Category Archives: F Bombs

“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.

“WHAT?”

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,
“No.”

“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.

“FUCKKKKKK YOUUUUU!”

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.”

“Anytime!”

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

Life Begins Anew at Journey’s End

The next few months were busy ones.

I was cast in two shows, back to back, and welcomed the opportunity (and distraction!).  It was so good to get back into doing what I love, and I felt that I could approach my art with a more real, honest perspective.  I spent a lot of time with my cast members and friends, and started to become alive again  — this time in a new, raw and beautiful way.

I met again with the lawyer at the beginning of July to try to sort out the next round of paperwork.  I emailed my husband to ask for his address overseas, so that I could get him properly served with “step two”.  To my surprise, he responded right away, and then added that he thought about me every day, and wished our lives had never gotten off track.

It made me incredibly angry.  I didn’t believe a single word of his sentiment.  Furthermore, my life hadn’t “gotten off track”, so to speak.   And, if it had, it was all due to him and his stupid choices.

Fucker.

The only other communication I had been receiving from him was regarding our house.  He kept asking me to put it on the market, to “just see if we’d get any nibbles”.  What the fuck?  The housing market had crashed; people were upside down on their mortgages, or short-selling their properties.  The only reason to sell a house was to get out from under the crushing responsibility of a mortgage payment.  We had a fantastic tenant, paying the mortgage for us, and we could feasibly gain equity all the while.

I had a suspicion that his parents were behind it all.  One email suggested I “buy him out”.  In another email, he explained that his sister’s husband had offered to spend the summer fixing up the house so we could put it on the market.  Never mind all the work that I, myself, had just put into it.

I was exhausted.  I couldn’t wrap my mind around putting my house up for sale at the moment.  My blood boiled at the thought of my husband gallivanting around Australia without a responsibility in the world, and acting like the victim in our divorce.

I ignored every request.  He wanted money, and wanted it fast.

Fucker.

Using residual anger as fuel, I proceeded with filing more paperwork.  I started getting used to the familiarity of the big, scary courthouse.  I’d drive downtown, get off at Hill Street, and chuckle to myself  that I had “the Hill Street Blues”.   I even developed a favorite parking spot – right next to the park where they filmed a scene in the movie, 500 Days of Summer.  I tried to look on the bright side:  I never would have discovered that little gem of a spot had I not gotten divorced.

One blazing July day, I carefully dressed in my “court clothes”:  a crisp, black, button-down dress with classic black pumps.  This time, I would face the courthouse alone.

Yesterday was a huge day for me, and I think I’m still feeling the effects of it.  Got the paperwork done, copied, delivered to Andrea at 2:30, took the Proof of Service to the courthouse, filed, then ordered a copy of his response.  That was hard to see: his handwriting and shaky mistakes.  It’s tragic.  And my heart hurts.  Hurts so much for him, for us; for what we had, even when it wasn’t all that great.  And I still mourn him.  He’s been gone for nine weeks again.  Still rejecting me.  That hurts, too.  Maybe more so?

And people say, “Oh, he’s crazy to have let you go,” and I know it’s true.  I think I truly can forgive him for cheating because he fell apart.  Fell vulnerable.  Or, in his words, “(fell) off the tracks.”

So, after filing in court, I went across the street for lunch.  Alone.  I sat at the bar and made conversation with the bartender.  He noticed my thick divorce file, and asked me about it.  I just shrugged, and delivered a half-sly smile.

“Getting it done,” I said.

“I guess you have to do what you have to do,” was his sympathetic response.  “But it’s lucky for the rest of the world that a woman like you is now single!”  

I told him I had been asked out twice at the courthouse.  It was true.  He laughed.

“See?”

Then it got quiet.  He wiped the counter down and averted his eyes from mine.  I knew we were both thinking that divorce court was not exactly the place to find a date.

