Category Archives: Bad Behavior

Ma’am Versus Miss

After two days of writing in my pajamas under frozen, grey skies, I decided to shower, apply red lipstick and patronize the new restaurant that just opened downstairs.

“Ahhhh! It’s great to be here!” I declared to Shane, the bartender, as I removed my puffy jacket and slid my tight-legging-clad-ass onto the barstool. “I’m taking a break!”

“From what? Kids?” He smiled.

My mouth fell agape and my eyes widened.

“Kids?!?!?! What?!? No! Do I look *that* haggard?!!”

I shrugged and sucked at my teeth.

“I’m too old for kids, anyway,” I said.

He turned pale.

“So…what would you like to order, Ma’am?”

I wiggled my freshly pedicured toes inside their studded, heeled boots.

“UHHHMMMMM, you can call me ‘MISS’, not ‘MA’AM’! Dear God!”

Shane looked me square in the eye.

“You just told me you’re too old to have kids and now you want me to call you ‘Miss’? I’m failing here. Help me out!”

While I’m Waiting

I’m impatient with my impatience.

I know better.  I really do.  Yet it still doesn’t stop me from (a) being angry, (b) feeling sorry for myself, (c) crying pathetic tears into my pillow at night, (d) trying to take things into my own hands (ONLINE DATING IS HEINOUS!) and (e) wanting to give up, altogether.

I’m embarrassed at my fickle heart.  I go from being extremely happy with my life “as is”, to completely devastated that I’m not where I want to be.

Yesterday morning I dressed myself for church, feeling obligatory, pudgy and tired, with touch of low-grade frustration.  I arrived a few minutes late and picked a new place to sit, alone.  I’ve been attending church alone for over three years now. I’m quite used to it.  I’m okay sitting by myself.  In fact, I’m getting so good at doing things alone, I sometimes forget what it is like to have a companion.

My problem is that I’m okay with all of this.  I have told myself I have to be. For the most part, I’m just fine being single.  I’m fine with not getting asked out on dates.  It’s totally understandable, because it’s not the right time, or the “right” guys aren’t asking, or whatever other stupid-ass reason. It’s okay that I have to suppress my raging sex drive (I write about this a lot, don’t I?!), because I know better.  I want to have sex when it’s right, with the right person: one who will not just use me, empty me of my full, capable heart, and then leave.

Side note:  When you’ve gone from having a very regular, healthy (except in the end) sex life to NOTHING — ?!?!?!


F   R   U   S   T   R   A   T   I   O   N.


Of course, it’s not just about sex.  I long for relationship.

So, I’m waiting.  Hoping.  At the same time, I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be held, desired, caressed; loved – specifically, by a man.  And in those recurring moments of despair I know the answer is to turn to God for help.  Except that I feel stupid, selfish and silly, because I should be stronger than this. 

The truth is, I’m not strong at all.

I’m sick of this “single” bullshit, and pretending that it’s okay. It’s not. It sucks.

And so, a few minutes after I slipped into my seat and greeted the friendly, churchy-hipster faces around me, Joseph began his sermon.

It was about “the meantime.”  Waiting.

Oh, come on, God.  I don’t feel like listening to this today.  I know I have a bad attitude, and I’ll try to fix it.  I don’t want anything to apply to me, personally. I want to be left alone. Can’t Joseph give some illustration about somebody else?  An update on the Kenyan mission team, or maybe a typical four-pointer on how to love my neighbor, all beginning with the letter “L”?  I just feel like checking out today. 

Alas.  His intro was really good, so I decided to cast aside a little bit of my negativity.  I pulled out my journal and pen, and began taking notes.

The “meantime” is the time between wanting something and having it, I wrote, almost as quickly as it left Joseph’s lips.  We equate waiting with wasted time. If we have any hope, the meantime can bring up negative feelings.  We begin to distrust, disobey and despair. 

Sigh.  It’s so true.  I am chief of the triple D’s.

We need to wait…for the RIGHT thing.

How many times have I heard this??  Yet, I can’t poo poo it, because I know it’s truth.

I then started to think about all of the warm bodies in the room, and for what each person might be waiting; hoping; longing.

I know a few couples who are waiting to get pregnant.  They’re trying everything they possibly can, all while praying, hoping and believing that God will answer those prayers.  It just hasn’t happened yet.  Time is running out.

I know families who are waiting to hear news – good or bad – about their loved one’s illness.  What an agonizing place to be: wondering if your child/husband/brother/mother is going to suffer and die, and soon.

I know a woman who is waiting for her husband to “come around” – to see her for who she truly is, and to love her deeply; intimately.  He’s just not capable of it right now.  She still believes in the potential of the man he can become, and is waiting.  It’s caused a lot of pain and confusion in her life.

I thought about my own journey, and how I’m waiting for God to answer all of my prayers.  I’ve been praying about moving back to New York since July 2009, even when I was still married.  I’ve been praying for my dad, step-mom and sisters to plunge into a deep relationship with God.  I want to spend eternity in heaven with them.  I’ve wondered and prayed about a second husband. I actually started writing to him — whoever he is — two years ago.  It feels so cheesy.

And dare I even pray and ask for a career and children?  I do.

There’s nothing that I can do to make the waiting easier, not even with a good attitude.  I just have to sit, and wait, in the meantime.  I know I do a horrible job at it, but I also know that God is in control.  I get frustrated with myself at how small and petty my complaints seem to be, but they’re real, and I know they don’t go unnoticed.  I know God cares, and I know He’s not going to forsake me.  He hasn’t done so thus far.

My mind drifted back to the sermon, and I continued taking notes.  I started to tear up a bit when Joseph pointed out, “As long as we are breathing, God is not done with us.”

Okay, God.  I surrender.  You got me. And I KNOW You’re not done with me yet.  

