Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Conversation

Via Facebook Message, Early Last Week

"Are you okay?"

"Hello, stranger. What are you, psychic -- or am I just that obvious?"

"After how many years I think I can figure out when something's wrong. You've been spending a lot of time in Miami."

"Well done. No, I'm not okay. Jayne and I are separating."

"I was afraid of that. I'm so sorry."

"Yeah. Me too."

"How are you holding up, and how's the baby?"

"The baby's gorgeous. The husband, not so much."

"You never were."

"Fuck you."

"Not anymore, sweets."

"There's no way you broke radio silence just to rub salt in my wounds. Or did you?"

"No. Not this time. I'm truly sorry this is happening to you. You don't deserve it."

"Yeah, that's kind of what I was thinking -- that I've done my penance. Karma already kicked my ass for my past sins; now it's just being spiteful."

"What happened?"

"Jayne's made it abundantly clear that she doesn't want to be married anymore."

"Ouch. So there's really no choice for you."

"It's kind of a 'how much more can I take and still respect myself?' thing at this point."

"Any idea what she's going to do now?"

"She's talking about possibly moving in with this 45 year old single friend of hers -- in Manhattan of course. That or moving Inara's crib into (what was formerly) our (tiny) bedroom and renting (what was formerly) Inara's (even tinier) bedroom out to a college student willing to play babysitter."

"She's going to cram her and her child into one room, hand that child over to a stranger all day, and pretend that it's a great situation?"

"Something like that, I guess. I don't know what she's thinking anymore. I don't doubt that she loves Inara, though, and that she probably sees it as making the best of a bad situation."

"What about you?"

"I've got a couple of really fantastic job opportunities that have popped up in Florida. Originally, Jayne and I had talked about moving down there because we can provide a lot more for Inara -- plus we have family there willing to act as a full-time nanny service for us and help wherever they can. Free daycare from a close relative, to me, beats Consuela from Ecuador to whom you're paying $400 a week. We both figured it might be best for Inara, since New York's almost unmanageable expense-wise without a child; with a baby, it's just a killer. The thing is that now I may be stuck having to go south alone. The jobs are still there (and God knows there's almost nothing in NYC right now) and it would allow me to provide for whatever's left of my family and rebuild a life. I just can't bear the possibility of not waking up to Inara every day."

"So Jayne won't leave New York?"

"Are you kidding? This place is the yellow sun she draws her power from. I think she'd sooner cut off her own arm."

"Then at this point you have to do what's best for you and Inara in the long run. You can't think of you and Jayne as a couple anymore."

"My God. If you'd have told me that a few years ago, I would've laughed at you. I never imagined that Jayne and I could end up like this. I believed so strongly in us."

"I know you did."

"I can't hate her. I'm angry and heartbroken, but I still can't hate her -- first of all because she's Jayne, and secondly because I won't live like that again. I'm not going to spend another year or so walking the earth carrying all that rage for someone who's devastated me."

"No book in this one then, eh?"

"Ha. No. No book. Besides, it's not that interesting a story. Boy-loves-girl, boy-loses-girl is pretty standard stuff. But it does hurt that she's the dedication in Dead Star Twilight. She was my happy ending."

"You of all people should know there are no happy endings."

"There was for you. How's married life treating you, by the way? Better than me, I hope."

"I've never been happier. Ever. He's the best man I know and the one I was always supposed to be with."

"I'm so thrilled for you, honey. I can't even express my joy. But see, you got your happy ending."

"I don't look at it as an ending, like I'm suddenly complete or something."

"Fair enough. But I'm still glad you got what you always deserved."

"You're just glad you're finally off the hook."

"Yeah, right. Speaking of which, any time you'd like to release the curse you put on me years ago, it'd be appreciated."

"This isn't my doing. I forgave you a long time ago. I forgave you for everything."

"Thank you. Thank you so much."

"Jayne may not have been the right person for you, but that doesn't mean that the right person isn't out there somewhere. The road ahead probably isn't clear through the pain you're feeling at the moment, but I've found that things have a way of working out."

