Harry Heifetz felt like two pounds of shit in a one pound bag. He always thought that when he and his wife Miriam divorced, he would feel liberated, instead he just felt sad.
Miriam had not been an ideal wife, but he knew he had been far from the ideal husband, and he had regrets everyday of his life because of it.
When he met Miriam Sharpe she was twenty and he was an ancient twenty two. He had dated a few women, but Miriam captured his heart and soul like nobody ever did. He loved her with an all consuming passion.
They married when they graduated University, she went to York and he went to the University of Toronto, and their parents had chipped in to buy them their first home, a quaint condo in midtown Toronto.
Harry was a stock broker and Miriam was a graphic artist. They both found jobs quickly and did very well. Within three years Harry was running his brokerage office and Miriam was working with the Creative Director of a multinational advertising agency.
Over the years, there was constant feeling of friendship but somehow Harry and Miriam were drifting away from each other. They sold the condo and bought a house in the suburbs and that made things feel even more strained. Arguments over stupid things became more frequent and the passion they shared for each other seemed to be dissipating. Harry knew there was problems when Miriam got bent out of shape over taking the girls for a winter vacation to Disney World instead of going skiing in Aspen.
As friends they survived, but as true partners and lovers there seemed to be a rift occurring. It was sad. They had young girls who they both adored, but even the children seemed to notice their parents didn’t enjoy doing things together unless they had no other choice.
The marriage came to a grinding halt when the girls reached fifteen and thirteen. One afternoon Harry received documents delivered to his office. When he opened them up he was shocked to read that Miriam had filed for divorce. He was devastated and when he went home that night, he asked Miriam why she hadn’t just discussed problems with him instead of taking such drastic action. Her response was heart breaking. ‘’Harry, we’ve been married for fifteen years and the last five have been painful and difficult to deal with. I like you, but I’ve fallen out of love with you. The reason I never discussed the filing is that I knew you’d try to talk me out of it. Life is too short, we have to move on and find the right people to spend the rest of our lives with.’’
At the hearing for custody, Miriam said she didn’t care about keeping the girls but wanted the house. The Judge awarded custody to Harry and he also told him the house was his to use if he so decided. Harry and the girls stayed and Miriam moved out.
One night Harry went with his friend Daryl for a bite to eat at a popular Italian restaurant called Grazie. When they walked in they had to do a major U turn as Miriam was sitting at a table with a date and they were engaged in what looked like a serious conversation, Harry’s heart never hurt so badly.
Over the next few months the details of the divorce were finalized and things ended with a short visit to the Beth Din (a Jewish rabbinical court) where the Rabbis provided a Get or official Jewish divorce. Harry never felt a greater sense of loss when the final decree came down.
It took almost a year before Harry went out on his first date. The woman was lovely and they had a nice time but there was no spark.
Harry wouldn’t discover the spark till a year and half later when he was introduced to Heather, who also had been through a divorce. She had one son and was a lawyer. What made Harry’s heart sing was Heather always had a smile on her face.
Heather and Harry started hanging out more and more and before long they started to depend on each other. The kids all got along fantastically well and they knew their futures would be intertwined.
Almost two years to the day of his divorce, Harry proposed to Heather and she accepted. They decided on a small wedding and a honeymoon that would include their children. They would go to a beautiful cottage in Muskoka, which was located in Northern Ontario. If they all liked hanging out in the cottage, they would buy one for the family.
A week before the wedding Harry received a call at three am. He was concerned as he never got called at that time and when he looked at the call display it was from Miriam. She had been on a date with a guy named Selwood who had taken her to dinner in a remote location and had gotten very aggressive with her. She had slipped away, but was now stuck in this desolate place and was scared. She asked Harry if he could come and get her.
