Yesterday when my Atlantic Monthly arrived, in the mail, my eyes were immediately drawn to the cover line "Sandra Tsing Loh (in yellow) The Case Against Marriage (in white)." I'm a big fan of Loh's essays and her book Mother on Fire and soon my kids were busy enough that I could tuck right in to what I imagined would be a funny review essay full of the woes and weird pleasures of long married life. She'd tell us some very little something about her musician husband and the cute guy she flirted with and wrap it all up with a frantic spiel laced with smart alecky cultural references that I would immediately adore and wish I could meet. This would all end with a sigh of contentment and a return home, to her husband.
Imagine, imagine, my dismay when I opened the magazine and read this: "Sadly, and to my horror, I am divorcing."
You know what? I don't think you can imagine my dismay because I couldn't have imagine my dismay. Seriously, I took it like old friends from way back, friends who met in summer camp, told me via a Facebook email that it'd been great to reconnect but they wouldn't be able to have dinner next week because they weren't coming to town because, much to their horror, they were divorcing.
I guess this is what it means to be a big fan and invest some personal stake in the part of life that an artist chooses to share. And sometimes, as I learn over and over again, nothing is really as I imagine it to be.