"I wish I could believe that, I really do. But come on -- I'll soon be divorced for the third time. I think someone's trying to tell me something. I mean, it's pretty obvious that I'm impossible to live with; 50-million Elvis fans can't be wrong, if you get my drift. It's gotta be me, right? You know what my big fear is, though -- the thing I wake up at night in a cold sweat over? I've spent most of my adult life playing the part of the cynic -- the lovable misanthrope. But the truth is that I've always had faith in certain things. I've always believed in everlasting love. You don't get married three times and not buy into that ideal. Now, though, something's different. I'm older. I've been through so much anguish; some of it self-inflicted, some not. I'm just exhausted and I don't believe anymore. Not in love. Not in anything. If Jayne can be the right person, the person I'm absolutely sure of, then eventually turn out to be the wrong person -- the one who hurts me more than anyone else ever has -- how can I trust anything or anyone from here on out? How can I trust myself? If someone who's loved you and has been devoted to you for years can suddenly wake up one morning and decide that they don't want you anymore -- and there's nothing you can do about it -- how can you ever, ever feel safe? I'm so tired of hurting.

"I know. But you're looking at this the wrong way. You're forgetting the good times you had with Jayne. You're forgetting the times you were happy with her. You just expected them to last forever instead of accepting that it's the natural order that everything has a beginning and an end. Even relationships, sometimes.

"Jayne and I loved each other with all this passion. We were like the AIG of relationships: too big to fail."

"And we all know what happened to AIG."

"Yeah. I just miss her. I miss my wife."

"You'll get through this. I promise."

"Thank you. Again."

"Anytime. Take care of yourself, Chester."


Anonymous said...

For someone who by his own admission is the only one to blame for the break-down of his thee marriages, there are an awful lot of people willing to share and feel your pain don't you think? Even ex-wives/girlfriends by the looks of it.

Chez, I dont know either you or Jayne, but it seems that at least this time around it's not you. I just hope that someday soon you will have the strength of heart to admit that to yourself.

Take care man.

trish said...

Wooooow. The return of Abby.

Anonymous said...

Ah, the plot thickens. Well, the fans of your book will probably be excited to read this one. Abby does indeed return as the heroine when Jayne turns out to disappoint.

Was your past too much for her to handle maybe? I know she's younger than you. Maybe she just couldn't handle it.

The interesting part is that you say jayne was supposed to be your happy ending, but it seems you just have to admit that you weren't her happy ending (And not in the massage parlor way.)

I don't know. Not my call of course not really knowing you, I just know there is always another side. Just be nice to each other, ok?

sherry said...

I know that I only know you and Jayne through your blogs, and that I obviously don't begin to fathom the particulars of your situation, although I'd begun fearing the worst during the past few weeks. But I know that as fabulous as the first year of having a baby is, it's also exhausting and stressful and hormonal, and it makes you kind of crazy. If not crazier. I'm not suggesting that anyone will/should change her mind, but I also remember someone telling me I shouldn't make any big decisions while I was so strung out on baby-dom.

That being said, if it's not going to work, you are doing the right thing. I grew up with two parents who were absolutely emotionally brutal to each other but were determined to make it "work for the sake of the child." To hell with that--children aren't stupid. They know that things are wrong, and they assume that it's their fault. You are sparing Inara that, at the very least, which is one of the best gifts that you could ever give her as a parent.

Just take it day by day. Or hour by hour, if need be.

Chez said...

No one's a heroine (or hero). No one disappointed. Things just are what they are. It hurts and I'm angry, but I'm trying not to assign too much blame.

Deacon Blue said...

I've got no sage advice for you Chez, except not to think of three divorces as a sign of the rest of your life. I have an uncle I love dearly and who's a truly great guy, and it took him until #4 to get it right. Without the power to see into another's heart and mind (and that would bring its own share of miseries), there's just no way to know if someone is truly the right fit for you, if they dig you as much as you dig them, etc.

Would that love were a science...even a social science...instead, it's mostly improv. Sometimes improvisation is brilliant, sometimes it's decent, and often it's painful to watch.

Peace, and all the best to you and yours.

Suzy said...

come to detroit for a weekend. that'll lift your spirits. : )

i love you, chez. you know that, though. call if you need me.

Lily's Mommy said...

Grab Inara and RUN!

Peach said...

