ID: Saw the hottest man tonight that I’ve seen in years. He was standing in line waiting for his rolled tacos. I usually don’t go for long hair, but it was just the right length to catch my attention but not put me off entirely. You know…cut a little shorter than ‘living on my friend’s couch’, but a little longer than ‘respectable’. From the side, I could see a short, well-kept beard on his amazing square jawline. He had piercing blue eyes and brown hair and his lips were incredible. He had on a North Face jacket and the most perfect jeans. I couldn’t tell you what the cut was called, I just know that someone somewhere in a factory made those jeans completely unaware that they would hang so perfectly from a man’s hips that a grown-ass woman would do a cartoonish double-take at the sight of them. And they hugged him in all the right…
EGO: (Interrupting) Please don’t finish that sentence, ID. I was there, remember? We never go anywhere without each other. You’re just lonely, ok? We all are. Deprivation of male company isn’t something any of us are used to. I know it feels like a dry season with no end, which is probably why you’ve taken to ogling men in taco shops. But I think I have a solution to our problem. I’m going to kill you.
ID: Um, sorry. Could you repeat that last part? It almost sounded like you said you were going to kill me.
EGO: It’s nothing personal, ID. Please understand that I WILL miss you. You’re awesome at parties, and you’re really the only innocent and hopeful part of us that we’ve got left. But you’re under the spell of some societally-concocted notion that true love saves the day. It doesn’t. And it won’t. So you’ve got to go.
ID: (starting to cry) But…I don’t want to go. I’ve got so much living left to do. We could find love again! I mean, what if we could just find a man who is decent and funny and honorable who loves God? And what if he loves us in the way we deserve, maybe then –
EGO: (interrupting) – No. See, that’s the problem. You’re holding out hope for something that not only doesn’t exist, but something that I can no longer allow even if it did. No men. Not again. Not ever.
ID: But…what sane woman would ever make that choice? That’s ridiculous! Of course we want a man. We want that with every fiber of our being. We want to give and receive love and to care and be cared for. We want romance! Passion! Love! A father for the babies! There’s a man out there that isn’t like Honey. He could be the one to complete our family. You’ll see.
EGO: And I suppose this man you’re describing not only exists and is single and lives near here, but is going to be on the lookout for a 40 year old single mom of 2 with no free time, a shattered heart, and a propensity to eat an entire Kaukana cheese ball in one sitting? You’re blind to reality, ID. And that’s charming, it really is. But we’re fishing with no bait here. You’ve seen ‘Say Anything’ too many times. No one is going to show up on our lawn with a boombox, ok? It’s a hopelessly lost cause for so many reasons. Don’t make me spiral into even greater depression by detailing those reasons for you.
ID: No, I want to hear it. If you’re talking about murdering me in order to permanently take down any hopes and dreams about men along with me, then I at least deserve to know why.
EGO: (Sigh) Fine. Let’s just say somehow this man magically existed, and somehow even though we’re insanely busy raising a 2 and a 4 year old alone, working, and being a full time college student, we somehow meet him against all logic and against all odds. What then? We are an emotionally decimated train wreck with casualties still littering the crash site, and we despise our body and appearance. And knowing you, you’ll get our heart all wrapped up in the fantasy and ruin multiple lives in the process. I mean, how could we be expected to be anything meaningful to a man when we are an emotional train wreck, and always will be? We’re talking charred limbs on the rail lines, dead cattle in a mangled heap, blood everywhere…
ID: You can’t begin to know how sorry I am that I asked.
EGO: I’m just saying that I can see the ugly reality for what it actually is. I don’t pretty it up with euphemisms and flowery fantasies like you do. Life can be beautiful, but it’s also horrifying. It’s hard, it’s unfair, and no one is riding in on a white horse to save the day. We’ve been on the receiving end of more horrific emotional atrocities than we can count. Our whole lives have been spent looking for some man that does not exist. Get your head out of the clouds. I’m the only one of the three of us that can logically assess the reality of the external world. And, I’m apparently the only one willing to take action based upon that assessment in accordance with the level of risk it poses to our survival. And let me tell you something, ID. Hope? Hope is the single most dangerous thing to our survival of all.
ID: That’s ridiculous. How can you just turn off hope? You think killing me will do that? No. I know what will happen. If I’m gone, you’ll start to believe that love is possible again, and then what are you going to do? Kill off SuperEgo because maybe she’s to blame in your eyes? Soon Wife will be a lifeless shell with no personality or moral compass at all. Life is unpredictable, EGO. No one knows when or if they’ll meet the right person, when they’ll have kids, when they’ll die…
EGO: Well lucky you. You’re about to have one of those questions answered. I’d say you’ve got about two minutes left.
ID: Aren’t you a delight?!
EGO: Like I said, it’s not personal. You’re going to get us killed, so I’m simply taking you out before that can happen. You represent exposure to substantial emotional risk. I should know. I’ve drawn up actuarial tables.
ID: You’ve got to be joking.
EGO: I never joke about actuarial tables.
ID: Of course you don’t.