As if that weren’t enough, Joseph “landed the plane” (hilarious pastoral terminology for wrapping up a sermon) with a 5-minute film. The lights dimmed, and a beautiful, blind teenager named Alyssa was projected onto the screen.  She’s been blind since birth.

Great.  I feel even more like an ass.  My life is good, and this poor girl is blind.  She wins.  I suck at being a Christian.

“If I could see,” Alyssa said, “I don’t think my faith would be as strong.”

The camera then cut to her walking onstage and sitting down at the piano, and Alyssa played and sang – like an angel — an inspiring, beautiful song that she had written.

I started to cry harder at this point, and heard a few other people sniffling around me.  The woman sitting one seat away from me dug in her purse for several tissues.

“I have so much joy and so much anticipation,” Alyssa’s voiceover soothed the congregation, “because I know the first face I’m ever going to see is Jesus, and that means the world to me.”


I realized something at that point:  Alyssa will never see.  Not in this earthly life, at least.  She is waiting for something that you and I take for granted, daily.  Her whole life is a “meantime”.

Yet she still has hope.  She still has joy.  She still has an impact on — and purpose in — this life.  She literally walks by faith, not by sight.

I have struggled with this post simply because it doesn’t feel poignant or special.  I have no “plane to land”; no physical evidence of my hope and faith, or even my prayers being answered.

Yet I still hope.  I wait.  I trust.  I believe.

Over two years ago, a friend of mine made me a CD to help encourage me as I endured the real-time pain of my divorce.  I never used to listen to Christian music (I was way too cool for it).  Now that the scars have begun to fade, certain songs pop into my head.  Today, “While I’m Waiting” is on replay in my mind.

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord,
and I am hopeful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience

While I’m waiting
I will serve You

While I’m waiting
I will worship

While I’m waiting
I will not faint

I’ll be running the race
Even while I wait.

It’s hard to wait.  The meantime can really suck.  But may we keep moving forward, with boldness and confidence; may we keep running with endurance the race set before us (Hebrews 12:1), and hold unswervingly to the hope that we profess, for He who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23).

Ack, X and K

Two days after my court hearing, I boarded a plane to Minneapolis, Minnesota.

My main purpose for heading to the Midwest was to reconcile with my long-lost, dear friend, K.  I hadn’t seen her in seven years, and we had only recently reconnected.

K and I had a beautiful history.  At the time I met her, she was in a dating relationship with X’s best friend, whom I shall refer to as “Ack”.  The couple hailed from a small town in Minnesota, and fell in love the summer before their senior year in high school.  After graduation, Ack moved to California to attend Bible College.  K stayed in Minnesota, attended college for two years, and then took a job as a nanny in Massachusetts.

I met K one weekend when she was in town visiting, and we were instantly friends.  We kept up our friendship via handwritten letters (email was a bit of a foreign concept back in those days).  Eventually, K took the plunge and moved to Southern California to be closer to Ack.  She and another girlfriend of hers from Minnesota became my roommates during my senior year at Biola University.

It was 1999.

The other Minnesotan roommate married X’s other best friend in June, I married X in October, and K married Ack nine months later.  We all settled in South Pasadena, just blocks from each other, and our friendship blossomed.

It was perfect.

The six of us were inseparable; unstoppable.  We were newlyweds, best friends, and adventurers.  We were young and had lofty dreams, but we were committed to our marriages.   We planned to take over the world and raise our kids together.  We enjoyed dinner parties, intellectual conversation and Bible studies.  The boys traveled to the Middle East together, for they shared a passion for the culture, and the girls stayed at home, waiting expectantly for their husbands to return.

Eventually, the other couple followed their calling into mission work, where they and their three children still flourish to this day.  Ack and X continued to travel together and found a single male friend to add to their danger/thrill-seeking lifestyle.

In the fall of 2003, K got pregnant.

It was unexpected news, but we were beyond excited.  There was going to be a baby in the mix!

So, the boys took off on a trip to Lebanon.  I accompanied K to her 14-week ultrasound appointment.  It would be the second time she would see and hear her baby’s heartbeat.  I had never seen an actual ultrasound before, and I was ecstatic.

K lay down on the table, and the friendly technician slathered the cold gel across her taut abdomen.  We chatted excitedly as we waited for the image of the baby to appear.  We also bemoaned that fact that both our husbands were gallivanting around Beirut.  It was time for them to settle down.

The technician continued to probe K’s belly for the image of the baby, until – there!  I saw it!  A teeny, tiny, miniature human being.  Totally formed.  Amazing!  I started screeching with excitement.

K lifted her head off the thinly veiled hospital pillow to catch a glimpse of her child.

She looked at the technician, and then at the screen, and said, matter-of-factly, “There’s no heartbeat.”

Silent tears flowed down the sides of her perfect, porcelain cheeks.

“I’m sorry,” the technician said, gently, and turned off the screen.

The rest of the appointment was full of shock and sadness.  Later that evening, K somehow managed to get a hold of her husband.

Ack told her he would come home, even though he and X hadn’t completed their itinerary.   We all later learned that a majority of these overseas trips consisted of partying, dancing, picking up women, kidnapping/dangerous situations with terrorists (yes, true), and God only knows what else.

He made it a few days later, just hours after she had a surgical procedure to remove the dead baby from her body.  Ack promised K he wouldn’t leave her like that, ever again.

Yet, two weeks later, he had already planned another trip.   Ack, X and their single friend traveled to Somalia to chase pirates in the summer of 2004.

K had had it.

And so, through a series of tragic, painful and devastating circumstances/events, K left.

We were all shocked.  Our team of unstoppable six went down to a confused, broken five.  What is worse, we all judged and hated K for leaving the way she did; for destroying her marriage.

I was the most judgmental of all.