I've read your book and read this blog for a while now.
I must say this: even when you wax angry you do it with a fair amount of insight. This makes it come off less immature and bullish and more human and understandable.

It's okay to be angry.
The only way to get through it is to feel your pain. Just give in and feel it.

Sorry again to hear about this news. Sucks. Big time.

Heather Hansma said...

I don't think it is you that is the "problem". I just keep thinking about how many people there are on the planet, how many different aspects each person has, how many different things that have happened to create who they are. People always think about and cite statistics when it comes to marriage. Well, doesn't it make sense that statistically it takes a lot of attempts to find the one person who you'll be with until death? Statistically, some are going to find that earlier than others.

My heart aches for you regardless. Please do take care of yourself.

Austin said...

I stand alone on a hilltop, caught somewhere between the trinity of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

I stand alone not because I must, nor because I choose, but merely because I do.

I stand alone as I always have, as I always will, and it doesn't really bother me that much any more.

I stand alone in all my battles, and though I'm lonely, I'll survive, because I know:

At least I stand.

Anonymous said...

Lily's Mommy: Is that necessary? do you know them?

Mr. Controversy said...

I know you said there's "no book in this" but recent developments (coupled with a possible need to change the dedication, if you see fit) would make it a good time to revise Dead Star Twilight.

That, and you could issue an updated version, which would in turn spike sales upwards and make it even more marketable to the print medium. Think of it as "DST: The Updated Paperback". Take the pain, and spin it into gold. Theraputic, cathartic gold.

Chris said...

Be well, Chez, we're rooting for you.

Chez said...

No, MC. Billy Joel's Just the Way You Are isn't any less meaningful just because he wound up getting divorced from the woman he wrote it for.

Ironic said...

Chez, I'm a long-time reader of this site and have commented a couple of times. I didn't like you at first but I've kept reading and I've grown to like you and your points of view. I respect you and hope everything works out for you, Jayne, and your beautiful daughter, Inara. Pain sucks, but it ends sometime.

N. said... careful, okay? You know what I mean.

Chez said...

I do?

Anonymous said...

Not that you care to take any advice from some sniveler who posts anonymously but this is really aggressive toward Jayne. It's hard for me to see how this strategy can be read as anything other than punishing.

And there's something skin-crawling about the public rendering of the implosion of your marriage. I've enjoyed this blog, your stance that veers from the recherche to the louche. I'm sure you're hurting, too. But for me, this is all way too much information.

Suddenly Single said...

I have been reading your blog for a while now, and although I have not followed your relationship(s) too closely, the posts about the end of your marriage have been hitting home. Specifically, the day I read your post about the end of your marriage was the day my husband decided to end ours.
It came without warning, and without any hope for reunion. I know how difficult it is, and reading about your situation has helped me tackle my own pain.
I thought my husband was my happy place, and now suddenly single, I have to recreate that happy, safe place within myself.
I wish you peace during your journey.

Anonymous said...

To Anon 5:42-

Chez is venting within quite reasonable boundaries without crossing that line of TMI. The support he is getting from his fans and friends is far greater than your capacity to comprehend.

If you want to see some venomous rants that may go a little too far, look for any of my posts but leave Chez the hell alone and let the man go through his process the way he needs to.

Your showing that you have the empathy of a cinder block is of no interest to anybody here.

Felis Femina said...

Well, I do know you both and, for what it's worth (which is almost nothing), I don't think you're the problem.

Handel said...

I only know you through this blog and I am not trying to kick someone while they are clearly down and hurting but...I kind of get a sense of your personality from your writing (as I'm sure many of your readers do) and I'm guessing that you are a difficult person to live with. Lots of vitriol saved up for almost any topic. Contentious, negative, always right. Looks like you are sharing for a reason and that is why I am chiming in. I have had some of my past relationships end for exhibiting the exact same characteristics. You may want to take this as an opportunity to change more than your habits, but also your perspective on life and how you interact with the ones you love.

I don't mean this to insult you and feel free to exercise your moderator powers. I really do like your blog.

Nika said...

I'm so sorry, Chez. All the very best to you, Jayne, and little Inara. Don't be too hard on yourself.

C Riedel-de Haen said...

