I woke up the next morning hoping that we’d just had the biggest fight of our marriage and that we would work things out. It became obvious that this was not the case when she explained the arrangements she had planned with her girlfriend until I moved out.
My friend, Maria, picked me up. We stopped at a Safeway Starbucks and I ordered a Valencia Orange Refresher. We drove out to Spanish Banks and sat in her car. She shared stories about her failed marriage and I attempted to dissect mine. I cried. A lot. I’m not sure I would have survived that morning without her.
I got home armed with the realization that her exit strategy was in place long before I was aware my marriage was over. I sat in front of my computer and loaded apartment listings. $1000. Cat friendly. Modern. New-ish. She had her new and shiny and I wanted mine. I found a listing for a high rise in Surrey. I’d always wanted to live in an apartment in the sky and decided this was probably the best time to do something entirely for myself. I cashed a wedding retainer I’d received recently and rode the SkyTrain out to Surrey for the viewing. I’m not sure the landlord knew what he was walking into when he asked me why I was looking to move, but he gave me the apartment. Less than 24 hours before I was shooting a wedding, excited to share the details of the day with my wife. I signed the lease and arranged to pick up the keys the following week.
I tried to go back to work immediately but ultimately decided to stay until I could get a leave approved by human resources. I spent that week packing, making calls to disconnect all the ways we had become joint, and putting the memories of my marriage into a single box.
I said goodbye to East Van and hello to 2407. I unpacked quickly, but getting settled took a few months. I wasn’t sure I’d ever get used to coming home to an empty apartment with no wife and no dog. The first few months involved a lot of treating myself to things I had denied myself in favour of saving for “the big picture,” a few too many bottles of Growers peach cider, and lots of hours thinking about marriage.
I briefly debated walking away from wedding photography but ultimately decided that the fact that my marriage was over did not detract from my belief in marriage as a whole. I wanted to be married, to share my life with someone, to work together to create a future with someone. My wife had just decided she would rather do these things with someone else.
I probably threw myself into the dating game sooner than I should have. I’ll always remember the first first date I went on. We met at the Central City brew pub. His wife had recently left him as well and the majority of our conversation revolved around our failed marriages. After sharing two pitchers of Red Racer’s raspberry ale, I invited him back to my apartment. We cried, realized neither of us was in a position to date yet, and played Mario Kart until the wee hours of the morning.
I went on a lot of dates in the year and a half that followed. I went out with an engineer who spent almost an hour talking about his love for fountain pens. I spent an evening collecting stray kittens in a box after drinking a bottle of wine on the dock at Trout Lake. (The police were actually called due to suspicious activity. The officers that responded decided to help us gather up the kittens and agreed to take them to the SPCA!) I fell in love with Persian food. I spent hours on the bus going out to White Rock to see a production of the HMS Pinafore and laughed as the lovely elderly ladies fawned over my date. I discovered Frambozen at Steamworks after spending an entire day showing a small town America businessman Vancouver for the first time. I went on a first date in IKEA with a guy who had recently come back from Sweden. We had dinner in the food court and sat in front of a giant mural of Stockholm.
I learned a lot about myself and what I wanted through all of my experiences, but decided that dating was exhausting and opted to focus on work and time with friends. I rekindled my love for board games and found a couple of groups that met regularly. Within a couple of months, I was playing board games all day Sunday, and Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings. I made some amazing new friends who shared my love for pot lucks, some friendly competition, and who never reached for the purple meeples.
One off-handed Saturday, I was sitting on my friend’s couch waiting for my turn in a strategy game that was taking way longer than anticipated. I received a notification for a new message on Tinder.
“Hi there, that’s a pretty cute smile and some amazing eyes you have.”
Read the rest of the Resurgence Series:
Resurgence: A Wedding Photographer’s Journey Through Divorce – In the Beginning
Resurgence: A Wedding Photographer’s Journey Through Divorce – In The End
Resurgence: A Wedding Photographer’s Journey Through Divorce – Looking Back, Moving Forward