Farewell to a second husband.

CAB calls me on the phone, making heavily nuanced statements (for example, "You need to let him go, you bitch!"). CAB sends me Chihuahua turds wrapped in heart-embossed tissue, a dozen clam pizzas, and nasty notes in her childish scrawl. Like Glenn Close, CAB will not be ignored. She is the artist formerly known as Small-Foot Bitch, because while we were still together, I found a charge on S2BX2's credit card from Neiman's, and he swore it was a gift for me and that it was in his office. So he brought it home that night, and it was a pair of Manolo Blahniks -- size four. He said he was going to just give me the sample size, and then I could exchange it for my own size, which is nine. And I believed him. That was during the time when I wanted to believe, was desperate to believe. If he had said that the earth is flat, I would have said, "As a fucking pancake."

But that's all over now. We're in the vortex of uncoupling. Working on the legal settlement, alternately hating each other's guts and waxing nostalgic, still having occasional sex. It's complex, and you can't explain it to people. They make you feel pitiful, or guilty, and neither are emotions that I covet. No one got this excited when we got married. They just showed up and drank too much, ate roast beef and poached salmon. It was over in a day. But divorce is much slower, more protracted. Divorce has a crazy schemata all its own. It's like the soapbox derby that they have at the top of Twin Peaks every third Sunday in San Francisco: There are no rules. You can put a 1950s stove on wheels and wear a chef's hat, and that can be your soapbox derby racer. Or, you can make a ratmobile with a long, hairless tail made of licorice. My racer would be a Pottery Barn couch on wheels, with me, a baby, and no husband careening down the hill, screaming. CAB would be right behind on a Ninja bike. X1 would be on a huge, Styrofoam English muffin that's embroidered with live snails spelling out COME BACK, BABY!

S2BX2, too, is always saying he loves me; the way he expresses it is through filing for divorce and screwing the Crazy-Ass Bitch. "And that's just the one we know about," my sister says. "Yeah. Right," I say. My sister would like to see S2BX2's penis fall off, the way a baby's umbilical cord does, in the middle of the night. "No-o-o-o," I say, thoughtfully, "I'm still using it."

See, this is my divorce. I can do it however I want. I can have a party or frame the divorce petition. In fact, I have framed the divorce petition; it's in my office. It makes a fantastic conversation piece.

Although S2BX2 is admittedly great in bed, he is a lifetime-achievement cheater. He was the kid who insisted on being the banker in Monopoly games and then won, pulling five-hundreds out of thin air. It's all he knows how to do. He's never been faithful to anyone. He's like a legally blind pilot who should not be working for Air Monogamy. But here's something interesting: Since we separated, we are having more sex than ever. I have become the Other Woman. And, I get checks now. I never got checks before. They're called Spousal Support monies. They should be called Keep Quiet, Bitch monies. Stay Away from My Lexus With That Icepick monies. Why don't people call things what they are?

I am through with clever, charming men. I want someone simple, maybe even a bit slow. I can call my girlfriends when I want to talk. Men don't want to talk after the first year; they just want you to do their laundry and screw doggy style. Men are not strictly necessary, the way ketchup is to french fries. I will do without them, for at least the next few hours. God, this celibacy is grueling. Divorce is also grueling. But I will keep going until I get it right. Either marriage or divorce, one of them I must perfect. This is my apparent life plan.

Tomorrow, I will see S2BX2. He's coming over to visit our daughter. What should I wear? I must look fantastic. I must harm him in at least this one aspect. Even though he filed for divorce, winning still seems possible. I will meditate on it. I will go to the closet and exclude mercy from my selection of attire. This is war. I decide on the outfit from Bebe, a store I used to avoid because its clothes reminded me of the dishy prostitutes on Nob Hill. And yet, last week I could not resist the blatant allure of the flimsy and the stringy and the clothes that say, "Come get me, you great big hunk of a man."

Bebe. The saleswomen all appear to be from a planet without pores or breasts. Not a menstrual period among them. They twirl about like skeletal tops and pay no attention whatsoever to me, and for this I commend them. I need none of their attention. I am more than capable of humiliating myself and prefer it thus. One of the girls is on the store telephone to her boyfriend, telling him that she hates him. She is laughing maniacally, letting the phone drown down to her bony chest and then bringing it back up to trill, "I do. I do hate you!" She has a diamond, a precious rock, fastened onto her very nose. I have nothing fastened anywhere and resolve to keep it that way, for aerodynamic speed and efficiency.

I choose a pair of Gucci-knockoff capri pants; bright '60s paisley against black background, side zipper. My blouse is sheer silk chiffon and terrifyingly expensive; it matches the pants perfectly in its let's-kill-all-the-homeless aplomb. These clothes are the opposite of wifely clothes, and for this, I am thankful, because wifely clothes are what got me into my current situation. I need new and elaborate costuming -- the more inappropriate and scanty, the better.

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