I woke up the very first morning at Curt and Kathy’s, my heart pounding. I had just experienced a very vivid dream, wherein I yelled at my husband:
“YOU’RE A CHEATER, A LIAR, AND A BAD ONE, AT THAT!”
Later that day, I received an email from him. It was almost as if I had conjured him up.
He was flying back to LA in a little over a week. He needed money to book his plane ticket, and a check would be arriving at our house very soon. He asked me to deposit it into his account.
I never responded. I was too exhausted from the move to even deal with him, but I was still anxious about getting him served. I prayed and journaled.
It was interesting to hear Curt voice, “You left your husband”. I guess that I did. I left my confused, narcissistic, derelict, infidel husband, who is still hurting me with his insistence on getting information from me…I don’t NEED or WANT this. I want him served, and OUT OF MY LIFE! I want a NEW life; I want to be whole; I want to be LESLIE SPENCER and meet someone new. I PRAY he can be served this week, before he comes home (if he even comes back)…after me packing the house and saying goodbye to it and my old life and my neighbors…
Such sadness now. Reality once again. God, have mercy on me. God, hear my cries. You see my tears.
I am not strong. I am tired of being strong.
Nothing I ever thought would be. I kind of want to die.
Two days later, my husband emailed me again.
I don’t want to be rude, or pushy, Les, but that money is a little important. If you can’t or won’t do it, can you at least let me know where the mail is going so I can try and get someone else to deposit?
I was furious, but knew that any emotional reaction would only just hurt me in the long run. I vented to my best friend, Joy.
I HATE HIM SO MUCH! I HATE HIS GUTS! I HATE HIM HATE HIM HATE HIM! HATE!!! RAGE AND HATE!!!! WHY THE HELL IS THE MONEY ALL OF THE SUDDEN SO IMPORTANT?? It wasn’t important yesterday.
ASS! ASS! DOUCHEBAGGERY!
Okay, I feel better.
I then carefully responded to the email.
I understand how important money is. All of your mail has been forwarded to your parents’ address, so you should contact them about the check. The new tenant is not responsible for our mail.
Ten days passed. He finally re-appeared.
April 29, 2010
I just landed in LA. It feels like a different planet. I have no idea where you are or what you want to do.
April 30, 2010
I know that you are probably dreading seeing me…or to be honest I have no idea what you are feeling. Absolutely no idea. I will be here for a week then I go back to Oz. I’ll be in Pasadena later today, I think, if you want to see me…I don’t like emailing you like I would a stranger…
I panicked. The one-legged ex-boyfriend/process server had not gotten the chance to serve my husband the papers. I learned that he had actually tried to make an appointment to see my husband, but the people at the magazine offices said he wasn’t available, or didn’t know when he’d be “in”. I thanked the dear guy for all his time and hard work, and offered him my first-born son. Via FedEx, of course.
We both agreed it was a valiant effort, and became Facebook friends.
At least my husband was back in town. I had to figure out a Plan B.
It just so happened that our dear friend and former pastor, Tim, had flown in from his new home in Portland, Oregon. He was in town for the week to take a class at Fuller Seminary. Tim was really the only close friend of my husband’s that I had ever trusted to be a good influence in his life. Ever since discovering the truth about my husband and his small “cast of characters”/travel companions, I was sickened at the very thought of them, and their life choices. His crew has manipulated, deceived and hurt a lot of people. Most of us have stopped “drinking the Koolaid”, so to speak. I pray for the ones who are left.
When the affair was first revealed, Tim was the only person to whom my husband would talk, or listen.
I met up with Tim over dinner at Joseph and Katie’s and threw out the idea of him serving my husband the divorce papers. He did not hesitate, and agreed to be “on call”. Although it wouldn’t be as dramatic as the covert, one-legged, serve-your-papers-in-a-pizza-box operation, I knew that God had worked it out in His perfect timing. My husband would be served by a good, faithful friend. The intention was to do it with love and grace.
Everybody needs some grace.
I cannot think of a better person to have executed the deed. I also started to think that I’d probably want to hang onto my firstborn son, should I be blessed with one.
May 1, 2010
YOU ARE ON THE PATH OF MY CHOOSING. There is no randomness about your life.
He was served yesterday at Curt and Kathy’s. He had emailed me in the afternoon asking to see me and I texted Tim; asked him if he could do it that day. Yes. So husband showed up at 2:00 p.m. I was playing the piano when he arrived. I answered the door.
“How are you?” I said, as I opened it. I didn’t know him. He was a different person. Total stranger.
“Uhhh, not that great,” he answered.
“Want something to drink?” I offered.
“What are you drinking?” he asked.
“I’ll have some water.”
“I’ve got cheap beer, too.”
“Yeah, I’ll take cheap beer.”
We go outside. Commence conversation. He wanted to know what I was up to. I told him. Back at the Co-Op, doing a show in July, singing in a casual band.
And then I noticed he wasn’t wearing his ring. It made me flub my words a bit…finally I got to the point:
“Why are you here? What do you want from me?” I asked.
He was unable to accurately explain. Talked about how he was done, finished, and — “looking at you now, I still feel finished.”
I said, “Okay, well, to be honest, I filed for divorce and Tim is coming over right now to serve you papers.”
“Why do I have to be served?”
“Because it’s legal.”
