Once upon another lifetime I believed I could write a fairy tale based on how my life turned out that would make Grimm and Danielle Steele salute. After all I embodied every romantic cliché. Rags to riches. Meeting the exotic foreigner. Falling in love under less than ideal circumstances. Defying the curse. Beating the bad guys. Marrying my prince in the end.

At that time, I basked in my personal victories so blindly in love I couldn't see my own feet, let alone the path I would walk. I tried to picture how my future would look in ten years. What I envisioned was beautiful and pure and absent of all our sins of the past.

Now I know why fairy tales always ended with the kiss, the ride into the castle, and the generic claim that the couple lived happily ever after. It's like the lifetime smoker who quits to much applause. There's a good chance that person will feel better for a while. It doesn't mean he won't get lung cancer a few years down the road. It doesn't exclude him from the consequences of past choices. And it often makes that realization even worse than it would be if he still smoked. How's that for a final chapter?

I'm older now, my naivety tempered by time and a recently acquired rear view microscope of those ten years I once envisioned. The difference between my predictions and actual events still leaves me baffled. I didn't consider what problems could arise in the future as a result of the mistakes we had made. Devon never asked me what long-term damage a near fatal abortion may have caused to my body. I never asked Devon how he felt about alternatives if a fleet of doctors all advised me against trying to carry a child of my own. I didn't make a plan on how to cope with how guilty, how utterly damaged I would feel when my sheer will wasn't enough to save a pregnancy that shouldn't have happened in the first place. Devon couldn't have predicted he would spend part of my emergency hysterectomy in the NICU, holding the baby we both had wanted so badly, having to say goodbye twelve minutes after she was born. I never imagined how much I would resent him for those minutes he got with our daughter that I missed.

I'm not sure which is worse: that I didn't prepare for a worst-case scenario despite every indicator showing that I should, or that subconsciously, maybe I did. Because as I sit here in another meeting of suits who will try to untangle hundred million dollar assets accumulated over a decade while defining the monetary penalty my husband should pay for sleeping with another woman, I am in a limbo that so far hasn't let much in. Very little heartbreak, no real anger, not even the same self-loathing I felt while we were still together. I'm empty. There's nothing there.

I feel like I'm outside of my own life. I'm reading someone else's sob story, and my apathy is staggering. I'm being selfish; I feel cheated. The man that quit smoking years ago isn't supposed to get cancer. The princess paid her dues to get into that castle, and she's supposed to have that indefinite, if not specifically defined, happiness.

I don't know what part of that untold continuation got us here in the first place. I just know that fairy tales damn sure aren't supposed to end like this.