The marriage ended fifteen years ago.

Typical Beachwood: out of the bed in ’91, out of the house in ’93, final decree in ’95. There was a symmetry to it—what had begun on a blind date and was often a one-sided relationship ended in blind rage and a quite lopsided settlement. So be it. That was then; this is now. It was just not (shall we say?), in the stars.

She was born in Jersey under the same sign as Hitler; I was from Cleveland and, like Robert Kennedy, a Scorpio. She shared a birthday with Saddam Hussein—I with John Keats. And yet somehow, astrology aside, we fell in love, marrying straight out of college …”For a lifetime, “ said Rabbi Gerstein. (I should have bet the “under.”)

The immediate post-marriage was stormy. Not just rainy, stormy. OK, it was a monsoon. We both had to adjust, regroup. In time I determined she would NOT move back east; likewise, at some point she learned it was only a figure of speech when her friends said “Cut his balls off.”

Time is a gift. In coverture, with great derision, she’d call me “Mr. Fun;” it’s heard less these days. By the same token, only on rare occasions do I now utter “Ice Queen” and mean it. A decade and a half later we’re not unlike other couples that fell in love and wed in the ‘70’s: we rarely talk, rarely fight, and never have sex.

Ah, but as Grandma Bogart would say, “the “kinder…”. The kids—our perpetual nexus.

We get along these days. The cease-fire, Stacy says, made her wedding year much easier. Give the ex credit here. Whereas just like Khrushchev of the ‘50’s, she used to slam her shoe down with “We will bury you!”, today there’s true peaceful co-existence. Historians mark the progress.

And so, in the spirit of détente, when she advised a few weeks back of her June 26 flight to New York, I immediately offered a ride to the airport.

“Bruce, that’s so nice of you. Thank you,” she said. (I only wish she’d have finished the sentence; that came a day later):
“Oh, by the way…I’m flying out of Akron.”

And so…at 3:25 PM this past Saturday, my car idled around the corner, a block from her house. After five minutes, like a Berkowitz limo, I approached the driveway, tenderly pulling in at the appointed hour…and I honked.

And honked. And honked.

Blasting away, all the while, was the lawn mower of her gardener. So loud was it that clearly she’d not heard my horn, or my horn, or my horn.

What to do! God forbid I get off my ass and go to the door— Grabbing my cell I noticed she, in fact, had been dialing me. Evidently I didn’t hear the patient lass at 3:30, or 3:31, or 3:32.

A bit later, though, she emerged—the East coast chic, Ann Taylor-bred woman that used to choose MY clothes. Yes, she appeared …on this hot summer day, in a black winter coat.

“Did you forget your skis?”
”I thought it might rain.”
(Game on).

Luggage loaded, seatbelts secure, pulling out, I tendered her money. A clear pre-emptive strike! Before she hinted, before she asked….cash with (as always), a receipt.

“Don’t you trust me?” she asked, when the pen wouldn’t write.
“Of course I do….this is for your protection.”

We drove on—ex-spouses, ex-enemies, BUT in a not-uncomfortable way, the same familiar dynamic: teacher and student.

“You drive too fast!” (she said at 4:00).
“Your music’s old.” (at 4:15 ).
“You drive too slow.” (at 4:30).

Fair is fair, though; she was also willing to learn:

“Bruce,” I heard, as we neared our destination, “Why does the sign still say ‘Airport 11 miles?’”
“Because that’s where it is.”

And so it went: ex-lovers, ex-warriors, with only kids and history in common. For today, though, that’s enough.

And it wasn’t all that bad. In fact, in a Let’s Do This Again But Not Necessarily Tomorrow sort of way, it was fun. It’s better now, since I’ve grown up and she (to her credit), has dropped her scissors. Not quite like the days I’d marvel at the scent of her Estee Laudered blouse, but still… better.

I parked by Departing Passengers, helped her with her suitcase and…attended to unfinished business. There, in the Drop Off lane at Akron-Canton Airport….on better footing…the pen wrote and she finally signed the receipt.

And who doesn’t believe in happy endings?

2 Responses to “AFTER THE GOLD RUSH”

  1. Jackie says:

    Bruce – I had a REALLY lousy day today…Thanks for making me laugh so hard that I cried!!!!

  2. bob says:

    Please don’t get mad but if you two remarried I’m sure it would make for a great reality show. Much better than ” the real housewives”, “the bachelor” or those kids from New Jersey’s program. Or, maybe we could call the show “Whatever happened to George Costnza’s parents?”

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