Til a Thought Experiment Do Us Part
It was a Wednesday when Christopher forgot to pick up the dry cleaning on his way home from the office. I want a divorce! Nadine said playfully when she realized her husband had arrived home empty handed. Christopher pretended to look down at the floor in shame. Nadine pretended to cry. Then Nadine went into the bedroom and pretended to pack a suitcase. She pretended to get into her car and drive away. She pretended to visit a divorce attorney’s office. She pretended to file paperwork. Back home, Christopher pretended to answer the doorbell and pretended to be served with the papers. The couple pretended to agree on joint custody for their two children. The couple pretended that Christopher would have the kids every other weekend. The couple pretended that holidays would be split 50/50. The couple pretended Nadine would get to keep the house and the family dog, and Christopher would pretend to move into a high rise downtown. Christopher pretended to develop a drinking problem. He pretended to shake his fists at the sky and curse god. He pretended to buy a sports car. Meanwhile, Nadine pretended to get back out there, and signed up for several dating apps. She pretended to fall in love with a handsome widow who had three daughters. She pretended to cry tears of joy when the handsome widow got down on one knee and proposed to her at the top of the Eiffel Tower. She pretended she would take the handsome widow’s last name, although she’d never taken Christopher’s. When the wedding invitation arrived, Christopher pretended to punch a hole in the wall. He pretended to skip the wedding. He pretended to drink too much and crash his new sports car into a tree. He pretended to stop having a drinking problem after that. A few months later, Christopher decided the joke had run its course and called Nadine. I think we may have taken things too far, he said, but by then Nadine had forgotten they’d been pretending at all. She hung up on Christopher and though she couldn’t remember why they’d gotten divorced in the first place, she was sure Christopher had done something horrible, something involving guns or violence or adultery or murder, and went downstairs to see if her new husband had remembered to pick up the dry cleaning on his way home from the office.