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Start a TV Show — End a Marriage

In May, just before my thirty-ninth birthday, I got a call that the series [Combat!] was picked up for a full season. I sat down and thought for about an hour.

It was time. Time to make an end of a marriage that had existed in name only for more than a decade. Now or never.

I got up, went out, and drove to Westwood to look at apartments. One was nicely furnished and I rented it. Then I went home and packed a few suitcases. Aria came into my bedroom.

"Taking a trip?" she asked.

"No," I said, "I’m leaving."

She folded her arms and leaned against the open door. Smiling slightly she said, "And where do you think you’re going?"

"Why would you be interested?" I asked as I folded a few things into the case.

"You know you can’t get along without me," she said.

I stopped and looked at her. "You’ve had me believing that for twelve years. Sorry, the old line doesn’t work any more," and I went back to my packing. She stood there for a few minutes, then walked away. I moved into the apartment and the next day went back for my cameras, tropical fish tank, the rest of my clothing, and my guns.

I’d begun building a gun collection a few years before. Aria had a fear of firearms, and not only refused to learn how to use them and handle them safely, but demanded that I keep them in my bedroom closet, completely out of sight. Several times a month I’d spend an afternoon at a range practicing marksmanship. At that time I hadn’t been hunting in years.

As I walked to the front door with the last load of my belongings, Aria appeared. She now knew that I really meant to move out. Her attitude had changed. She wore a downcast and helpless look.

"Are you sure you know what you’re doing?" she asked in a littler voice than the one she’d used the day before.

"Finally, yes," I said.

"What about this?" she asked indicating our "home."

"You can have it. It’s yours. You may have it, the art on the walls, the bronzes, even the wine cellar, though you won’t know what you’re drinking and never took an interest in finding out. But it’s all good so you can’t make a mistake, except to open something that won’t be ready for another ten years."

"How will I know?" she asked, almost in a little girl’s voice.

"I guess it’s something you’ll just have to learn," I said, and left.

A settlement was reached after a lot of lawyer haggling; she got the house and everything in it, a choice of cars, and two thousand a month for ten years. I got my freedom.

It was worth it.

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