She asked whether I'd taken any time to grieve for my marriage to Nancy. I asked what she meant and she explained that even with all the bad things about it, it was still big part of my life, and had certainly been important, so it's only natural to grieve for it. I told her no, I hadn't. Between all the stuff going on with the divorce and the day-to-day, I hadn't had time to grieve. I'd taken a lot of random days off work, but I used those just to catch my breath. This made me think about Mom and Dad dealing with Alan's death, which I told her about - Mom's tight grip on her emotions and so on.

"So, maybe you really don't have a model for grieving," she said.

Perhaps I'm just not good at it yet. I mean, I think I grieved for the end of my relationship with Hana, though Hana would probably say that marrying Nancy later that year was a strange way to do it. Still, there was a period of time, as Hana and I were breaking up and for a while after, where I was in mourning. I remember telling Nancy I didn't want to be in a relationship with anyone as it wouldn't be fair to them. After a month or so that changed.

With Hana, the relationship suffered for a few months but then it died and was buried in relatively short order. I wept as she told me to go away - but go away (and move on) I did. With Nancy, on the other hand, the relationship suffered for years and then spent months on life support. Now it's dead but it just won't lie down. I have to beat it into the grave as its rotting fingers claw at my feet. How can I grieve for something that I have to kill anew every day? And how do I greive for what beauty there was in the relationship when every day its other half appears more putrid, behaves more obscenely, but still speaks in the same voice I've heard for years?

More and more I am faced with one unavoidable conclusion: the person I met and fell in love with was actually this creature I'm trying to leave, only covered in perfume, guile, and a skin that was newly dead at the time. A while back I began to wonder, "What happened to the Nancy I knew?" More recently that became, "When is the Nancy I knew coming back?" Then, "Maybe the Nancy I knew is gone." And now she keeps showing me more proof of something I wish I could deny: "The 'Nancy' I first met never really existed. She was a mask that I believed in and imagined was my friend and lover. Her current behavior isn't that different from what it's been since a shortly after I married her. This is who Nancy really is."