A journalist observes life in the far north.
My weekend at the ex-husband’s house did not turn out how I thought it would.
I visited primarily to spend time with a mutual friend, Dee, who was visiting from out of state.
I hadn’t seen my ex in years.
In 1998, we parted on OK terms, but our relationship soured soon after he became close to the woman who would become his second wife.
I had always thought that wife No. 2 was the reason the friendship soured. He told me as much the last time I saw him, at his office a few years ago, when he still lived in Fairbanks.
Since then, he got divorced. So when he e-mailed me suggesting that I stay at his house in Wasilla while the mutual friend was visiting, I accepted.
But the weekend was not full of stories and laughs between three old friends, which is what I envisioned when I agreed to drive down to Wasilla.
I wound up watching my ex’s four kids while he and his fiance, formerly the babysitter, both worked. I should say that Dee and I wound up watching the kids.
Then we went shopping and cooked a big dinner, but we picked at the food as it grew cold because Bohman and his family attended a birthday party where they ate pizza.
By then I had already learned that Bohman’s children were told that I was a friend of Dee’s. That hurt because this is a person who I exchanged vows with and I was described as an acquaintance. But I swallowed it down because I didn’t want to create drama. Besides, I was leaving the next day.
But then the fiance tells me that he described our wedding—my wedding!—as nothing special. I got married on a misty day at a big house on the bank of a large lake in Sweden called Vattern. That morning, people speaking an unfamiliar tongue brought me champagne and did my hair. And the food, a Swedish potluck, and a beautiful marzipan cake. Tables of people poured out of the family dining room, which had a chandelier, into the formal living room. One of the gifts was a beautiful, heavy, ivory-colored table cloth.
When I told the fiance about my wedding, she went and got the table cloth and presented it to me. This was my last morning there and Andreas had gotten up early and gone to work.
I accepted the table cloth, but now I find I don’t really want it.