You don't know me and I only know you through your writings. Be that as it may, pain is a common experience to all human beings, and therefore I have an idea --however remote-- of what you are feel and thinking.

My heart goes out to you and yours. I wish you the best,

A faithful reader in Houston.

Anonymous said...

Wow, sorry. Is there some way you can have custody of Inara in Florida for awhile? You've been her primary caretaker so long, maybe having her a bit longer will help. This really sucks. I don't find it TMI at all, I had intuited most of it and want as many details as you'll share. All the best.

Al said...

There was a part of me that mumbled "could it be some brilliant April Fool's joke?" when I realized the timing.


Head south with the kid and get some distance / perspective. As trite as it sounds, the days will pass and the next road ahead will appear.

It's really a shame, but you two have a wonderful little girl and will find a way to make it work because of her.

slouchmonkey said...

How about a session on the trap kit? Headphones. Cue:

1. Creep, Radiohead
2. Cashmere, Led Zep
3. LA Woman, The Doors
4. Deacon Blues, Steely Dan
5. Take Five, Bru (good luck w/ the 5/4)

Your list would probably be better than mine. Take care.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:42 is probably Jayne. Ha.

Anonymous said...

Chez, I am so, so sorry. It seems like if Jayne cared as much as she should, she would find a way to also move to Florida (not WITH you necessarily, but move regardless) to at least be in a place near her daughter who can be taken care of by family. It seems like you two could work out a really nice custody agreement being close together but also near family and in a place where you could have a job. Am I right that last time you two lived there, she worked in a restaurant? I am sure she could find work. What is it with New Yorkers who refuse to leave New York? It's annoying. I lived in New York in a while but had no hesitation in leaving when an opportunity presented itself elsewhere.
Anyway, take care of yourself. I hope this all works out. It's just.. so sad.

Erica Dee said...

To Handel & Chez: My mother told me I'd never be happy because I was too honest and blunt with people, and a lot of the times, the truth hurts and the worst part was I was most of the time right.

Our personalities should not predestine us to misery. Rather they DO not.

But many times people think people can or will change.

My favorite advice/quote Chez is religious even though I am not, I firmly believe that if we can achieve this in our lives- the serenity, the courage and the wisdom, then we can truly be happy.

"Lord grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

We're here for you.

Anonymous said...

Abby is sweet.

jodi54 said...

I am just so sorry, Chez.

When you're ready, I hope you will learn to love being alone. Oddly enough, that's when the right person comes along.

Donal said...

I was sad reading all of this. I've twice been an absentee Dad, living far from my daughters. It's very hard to keep up with the visits and have a life. Good luck to you.

Sylvan said...

Isn't advice from the Internet fun? There's always at least one person who says "It's totally not your fault, obviously she's crazy" and at least one person who says "Man, it's got to be you, you should change your entire personality so you can land the next ex-Mrs-Chez."

Neither is true, at least not wholly. No one should change for love, though we are all changed by love. For what it's worth, here's a total stranger just saying: I'm sorry you have to go through this. All three of you.

Just keep breathing. It may not seem like it, and it's cheesy as all fuck, but the world is better off with you here.

Artemisian said...

It's a hollow thing to say, but my absolute condolences. As someone who's father had three divorces and mother had two - including each other - I know how it tears people apart, especially from my own breakups.

To Anon 5.42, if this makes you uncomfortable, I highly recommend not reading it. You can't really 'overshare' on a selective medium. So it's a moot point, and I don't suggest you dwell on it.

To Chez; I don't know you except for on here (must be sick of hearing that by now) but I have a vast amount of sympathy for your position and what you're going through. If nothing else, know that you have the support of numerous invisible readers and commenters from across the world who choose to care about you as a person.

Only the best of wishes :)

Entropy Hed said...

Hi Chez,
No pearls of wisdom and I only know you from this blog, but I just wanted to let you know that 9 months ago I was in the exact same position and my marriage of 20 years evaporated almost over night. I've had more bad days than good, but I'm alive today because of my son and how much I love him.

