Nine Times out of Ten

I ate eggs and spicy avocado toast the morning my parents told me they were getting a divorce. The eggs were soft-boiled — the first I’d had. Their sunny yellow yolks seeped straight into my crisscrossed toast. Too bright.

The morning my parents actually got a divorce, I woke up to a slit of light sneaking through the shade nearest my head, and thought, again: too bright.

We converged in the kitchen. I made a bowl of oatmeal for my mom; my brother made a stack of pancakes for my dad. (Her recipe. His favorite.)


We worked together quietly. Shuffling between burners, handing over spoons, passing back berries.


The butter smelled good. I think that’s what I’ll remember. Pre-divorce smelled like butter, just before it burns.

The cleanup wasn’t bad. My brother stuck the griddle (going) under the spray and I left the small pot (staying) to soak in the sink. Going, staying. I think it must be easier to be the one who goes.


We’re both going — my mom and I. She’s just going a little bit earlier than I am.


My brother is helping her with the drive. I’m really glad — he’s a good driver, and he’ll look out for her. He’ll make her laugh.

We didn’t do much laughing yesterday. After breakfast, we folded ourselves into the Fiat for a final time and dropped Mom at the curb outside of the courthouse downtown. I’d never noticed it before — how could I have overlooked a building that big? Then we went to a local coffee shop. Mostly to kill time, but also to have something else to look at, too.


By mutual agreement, we steered clear of the cozy corners. Took two seats at the bar. My brother bought my latte — he’s been doing that lately. We didn’t say much, but it was comforting. The coffee and the company, both.

I think I might just camp out in coffee shops, for the next week. Yesterday was horrific, post-coffee. I can’t be home.


I wonder how long lattes will taste like post-divorce, to me. This is somewhat of a bummer, because I really loved my lattes. Now I think they taste atrociously expensive and just little bit too bitter, but then again, what do I really know.

“You don’t know when you’re twenty-three. You don’t know what it really means to crawl into someone else’s life and stay there. You can’t see all the ways you’re going to get tangled, how you’re going to bond skin to skin. How the idea of separating will feel in five years, in ten, in fifteen. When Georgie thought about divorce now, she imagined lying side by side with Neal on two operating tables while a team of doctors tried to unthread their vascular systems. She didn’t know at twenty-three.” -Rainbow Rowell, Landline

Here is what I do know: I am in no rush to get married.

But do you remember two years ago, when I was? When we both were?

I can’t help but think about it now. It’s been almost exactly two years since the week we first — finally — met. We watched subtitled movies in the dark for a week straight, and I tilted my knees a fraction of an inch closer to his every night. It felt bold (I am generally not bold). I remember thinking — wildly, incredulously — I am in love with this boy. I am in love with this boy, and he has not even tried to hold my hand.

We traded a dictionary back and forth long before we exchanged anything else. Damn the Atlantic, I still remember thinking. Damn the Atlantic Ocean. But it didn’t matter. It didn’t matter all, in the beginning. It didn’t even give us pause.


I wonder if 9 times of out 10, marriage (the prospect of it or the reality of it) manages to take something delicate and sweet and fragile, BE-CAREFUL, and crush it. Completely.

I wonder if that’s cynical. If I’m going to be cynical, now. I hope not — it feels a little early to feel that way.

“Sometimes our lives can change so fast that the change outpaces our minds and hearts. It’s those times, I think — when our lives have altered but we still long for the time before everything was altered — when we feel the greatest pain.” -Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel


2 thoughts on “Nine Times out of Ten

  1. Maybe it’s time to switch to cafe au lait — milkier, much less bitter, and something new. Still comforting. And it comes it a bowl often! So you can wrap your hands around it. Even when you can’t wrap your head around everything else. xx hang in there

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