Love on the Half Shell

They bonded over an affinity for oysters, but he wasn’t the better half she had hoped for. Ten years later, could they separate without shattering?

By Pacale Le Draoulec
oyster shell image
Photograph: Yasu+Junko

My doubts and fears put the wedding on the back burner, but I got pregnant almost immediately, then went on an extended book tour. When Mina arrived, we called her our Buddha baby because she did nothing but beam and sleep. At first, Ty seemed to have a sense of purpose. And for a little while, “we” made sense and were genuinely happy. At 40, I was lucky enough to get pregnant again, this time with Sabine. Then the mistrust resurfaced.

I was desperate to spend more time at home with my girls. But how? When? I was the one with the “real” job, so I couldn’t quit. Resentment crept in. Ty was working at a local raw bar on weekends. He was making lots of new friends—all of them women. And one in particular. He’d come home later and later.

No doubt Borges played a part.

Knowing he’d be gone before sunup and pancakes, Ty put the girls to bed with a singsong reading of The Lorax, a family favorite. I stayed downstairs to clean up. Methodically, I collected the chipped and broken shells onto a plate, then scraped them into the trash.

Something made me reach inside and retrieve two of the shells. So white. So pure.

I laid them on the windowsill, and in the morning, after he’d left and before the happy sounds of the girls waking up, I took the shells into the garden and buried them near the butterfly bush. He always said they made great fertilizer.

Instinctively, I put the two shells together before laying them in the dirt. There was a top. There was a bottom. But there was no match.  

Pascale Le Draoulec is the author of American Pie: Slices of Life (and Pie) from America’s Back Roads.

Next: 9 Ways to Be Married

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First published in the September 2013 issue

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