Saturday, April 2, 2011

"Bastard Husband" -- This post's about the guy, not the book

I received this comment yesterday.

Hi Linda,

I was made aware of your blog and book 'Bastard Husband A Love Story' by a friend named Debbie on her blog 'From Venting to Viggo'. I've just started reading your book and enjoy both your humor and honesty. I am a man, married now for 29 years to the same woman and still the best part of my day is coming home to her. I can't relate at all to a so-called man's world that revolves around drinking, gambling, sports, etc. So my wife and I have never had those kinds of problems. But I know I will always be learning how to be a better husband.

Anyway, my question is this (please forgive my being new, if you've already answered this): has your ex read your book, and if so, how has he responded to it?

Best to you,

I thought I'd respond here in a post rather than embed my words in a comment thread that most people are unlikely to see. 

Good question, Ruben, and thank you for commenting.  I've been asked that many times--someone in the audience would invariably ask about BH's take on the book when I had my one-woman show and I still get it whenever I speak to groups.  Yes, "BH" has read it.  I sent him an early version of the manuscript before it was polished and asked if there was anything in there that he wanted taken out.  To his credit, he owned up to everything; after all, it's not a work of fiction.  And as soon as it was published, I sent a couple of copies off to New Zealand--one signed to him and another with just my name.  In fact, he even bought me the laptop on which all the creative magic took place.

For those of you who haven't read it, the story takes place from June 1, 2003, to June 1, 2004 and opens like this.
Today I put my bastard husband on a plane to the other side of the world. He wasn’t always a bastard. He was perfect and I loved everything about him. Well, almost everything. I may never see him again.

There were no last hugs, not even a half-hearted effort to put a few words together. I could have easily come to a rolling stop at the airport and pushed his ass into the passenger drop-off lane; instead, I parked in the short-term lot and stayed with him throughout the check-in process, hoping, I suppose, to see some flicker of caring on his part. But we plodded through the terminal in silence, and when we reached the security checkpoint where I could go no further, he looked in my direction and said, “See ya.”

See ya?

As he walked away and found his place in line, I gave him the finger, right there in the crowded airport. I do that a lot in public places, usually while trying to coax him off a barstool and away from a new-found friend with tavern wisdom far more compelling than anything I have to offer. Hell, I gave him the finger two nights ago in the Green Valley Ranch casino when I couldn’t pry him from the poker table before he marched off on his own because “the dealer gypped him.” He is never aware of my gesture, and although it’s not my most mature practice, I do enjoy an adolescent satisfaction in my passive-aggressive retaliation. It’s just that it wouldn’t have killed him to give me a proper good-bye.

See ya?
Despite what you might infer from this opening scene, and some others in the book, BH and I have remained on good terms over the years, though "good terms" seems like an understatement.  We've always had a strong connection that's transcended our separate hemispheres.  One incident continues to blow my mind.

I want to say this happened back in 2005, but I'm not exactly sure.  I was standing in my apartment, the one I describe in the first chapter, and I smelled smoke.  I'm sniffing around... sniffing, sniffing... but I can't figure out where it's coming from.  As I walked into the spare bedroom, I noticed my arm felt warm.  But I could not find the source of the smell or determine why I felt heat on my arm.

Later that day, I checked my email.  There was a message from BH:  "I've been sending you fire energy."  Well, I got it, all right.  That's the type of freaky connection I'm talking about.

About two years after BH moved to New Zealand, he returned to the U.S. to speak at a conference and arranged for a detour to Las Vegas so we could spend a couple of days--and nights--together.   We spent some time betting on the horses in the Green Valley Ranch sports book, did yoga as we used to, and shared our thoughts on some spiritual books we'd recently read. 

"You have to read Ask and It Is Given," I said, telling him what to do just like the old days. 

I've said a million times that BH and I didn't split up because of lack of compatibility, and when I took him to the airport at the end of his visit, the scene was entirely different.  I parked in the short-term lot and stayed with him through the check-in process as I had a couple of years before.  But this time, neither of us wanted to part, and we were happy to see his flight was delayed--we got a few more minutes to enjoy each other's company.  To kill some time, we stopped in a souvenir store with rows and rows of magnets.  We wandered around separately for a while and then met outside.  By that time, we needed to head toward security.

This time when I could go further, we stood and hugged each other tightly.  There was no "See ya"; instead, he said,  "I have something for you."

BH handed me a magnet with, of all things, a Bible quote written on it.  "Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find..."  Matthew 7:7.

"Thank you," I said.  "That's so thoughtful."  It really was.  "I have something for you, too."  I handed him the magnet I had picked out as a parting gift.

It said, "We've been through so much together... and most of it was your fault!"

BH loved it.  There's a reason why my book is subtitled "A Love Story."

Unless something changed, he's good with it.


Fragrant Liar said...

Great post, Linda. I've read your book and loved it. I believe I posted a review on Amazon, but I'll check to be sure.

Glad you guys are still good friends. It's a shame the obstacles to your long-term love affair were [seemingly] insurmountable.


debadee said...

Bastard Husband just arrived in post today via Amazon - am looking forward to reading it - (I was theivisiblewomanuk but had to change due to a couple of unwanted viewers)

gayle said...

So glad to hear your ex is ok with your book. Sure does make life easier.

Josie said...

Great post Linda. Thanks so much for sharing. I know I've always wondered what BH's take on the book was but didn't want to ask.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post! Thank you for sharing. I need to get my ass together and read the book. I bought it when you first released it and then I got busy with work. I have some free time coming up, so I'm gonna pop that bad boy open and read it!

Debbie said...

Linda - I composed an email to you late Saturday night and then my computer died! UGH. Anyway, wanted to tell you that I am going to order Bastard Husband (I've read your excertps and it's pretty funny). I also wanted to let you know that when I asked if you had OCD I was kidding (re the ordliness of your kitchen magnets) but, I am a neat freak too. I CANNOT STAND CLUTTER AND MESS hence my JOY at the fact that my 26year old stepdaughter is FINALLY MOVING THE FUCK OUT. She's a pig and should be on an episode of Hoarders. Anyway my friend in cyberspace - glad I turned Ruben onto your blog - you're actually posted on my blog and as far as I'm concerned, everyone needs a good laugh at least once a day.