Harry’s immediate reaction was to explain that they were no longer married, and he was not responsible for her, but he couldn’t do it. He asked if she had money on her and she said she didn’t. Harry got her exact location, told her to hold on and ordered her an Uber to get her away from Hamilton. The uber would cost him sixty dollars and he would meet her in Mississauga. He looked up the location of a Tim Horton’s and said he would meet her there.
It was a very cold night and the drive sucked as it started to rain, but after putting the address in his GPS, Harry was there in forty five minutes. He walked in to Tim’s and waited. Five minutes later, Miriam arrived and almost ran out of the car and into his arms. She proceeded to cry for at least five minutes.
‘’I met Selwood through a friend. He’s a jazz musician and I thought he was decent, he told me we’d go to a Jazz club he played at in Toronto. After he picked me up, he said that he had a gig in Hamilton and when he finished playing we’d go back to the city. The club he was playing in was a real dive, and I was very uncomfortable. When he took a break from his first set, he sat beside me and tried to put his hand up my dress, and he kept grabbing my head and trying to kiss me forcibly. I hated it. As soon as he went to play again, I got up, walked outside and called you. I couldn’t believe I had no cash on me. It was a nightmare. Thank You Harry for being my knight in shining armour. Now that I’ve dated for a few years, I realize you and I were always meant to be. You were my soulmate and I blew it. I know you have plans to get married again, but I’m wondering if we should give it a second try before you take the plunge.’’
Harry looked at her as he drove down the highway entering the Toronto city limits. ‘’I will always have a special place in my heart for you. We had two beautiful girls together, but things didn’t go the way I expected and I’m sure you feel the same way. It didn’t become happily ever after cause we didn’t even try. Anyways, I am marrying Heather next week. I love her and we will build a great future together. So Miriam, as much as I will always care about you, this will be the last time I can be your Rescue Ranger. You and I are just, acquaintances from the past. You are going to need to find someone else to rely on in a jam, cause I’m out of the picture. I wish you a good life, but I can’t be at your beck and call. I’m really sorry, but after tonight we are officially finito benito.’’
The rest of the drive was done in silence. Miriam seemed to be in complete shock. As they drove up to the main entrance of her Front Street West Condo building she pulled a Kleenex from her purse and blew her nose. Harry was sure he heard a sob as she was doing it. She slowly opened her door and looked at Harry. ‘’I screwed up when it came to our marriage, there was so many times I wanted to call and tell you how sorry I was, but I just couldn’t do it. I know there’s nothing I can do or say to salvage the situation between us. I wish you a happy life Harry, I promise I won’t bother you again. We’ll see each other with the girls from time to time, but I understand you’re moving on and into a new life. I’m sorry if I ever caused you pain or hurt, I just didn’t think we could make things better. I was young and didn’t know what I was doing. You are a good guy and deserve happiness. Thanks for being there for me tonight. I will always be grateful. I will always be there for you no matter what, because the one thing I discovered tonight is that I always have and always will love you.’’
Miriam walked away before Harry could answer and went into her Condo building. Harry sat in the driveway for a minute and started to cry. Miriam had been the one true love of his life. Surprisingly the pain Harry felt regarding their divorce was stronger today than when it happened.
Two years later, Harry was waiting for a new client at a restaurant called Canoe, when he got a disturbing text message on his phone from his daughters. Miriam had passed from lymphoma, it had happened relatively quickly.
As he sat in the restaurant looking out at the Toronto skyline, Harry realized that when you’re young and you get married, you never think about divorce and how it will impact your life. Miriam was an amazing woman who simply wanted more. Deep down he carried a huge regret that he and Miriam couldn’t work things out when they had the chance. She had not been a bad person and deserved better, and the fact that she had passed, broke his heart. They had once been very much in love and best friends. He had blown her out after the night he picked her up in Mississauga and the fact he had been hard on her bothered him to his very core. He would never have the chance to tell her the truth, that even though he was now married to another woman, he always carried a torch for her. Miriam had once been the love of his life. Even though he denied it, he knew the truth, she was and always would be, his soulmate for eternity.