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Tonight Steff and I are going to see a play, a comedy called My Brilliant Divorce, to celebrate her legal separation. The last time I went to the theatre with Steff, it was the night Jim asked for a separation. We, still-wives, sipped glasses of red wine in the cold dark, as three women put on The World's Wife by Carol Ann Duffy. Their bodies interweaved on a tiny stage, bare except for a high cord hung with dresses, which the women donned and doffed with each testimonial, as Mrs Faust, Frau Freud, Pygmalion's bride, Penelope, Eurydice, even the Devil's wife - all the world's wives - offered their stories and their husbands' secrets to our ears and eyes. Not-knowing of the near, Jim-free future, I sat there in the dark, as these women, women I've known since the year I learned to read, reminded me of the nature of marriage: wayward thread, wound on desire and its lack, bound to structures of power; violence inherent. In their stories, I could sense the warp and weft of my own, where the knots would come, bidding their own unknotting.


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