Why I Married My Ex- The Men In Black Theory...

Me- Back in my Alien Defensive Tactical Command Days

Every now and then, when I can't sleep and I've exhausted all other thoughts, to-do lists and fantasies, I try to figure out why on earth I married my ex-husband. I present tonight's theory...

Aliens live among us and my ex-husband was their king.

"King" being a relatively ceremonial title, with no real responsibilities, commitments, or powers.

But how then, you ask, did I, a mere mortal, wind up wedded to the king of the evil aliens? After two hours of insomnia (during which time I also made up my grocery list, thought about The Eldest Unnamed One's final birthday preparations, pondered the qualities necessary for my ideal fantasy lover and explored the meaning of life,) I was able to arrive at this explanation.

I was lulled into marrying the king of the aliens by his family.

They were, and still are, in a word-delightful.

Quirky, certainly, but then, I value quirkiness. And brilliant. Funny. And most of all, deeply caring.

I miss the hell out of them, but the good thing is, while I lost the king in the divorce, they're still around for the most part.

I figure my marriage happened like the old country song, "I'd Marry Your Dog Just to get in to Your Family." Only I married an alien instead.

I think anyone might've overlooked the gills behind the king's ears when faced with such a wonderful family. Take, for example, my brother-in-law.

Years ago, before I published my first mystery novel, I was really struggling with the whole process. I had the dream of becoming a writer, two toddlers, and very little encouragement from the king. I got up every morning at 5 a.m to write and stole every available moment I could to learn my craft. I even joined the local branch of a nationwide group that supports the efforts of female mystery writers- Sisters in Crime.

It was tough going and sometimes I entertained the idea of giving up. After all, you have about as much chance of making it in the book industry as you do of becoming a rock star. Sometimes it felt downright selfish to pursue a career that seduced me so completely but promised so little in return. I was so tired. So discouraged...

And then the box arrived.

A small, rectangular, brown cardboard box with my brother and sister-in-law's return address in the top left corner. It wasn't a holiday or even my birthday. I tore open the wrapping, dug through the Styrofoam peanuts and pulled out...a stained glass dagger.

The dagger was a replica of the Sisters in Crime logo. Delicate and fragile, pieces of translucent red and yellow glass that caught the light in my basement office as I held it up to the window.

My brother-in-law, the somewhat geeky, sentimental, brilliant fellow traveler, had seen deep inside my heart and designed the perfect symbol of hope. A symbol I treasure to this day.

I must say, given that I was living with the titular head of the evil overlords, a dagger could've been an omen of future things to come, both bad and good, or an implement of protection...but I saw it then and now as a tangible vote of confidence from my brother-in-law and the king's sweetheart sister.

When faced with a family like that, what's one alien king? When you add two incredible children to the mix and years of memories...an occasional scar from a bit of alien fire breath is a small price to pay for such a past and such a future.

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