Not everything in life turns out how you expect, or at least hope, it will turn out. In fact, most things don’t.
That fact didn’t dissuade Melissa from eventually getting remarried after several years of not dating at all after a very protracted and unpleasant divorce from her first husband. He stalked her endlessly throughout the divorce process, spouting ridiculous protestations about his dissatisfaction over their separation and tormented professions of his undying love for her.
“God help me,” she thought to herself every single time he showed up wherever she was. And while she attempted to get all thoughts of him out of her head, those efforts were largely unsuccessful since she saw him nearly every day. She’d look out her office window and see his car repeatedly circling the building. Or she’d lounge by the pool at her condo, only to have him walk right in the not-so-secure security gate and grab a seat next to her, then launch into a very deep, and very one-sided, conversation about how they needed to get back together.
So, it was at this juncture in her life that Melissa should have been a much more jaded person. But Melissa tended to float through life with extreme optimism, constantly convincing herself that both her rainbow, and her knight on a white horse simply had to be just over the horizon.
And while Melissa did have some concerns about her new and second husband, Emiliano, before she married him, it seemed that buried somewhere beneath the surface of all his braggadocio there might actually be a decent human being. She’d uncover more about that in due time. In the meantime, he was big enough and aggressive enough that he could easily take on her ex-husband, should the arc of his stalking behavior turn violent.
But, unfortunately, about a month into her marriage with Emiliano, Melissa realized her mistake. She realized there was absolutely nothing she could do that he wouldn’t find fault with. He could unleash anger at the smallest infraction. When she removed her shoes near the door, not right by the door, they were in the wrongplace and she had to duck when he threw all her shoes to the right place. And when she first entered the house each night after returning home from work and had the audacity to stop and peek at the mail on the kitchen counter, he flew into a rage that she hadn’t walked in and immediately sat down at the table for dinner. And whenever Melissa wanted them to go to a friend’s party or get-together, Emiliano always picked a huge fight with her, so she’d be too upset to go and thus he was immediately freed up to embark on his usual evening ritual of Xanax-ing up in front of the TV. With all of that, she knew their days were numbered.
Keeping all of that in the back of her mind, one Saturday, they piled into the car for Emiliano’s daughter’s softball game. And that was when Melissa finally met Emiliano’s ex-wife, Candace. Melissa was surprised to learn that Candace wasn’t at all the medusa that Emiliano had made her out to be. She actually seemed like a pretty pleasant person. Melissa was stunned and had to know more.
Melissa and Candace chatted throughout the softball game, while Emiliano sat at the other end of the bleachers giving them both the stink-eye throughout the entire game. As they were all walking to their cars, Candace whispered to Melissa, “Phew boy, you are going to get it when you get in the car. But I want you to know, if you ever leave Emiliano, I’ll make sure you can still spend time with our daughter.”
And that’s when Melissa knew Candace was going to have to be her new best friend.
A few months later, after Melissa was subjected to more of Emiliano’s verbal abuse and rage, she filed for divorce. And Melissa and Candace started going out together every weekend. They took Saturday morning walks, followed by hours of idling at Starbucks over coffee and exchanging Emiliano stories. And what they soon learned was that every single fight Candace and Emiliano had, Melissa and Emiliano had also had.
“Did he force you to make your bank account a joint account within weeks of the wedding, so he’d have access to all of your money?”
“Did he yell at you that he didn’t like you to put lotion on your entire body after the shower because he didn’t like you being ‘slippery’?”
“Did he stop what he was doing right in the middle of sex if his mother called?”
“Did he keep you up all night fighting before an important day at work the next day?”
It went on and on. Emiliano had a playlist that he used with every woman.
Soon Melissa and Candace were going out to clubs together every Saturday night, dancing and laughing at the ridiculous stories men would tell them to try to convince them to go spend the night with them.
They became positively inseparable and called, texted, and emailed each other several times a day, every day. Candace came over to Melissa’s house every weekend to swim in her pool and they laid on chaises, chatted, and worked on their tans together for hours.
Before long, they were a duo that did everything together, regardless of whether or not one of them had a man in their life. After a while, it seemed that a lot of men assumed they would get a “two for one” deal with them, which had them laughing endlessly about how that was never going to happen.
Eventually they decided they were spending so much time together, they might as well sell their individual houses and pool their money together to share a home. They found the perfect house that was more than twice the size of their two individual homes combined, and had a lawyer draw up a contract between them and they lived happily together for decades.
By the time Melissa and Candace reached their mid-80s, their kids had had enough of their endless hilarity together and sent them off to an assisted-living facility, with adjoining rooms, obviously. And their zest for life kept them both going well into their 90s, as they drove the all the widowers crazy by flirting with them all, knowing neither one of them had any intention of taking things further with another man for the rest of their lives.
By the time they were both declining in health, they still kept each other going, until Melissa finally slipped away one night in the middle of the night. Within 24 hours, Candace slipped away too. Neither of them could possibly head into the afterlife without their ex-husband’s ex-wife by their side helping them navigate another dimension while they both pulled pranks, told ridiculous jokes (still about Emiliano), and laughed until their sides ached.