Book Excerpt: 'A Promise to Ourselves'

By 1994, the bankruptcy attorney would call with her daily report and, at that point, we had devised a shorthand. I would ask, "Was it a ten or a nine today?" This was a measure of how badly Kim had been treated during the proceeding, ten being the worst. Most days were either a nine or a ten.

After nearly two years of this, the issues we faced as a couple grew larger and more pronounced. I had been in other relationships and recognized the look that people get when they would prefer that you were not around. Kim hardly looked me in the eye anymore and seemed to always be talking to me over her shoulder.

The New York Times piece on Kim's bankruptcy ran on New Year's Day, 1995. Kim was once again made to look callous and irresponsible in a way that, under the slightest examination, was clearly untrue. Kim was livid.

We were scheduled to fly that night to Lima to begin shooting a documentary on endangered exotic birds of the Peruvian rainforest. I had hoped that working on this project together would help our marriage, but once again, the case overshadowed everything. Kim did not want to go to on the trip, partly because of a tantrum I had thrown over the Times piece. The documentary, which I had helped to organize, appeared to be ruined

Ultimately, Kim relented and we headed to Peru. We did not talk much, although the project proved to be exhilarating. We flew home somewhat renewed. And then we discovered Kim was pregnant with our daughter.

We were standing in her bathroom in her house in Los Angeles: Kim, myself and Kim's then assistant. Kim said she had something to tell me. She seemed lost in thought, bordering on grim. Her assistant had a slightly woeful smile on her face. Kim said she was pregnant. A moment that one would have imagined, during all of your lifetime leading up until now, would be a cause for unprecedented joy was more like someone telling you that they had wrecked your car. Or, that your house had been flooded.

We all just stood there, while Kim talked of her doubts about me and our marriage. She was, however, determined to move forward with having the child., in spite of our current state of disconnect.

Her assistant managed to sneak glances at me that seemed pitying, as if to say, "How sad to have this moment in your life play out this way." I suppose that, in hindsight, the alienation from my daughter began that afternoon, before she was even born.

I had committed to make a film in New York in the spring of 1995. After all we had been through, I was not automatically inclined to attempt to get out of that contract. However, when I had found out that Kim was pregnant, I asked the producers to release me from the project so I could remain home with my new family. True to form, they refused and threatened to sue me. Kim was due to deliver our baby in late October, just six weeks before her 42nd birthday.

During her pregnancy, I would travel back to Los Angeles frequently, but no one greeted me with any of the protocol of the expectant father. Kim was having a baby, not me. I was reminded of that constantly. I wrote this off as the fears and doubts of an expectant mother, but it all seemed wrong.

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