I wrote K a massive email and vomited my feelings.  I chastised her and implored her to stay in her marriage.  I tried to wrap it up by telling her that I loved her, and would always be her friend, but it seemed hopeless.

She thanked me for my honesty, and disappeared.

So, the team of feeble five (including single male friend) upheld Ack and helped him through his divorce.  We felt sorry for him, and didn’t really know how to comfort him.  Not one of us 20-something Christian kids could imagine what it would be like to lose our spouse like that.

K was an evil monster who had destroyed Ack’s soul.  Ack clothed himself in all black, and we excused his subsequent destructive behavior.

Eventually, Ack moved in with X and me for a few months, and I took care of them both.  I did Ack’s laundry.  I sorted his mail.  I warded off collection agents who called our house, looking for him. I did my best to comfort him.  I committed to hate K for him.

Ack swore to make women fall for him, just so he could break their hearts.   And that he did.

In the summer of 2009, when I knew something was terribly wrong with my own marriage, I reached out to Ack. He was, after all, a Christian, and my husband’s best friend. 

Do you have any insight on what’s going on with X?  I wrote, trying to conceal my desperation.

I am too much of a girl (emotional, crazy) to figure him out right now. I would appreciate anything you know or have observed; no offense taken at all.

Ack responded. 

He thought we were both selfish, and didn’t understand how our marriage worked.  He believed that we genuinely didn’t have common goals anymore, and hadn’t worked very hard to make each other important or even interesting to one another.  He believed that X was over my whole deal in New York, and I had stopped being interested in X’s life a long time ago.  There was distance, X was selfish, I was selfish, and things didn’t look good from his perspective.  But, ultimately, he didn’t know what was going on.

But he did know.  He knew about the affair, the whole time.  And, one month later, I discovered the truth through Ack and X’s Skype conversation.  They talked candidly about my husband’s love for “UKR”, as if it were the most common, known fact in the world.

Over the past three years, the truth about my ex-husband and the people with whom he surrounded (and still surrounds) himself has slowly, painfully come to light.  The betrayal that I felt in my broken marriage almost seems to have been doubled.  I am shocked and saddened at the massive, seemingly guiltless capability to lie, manipulate, deceive and destroy.

I have joked to close friends that if I ever see one of those boys again, I will cause a large scene.  I will obnoxiously approach him and screech,  “What’s up, DICK?!”

Then I think, What would Jesus actually — not Christianese-commercially —  do?

The answer is, He probably wouldn’t call someone a dick.

Sigh.  I struggle, to this day, with forgiving that cast of characters.


When the mask of self-righteousness has been torn from us and we stand stripped of all our accustomed defenses, we are candidates for God’s generous grace.   -Erwin W. Lutzer (1941- )

K reached out to me when she learned of my separation.  We began to re-form our bond in the exact manner as it had begun: through written word.  I was overjoyed to rekindle a friendship that I thought had been destroyed.  When the opportunity presented itself, it only seemed fitting to jump on a plane, even just to hug my friend.

I spent several days with K in her warm, cozy home in northern Minnesota, and cherished every moment.   She has since re-married a wonderful, joyful, patient and loving man who simply adores her.

K and I laughed and cried together as the ugly scales of past hurts rapidly shed away.  The fragrant, yet crisp spring air was full of forgiveness and grace.

New healing had begun.

Bigamy and Contempt (X and Sister Wife)

Against my better judgment, I immediately returned Sister Wife’s email.

I mean, come on.  I couldn’t let that one go.

I appreciate you trying to stick up for your man.  It’s so sweet.
I am sorry that your marriage to him is not legal.

See you in court.

She did not reply, but I knew she’d be back.

Anger, sadness, rage, hurt and adrenaline rushed through my body.  Still, I laughed and laughed with my co-worker, Shelley, who was on the edge of her seat during the entire email exchange.  (Sometimes tax preparation can get a bit dull.)

I finished the workday without incident and drove home.  I felt unsettled.  I picked up my journal and added to the previous day’s entry.

Oh, Lord, I have really got to focus on You.  How unfaithful I am!  In the midst of extenuating circumstances I cling to You, but when things seemingly “ease up”, I venture out on my own, inevitably failing and acting/looking like a fool.  Forgive me.

X is still an ass.  Granted, I emailed him immediately and egged him on, and he told me to fuck off.  So rude.  I can’t believe I was married to him.  I really, honestly can’t.  It is painful to think of all the years I wasted with him.

And I am still alone.  I was alone then, and I am alone now.

I am trying to digest the email from Sister Wife today.  It was just very disheartening and childish.  I confess my anger and sadness.  Lord, have mercy.  Please let X and Sister Wife find You, for they need You.  We all need You.

X has hurt me enough.  I am exhausted and I do not want to spend money on another lawyer.  Lord, would it just be done?  Please?

Could the good things come?  Will they?  Will I ever move forward, beyond the angst of the divorce; the pain of rejection and human loneliness?

I have come so far.  I want to KEEP GOING.  Help!

I still believe You have good things in store for me.  I believe it, despite myself.  Lord, help me to forgive X someday.  I want to not be angry with him.

But anger is still prevalent.  He hasn’t changed, nor will he.  I want his money and I want to never think of him again.  He still hurts me.

I just want to be loved.

I closed my journal, shut my eyes and allowed the tears to flow.  I had to gear myself up for yet another battle.  As much as I didn’t want to let Sister Wife affect me, her venomous words cut deep.

How dare she? 

Who was she, anyway?  Some 39-year old divorced career woman with a kid, who bore a frighteningly striking resemblance to my ex-mother-in-law?

WHO CARED????!!!

Why was X letting her speak for him, anyway?  She had nothing to do with our relationship, even as broken as it was.  If anything, she would benefit from the fact that her marriage to him was/is illegal, because, if they end up divorced, she won’t have to pay him a red cent.