And we argued. Talked about the house. He won’t give me the house; said he wanted me to buy him out, and he would give me “a deal”. Clearly he just wants money. Then he talked about how I ruined it all – he really needed me, and my support while he was in Australia, but it just broke down; I cut off communication, etc.
It was just all the same bullshit storyline. I’m not buying it anymore.
He asked me what I had been up to but I didn’t want to share very much. He asked why, and I told him he wasn’t in my life anymore. And that the lesson I have learned was that you don’t leave the person you love. Ever. I said I’d take that into my second marriage – you don’t leave.
Tim showed up, and talked with him. I went up to my room but eavesdropped from the top of the stairs. My husband was spouting off about me, how I said “this and that”, sent a “constant barrage” of emails. Tim, being the gracious and patient pastor and person that he is, observed that we were not hearing each other. True. poor communication. Husband accused me of throwing him under the bus to everyone, to which I yelled from the top of the stairs, “NO, THE STORY SPEAKS FOR ITSELF”.
He yelled back, “YEAH, OUT OF YOUR MOUTH!”
After a while, I rejoined Tim and Husband, and talked to Husband about his sick stories I found in The Man House. He denied, denied. I asked why I would make up the Russian interpretation. Why would he write his Leave Them Wanting Less stories and have detailed accounts of his sexual history?
“I have no sexual history,” he replied.
I calmly said, “YES, YOU DO.”
Ugh!! The lies, the denial. De-ni-a-l. I don’t have to DEAL with him anymore, thank you Lord!
Husband talked with Tim some more and Tim told him he needed to be wiling to sacrifice his career for his marriage. Husband flat out was — and is — NOT willing to do that.
“All she wants is kids,” he spat.
“And why is that bad?” Tim asked, gently.
Husband accused me of wanting it only my way, and he would be stifled by it. He argued that “traditional” was not who he was, and I knew that when I married him. And he was, in part, right. But eventually I DID and DO want “traditional” things, like, say, stability? A family! A faithful husband.
Tim finally left.
Husband wanted to talk to me. I went downstairs. I handed him his bank stuff and checks, along with the $300.00 I had received from the sale of his motorcycle. He refused it.
He held the manila envelope. Served.
He held his head in his hands, and started to cry.
“This is tragic,” he said, quietly. I think I saw a tear fall.
I pointed out that he got what he wanted. I also told him I thought he was sick. I was grabbing my own hair and saying, “YOU ARE SICK, HUSBAND. SICK.”
But in the end: he was sitting there – looked pretty bad. Very skinny, bags under his eyes. Emptiness behind his eyes. I started to cry, a bit, and apologized for the awful things I had said in the past.
I explained that this was not what I had wanted, even back on that September night when I learned the truth. But now it WAS what I wanted. I had moved too far forward to take a step back. I kept saying that Husband would find someone else, and it wouldn’t take him long.
“Why do you say that?” he asked.
I just looked at him.
“Why are you looking at me like that?” His voice got a bit higher.
“Come ON,” was my response.
NOT ONCE did he apologize. Not ever. Blame, blame, blame.
He asked me where I was going to church. I said I didn’t want to tell him. He wanted to know why.
“Can’t you guess where I’m going to church?”
He guessed correctly, and asked me how it was.
“It’s really good.”
And then he wanted to know how Joseph and Katie were doing. I started to cry.
“They are great.”
I told Husband that I had – and always will have – fond memories of our marriage. It was great. We were good together. I had no regrets; I gave all I could and he said that he felt the same way, so we could just agree that it was mutual. Over.
“Sometimes,” I explained, “there has to be a death in order for a resurrection.”
I asked him why he was there. What was his plan? If he was done, then was he going to file? Why was he back in LA, anyway? How was he going to end it?
He said he didn’t have a plan.
“I’m not like you.”
He told me I never gave him a chance. He said he was owed money “all over the world”, and he knew he was bad about collecting it. He needed a Secretary to help him. Like me.
What the fuck? I’m not going to be anybody’s Secretary.
I said I was glad he was making money, and good luck with it.
UGH. SO gross.
Then I said I thought he should have done whatever it took to save the marriage. If he truly wanted it, then he would have been willing. HE GOT WHAT HE WANTED.
“You’re free,” I said.
“We could have been free together,” he replied.
“No, we couldn’t have.”
THEN – he asked me if we “could at least go to lunch or something.”
My mouth dropped open.
“Because it’s not a good idea.”
WHAT THE FUCK!??!?!? You just got served and you’re asking me out? Really?! What part of NO don’t you comprehend? You don’t have “an affairs” and then keep leaving your wife and expect her to stick around.
So then he asked me if I wanted him to leave. I hesitated and semi-shook my head. He asked if I were glad he was going back to Australia.
“No. I never like it when you leave. I never have.”
He got up to leave. I walked him to the door.
“I should have done whatever it took,” he said to me, sunglasses on.
“Yeah, you should have.”
“That’s the story. That will be the story I will write for the rest of my life.”
Always about the stupid story.
He walked out the door, but turned back around. I think he was going to say something, but I had already closed it – firmly – and walked away.
I never looked back.
“That” conversation is a real turning point, for sure. When you know someone is reduced, yet you finally, truly see just how small and frail they are, well, it’s sobering and healing and freeing, and sad, and so many other feelings all at once.