I thanked him, paid my bill, walked to my car, slid into the seat, closed the door, and broke down.  I sobbed and sobbed.  God, it’s horrible, that place.  That courthouse.  Awful.  I don’t want to keep going there.  It’s so cold.

I still do wish my husband would choose me.  But it’s too late.

I don’t want my heart to break again.

Yet I know I wasn’t alone at that courthouse, God.  You were with me.  And sadly, it DOES get easier to be there.  It’s still painful.  I first filed three months ago.  Soon it will be a year since I discovered the affair.  Soon it will be Christmas.  Soon it will be a year since I have filed for divorce.  Then two, three.  Ten.  Twenty.

Where will I be?  Where do I go?  New York?  Do I sell my house?  My car?  And go?  And leave my family and friends?  Do I stay here?  Do I start over completely?  Lose everything?  Where am I going to live?  Where do You want me?

I want to get to the place where I fully forgive my husband.  I can see, even now, what a blessing it is for him to be out of my life.  When I explained to my therapist that I did not believe that he thinks of me everyday, she observed that was a source of deep hurt for me.  And, yes, it is.  He hurt me, very much.  It definitely hurts to not be chosen.

Ultimately, I wanted love to win.  Love should overpower narcissism and selfishness.  Love should conquer all. 

And still — as the lyrics of this beautiful new musical I am helping originate, say —

“Life begins anew at journey’s end.”

…But My Heart…

We fought extensively over email.

I read an article that my husband had written, covering an after-party of an industry event in Australia.  The pictures posted on the website that accompanied his story were of people partying, naked women, women kissing one another, and general debauchery, drugs (one can only assume) and mayhem.  He talked freely about all the women.  He described their clothing, their beauty, their eyes, their lack of clothing…

I hopped right back on the train to Crazytown.

I told him he made me sick, that he had manipulated me, and that I was done.  He defended himself and said he had done nothing wrong. He had written the article with me in mind.

YOU WROTE IT WITH ME IN MIND?? — THAT IS FUCKING BULLSHIT.
How about TELLING ME ABOUT IT FIRST???????
THAT is how you build trust.  But what do I know?  I’m just petty and small.

I was irate.  I was also referring to a previous email where my husband had explained to me that he needed the “literary storyline”, and wouldn’t apologize for living life at the “small and petty” level.

We yelled and screamed at each other – as much as you possibly can — over email.  I tried to Skype with him, but he would not answer.  I called him a coward, and told him I was filing for divorce.

In essence, he said that he was done, too, that I could do whatever I wanted, and, “goodbye goodbye goodbye.”

I challenged him to come home and do it himself.  But I knew he wouldn’t.  He had left, on a one-way ticket to a foreign country.

The next day, I sent him an emotionless email entitled “Business”, wherein I laid out my desire, and plan, for a divorce.  I told him I was willing to hold off on filing until March 16th, which was the date we had agreed upon in counseling.  I asked for his input about our official date of separation, what to do with the house, and offered that I was willing to negotiate some credit card debt (however, I would NOT be paying for his hotel rooms, flowers, gifts and whatever other shenanigans he had been up to over the past year and a half).  I also asked him if he wanted to save money and not hire a lawyer.  We didn’t really have anything to fight over.  The only thing I had cared about was my beloved piano, and I had to sell it — months prior — to pay the mortgage.

I wanted our divorce to be clean, simple and amicable.

Note: Divorce is never “clean, simple or amicable.”

He told me he didn’t want to talk about responsibility in divorce.  He simply didn’t want to talk, at all.  He suggested we take a week off from each other and reconvene later, to “see how we feel”.

And, like that – poof! – he was gone.

I was left with unpaid bills, our impending mortgage payment and property taxes, and no money in the bank.  In fact, my husband would not contribute financially to our household ever again.

I pulled myself together and figured out how to prepare our taxes on my own.  Thankfully, I got it done quickly and received a large enough refund to be able to pay the mortgage.  I also met with Kathy, my good friend and realtor, and started the process to put our home on the market for lease.  There was no way I would be able to pay another month’s mortgage on my own.

