Don Draper, Akumal…19 years later

In honor of the end of the Mayan calendar, Cindy H posted some photos from our trip to the Yucatan Peninsula for Christmas, 1993. Here’s one with most of the family + significant others:

the gangKelly is missing from the photo–she probably took the picture, Katy is turned away from the camera, then there’s Per, Cher, and Cindy (standing). Chris, BJ, and Sean are sitting. I think we’d just climbed to the top of a ruin in Coba. As I recall Chris was grumpy about something. My folks are somewhere–maybe at the base of the ruin.

We took this trip to Akumal 19 years ago, not long after Sean and I first started seeing each other. Katy and Cindy split a couple of years after this trip. Per and Cher married in 1996, as did Sean and I. In 1997, Chris and Kelly married. Katy eventually met Shelley and they’re now “married” as well.

The Yucatan was romantic, stunningly beautiful, stressful at times (we had to share bedrooms, compromise on dinners, outings, etc.) but overall quite memorable. This was the first time I’d brought a boyfriend on a family trip so it seemed important, momentous. By March we had moved in together–also something I’d never done with anyone before. Two years later, or thereabouts, we were married. Not sure what else to say about the photo or the trip…I still have a framed photo of Sean in that silk-screened tank, atop the ruin, the treetops stretched out behind him, beaming at me. He looks happy.

Last night I watched the last few episodes of season 3 of “Mad Men.” Betty and Don are splitting: she’s filed for divorce after discovering his true identity and realizing that she doesn’t love him anymore. The secrets, the lies, the deceit spoke to me. Like Betty I had built my relationship on a series of lies (on Sean’s part) and illusions (on my part). Once it becomes glaringly obvious that the trust is gone, what else can you do? Unlike Betty, I never looked Sean in the eye and told him I didn’t love him anymore. There are some things that I’m simply too wimpy to do. But perhaps there are some things that don’t need to be said? Me, who loves words, who always wrote all of my pain, who left achingly awful notes for him to read. I had run out of words. Too tired to write. Too tired to speak.

I’m reminded of lines from Joan Baez’ song, “Diamonds & Rust”:

You who are so good with words
And at keeping things vague

About BJ

living the dream in northern Utah
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2 Responses to Don Draper, Akumal…19 years later

  1. Sian Griffiths says:

    Your comments about lies (his) and illusions (mine) really struck home. The hardest part for me was feeling like I’d known all the time and was too stupid to trust my own knowledge/instincts. I guess that’s being unfair, though, right? Because ultimately, I *want* to be a person who gives people the benefit of the doubt. I found itself really hard to cut myself that slack, though, and to forgive myself for the pain I’d let him put me through. (What’s up with that? Total displacement of anger.)

    I really admire how together you’ve kept things. You are such an amazing woman and I’m so glad to know you!!


  2. bjmcshane says:

    thanks Sian…the hardest part is forgiving ourselves. I’m so glad to know *you*!


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