Celebrating Divorce


by Carol Deppe


Last Sunday Charlie and I got divorced. We planned just a simple ceremony attended by the families and a few close friends. Charlie didn't even want the families there, but I remembered the last time I got divorced. From Brian it was, that time. We just went out and did it, and boy was my old man mad, even though I called him right afterwards, and he was the first to know.

"What!" he shouted. I had to hold the phone away from my ear. "What is this! Three times you've been divorced, and never once you invite your ma and pa!"

"I'm sorry, Pa," I said. "I just didn't think of it."

"Didn't think of it? Didn't think of it? Well, think. You're my only daughter. I want my chance to take back the bride."

I was touched. "I didn't realize you felt that way," I said. I'll remember next time."

"You better," he growled, and hung up.

So we had to invite Pa, and if Pa, then Ma too. And we couldn't invite my parents without inviting Charlie's. And I had to invite my brother Rich, my big brother. He always looked after me and stuck up for me, and he'd be hurt if we invited Pa and not him. And if Rich, then my other brothers, and Charlie's brothers and sisters, and assorted other relatives on both sides. And of course, friends.

My best friend, Celia, started complaining about how I'd never given her a chance to give me a shower, which was true enough, since I'd always been in a hurry at that end. So, she said, how about a pre-divorce shower? It seemed reasonable.

Charlie's father offered to foot the bill for the whole shebang. "If I'da been asked to pay for the wedding it would have been adding insult to injury," he said. "But I'll gladly finance the divorce."

So it turned into a gala affair. We hired a hall and sent out nine hundred engraved invitations. We had catering. Cake. Champagne.

Before the festivities was the ceremony, which was short, simple, and moving. The minister stood up before the throng with Charlie and me beside him, hand in hand.

"Can anyone here see any reason why this man and woman should be together?" he asked.

"No, no," came the shouts from the crowd. "We never could!"

Then the minister turned to me and said, "Are you willing to stay with this man, now and forever, in sickness and health, even if he never gives you any, becomes alcoholic, tries to beat you, or changes completely into someone else?"

"No way!" I responded emphatically.

He turned then to Charlie and asked, "Are you willing to stay with this woman, now and forever, in sickness and health, including if she never gives you any, turns totally nuts, or takes up a hobby of regularly belittling everything you ever stood for?"

"No! Of course not!" Charlie replied.

We dropped our hands and stepped apart.

"Then," said the minister, "let no man try to put back together what God has torn asunder!"

"Hurrah!" yelled Charlie's father.

"Amen! Let's eat!" said mine.

And we did.