Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Letter From the Dead Ex-Wife

What is the protocol for attending the funeral of your ex? I don't have an ex, but I have multiple parents. I just don't imagine them showing up for the occasion. The divorce was over 35 years ago. They're strangers. Any bitterness long gone. Not so in this letter.


So nice of you to leave the office for an hour. Yes, shake hands with my parents, nice touch. But then they always liked you, even when I got the lecture about living up to obligations. I suppose my clients will be delighted you’re representing them now. That ought to make you happy. Never thought I’d die from the impact of slamming my head on the glass ceiling, but that’s what it boiled down to. Hah.

Sorry to disappoint if you were expecting something more exotic like Lotus flowers, incense and the Buddha. There’s nothing special about Korean Methodists. If we’d had a church wedding, you’d know that. I don’t know most of these people to tell the truth. The two rows of ladies at the back of the church are in the women’s circle. They made the refreshments, be sure to try a pecan crescent. I’d say they’re to die for, but no cookie is that great.

You’re uncomfortable. I can tell by the way you’re picking lint from your cuff. Look around the room, lots and lots of gray. You should be safe for another twenty years, at least. But it does make you wonder about your mortality. What if you are next? Tomorrow morning you could be reading the paper at the breakfast table while your new wife grades papers before class. They next thing you know, you’re road pizza. The last thing on your mind is Linda; how you didn’t say I love you when you left the house. When she gets a phone call from the Highway Patrol, you want to think that her wails will be as loud as the sirens.

Should I say fat chance? Do I sound bitter? I don’t mean to be. Divorce happens. We were doomed from the start and I won’t pretend otherwise. But let me give you some advice. Don’t let Linda end up loving the dead you more than the live one. After all, the dead you will always be around. Go home after my memorial. Take the afternoon off work, unheard of, I know. And when Linda arrives, tell her something she can’t forget.

Susanna Yoon

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