The 21 Year Old Divorcee

She was 21 when I met her. She spoke loudly about her name change to our newspaper advisor with no regard for the others in the room. When I asked why, she fed me a line about adoption. That she was divorced came to me through rumors from other people, an explanation for why she got that extra large dorm room all to herself, why she lived on campus year round.

The idea of it – a divorcee close to my age – seemed strange and out of place at  the small college.

Over the next two years, I heard bits and pieces of the story. Most of it came from her. Some of it was gossip about her – how she cheated on him, how he was part of the mob, how wealthy he was.

I was inclined to believe the bad stuff based on how she treated me. She made three threatening phone calls to me in the course of my time there. Disks for the newspaper got “lost.” My name ended up on some appalling things, and at one point I think she started a rumor I was having an affair with a married staff member. When she got in disagreements with that staff member, she would actually scream at me if I didn’t take her side. I recognize now the hallmarks of a narcissistic personality. I never connected her to divorce to her behavior.

My roommate did. “You can’t trust a 21 year old divorcee,” she said after a 4 am phone call from her ended in a broken, collector’s item Mickey Mouse bank.

I didn’t agree that a person’s marital status indicated trustworthiness. But there was definitely something wrong with that particular 21 year old divorcee.