August 14 is my ex-husband’s birthday.
On August 14, 2010 — the year I filed for divorce — I went on a date and had a wild makeout session with an old college crush. It was the very first time I had kissed another man besides my husband in the heat of passion. I remember feeling exhilarated and awkward. It wasn’t X or his body. It was exciting and strange, all at once; totally unfamiliar. I felt like I was doing something wrong.
I cried the entire next day and never saw the guy again.
2011 saw me finally divorced, traveling and kissing men in France, yet still angry X got away with infidelity and bigamy. In 2012 I was mourning the loss of my first post-divorce relationship.
As the years continue to pass, dates that connect me to X are just not significant anymore. They still exist, but we have both moved on with our lives.
This year, August 14 almost slipped by without incident. I worked a day gig on the Upper East Side and started to pack for my shows in Pittsburgh the following week.
Somehow, I mentioned X to my roommate Christy that evening, as we conversed over a lovely bottle of rose.
“We should raise a glass to him,” she smiled.
“No, I don’t want to do that. Fuck that guy,” I immediately responded, out of habit.
And then I softened.
“No, actually, you know what? You’re right. Let’s toast him. He does not hold the power to hurt me anymore.”
We lifted our glasses into the light. Outside, on 5th Avenue, sirens from the fire station up the street began to blare. A school of yellow and green taxicabs flashed by in a flurry. A double decker bus full of tourists on a sunset drive floated by. And the trees swayed gently in the summer breeze.
I closed my eyes and let the words fall out of my mouth.
“Here’s to the boy who was;
the boy who is;
and the man whom only God has the power to change.”