by Tammy Tillotson

I had a little husband, no bigger than my thumb,
I put him in a pint pot, and there I bid him drum,
I bought a little handkerchief to wipe his little nose,
And a pair of little garters to tie his little hose.

–The Real Mother Goose

The Introduction
The lady over there by herself is Tammy…Ream…no, wait…Tillotson. It is Tillotson isn’t it? She did change her name back didn’t she? So-and-so said she’s separated, the poor dear. So-and-so’s friend said that she’s just going back to college to finish her education and that things have nothing to do with him. So-and-so’s friend of a friend overheard from her fifth cousin twice removed on her mother’s side of the family that it is true. She is getting a divorce.

Denial
So-and-so really did not know what she was talking about. Gossip and rumors only breed more of the vicious like. Things are really fine. There is no reason to be concerned. He is actually being very supportive of all the decisions. Personal happiness is important to both of us.

The distance? Well, that isn’t exactly a big problem as there is the telephone and e-mail. We can call and write if we need to talk to one another. The six hour time zone difference never was a problem before, and it certainly should not be one now. We are quite accustomed to functioning in separate time zones, separate mind zones, and whatever other kinds of separate zones there are.

There is no reason to question the soundness of this decision, as it is no one’s business to be overly critical or judgmental of another person. It is not necessary to apologize for interfering. After all, he will have a few weeks of leave in about four months anyway. Time will fly.

Thanks for understanding. Advice is always given with the best intentions in these matters. Oh, why yes, the preacher’s sermon about love and forgiveness was an incredibly touching and moving source of inspiration today.

Acceptance
Hello. My name is Tammy – and I am getting a divorce. Actually, it has already been bought and paid for. I am merely waiting for a piece of paper to be signed by a judge and handed back to me stating that the legalities are officially finalized. It will all be a matter of public record shortly. I will walk hand in hand with the 1 in 2 marriages that are doomed to fail, and I will proudly join the 60th percentile range of the likelihood that if and when I remarry I will repeat this nonsensical procedure again. By this time next year, the Internal Revenue Service will once again know my as filing status 1. Another hard-earned undeserved scarlet letter badge of courage blatantly adorns my chest.

The Divorce Disease
I am a first-timer, but I am glad to see a few friendly supportive faces. I must admit that I had my doubts. I was beginning to think that the divorce disease was the absolutely worst sort of bubonic plague. It seems that people are afraid to come anywhere near me for fear I might pass on the divorce germs.

Accompanied by their fear is also a form of slight curiosity. The mention of the word divorce simultaneously creates some sort of freak show abnormality. The curious enjoy taking a gander. They poke and they prod into the why, when, and how the disease invaded this particular body in lieu of anyone else. The quarantine spreads like a wildfire out of control, yet intentionally set ablaze with malice.

It is innately similar to the man at the fair who taunts and teases that he can guess a person’s age, weight, or birth date for just a dollar. Step right up! Don’t be afraid to challenge the guesser as long as an eager dollar is up for grabs. That isn’t entirely a half bad idea. I should invest in a glass tip jar. A dollar will buy three guesses. Win a stuffed animal – or perhaps a stuffed shirt! Then again, just stuff it!

Surrendering to the Disease
For some reason, this particular body simply wasn’t equipped with the correct number of antigens, antibodies, or anti-warring devices necessary to battle the all-encompassing virus. Lying down and admitting defeat was simply the only way to encourage the virus to go invade someone else. It will happen again too, for that’s all a virus knows how to do. It replicates itself and destroys whatever or whoever happens to be in its path.

I simply removed myself as an object of infection, affection, and rejection. With a white flag waving aimlessly in the air, I surrendered, not because I was weak, but because there simply was no fight left in me to fight.

A Purple Crayon
At times, I am envious of Harold and his purple crayon. Whatever Harold dreamed or envisioned he simply drew with that purple crayon. I see purple lines that have indeed been scribbled by a crayon, yet the lines are not boundaries to some imaginary or fantastical realm of wonder. It is a wonder, but it is certainly not a dream. The remnants of colored wax streak across the pages of my understanding, and they are transformed into a more permanent magic marker. Well, Harold, the walk in the moonlight has definitely been blinding. Damn crayon. I never was any good at staying in between the lines.

Grief on the Run
409 spray cleaner is certainly useless here. Even when the nozzle is in the stream position, the permanent purple lines refuse to budge. Believe me, I’ve scrubbed. It does however, put grief on the run! That doesn’t matter now, for even when I am old, I will still wear this purple. The scribble scratch crow’s feet and the crinkles of the waxing and waning worry will forever be permanent chickn’em pot scars remnant of grief. I simply try not to dig at the itch for fear that the scars will either fester or enlarge.

Uncontested
There never was anything to contest. Even the online uncontested divorce quiz agreed. Using my purple crayon, I drew a 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 in the appropriate blank beside each question. The magic answer was provided for my benefit.

Thanks, Harold. Perhaps it was a good thing that I held on to that purple crayon. I am happier now, wearing my purple, than I ever was wearing those other unattractive colors.

M&Ms
I can also eat my own purple words, thanks to the 41% of people globally who preferred purple to pink or aqua. I can now savor the taste of a marriage and memories melting in my mouth instead of melting entirely out of my hands.

I will have to share some of those sweet candies with Harold, though I’m certain he has already drawn himself a lifetime supply.

Conclusion
I believe I am tired of exploring this big purple world. I think I will find my way back home and go to bed. I certainly have enough visions of sugarplums to dance in my head.

I had a little husband, little Jack Horner and his plum. He now lives happily inside his pint pot, while I dance away to the beat of my drum.

Additional Resources
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson. For more information about Harold’s adventures visit www.ksu.edu/english/nelp/purple/books/harold.html

Uncontested Divorce Quiz – Available online at: www.divorceinfo.com/uncontesteddivorcequiz.htm

“Fans of M&M’s choose new color: purple.” The Atlanta Journal Constitution. Article available online at: www.accessatlanta.com/ajc/news/0602/20purple.html

The Official M&M site: www.mms.com

Recommended Reading
The Real Mother Goose

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

When I Am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple by Sandra Haldeman Martz (Editor).

The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore