We all know what happens to a dream deferred — or what might happen to it, anyway.
This week, we’ll use up some words (it’s cool, they’re free) asking the same question about dreams that get abandoned.
What happens to a wedding anniversary after the divorce?
It’s supposed to be a date dearer to us than any other, except for children’s birthdays. We put effort into rendering it indelible.
And then, the change comes.
Perhaps an uncelebrated anniversary chafes and stings its principals all day. Or maybe it only raises its head once or twice, a minor irritant, like a cough stuck in the gullet or a passing cloudstorm.
Perhaps, given enough time and will, it disappears entirely.
I imagine there are always reminders, though. Too many pictures get taken, and too many words get put on paper, to ever be fully excised.
This is the second straight week I’ve mentioned my cousin Bob, and the second straight week I’ve mentioned his (long-ago) divorce.
I don’t think he reads this; but if he does, I assure him it’s coincidental and not personal.
I was trolling the archives for blog-fodder, and this old mention of his anniversary brought to mind thoughts of faded dreams, frustration and resignation.
Not his faded dreams, specifically — I don’t know them, and I wouldn’t repeat them to the world if I did.
I’m thinking more generally of the hopes of millions of people who pledged their futures together and then, for any combination of reasons, turned away again.
Think of all those unopened (maybe even trashed) wedding albums, and all those promises, and all those shared memories that seem in retrospect like they couldn’t possibly have been that happy.
(Think, too, that walking away from each other is in some cases the correct decision. The intent of this is not to lecture those whose dreams change course on them, but to ponder what the old ones mean after they run out of steam.)
I am no authority on divorce, and neither were the Blumenaus of Hope Street (married almost 60 years) or their children (each past 40 years).
But an uncounted number of Americans — hundreds? thousands? — will, at some point today, remember what this day was supposed to mean to them.
Everything put together falls apart, as the song says. There is no single answer to how we all learn the lesson, or what it means to each of us after we do.