My attempt to woo my husband through my love letter(s) was met with tepid response. He wrote back, first reiterating that the Investment Banker and French Cigarette Girl (WHO WAS SHE!?!?!?!?) were just “elements of the story” that he was weaving through Europe. He wanted to make his journey sound “Aristocratic” and “Bohemian”. He admitted to being consumed with his writing, and hoped that it would become lucrative so that there wouldn’t be such a financial mess back home.
His next few paragraphs softened.
And then he said he loved me. I should know that.
I did know that he loved me. And I suppose it was enough to keep me going. Yet what was this talk of his “bent” heart? My heart was broken, daily.
At the same time, I somehow understood the difficult personal journey that he was on – how could I beat him while he was down? I had, after all, offered him forgiveness. I wanted to extend grace. He was expressing love for me, and even appeared to begin dealing with himself. He confirmed over and over that his affair was done, and even offered his email password as proof.
I never used it.
The positive emails continued to flow. It seemed as if my husband was slowly turning back into the sweet, humble, loving man I had married. At the same time, however, he was spinning a different tale to his readership. I read every one of his daily stories, and the Investment Banker with the BMW was becoming more of a central figure. Still, I chose to believe that my husband was writing fiction; portraying himself as a harmless character.
He wrote again to tell me that one of the magazines had asked him to stay on and cover the next leg of the tournament, which would be held in Portugal. We were out of touch for 40 hours.
And then, a picture of him and his Investment Banker surfaced.
It was a candid shot. The two of them sat in a golf cart, comfortably close together. The woman appeared to be in her early 20s. She relaxed into him, her left arm draped lovingly over his right shoulder. She was dressed casually, in jeans and an off-the shoulder T-shirt that displayed a busy, silkscreened image of James Dean. I immediately noticed her thin frame, and how tragically small her breasts appeared to be. Her long, dark hair was pulled loosely back in a ponytail. A few stray pieces covered her small, heavily lined eyes. Her fiery red fingernails gripped at the Blackberry in her free hand. She concentrated on the screen, frosted lips slightly parted.
My husband leaned forward, his arms resting over the steering wheel. His head was turned in her direction and his lips mirrored hers. He had gotten a haircut and new sunglasses. The colorful, grassy green background contrasted the heavy, dark ink on his biceps.
I peered closer.
His left hand was completely naked.