they moved into their ex- states, conversations continued in my head.
I'd honestly try to fairly represent both perspectives in hope of resolving my own existential dread. I might not have always been the most wonderful of husbands, but I never learned to live alone. I've never learned to successfully argue both sides of any controversy that's grown beyond words. An ounce of acceptance seems worth a ton of talking cure when a once-loving relationship matures beyond words.

Both my exes still visit me in my dreams, wanting to continue conversations we'd never properly ended. Sometimes they chide me to come to
their senses. Other times, they seem to love me again and leave me wondering where we might have gone had our words not expired—while The Muse peacefully slumbers beside me. I carry no deep regrets, only remnants of fundamentally irreconcilable differences which had been there all along, but only became troublesome when we finally came to realize that words would never come along to reconcile them. Divorces are speechless for one damned good reason, though no words could ever explain that reason to anyone, it being securely beyond words and all.

I live so many simultaneous lives that I could probably be diagnosed with some form of schizophrenia. Disembodied voices haunt me sometimes, though I'm always certain where those voices originate. They seem to be the echoes of failed dialogues, of conversations never undertaken, of stories left unresolved and therefore never finished from that place beyond words. I feel every bit an infant, failing to form familiar words into coherent responses, words I hear echoing around me but not yet of my world. I recognize the tone and the dialect, but cannot replicate the sounds. They reverberate around me, as if taunting me to say something beyond words, just this once, so that I might fall back into untroubled sleep. My first wife will forever have the flu on our honeymoon and my second will always have a cold.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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