Me asking for the last part of the retirement wasn’t any sort of personal vendetta, or attempt to woo my ex husband back into my arms.  Simply put, it was my entitled share to our Community Property.  Most property acquired during a marriage is owned jointly by both spouses.  In California, it is divided 50/50 upon divorce, annulment or death.

So, it really didn’t matter if I had or hadn’t “earned” my share.  It was just the LAW.

Hmm.  Guess X and Sister Wife didn’t pay much attention to the law, anyway.

I placed a call to the lawyer whom I had initially hired to help me with the divorce paperwork.  I left a message.

“Hi, there!  It’s Leslie Spencer.  Hey, I was wondering if you could help me with a contempt case…?  My ex-husband is refusing to pay me.  It’s been months.  Ohhh, yeah, and he got married before we were divorced… so, um, yeah, I wanted to talk to you about that…”

I released the phone from my ear for a moment and let out a belly laugh. I gasped for air and tried to maintain my composure as I returned to the phone.

“So, what does one do with a case of bigamy and contempt on her hands?”

Bada$$ Motherf@*ker

The only thing left unresolved in the divorce was my share of my ex-husband’s retirement.  He had agreed to cash it out.  I knew it would be easier on both of us if he did so.  For me, it meant less paperwork in the “do it yourself” divorce.  I surmised that, for him, it represented quick, fast cash. Most of all, I didn’t want anything more binding me to him.

Being made an involuntary sister wife was enough.

I had patiently been waiting for him to follow through with his agreement.  The last I had heard about the status of the cash-out was that it would be available in December, 2010.

It was now April, 2011.

Suddenly, I wanted the money. I was legally entitled to it.  Deep down, I knew it would be another battle, but I was willing to fight – just once again – for what I wanted.  I was tired of being nice.

I emailed him, asking what was going on.  He responded, and wondered why I was after his money.  It had nothing to do with me.  I had done absolutely nothing to earn it, even theoretically.

I was furious.  I was not going to be made to look like a greedy ex-wife.  At best, I would come away with $10,000.00.

It’s standard in a divorce, I replied. That is all. Nothing personal. I’m not interested in you or your life.

He told me I’d get the money.  He was just having trouble with one account.

I’d just like to see the checks in the mail, I wrote back, trying (unsuccessfully) to conceal my heightened emotion.

I hardly believe that accounting departments are dragging this out. This divorce could have been over MONTHS and MONTHS ago had it not been for, well, your laziness.  Please give me a weekly update on the progress of it all. Please mail me a copy of the letter. I am tired of asking, but I will keep doing it.  Just get it done. Finish it. Hallelujah, free at LAST!!!!!!

He responded, telling me that we were, actually, divorced.  He had gotten the papers in the mail.

I know!!!!! It’s the most amazing thing ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Too bad you got married four months too early. High fives to the sister wives!!!!!

He did not respond further.  I half-hoped that he had laughed at my sarcasm, too.  (I mean, COME ON.  How much more ridiculous could this circus get?)

A week later, I got word that he would be mailing my half of the proceeds.

To my surprise, I did receive the check in the mail.  He even included the balances on the accounts.  I was elated; overjoyed.  I kindly thanked him.  It was finally over.  I couldn’t believe it, really, so I double-checked the paperwork.  Sure enough, there was one account missing.  Two, actually — but one barely held $1,000.00.  I decided it wasn’t worth the fight.

Still, my heart sank.  A couple thousand dollars more was at stake.  I needed that money.  I most definitely had earned it, even theoretically.

Adrenaline and anger overtook me.  I had a little bit of downtime at work, so I decided to engage the “enemy” again. We re-assumed our battle stations, and shelled out piercing, quick dialogue.

Spoke with a woman from (your retirement company) today, I wrote, calmly.  There isn’t a good reason why the (last) account is taking so long.  Please get on it.  It is — again — beyond time for this to be done.  Make it happen.  I know you can.  I would appreciate it if you would please acknowledge that you received (this) email.

He had gotten it.

That wasn’t so hard, was it?  So, are you working on it?

He asked me to not talk to him that way.  He had just sent me a check for a lot of money, and, yes, he was on it.

Look, I just want this to be over with.  As I have said before, I want you out of my life.  You have dragged every single possible part of this divorce out as long as you possibly could.  It doesn’t take six months to cash out a retirement.
I don’t trust you, I don’t believe you, and I certainly do not respect you.  Just follow through to your end of the agreement like a man.  Thanks so much.
(Or, as some would say, “Money talks, and bullshit walks.”)

And then, he basically told me to, well, fuck off.

Brilliant response.
But, no, I will not “fuck off”.  This is a binding, legal document, which you are obligated to fulfill. If you’d like to not keep hearing from me I can hire a lawyer to ride your ass, but then that will cost you more money in the long run.  Your choice.

No need to get pissy.  Just get the money.  End of story.  End of a long, long story.

I finished typing the last sentence, quite proud of the Spinal Tap reference, my attempt to appeal to his emotions, and my ability to hold back at least some anger.
Moments later, I saw a new email pop up in the conversation thread.
I was shocked at what followed.
It was an email from Sister Wife.  She told me I hadn’t earned or deserved X’s money, and was disappointed that he had sent any to me at all.  It was of her opinion that I needed to get a job and fuck off.  I was the only thing standing in the way of closure.  She defended her “husband’s” character traits and informed me that I had failed at my my shot with him.
I was not allowed to contact him ever again. If I did, I’d have to deal with her, and she claimed she was one badass motherfucker.

Jail, Part Two

My immediate reaction was to make friends with my cellmate.  After all, we’d be hanging out together for at least eight hours, so I might as well make the most of the situation.

“Hi,” I said, still clutching my Prisoner’s Receipt.  I carefully sat down on the bench next to her.

The woman flashed her wild eyes at me, stood up, pulled her pants down and peed in the toilet.

