I Went To The Desert To Get A Divorce, But Didn’t Know It Until I Was There

In the desert you can remember your name
‘Cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain.

I’m headed home today after spending a week in the desert.

The house where I stayed was at the end of a mile-long unpaved road, surrounded by cactuses and hills of rock and rubble. The owners said it was often used to host weddings, but to me, it felt more like the place to go after a divorce.

Out in the middle of nowhere, with the hard edges and prickly landscapes and the quiet, it felt like a detox.

Midway through the week, sitting atop that pile of rocks in the distance, behind the rusted iron dancing man, I read one of my journal entries dated December 28 of last year.

I’ve made my ‘not-writing’ part of my history. Significant and intimate. I’ve married it and now it is the ball and chain of a forced partner.

A forced partner. No passion. No lust. No wanting to grab my writing and kiss it in the mouth, hard and deep, unabashedly and without restrain. The same way I will kiss my husband after six days away.

Sitting atop that pile of rocks, with my brown suede journal and can of Fresca, I laid on my back and let the sun cover me, trying to remember how long I had been married to not writing.

I want a divorce. 

I didn’t think it, or wish it, or realize it. I said it out loud. And then, I said it again, louder, pushing the words out the same way you teach your kids to say “NO!” to strangers.

I want a divorce. 

There is so much more I want to say about this week, but my hour of free wifi at the John Wayne Airport has now dwindled to 11 minutes.

I want to talk about saying what you want out loud. About Lorraine quiche and page 103 in Kathryn Harrison’s Road to Santiago where she writes, “…the profound mystery of friendship: love outside of lust or blood.” And how it felt like her words were written just for me after spending a night in front of a fire with four women I can’t live without.

I want to write about the day I spent trying to put the complexities of the mother-daughter relationship into an essay, and how later that night, sitting in a graffiti covered bathroom stall, I found the words “Denise says Fuck U!” scrawled larger than all the other graffiti. (Denise is my mother’s name.)

I want to write about how my mother would love this detail.

But, I’m on a wifi-enforced deadline here, so all these things I want to write will have to wait. Which is fine. I’m no longer married to not-writing.







5 thoughts on “I Went To The Desert To Get A Divorce, But Didn’t Know It Until I Was There

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  1. Thank you for the reminder, I’m also fighting for shared custody of all the memories I’ve curated while not writing so that I have plenty material.


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