The Moment I Knew

04/06/2011 08:26 pm ET | Updated Jun 04, 2011

She walked into the kitchen one morning and said: 'We Have to Talk.'

We moved to the living room. She said she couldn't do it any longer. She was through.

"Are you sure?" I asked, helplessly, probably more sure than she, but terrified that she beat me to the punch. Now it was real.

My mind started to race. Wait a minute. Sure, I'd fantasized about not being married to this woman ever again, envisioning all the other 'different' women I could finally be with. Sure, I'd considered the bone-chilling thought most unhappy marrieds glance at then recoil from in horror: If only she died in a horrible accident that couldn't be helped, that'd be easier than trying to squirm out of this marriage directly, with the added benefit of gaining the world's sympathy. But those were just thoughts. Just clouds passing through over a period of... five years. Now that this moment is actually here, in my living room, I'm not so sure it's what I want.

"What about all that couples therapy?" I scrambled. She'd just recently said things were feeling better for her. What about the remodeling we just finished that was supposed to be the symbol of our fresh start? What about both of us getting our junk checked out last month to make sure we weren't too old to have kids? Then, when she decided she didn't want to be pregnant, all the research into surrogacy and adoption?"

"I'm sure," she said. "I'm sorry. I want a divorce."

I stared at the floor. "Jesus."

"So here's the thing," she started, "We don't have to file right away, Barry says they mark the date of divorce from the date the couple ceases to cohabitate."

"Barry our business manager? You've discussed this with our business manager?"

"The date we cease to cohabitate is today."

"Wha?" I sputtered. "Today?"

"Kyle and Grace said I could stay with them in Manhattan Beach..."

"You talked about this with our friends?"

"Or, you could stay in a hotel...."

I had to admit, the idea did sound appealing. I hadn't had good room service in a while. I could stay in a place with a pool. Somebody else would make my bed for a while...Hold it: did I just get kicked out of my own house?

I backed it up a few steps. "If this is what you really want, why aren't we filing right away? What's the point in delaying this?"

"Well, Amy said we might want to use the time to write a press release. You know, in case the tabloids get hold of the story."

Amy was her publicist. She talked about this with her publicist before me. And our business managers. And our friends. "You think the tabloids are going to care that our marriage has fallen apart? They didn't care that we were married in the first place."

Her cell phone rang. She glanced at it. Then, distractedly and with great discipline, focused on me. I could see she was proud of herself for letting it ring. If I wasn't going to be her husband any more, it wasn't incumbent on me to let her have these little moments, was it?

"Go ahead and answer it," I said. Before I could finish, the phone was to her ear.

"Hi," she whispered as she walked into the next room. It was like I was a dying patient in the hospital. She snuck out to give me some peace as I passed on.

"Yeah," she said into the phone. "I just told him. He's fine about the press release."

And that's when I knew.