Okay folks, you can all stop sending me Elizabeth Gilbert news items. If Chump Nation would now like to form a circle, hold hands, and shout “I TOLD YOU SO!” at the top of your lungs, you may now do so.
Gilbert, author of “Eat, Pray, Love” and countless soppy Facebook posts that begin “Dear Ones” has a True Love. Okay, an old love. Okay, it’s her best friend. Okay, maybe, kinda, sorta they were affair partners.
“For those of you who are doing the math here, and who are wondering if this situation is why my marriage came to an end this spring, the simple answer is yes,” wrote Gilbert.
But HEY! It’s not cheating because it was with a woman! (Didn’t we answer that letter last week?) Who has liver and pancreatic cancer! So get your mind out of the gutter, people. This is not a tawdry affair. It would be churlish and unkind of you to point out the rotating buffet of Gilbert’s True Loves. No, this is a story of selflessness. Of nursing one’s best friend through cancer. And there are no kibbles like cancer kibbles.
Death — or the prospect of death — has a way of clearing away everything that is not real, and in that space of stark and utter realness, I was faced with this truth: I do not merely love Rayya; I am in love with Rayya. And I have no more time for denying that truth. The thought of someday sitting in a hospital room with her, holding her hand and watching her slide away, without ever having let her (or myself!) know the extent of my true feelings for her…well, that thought was unthinkable.
Put aside the whole “In sickness and in health” vow she made to her husband. Hey, that was a green card situation and not True Love. Okay, well for the purposes of the book, a movie, and a whole EPL enterprise it was True Love. Up until the point he dumped her. True Love abhors a vacuum. We have a new True Love. Keep up with the plot line, people!
Isn’t it possible to have a sick friend, nurse them through cancer, and NOT profess a romantic attachment? My dad had lymphoma last year. A lot of people came by with soup and shoveled snow and helped take him to his chemo appointments. Not one single person fell in love with him. Of course, nauseous, thin, and bald isn’t a good look. (He’s in the all clear now, thanks. His “true love” of 51 years, my mom, stuck with him.)
Anyway, we can all wonder at the impression management of newly gay, cancer care-taking authors. It’s always terrifically sad when someone you love is terminally ill.
Today, however, I need a Friday challenge — so the challenge I put before you is to imagine that your cheater is a best-selling author with a social media following. They are about to announce a Dramatic Life Change to their adoring public. What’s the plot twist and how does it go? Here’s mine:
You all know and love me as Dirk, a hairy, misogynist deer hunter from Pittsburgh. But I must tell you, I have a new passion in my life and a NEW MAN — Nigel. He’s dewy and fresh and smells like scented dryer sheets. We’re opening a tea cup emporium. I know you’re all rapturously happy for us.