I realized how God was taking care of me.  Even though my husband had abandoned me, I knew God would never abandon me.  I clung to Him. He never let me go.  (He still hasn’t let me go!)

Zephaniah 3:17 ~ “The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”

I was seeing evidence of God’s faithfulness, yet still in the thick of the new storm.

Nights are so hard, I wrote. It is when I am most alone.  The fear of the unknown; the fear of losing everything.  The rejection.  The fact that, as each day passes, my husband continues to choose everything contrary to our marriage.  His cowardice is maddening.  He sticks me with all responsibility.

God, I cried, I want to look at life from a different perspective.  To trust that moving forward with divorce is Your best for me; that You will make it clear…whether I should file…not out of anger or malice…I continue to pray for my husband, that You would wrestle with him.  Of course I do not trust him at all, and his absence and silence only confirm what is inevitably true: he is untrustworthy.  Running.  Running from responsibility because he wants to be “great”.

 I don’t know if I could stand seeing him in the future; in another relationship.  That would be most painful.  I guess I have already experienced it, so…

I am starting to wonder if my entire marriage was a lie.  I was just a pawn in the game.  I simply do not believe him, nor do I believe in him anymore.  Maybe I failed the patience test, God? 

Life still goes on…but my heart, Lord.  My heart is his.  My heart belongs to him and he tramples on it, turns his back on me and laughs.  He walks away with it, crushing it between his palms as he interlaces the fingers of his left hand between another woman’s.

Foreshadowing is an amazing, literary gift.

You Made Me Hate You

My husband returned home after the film with a bottle of wine.  He presented it to me as his peace offering/belated Valentine’s Day gift.

All was quiet on the western front.

Our mortgage was due the next day, but we didn’t have the money to pay it.  Somehow my husband was able to purchase new, designer sunglasses.  He told me he needed them for his trip.  He was leaving in less than a week.

I re-assumed my battle station.
“Because you have to ‘look good’ in Australia?  That is a priority?  This is not how to dig out of financial problems.  I’m sure you have some logical answer for this.”  I threw my hands in the air.

“I understand your frustration,” he calmly stated.  “I do have logical arguments that you already know, so they don’t need to be gone over again.  It’s easy to think of our own things – your swimming at the Rose Bowl, my sunglasses – as ‘essentials’.  I genuinely give you the benefit of the doubt about your expenses, so I’d really appreciate the same.”

Incredible.

I kept my mouth shut, poured out my frustration in my prayer journal, and waited to discuss the problem in counseling, later that day.  I was determined to keep things peaceful, no matter how manipulated I was feeling.

I am trying, but I still feel he is focused on himself, his image and career.  It’s rotten timing.  He deserves to be successful, OF COURSE!  He deserves a shot; a chance, and he is doing it.  He will never in a million years believe I support him, care, or think he’s doing a good job.  So, why try anymore?

My husband did not accompany me to marital therapy that day.  He had to attend a last-minute meeting with his magazine’s photographer.  I went to the session, alone, for the second time that week.  I then went over to my friends, Jeff and Jenny’s, house.  I sat at the dinner table with their joyful toddler, who smiled and giggled with me.  I tried not to think about my barren womb.

When I got home, my husband had just returned.  I asked him how his meeting went.

“I’m drunk,” he responded.

“You do realize that it looks like you just went out and got drunk with your friend instead of going to counseling,” I judged.

I then thought back to the session earlier in the day, where my marriage counselor had commended me for not having gotten angry.  I closed my eyes, then took a deep breath.

“How was your meeting?” I asked, gently.

My husband brightened.  It had gone really well! They had a bunch of ideas, and it felt good to be creative again.  He explained that he had been down and out about life until that particular meeting.  In fact, he had been so frustrated about our financial situation, that he punched the windshield of his truck.  It cracked.

