A piece of history

The morning after discovery of my husband’s sexaholic behaviors, I force my swollen eyelids apart after I am sure he’s left the room.  I’ll stay in bed.  Better yet, I’ll get up and leave without a word while he is still downstairs feeding the animals.  Of my immediate morning-after-the-truth options, I decide that’ll hurt him most.  I will go to Starbucks and waste time there until it’s time to go to work.  I imagine him in the kitchen, making coffee for two, glancing toward the stairs awaiting my arrival.  I know he wants me with him and I want to hurt him by letting him down.  But to my surprise I feel that my soul wants to be with him as well.  I rise and put on a robe and make my way downstairs.  “Good morning” he says hopefully.  I walk past him without a word and take a mug from the cabinet.  “I’ve already made you a cup, I was going to bring it to you.”  I see the light brown coffee in my favorite mug but ignore it.  I don’t make eye contact, I don’t acknowledge his words.  I pour my own cup of coffee (to prove I don’t need him).  I could leave the room, point made, and return to bed.  But more than anything I want to be in his presence – to feel him near me.  I can still get what I need without giving him what he wants.  So this is how my morning goes.  He tries over and over to talk to me.  “I’m sorry…” he begins.  I get up and go to the bathroom.  “I love you” he tries and I start playing catch with Tutu, laughing loudly at her every move, drowning him out.  I hope I hurt him.  I hope he suffers this morning.

Later that day, I spoke with my husbands therapist of 4 years.  She told me that all of her couples who ever dealt with this type of betrayal are still together, and are stronger for it.  Hearing this angers me – how dare she suggest that any good could come of this pain?  She also told me that I am in too much pain to make a decision about our future and assured me that I don’t have to make a decision about anything today.  That was very important advice, so I allowed myself to put off making a decision, but I felt I needed to make a statement.  I considered packing my bags and letting him watch me pull out of the driveway with his dog in the car.  We both loved our dog Tutu with all of our hearts.  But I believe I love her more.  My husband rescued her a year before I met him.  Tutu and I didn’t immediately fall in love.  That happened carefully and over time.  But our bond was solid.  Our desire to be together, sleep next to each other, run to my side of the car first…it all happened over time.  But now I can’t remember it being any other way.  I don’t remember when my world didn’t revolve around her.  I do remember the night I found out my worst nightmares had come true.  I remember taking care of business before I allowed the first tear to fall.  I wrote on a post it note “In the event of a divorce or separation, I make sole decisions about Tutu’s living situation.”  Not very eloquent, but the point was made and he signed it without hesitation.  

A few weeks later, I arrived home to a typical pile of mail on the counter.  I run across a piece addressed to the me before I got married, a piece addressed to my maiden name.  My stomach drops at the realization that there is no longer a woman by that name living in this house.  I killed her.  I took away her name and replaced it with that of an unworthy man.  A name shouldn’t have changed me.  The marriage shouldn’t have changed me.  But it did.  The light-hearted, resilient care free girl with the Polish last name had evaporated and in her place was developing a bitter, aging, angry wife – how I hate that word most of all.  I never wanted to be a wife.  I never drooled over wedding magazines or maternity clothes.  I was content in my relationships.  I would dive in, be madly in love, share my innermost self…I would grow and learn and teach and screw and laugh at my unconventional ways.  For 35 years I avoided the subject.  The proposals I received along the way I volleyed back and then moved on.  There were occasional moments of loneliness and fear – but none that could compare to the loneliness, fear and helplessness that I was feeling now as I see my maiden name mocking me from the junk mail envelope.  Like a jackrabbit in a trap, gnawing in pain…




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