All right, then.

She finished her business, sniffed loudly and curled herself up into a little ball on the bench.  Within two minutes, she was snoring.

Okayyyyy.  Maybe we can be friends when she wakes up.

I shifted my sit bones on the hard bench.  Then, I realized I should probably call someone to let them know I was in jail.  I would eventually be needing a ride home.  I picked up the receiver to the payphone and dialed my dad’s home number.  It was well past 2:00 a.m., so the phone rang and rang.  Finally, the answering machine picked up my call.

I took in a deep breath, about to leave a message, but an automated recording from my end of the line interrupted me.

“Hello.  You are receiving a collect call from A PRISONER in the Los Angeles County Jail.  Please say ‘yes’ or press 1 to accept charges. This call WILL BE RECORDED.”

Wow, way to rub it in, people.  I’m a prisoner with zero rights, who can only make COLLECT calls. 

I couldn’t leave a message, because no one was available to accept the charges, so I called back.  Someone finally answered, but immediately hung up.

Come on!  Somebody answer the damn phone! 

I called again and again, but the phone kept ringing.

My cellmate kept snoring.

I sighed, and tried my mother.  I hadn’t spoken to her in a while, so it was humiliating to have to have a conversation with her like this.

She answered on the fourth ring.

“Hello?” I obviously had woken her from her sleep.  I started to speak, but that damn automated recording stopped me.

“Hello.  You are receiving a collect call from A PRISONER in the Los Angeles County Jail…”

I heard my mother say “yes” about a thousand times, and then, finally: “Leslie?”

I swallowed whatever pride was left in me.

“Hi, Mom.  Um…obviously I’m in jail.”

“Oh, Leslie…what happened?”

I burst into tears.


I started to laugh through my tears.

My mother’s voice sounded tired, worried and empathetic.  I regaled the details of the story to her.  She tried to encourage me, and expressed that she was glad I wasn’t hurt, or had hurt anyone else.  I hadn’t even thought that far ahead.  She offered to come pick me up, but she lived almost three hours away.  I asked her to call my dad at a decent time to let him know where I was.

Then, an officer opened up the door.  My cellmate stirred in her drug-induced sleep.

“Spencer.  Time for your mugshot and prints.”


“I gotta go, Mom.”  I hung up the phone and wiped my tears away.

The officer flirted with me.

“So, how’d you get here?”  He asked, as he rolled my right pointer finger from the ink pad onto my rap sheet.

I have a rap sheet.

“I mean, I know you were drunk, but…”

I sighed.

“I made a mistake, man.”

“What’d you blow?”

Why is this guy so curious? 

“Point 1-0.”

He smiled at me.  “It happens to the best of us.  Next time you should really get one of those mini breathalyzers.  It’ll save you a lot of money and hassle in the long run.  Or just wait a little longer before getting in the car.”

NEXT TIME?  There will be no “next time”, thank you very much.  Furthermore, why is everyone being so nice to me?  I’m a fucking criminal.  I’m a piece of shit.  I must be some sort of alcoholic, too, because I’m a drunk driver.  I deserve what I got.

He then snapped my mug shot.  I smiled for the camera.

Might as well make the best of it.

The officer showed me the picture.

“You take a pretty good mug shot, Spencer!”

I studied it.  My hair fell perfectly to one side, and my smile was golden.   A small smudge of mascara had streaked across my right cheek.  My eyes were red and swollen from crying, yet they were present; bright.  I peered closer.  I could almost see the deep pain in my green eyes.  Oddly enough, there was also a sense of total surrender.

“Yeah, I guess it’s not so bad,” I shrugged.  “Wish it were under different circumstances.”

He smiled at me again.

“You’ll be all right.  You’ll be outta here soon.”

Again, what’s with the nice? 

“Thanks.  Oh, by the way, what is the address of this place?”

The officer looked at me.  “How are you going to remember an address?”

“Because I’m good with numbers?” I raised my eyebrows and shot him a sly smile.

“7600 South Broadway.”  He flashed a smile back.

“Oh!  So I’m downtown,” I said, thinking aloud.

He laughed, looked at me almost incredulously, and shook his head.  “Something like that, yes.”

The kind officer deposited me back into the concrete room and locked the door.  I quickly called my mom back and gave her the address.

My cellmate was awake.

“Hi, again,” I offered.  I smiled, feebly, and kicked a tuft of hair away from the toe of my boot.

“Hi,” she replied, nervously.

“Soooo, what are you in here for?” I asked.

Did you REALLY just ask the crackhead what she was “in here for?”

“Domestic violence,” she replied, and scratched her head.

“Oh.  I’m sorry.”

I started to ask her more about herself.  To this day I wish I could remember her name.  She was 41 years old, and had twin boys.  They were 20 years old.  She had gotten in a fight with her boyfriend, she explained, and mumbled some other inaudible details about how she landed in jail, AGAIN.

“We should be getting food soon,” she sniffed.

I listened as she continued to talk, and marveled at how life behind bars (or concrete walls, rather) was so commonplace to some people.  At the same time, I started to realize that I was no different from this woman who had pain in her life.  She didn’t mean to hurt anyone.  I could tell that much just by carrying on a five-minute conversation with her.

She finished answering my questions, and then said, “If you don’t mind, I’m really tired.”

“Oh, of course.  I hope you feel better.”

“Thank you.”

She lay back down and fell asleep, almost instantly.  I decided that sleep might not be such a bad idea.  I lay down opposite her, and curled my legs up as close to my body as possible.  I covered my head with the hood of my fancy sweater, and hugged myself tight.  I shut my eyes.

The halls echoed with the sounds of the system.  Keys rattled, doors opened and shut.  The television down the hall blared and faded.  Officers talked and laughed loudly; prisoners occasionally yelled and pounded on the door.  Perhaps the sound that was most deafening was that of footsteps: back and forth, back and forth. Each time, the footsteps passed me by.  It was agonizing.