I'm thinking of you.


winged unicorn said...

chez: you WILL survive this.
and you will find love, love that doesn't rip your guts out, love that makes you feel good about yourself, that you can conquer the world, that you can be the person you want to be, without niggling doubts about where she is or what she's doing or thinking, in the most unexpected place.

and it may be at the other end of the world but you'll find that isn't too far.

Anonymous said...

I'm new here, and I don't know you, but I'm sorry that you are going through this. When depressed, I always feel a little better after reading these quotes (they're a bit cheesy, but I'm a bit cheesy... so it makes sense. Anyways, I hope they help)...

"You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection."

"The mind is everything. What you think you become."

"You only lose what you cling to."

"The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly."

"You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger."

"Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned."

"There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills."

"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

And of course, "Time heals all wounds."

You'll get through this. Have faith. BTW, I'm really not this deep... Take care!

Anonymous said...

Chez my sincere best wishes to both of you, that you BOTH are happy and successful as the changes take place. It is always sad, but, as you know, separation fequently leads to positive personal and social changes. And my hope most of all, is that Inara will not be too much ill effected by the separation.

Both of you will always have a support system here in southern cali....take care man!

Peach said...

I heard this song today and my God did it remind me of you. It's called Elle ma'dit (she said).

This phrase in particular:
Alors j'ai éteint la télé
mais je n'ai pas trouvé le courage,
par la fenêtre de me jeter :
Mourir d'amour n'est plus de mon âge...

I turned off the television
Yet I could not find the courage
To throw myself out the window
I'm far too old to die for love...

Tara Parker said...


Aside from your brilliant writing, I kept reading your blog because I was touched by how much you and your wife seemed to love each other.

I'm sorry for what you are going through.

Hang in there.

Anonymous said...

As a fellow blogger, I completely understand your compulsive need to put your side of the story out there, especially when you are hurting so badly. As a friend of Jayne's... I wish this post could've been as classy and respectful as the previous two or three. Publishing a facebook conversation that is nothing more than two people talking @#$% about someone's very personal decision? I think you're better than that. Jayne absolutely deserves better than that.

I would venture to guess that the whole situation is not as black and white (or red and blue) as you make it seem above. No matter who makes the final "decision", it truly takes two to break up any relationship.

That said, it is your blog and emotional outbursts are allowed. You are both beautiful, brilliant people, with an amazingly beautiful baby to focus your life and love on. I'm truly sorry again for what you BOTH are going through.


Anonymous said...

So does this mean you're available?

I live in Miami and can be over your house in 10 minutes.

Sarah K.

graceamazes said...

"... has made it abundantly clear that ... doesn't want to be married anymore."

From one who heard this about 18 months ago (after a 20 year marriage), I have a great deal of empathy for you, Chez. And I've learned -- most painfully -- that it takes two to have a marriage but just one to end it. (And this one is #2 for both of us -- LAST for me.)

I wish the best to all of you, but especially to you and Inara. I offer no excuses that my loyalties are with the one who wanted to stay and the one who had no voice.

My daughters are 16 and 18 and are devastated at the implosion and loss of the family they trusted and felt secure in. Odd as it may sound, perhaps Inara's age may protect her from similar pain.

Peace, blessing, and grace,
(whether you believe or not [wink])

graceamazes said...

To CG/Anonymous, who said:
"I would venture to guess that the whole situation is not as black and white (or red and blue) as you make it seem above. No matter who makes the final "decision", it truly takes two to break up any relationship."

Though I concur that there is no such thing as a perfect spouse and no relationship is ever black and white, I completely disagree that it takes two to break up a relationship. All it takes is one who chooses not to stay in it, as no one can control the decisions of or change the mind of another person -- even his/her spouse. I do not know Chez or Jayne and cannot speak to how mutual their decision was, but there are many times that the decision is made unilaterally and unalterably and can introduce you to a community of people who can testify to that fact.

[Sorry for the hijack...]

Gina said...

I read your blog fairly regularly and have posted a few times, though not recently. And I just have to say how very sorry I am that this is happening to you --- all of you, Inara included.

You mentioned that your visceral faith in love is beyond tested and almost gone entirely. You feel you cannot believe in anyone or anything anymore, not even yourself. I just think that you need to step back from that feeling for just a moment and realize that it's because you DO still have such strong trust in love that you are hurting so badly right now.

