25 June 2008

Good Fortune

First of all, Huzzah! (as my friend Jennifer would say) to Spain.  Fancy beating Italy:  that must make you feel terrific.

Second of all, my new slippers ended up giving me a shin splint, so I threw them out.  I'll just have to make do with the old ones for a week more.

Now, today I went into my office for a minute.  While I was there, for quite a bit longer than a minute in the end, I ran into a student who, although not my student, has become a fracquaintance (a fraicquantance is someone who is more than an acquaintance but not really a friend.  Once they become more a friend than an acquaintance they are a frientance).   It turns out she is separated.  I sort of expected this, because I knew she and her husband were having terrible problems.  What I did not know, however, was the extent of her husband's mistreatment of her.  The marriage was made hastily, before she really knew him, and because he is quite religious it is very difficult for her to get a divorce; he won't consent, and she's afraid he'll try to take away the children if she moves on her own.  But, my God, the things she told me  leave me flabbergasted that she stayed with him for more than one minute.  He hit her.  He hit her!  And he cheated on her, repeatedly.  And he is offering no support of any kind to her, and now that he's moved out he's taken up again with his ex-wife.  

Of course, I know such terrible people exist, and I know their victims exist, but sitting on the couch with this girl, looking at her in her beautiful outfit and at her elegant face with the great purple shadows beneath her eyes, I was profoundly aware how lucky and privileged I am.  No man has ever hit me as a grown woman, and no man ever would.  Given my selfhood and personality, it's inconceivable. And if that inconceivable thing happened, I would ring up my parents and they would fly the 1100 miles down here and come get me.  No one has ever cheated on me (although there have been tawdry flirtatious strayings).  The worst that's ever happened to me is that someone treated me poorly by jerking me around.  Yes, I had my heart semi-broken, or maybe even broken, not so long ago, but that's nothing compared to what has happened to this woman - and happened to her over and over again.  I have no idea, most of the time, of my own good fortune, my own lucky lot in life.  It's a salutary experience to be reminded of this every now and again.

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