I just wanted out, but no one was coming for me.

Jail, Part One


My tax job was, well, taxing.  It was a good distraction, however.  I was on a regular schedule.  Six days a week, I woke up, ate breakfast, went to the gym, went to work, came home, and checked the LA Superior Court’s website, hoping for my divorce to be finalized.

Every day, the status read: PENDING.

Pending.  The next chapter of my life was pending.

I tried to forget about my sister wife, and my husband’s failure to follow through with the divorce settlement.  I was tired.  I needed rest.  Yet, even rest seemed to be pending.

One Thursday evening after work, I drove to my girlfriend’s house in Hollywood.  Several of us were getting together to enjoy some wine, hors d’oeuvres and girl talk. I was so stressed out with work and my “pending” marital status that I didn’t really realize how desperately I needed to relax and socialize.  It was a lovely evening.  We laughed, talked, drank wine and enjoyed each other’s company.  Around midnight, the “party” wound down and we all headed home.

As I drove back to Pasadena, I was overcome with thankfulness for my friends.  I impulsively reached for my phone to send a quick text of thanks and love to one of the girls.

That was mistake number two.

I had just made the transition from the 101 to the 110 freeway when I saw the red and blue lights in my rear view mirror.  My immediate reaction was one of indignance, and then the slow, sinking realization hit me.

Oh, shit, I’ve been drinking.

“Lord?”  I spoke aloud, as I carefully pulled off the freeway.

I’m not drunk.  I’ll be fine.  I should NOT have been texting!  Stupid!!  Still, I racked my brain, trying to remember how much wine I had drunk – also, how much I had had to eat that day.

I rolled down my window to greet the fresh-faced CHP officer.  He was cute.

“Have you been drinking tonight?” he asked, after the formal introduction was made.  He shined his small flashlight directly into my eyes.  The combination of the red, white and blue lights hurt.  I blinked, and tried to adjust to the brightness all around me.

I smiled, and decided to be honest. I can’t be anything other than honest.

“I had some wine, yes,” I admitted.  Mistake number three.

The 20-something CHP officer immediately asked me for my license and registration.  I nervously fumbled around and presented them both, but the officer wasn’t satisfied.  He asked me to step out of the car.

Oh, come on.  

I went through the motions of the field sobriety test.  I was happy to cooperate, because I had never been in trouble.  In fact, I had only received a few tickets in my driving career, fought every one of them, and won. I wanted to get through the damn thing as fast as I could.  I was tired.  All I wanted to do was go home and get into bed.

I was asked to hold my head back and balance on one leg.  I did it in 3” heels.  I was also asked to close my eyes, count aloud and estimate 30 seconds.  I did it in exactly 30 seconds.

Still, the officer motioned to his younger, blonder partner, who approached me with a Breathalyzer.  Was this really happening?  Surely I wasn’t drunk.  I felt fine.  I would never get behind the wheel if I had had too much to drink.  Furthermore, I was doing so well on my tests!  I was actually quite proud of myself.  Those tests can be hard to pass even without alcohol involved.

I smiled and blew into the machine, confident that I would pass this one last test.  I longed for my comfy bed.

The officer looked at the result.

“Okay, Spencer, I’m going to ask you to turn around and place your hands behind your back,” he commanded.

What is THIS test?

I shrugged and obeyed, and immediately felt the cold metal snap around my wrists.  My heart sank.

Great job, Les.  You’re going to jail.  Way to go.  Way to fuck your life up.  Awesome.

My thoughts ran wild as I stood, handcuffed, on that sidewalk in Chinatown.  It was almost 1:00 a.m.  I watched as the officers searched my car.  They rifled through sheets of music, empty water bottles and dirty gym clothing.  My body remained calm but my thoughts ran wild as they escorted me to the back of their black and white vehicle.  As we pulled away from the curb, I immediately passed harsh judgment against myself.

Oh, my god, I’m that person.  I’m a drunk driver. Oh, my god, oh, my god, oh, my…I AM SUCH A BADASS.

No!  Wait!  You’re not a badass!  This is stupid!  You’re drunk!  You’re NOT drunk!  This isn’t happening!  But of course it’s happening. Why are you at all surprised? Your life is such a fucking disaster, and now look what you’ve gotten yourself into.  Stupid choice.

You got what you deserved, you idiot. 

Never in my life would I have imagined that I’d be arrested for anything.  Yet, there I was, sitting handcuffed, in the back of a cop car, heading to jail, for driving under the influence.

I remained silent as the two officers handled me — a criminal.  They explained that my car would be towed, and that I could get it the next day.  They also explained to me that I’d be held in jail for at least eight hours, until I sobered up.

I’M NOT DRUNK!  I wanted to scream.

But I WAS.  I was legally drunk, and so ashamed.

According to the law, you’re a drunk driver if your blood alcohol level is .08.  I would later find out that mine was at .10.

My wrists started to chafe and bruise from the pressure of the metal handcuffs, but I silently endured the pain.  I exchanged somber yet witty banter with the CHP officers as they drove me to their field office to administer a second test on the bigger, more efficient breathalyzer.

All this time, I hadn’t shed a tear. I was strong.  I was a big girl.  I was responsible.  I wasn’t going to cry.

I sat on a plastic chair in the CHP field office, shifting my hands uncomfortably behind me, trying to alleviate some of the agonizing pain.  My wrists would remain deeply bruised for days.

“Ma’am, do you have someone who you can call?  Your spouse? “ My arresting officer asked monotonously, as he filled out some paperwork.

I fiercely fixed my eyes upon his.

“Not anymore,” I answered, and then averted my gaze.

Suddenly, to my surprise, I burst into massive, yet silent tears.  Shame, fear and embarrassment overcame me.

I am a criminal.