As others have said, it will get better. Trust your love for Inara, if nothing else. That alone will get you across those most treacherous gorges of sadness.

Never forget that she's the very definition of love.

Take care <3


Anonymous said...

I am fairly new to reading you, unless you count what's been forwarded to me by others. And, I have e-mailed you twice...once about this. In that latter e-mail, I shared a bit of my own personal & admittedly sordid story - and that was a really brief synopsis. So. I certainly don't know either of you, but I can sympathize and, to a degree, empathize. You said:
I'm just exhausted and I don't believe anymore. Not in love. Not in anything.
Oh, I know that feeling. I really do, especially when you are on the receiving end of someone's irrevocable decision. To NOT be with you. But, please...for the sake of your child, feel the pain and then, even if you cannot 100% let it go, please try not to let it color HER world, any more than it inevitably will. I'm on good terms with my ex, but his mom, with whom I never was, is a mind-poisoner and I have had to deal with the fallout. I am in NO WAY saying that either of you would do that to each other, but...children are so intuitive. Take good care of yourself and the baby. And, as horribly trite as this may sound...time and distance may lend a little perspective. I still adore my ex - hell, I proposed - but I tend to romanticize things, because HE ended it. And there are times - not many, but times - when I am actually glad that he IS an ex. Maybe, Chez, she's doing what you wouldn't have had the courage to do yourself, and a little ways down the road, the scales will fall from your eyes. At least, you can hope.

Anonymous said...

Oh man I'm going through a divorce too, we've been together for 9 years and have a great 4 yr old boy. The X has an ever growing list of demands that I have to fulfill in order to sustain her happiness. Let's go hit a strip club, I'm in NOLA.

Deacon Blue said...

I know that CG's take on this is as a friend of Jayne's, and colored because of that, but am I the only one who thought that the "bitching" about Jayne was pretty low level from a guy who clearly doesn't want his marriage to end?

I mean, I didn't walk away from this post with a sense that Jayne is a villain or a bitch but rather that she and Chez clearly aren't seeing eye to eye on a couple major things and are moving in two different directions in life.

Morrighan said...

Somehow, I kept wishing this was a really uncomfortable and, yes, brilliant April 1st story. Guess you weren't the only one, Al.

I don't have anything to add here, Chez. I share all the positive sentiments written above. I too was so happy for you to have found what seemed like perfect happiness. Crap, that must stung like hell.

I just hope you two can work it out where Inara's concerned. She's a cutie pie.

Know that you DESERVE that cutie.

Anonymous said... response to my "booty call" offer. Let me sweeten the pot for you...

I'm 5ft 5in tall.
Full C cup
Long auburn red hair
25 years old
Body compared to Jessica Alba's
Face compared to Kristen Bell
Will do all the work in bed
Will treat you like the god you are

Picture to follow. Oh and disease and drug free.

Oh and I'm an old friend of "Abby's". But you and I never met.

Curious? Let me know!

Sarah K.

Sue said...

As a fellow cynic who has also always believed in love, I have had my heart torn to pieces many times when love ended. After my divorce, I probably felt about how you're feeling now. How could I ever trust anyone again? I was so sure he was the one; what happened? How could I ever love again? Hell, what was there to hope for anymore? I was so hurt and betrayed. Somehow, though, my hope and my belief in love came back, and I truly hope that yours does too. Breathe, and remember, things like this are really no one's fault. I've had so many men cheat on me, leave me, break my heart. Yet, I cannot reasonably conclude that since I am the common factor in all of these failed relationships, it is somehow my fault. Because it isn't. And this isn't your fault either. Take care of yourself and Inara.

Chez said...

Sarah K. -- why do I get the feeling you're really Chris Hansen?

randy said...

Don't trust them Chester.. I never had any friends!

Chez said...

Now that made me smile.

Anonymous said...

CG: If Chez wants the entire family to stay together and wants to try and make his marriage work, and Jayne wants no part of it, then she IS to blame. She wants what is best for herself, NOT for her baby, and definitely not for Chez. So I respect that you are her friend and sticking up for her, but she made this decision.

celery said...

i'm really sorry to learn about your painful situation.