What a way to start the summer of the final year of the century. It had been a week since I discovered my husband’s affair and two days since I’d last seen him. It was time for me to stop feeling sorry for myself, get up and figure out my next move.
It all started with a phone call. It changed the lives of three individuals. She stated clearly why she had called and why we needed to meet. My first response was, “Who is this?” Sarcastically she replied, “You already know.” I need to talk to you were her next words. She set the time and place. “This is a sick joke,” I thought. Not him. His military issued eye glasses, large nose, bad skin and big booty, who else besides me could love him? I dressed in disbelief. I pondered the idea of not going, but quickly denounced that notion. Curiosity caused me to want to ask, who, what, where and how. Before long I was on my way to meet my husband’s lover.
As I sat in the parking lot of the Chucky Cheese, birthday party memories ran through my head. The Jones, Smiths and Grants, as well as our family had shared special events at this particular spot. “Are we there yet mommy?” snapped me from my nostalgic sojourn. As we exited our white mini-van, diaper bag in hand I remembered my daily horoscope from the morning paper… “Meeting a new individual with life changing news…” How cliché I thought.
Upon entering the chamber of children, my rambunctious seven year old takes off. “Wait for your brother” gets her attention, she stops and turns back. I wait a while before I began to look for this woman. Who is she and why does she need to speak to me?
Mommy, I know him, I hear, he must attend Jennifer Elementary School was my first thought; this is my daddy’s friend mommy. Soon I began remembering, every out of town training and business trip from the past two years. He couldn’t be his; his fair complexion and kinky hair, he just couldn’t be. The child had to be around four or five. He called our children by their names and even asked when they were coming over again.
With disbelieving eyes, I saw her. She stood five foot nine compared to my five foot four: her flawless medium brown complexion, short tapered hairstyle verses my dark brown ruddy skin, and get dressed quick ponytail; and her toned, shapely body to my “just had a baby eighteen months ago and still working on it frame.” We secured a booth. The atmosphere was tense, but yet she seemed so calm. She spoke in a condescending tone while I listened with disbelieving ears. Fragments of her speech drifted into the darkest crevices of my brain. “We love him,” so do we; we are a family; we will be; anything to keep him; so will I. Had she bumped her head? Did she really think that I was going to let go of eleven years of unconditional love and matrimonial bliss? I mustered enough courage to ask, “Is your little boy his? No, she replied, “but soon one will be.” The same little boy appeared, I have to go to the bathroom, he chided.
Time for my escape, I scanned the room feverishly looking for our kids, his first borns. The yells of excitement from the children seemed to be magnified by my haste to exit the chamber. Before I could make my escape, she and her son, had returned. The conversation was taking its toll on us both. Finally, I gathered my things, located my kids and started my trek towards the door. Frankly, I had heard enough.
Tears streamed from my eyes as I headed north on Interstate 301. As soon as I turned into our development I could see his SUV parked in his usual space. “I am not ready for this,” I whispered. As I unloaded the children, the front door opened, “So Anxious” by Genuine came floating through the air. It sounded as though the performance was in our living room. The rhythm of the soulful ballad made my stomach ache. There he stood military issued eye glasses and all. I wanted to hit him, scratch him; dig his eyeballs out. I wanted him to feel my pain, my embarrassment and my confusion.
“Go upstairs” he said in that military tone which made the children move quickly. I scrambled around in the kitchen, selecting items for dinner thinking maybe if I avoid him, everything will work itself out, but I knew deep in my soul eventually, I would have to face him, their infatuation, and life without him.
He started by saying that he had gone home, “How’s everyone?” I said. “Fine, just fine was his reply. Instantly, I knew he had been home to talk with his older sister, if she’d given her blessings for him to leave. I’d never stand a chance against her advice. His brown eyes insinuated that his confession was as hard for him to say as it would be for me to digest. As he spoke, my mind began to replay our lives together. Our first baby, first vacation, and our first sexual experience vividly flashed before my eyes. His conversation was so mundane, so rehearsed; he could tell that from my distant stare that I was not interested. He asked, “Did you hear me?” Of course I had, but I wasn’t willing to give him that satisfaction. Our great love affair had just come to an abrupt halt.
It was a nice late summer day in July that year. I had been skyrocketed to hell and back. Another teary eyed and lonely weekend had passed. Decisions and arrangements had been made my plan was to return home. Suitcases signified the end of it all, my marriage was over. The children were gathered around him, unaware of the pain and shame he has placed upon our family. They hugged and kissed him to no end. Promises to visit were made. As I walked to the door, “You will be hearing from my attorney,” slipped from my lips. That felt damn good. Someone was going to look out for my best interest and the best interest of my children. On that day I left my best friend, my lover, and my confidant.
That was over 6 and years ago. Marriage caused me to loose sight of myself and I hated that. I haven’t looked back nor have I regretted any decisions that were made. I sought therapy after this ordeal and found me, a caring, loving woman, who deserves attention and love. I started a new career (County Government) and even enrolled into an Accounting program at one of the local colleges. It has not been an easy path to walk, but through shear perseverance and determination I have survived.
Update: It is now 18 years later, and I am a tax advisor and have been working at my career for all that time. I have a happy life, have great children who are grown and strong. I look back on all of this as a bad dream. He lost out. He missed out on something wonderful, but I’m not sure I would have been this wonderful if I had stayed. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure that I’m so awesome because I didn’t. Sometimes, you just have to let go and let God. And I did. And I’m proud of me.