EGO: According to my research, re-experiencing the magnitude of pain we felt during Honey’s blindside/abandonment anomaly would be a death-blow. It would be an extinction level event. It would cause more trauma than our body can take. We’d get cancer or have a massive stroke or an aneurysm or a heart attack, and this cannot happen. We need to be here for these babies. All of the numbers point to only one conclusion: we can’t risk it. No romantic love. Not now, not ever.
ID: Life expectancy probability? Survival analysis? Predictors of mortality? This is how you’re unilaterally deciding to kill off the most lovely, most feminine, and most hopeful part of our being?
ID: Is that why we called things off before they could even begin with one of the most amazing men you’ve ever met? Is that why Van’s out of the picture? Because of some damn chart that you made that says love is too great a risk? Well news-flash, EGO! Love is, and has always been a risk. There are no guarantees implicit anywhere in the fine print, ok?
EGO: Yes, I get that ID. I really do. But what Honey did to us, in one swift and cruel motion, utterly decimated our willingness to hope. Because hope leads to disappointment. Disappointment leads to pain. Pain leads to trauma, and more trauma leads to death where we’re concerned. I’m here to tell you that we wouldn’t survive it this time.
ID: Screw that guy! You want to let that liar, that…that…fraud determine the rest of our life? Hasn’t he taken enough from us? You want to give him the power and control to take this from us, too?
EGO: It’s not a choice to allow or not allow him to do anything. You’re not hearing me. It’s already been done. He removed our ability to be vulnerable with surgical precision. Being able to be vulnerable is the entire basis of a healthy relationship. Think of it this way: it’s like a puppy that’s been kicked by its master in the face. Do you blame the puppy for no longer trusting people? Of course not. So don’t blame me for simply being honest enough to say that our capacity to trust has been broken, it’s permanently broken, and this was not chosen by us. This was foisted upon us by a selfish con-artist who’s off somewhere blissfully unaware of the destruction he’s left behind. Honey shoved a grenade into our chest cavity and pulled the pin. Let’s be real here. Aren’t we allowed to be real about this without some flowery euphemisms about the sun coming out tomorrow?
ID: But it will come out tomorrow!
EGO: Yes, it will come out tomorrow. But the only thing we need to care about is making sure to get sunblock on the kids. It’s not there to be some guiding light illuminating our path toward Mr. Right. Screw that.
ID: But we can heal! We can get better, I know it! We just need to be around good people – good MEN – and it would restore our faith that they actually exist. Even if not to seek love with them, just to witness that functional men are very much alive and well in this world.
EGO: See, there you go with that hope crap again. Hope is a four letter word, ID. And being around men who are ‘normal’ would only make things worse. Because you know very well that that’s how it would start out, but as soon as we become attached to one, our soft underbelly is exposed…and there’s no way I can allow that to happen. Come on. Let’s go for a walk. I’ll tell you all about the rabbits.
SUPEREGO: If I may interrupt here, Ego, before you go all ‘Of Mice and Men’ on ID over there, I just want to say that your argument is…noble in a way.
EGO: Thank you, SuperEgo! Finally, someone who gets it.
SUPEREGO: No, you misunderstand me. What I’m trying to say is that though your intentions come from the right place, they’re based on a false premise…which means your entire argument becomes invalid.
EGO: Oh? And what false premise is this, may I ask?
SUPEREGO: That you’re in control. You’re not. You are not God. You are not in control of this life. You have no idea what God could have in store for us. How can you attempt to manipulate that which you have no control over? Moreover, who voted you judge, jury, and executioner of ID? What makes you think she’s solely to blame for our desire for romantic love?
EGO: Oh come on, Superego. You know very well that you and I could go months without even thinking of a man if she wasn’t around. With her gone, we could be like an a-sexual A-Team.
SUPEREGO: That is literally the saddest and most depressing thing I have ever heard you say, and this during a conversation in which you describe charred bodies on a rail line. So, yah. That’s really saying something. And another thing, EGO. Aren’t you forgetting that murder is a crime and a sin?
EGO: Shut it, Superego. I’m well aware of that. But it’s ID or it’s all of us. She’s going to get us killed. We’ve got to take her out. We could just tie her hands with rope and take her behind the building to drown her in the kiddie pool. You know, the one with the giraffe head and the cute little sprinkler? Ooo, or maybe we could string her up in the perfect tree by the side of the house, like in those old westerns…
SUPEREGO: Something is seriously wrong with you.
ID: Yah, you think? She’s over here planning my murder as calmly as she’d decide what she wants from the Chili’s lunch menu.
ID, EGO, SUPEREGO: Mmmmm….Southwest Eggrolls….
ID: But what about a father for the kids? Don’t you think ever about them as you lie awake coldly planning my murder?
EGO: I think of them and the hole he’s left in their hearts every minute of every day, ID. You know we spent the entirety of our adult life making sure we were married and stable before we brought kids into the world, only to find that Prince Charming was really Jack the Ripper. I would never deprive them of something so fundamental as a father. Honey did that to them, not us.
ID, EGO, SUPEREGO: (Sighing) Yes. He sure did.
EGO: We have to be here for these kids. We HAVE TO, you get me? We are their only chance at a normal life. You want to die and have them have to move thousands of miles away to live with a sociopath and his heartless stripper baby-mama? I shudder.
SUPEREGO: I’ll get the rope.