“I’m sorry,” I managed, as snot and tears streamed down my face. I wasn’t able to use my hands, so I raised my shoulder to my nose to sop up the fluid.

“This…is just…hard for me.  I made such a stupid choice.”

The officer — clearly ten years younger than me – looked at me knowingly.  “You’ll be all right,” he offered.  “This kind of thing happens to good people, too.”

But I’m not good.  I’m broken.  So broken.

And then they took me to jail.

Upon arrival, I was released out of the handcuffs, booked, and stripped of my personal belongings.  The last item taken was the string used to tighten the hood of my cozy, fur-lined sweater.

“What, do you really think I’m going to hang myself?!” I joked with the booking officer.  She glared at me, clearly not amused.

For a moment, I forgot that I was a prisoner, and not her equal.  I wasn’t ordering a hamburger or buying stamps at the post office – I was checking into JAIL.  My sense of humor was not appreciated.

The TV behind her blared loudly and her co-worker sipped black coffee out of a small, stained, Styrofoam cup.

“Oh.  I guess so.  Well, here you go!”  I gave it to her, cheerfully.

“Don’t worry.  You’ll get it back,” she retorted, dryly.  She then twisted her full lips and shook her head.

My arresting officer gently touched my elbow.  He had been standing there the whole time.  I realized I had started to become attached to the man.

“We’re almost done here, Spencer. I need to ask you a few questions first, though, okay? They might seem a little weird, but just go with it…”  He was almost apologetic.

“Okayyyyy,” I responded, and tried to exercise my cheerfulness once again.  I mean, if you’re going to spend the night in jail, you might as well have a good attitude about it, right?

The officer cleared his throat, and poised his pen above a sheet of paper.

“Do you have Hepatitis, VD or Chlamydia?”

I burst out laughing.

“Uhhmmm, NO.  Should I be worried about contracting that here, though?”

Wait — where am I, anyway?  I had no idea where I was, or how I was going to get home.  I hadn’t thought that far ahead.

He shot me a sly smile.  I was secretly glad he appreciated my sarcasm.

“Have you ever had TB?”


“Do you have any special medical problems that we should know about?”

I snorted.

“I really hope not.”  Wakka, wakka!

“Are you pregnant?”


“Hell to the no, and I don’t have any baby daddy prospects, either.  Thanks so much for reminding me of my plight.”

He half-laughed, signed his name to a pink slip of paper, which he then handed to me.

So not cool.

“Okay, Spencer, follow me.”

I obeyed.

He led me to a small, concrete room with a large, heavy door at the end of the corridor.  It held a cold, hard bench, a gleaming steel toilet and an observation camera in the corner of the ceiling.  An obsolete payphone barely hung onto the wall, and chunks of black hair littered the floor.  One other woman occupied the cell.  She jumped up, eyes blazing, as the guard opened up the door to deposit me inside.

I clutched the pink paper – my Prisoner’s Receipt — as they shut and locked the door behind me.

Over the next several hours, I would hit rock bottom, and that bottom would continue to give way.

“That’s Not a Real Gun!”

The day after my 33rd birthday, I was held up at gunpoint.

After rehearsal on that Tuesday, several of my fellow cast members and I celebrated our end-of-the-summer birthdays at the Cat and Fiddle in Hollywood.  We enjoyed bonding over cocktails and several raucous games of darts. Rehearsals for our show, Merrily We Roll Along, had been intense over the past several weeks, and it felt good to blow off some steam.

Before we knew it, we had closed down the bar.  As we dispersed to our individual vehicles, my friend Dave offered to walk me to mine.  Being the independent woman who I so love to be, I declined his offer.

“Naaah, I’m fine – I’ll be fine.  You don’t have to walk me to my car,” I dismissed him, gathering up the mass of birthday balloons by each individual string.

“Les, I’m walking you to your car,” Dave stated, firmly.

“All right!  All right!”  I conceded.  “You can walk me to my car!”  I had parked a little far away.

I was not used to kind, gentlemanly offers as such.  Later, I’d be more than grateful that Dave insisted upon accompanying me.

Toting my balloons in one hand and my green purse hoisted upon my right shoulder, we made our way across Sunset Boulevard.  We talked and laughed up the side street where my car was parked, about a quarter of a mile away.

It was a little past 2:00 a.m.

As we approached my vehicle, I noticed another car drive up, slowly, alongside me.  The passenger leaned out the car window and called to me.  I couldn’t understand him, but, for some reason, I assumed he was asking for directions.  (Because, of course, a man would be asking for directions at 2:00 a.m.)

“I’m sorry, what was that?”  I asked.  I was happy and always welcome the opportunity to be helpful.

“Gimme your purse,” he demanded, somewhat quietly, as the car slowed down and stopped just in front of mine.


The car stopped, and the man got out.  He kept himself backed up against the open passenger door.

Gimme me your purse,” he demanded, a little louder.

I looked at him for a moment, scrunched up my face, and responded,

“GIMME ME YOUR PURSE!”   He gestured with his right hand.

At that moment, I noticed that he was holding a gun.  It rested gingerly up against his waist.  It was aimed right at me, almost politely.

I sighed.  I glanced back at Dave, who was on the other side of the car, standing frozen, with his mouth agape.

I turned back to the guy with the gun.

What came out of my mouth next baffles even me.  Contrary to everything I have ever been taught – or shall we say instinct, maybe? – I took a step towards the man and his gun, and got angry.


The “K” sound rolling out of my mouth felt like I was delivering a bullet right back at that stupid guy and his dumbass gun.  It felt really good.  I gestured dismissively towards the gun, and continued to curse.  Loudly.

“Get the FUCK out of here!  That’s not even a real gun.  I don’t have any money, anyway.  FUCKKKKK OFF!

The guy looked at me briefly, and, in an instant, got back into the car.  His driver sped them away.

