On the day of delivery, Bridget Kane entered the hotel suite with her flaming strawberry blonde hair and her ever-present smile. An artist whose work addresses language and communication, she handed me a stack of white cards elegantly wrapped in a 1 ½ inch red flowing grosgrain ribbon. She did not know that my own wedding invitation had been a white card enclosed in a similar ribbon, but green, so the comparison was striking for me. Red and green being complimentary yet opposites on the color wheel, it was an irony that did not go unnoticed.
I untied the ribbon and began to sift through the deck. Each card had a word printed on it in an elegant script font. The words had been taken from the dissolution agreement. The words she chose were: attachment, benefit, circumstances, commencing, compromise, conduct, consent, consequences, continue, contribute, deficiency, demands, derivative, discovery, dissolution, division, effective, execute, further, indebted, interest, judgment, liability, production, provide, public, purpose, release, representation, reserved, respect, and return.
Bridget explained that the criteria by which she chose the words was based on picking words whose meaning shifted based on context. In flipping through the deck I became only aware of their common meaning, sort of like a Rorche Test where with every word I looked at I thought of the first thing that came to mind. Nearly none the definitions that came to me were the way these words were being used in the agreement.
After flipping through the deck repeatedly I began to realize that I was literally shuffling these cards. That thought caused me to begin to compile a subset of these words using my own criteria. I wanted to find words that should not be “played with” in a relationship. I then had those words printed on an actual playing card deck. I don’t like to gamble, but how many times had I gambled in my marriage?