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Monday, 07 March 2011

The Austen-Kutchinskys: Pamela's Monologue

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A Martin Holt Original

Pamela Kutchinsky, 37, Divorced for 5 years from Michael Austen Profession: Nursing Supervisor

I was married to Michael Austen for twelve years - twelve long, unhappy years, I should say, the hardest years of my life. It began as many relationships begin, with romance and caring. But as time went on, I discovered that all the romance had been a ploy to get me to the altar. Once we were together permanently, I began to realize how self-centered he was.

I denied it at first, but once Judith was born it became painfully clear that Michael Austen was a man who cared only about himself. He resented my getting out of bed in the middle of the night to feed the baby; he resented the time I took off from my job to stay home with her and he didn’t like the fact that I was sharing my love with someone else, even if she was his daughter.

I continued to advance in my job, in spite of my temporary leave of absence. I think that bothered him as well. He was a mid-level manager of a department store with no chance of advancement. I was doing exciting cancer research with a world-class physician while he was planning how to arrange ties on counters. It was too much for Michael’s ego.

He wasn’t much of a father while we were married. Since the divorce he hardly ever calls them. The kids haven’t even seen him in a year and a half. I don’t think they miss him. I suppose it’s just as well that Malcom hardly knows his father. At least now he’ll have a proper father.

I met Joseph last year at just the right time, in Paris at a medical conference. I wouldn’t call it love at first sight. More like warmth after a few days. Four years after the divorce I was ready to begin a new relationship. He’s a wise, quiet, giving man and is proud of my accomplishments.

The move to America has been hard on the children. Judith is really bitter. She resents being uprooted from her friends and school and I know she feels angry at me. She’ll hardly talk to Joseph and she absolutely hates Joe Jr. From the moment they met there’s been an intense hostility between them. At least with Mac it’s easier. He’s fond of Joseph. He’s never had a real dad and I think having an older man around will be good for him.

I wonder sometimes if we can pull this off. All seven of us are going through such major changes. I mean, we’re a new family living in a new place trying to adjust to a situation that is totally different from what any of us are used to. Marriage is difficult enough when it’s just two people. With us, it’s seven, and I can’t say that any of the five kids are wildly enthusiastic about this arrangement.

Professionally, I’ve been very fortunate. I found a great job doing AIDS research at a teaching hospital in Danbury. The money is good. Lord knows we need it. Joseph and I spent a fortune on a lovely lake-side home in Brookfield. The setting is so idyllic. I only wish it would rub off on the kids. All they do is fight, especially Joe Jr. and Judith.

I wish I had some idea how to turn us into a family.

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