I watched the car’s tail lights disappear around the corner, opened the rear door and tossed my green purse inside.

I made eye contact with Dave over the roof of my car.  His mouth was still agape.  I started laughing.

“Do you realize what just happened?” He asked me, in disbelief.

I kept laughing.

We got in the car and I drove him back down the empty street, across Sunset Boulevard, and onto another “much safer” side street where his car was parked.

We sat in silence for a moment, until I burst out laughing again.

“Leslie, do you realize what you did back there?”  Dave was shaking his head.

I hadn’t really taken the time to process it.  To be totally honest, I am sure the alcohol I had consumed assisted in my “bravery”.  I hadn’t had time to think about my word choice, or the consequences of my actions.  I most certainly wasn’t representing Jesus very well.

But it was beyond that.  I was fed up.  I didn’t care if I lived or died at that point.  I was in pain. I was tired of people taking from me.  I liked my green purse.  It was mine.  I didn’t feel like giving it away without a fight.

We “debriefed” a little further, making sure each other was okay.  We truly wondered if the gun was real or not, but, regardless, Dave thanked me for “saving his life.”


I drove home carefully, replaying the events of the past hour in my mind.  As I got home and quietly slipped into bed, it started to sink in.

I just told a guy pointing a gun at me to “fuck off”.  What is WRONG with me?  At the same time, I’m feeling like a badass!  Thank you, God, for protecting me.  That situation was in YOUR hands and YOU protected me.  Not my own strength, at all. 

A few days later, as the endorphins wore off and the Facebook “likes” and attention from my story dwindled, I was able to process a bit further.  At the same time, I entered into a brief period of darkness and confusion.

I CAN’T DO THIS, GOD.  I CAN’T.  I can’t live this life.  I can’t do anything without You.  I see happy couples, people getting married all around, people with babies, happy marriages.  And I am living with Curt and Kathy, unemployed, no one to go to sleep with at night.  My husband chose to leave me, time and time again.

I know I didn’t come this far to fall.  But I can’t do this.  I am a troublemaker.  Getting mugged and not even caring.  Sometimes I wish I would have been shot and killed that night.

I know you love me, God, I know.  But, being honest, I don’t even know how long I can do this.  Do not let evil win, do not withhold blessings from me.  I cannot see.  I cannot understand because my understanding is finite; human.  I am scared.  I am anxious.  I need Your peace.  I need guidance.  I am utterly, completely dependent upon You I cannot see the future; I don’t even know what You want for me.  How, where?

You haven’t let me down thus far; I KNOW I can trust You.  I have to trust You.  I want to trust You.

Psalm 39 echoes in my heart.  I still wish You would take my life.  Just take me home.  I am ready. 

I cannot do anything.  I need You.  I am exhausted from trying to be self-sufficient.  I know You have plans for me, but what?  I must be patient. I must be still.

“Be still and know that I am God”.  ~Psalm 46:10

Divorcing the In-Laws

I left the Conrads parking lot that evening, feeling a sense of peace and closure.

My husband filed a response to my petition for divorce the next day.  He also signed and notarized the Quitclaim Deed so that I would become the sole owner of our house.  I asked him if he could bring the document over.  I was playing “Harmless Housesitter” for my neighbors, Lisa and Laura.  They had taken the steps to adopt our dog, Wimbley, and I wondered if my husband wanted to come over and see him, and, frankly, say goodbye.

He responded, and told me that he was leaving that night.  It would be too hard for him to see our dog and our house.  He said he’d be back in LA soon, but he didn’t know when.  He also said that he’d like to see me when he got back.  He anticipated emailing me, and if I ever wanted to correspond with him, all I had to do was just tell him.

Feeling a surge of compassion, I wrote him back.

I’m broken up, too.  Hurting a lot.  It’s been a long, hard, hard road and I still wish that you would choose me.  But I understand that you can’t/won’t, and it’s ok.  Too much time has passed, and too much damage has been done.  God has something good in store for both of us.  I have been praying for, and will continue to, pray for you.

Take care of yourself.  Don’t waste your heart on some silly “hot” girl.  Wait for the real thing, because you are an incredible person.  God wants to restore you; God wants to redeem this messy situation, and He will bless you.  He will.  Be careful and make good choices.  And you will see how God takes care of you and heals you.  He will heal you.

I’m not trying to preach at you, I just felt that those words should be shared.  And, at the risk of going overboard, I’m attaching that song that has spoken to me so much over these past few weeks.

I hope your parents and your family know how much I love them.  I understand we are all hurting right now, and I also understand that blood is thicker than water, but I just wanted to put it out there.  I love you all.

Safe travels – may God be with you.

He thanked me and told me he loved me.  It made me sad.  Yet, I breathed a sigh of relief.  The paperwork had been completed, and I could now move forward in my life.  My husband, although lost, had actually made a responsible and wise decision.  I had hoped it would be the first of many.

A few hours later, that sense of peace and closure I felt was immediately ripped from me.  To my surprise, I received an email from my father-in-law.


I read the email and freaked out.  I immediately got on the phone and called my father-in-law.  I was upset, angry, frustrated and hurt.  These people had meddled in my marriage and my life one too many times. I wasn’t going to take it anymore.  The conversation was fruitless – I could not reason with either of them.  I told my father-in-law that he was “just a flea”.  He could not hurt me, no matter how hard he tried.  I actually understood that his cruel words were out of his own pain, confusion and disappointment in himself and his son.

Before I hung up, I told my in-laws that I loved them both, and I loved their son.  There wasn’t anything they could do, or say, to take that from me.

My eyes – although blinded by tears of hurt and confusion – were being opened.  I might be losing everything in my divorce, but I was gaining more.

I was gaining freedom.

You Got Served

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:

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.


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.

I digress.

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.

“Why not?”

“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.