"What's on your 2022 to-do list, besides surviving the latest COVID annoyance?"
Dick looked up from his Kindle Fire. "I don't do resolutions."
"I know, silly," said Maria. "That's why I worded it that way."
Setting the e-reader on the side table next to his red leather rocker-recliner, Dick looked upwards at the lazily-spinning ceiling fan and appeared thoughtful for a minute. "I think it's time I divorced her. Going on seven years is a long time to be separated."
Maria tucked her legs between her workout shorts and the couch cushion. "No shit? Really?"
"Yeah," said Dick, sounding like he was trying to convince himself. "I think I would have done it last year but the pandemic occupied too much of my time. This is the year I pull the trigger." He tossed his iPhone X across the living room and it landed on the couch. "Look at my contacts. I deleted her name and number last January. The only time I ever talk with her is when it has something to do with the kids or an emergency."
Maria confirmed what Dick said, then set it on the arm of the sofa. "Wow. I mean, really, wow. I never thought you'd ever do that. I figure you'd just let shit linger until one of you croaked."
Dick nodded. "Yeah. I probably would have if my brain never stopped going over things that happened before she left. Fucked me up for a while, as you remind me every so often. I transitioned from love to hate, but she always stayed there in my head."
"You can use a lot of words and ideas to try to hide it, but you're always making a choice between love and hate."
"That's an interesting line...from Sheryl Crow, if I recall," said Dick, stroking his goatee. "But I think at this time that statement is no longer apropos. The opposite of love isn't hate, it's apathy. You no longer think about them, stuff doesn't remind you of the fun times you had when you were together." He took a sip of his Guinness and set it back on the coaster. "We were friends since we were fourteen...fuck, that's fourty-five years ago. Married for thirty. It takes a lot of work to go from that shared history to one of, well, nothingness and a blank emotional slate."
"That's a really sad sentence. I'm sorry."
Dick nodded again. "It is a sad thing, like hitting a Monarch butterfly with your motorcycle. Something beautiful is lost. But it's gone. And now it's time to end the final thread that binds us personally." One more nod. "Yeah, this is the year when that connection is severed."
Maria smiled. "There's always something new you can chase."
"I already am, dear. I already am."