But the meeting made him feel better.  It confirmed to him that he was on the right path.

He bustled around the bare kitchen, found a glass, and poured himself some water.
“I’m going to watch American Idol.  Do you want to watch it with me?”

“No, thanks,” I said.  I didn’t need to feel any more “down and out” about my own career.

We later went to bed in our separate rooms.  I tried to sleep, but felt restless.  My mind drifted to our financial situation.

Most couples divorce over financial problems.  Most couples divorce over lack of communication.  Most certainly the majority of divorces are due to adultery. 

I have all three glaring me in the face.

I started crying, loudly.  Sobbing.  I was, most likely, being overdramatic, but I was scared.  I decided to get up and tell my husband that he had no heart.  How could he lay in the other room and listen to me sob?  Why did this have to be so hard?  Why couldn’t he scoop me into his arms, hold me and tell me how much he loved me?

What happened next is a bit of a blur, but between yelling and screaming at each other, I remember taking off my wedding ring and throwing it across the room.  It landed on the floor in slow motion, a la a scene taken from The Lord of the Rings.

My husband followed suit.  He pitched his as hard as he could, and it landed right next to mine. (Under different circumstances, we might have had an excellent little game of bocce ball going.)

“DOESN’T IT FEEL GOOD?!”  I screeched.
Uhh, can someone please call Nurse Ratched, STAT?

“STOP BEING SO SMUG!” He screamed back.  He went on to yell about me being on my “moral high horse” because I had gone to counseling, and he hadn’t.

I ran into the kitchen, grabbed the Valentine’s Day card I had purchased for him, and demonstratively ripped it into tiny, little pieces.

It only angered him further.  “FUCK YOU!  YOU MADE ME HATE YOU!
YOU.  MADE.  ME.  HATE.  YOU.”

I glowered at him.
“I didn’t make you do anything.”

We continued to scream awful, awful things at each other.  Finally, in the most heated moment, a look of determination crossed over my husband’s weathered, handsome face.

“You’ll never see me again.”

He left.  I heard his truck engine start, and he drove away.

I slumped to the floor, next to those damn wedding rings.  I couldn’t stand looking at them, so I sat up, and supported my back against the metal frame of the creaky, twin bed. I couldn’t cry anymore.  I just stared out the window, into the quiet.

I am a total failure.

I don’t know exactly how many minutes passed, but then, my husband’s tall frame stood in the doorway.

“I am so sorry for the vile things I screamed at you, Leslie.”  His voice remained quiet; defeated.
“That is not who I am, or who I want to be.”

I kept staring out the window.  My eyelids felt heavy.
“Did you mean what you said?”

“No.”

He sat down next to me, sighed heavily, and started crying.  I stared at him for a moment, then reached over to him.  I pulled him towards me and held him, as he collapsed into my arms.  We cried together.  We prayed together.

The moment — the room – the twin bed – it all felt so familiar.

Five long months had passed, and we were still in the same place.

I Don’t Want to Be Married to This Person Anymore

January 25, 2010
(I got the year wrong in the picture)

Father.

I just found a recent writing of [my husband’s] that was extra descriptive of a sexy girl – maybe it didn’t have to elude to anything other than describing another woman just to sell clothing but it HURTS SO MUCH.   MY HUSBAND who CHEATED on ME STILL THINKS ENOUGH ABOUT OTHER WOMEN to FREELY WRITE (about) THEM EVEN THOUGH IT HURTS ME, EVEN IF IT’S “NOTHING”.  I CAN’T DO THIS, GOD.  I CAN’T.

I told him to move out.

Without MISSING A BEAT, he said, “Ok.”

Lord, I just feel nothing.  No emotion, nothing.  I am so tired.  I want someone better.  I want to live.  I don’t want the daily pain of a noncommital, cheating husband.  I want to be done.  I am done.  And I know, deep down, he’s done, too.  He won’t change.  I do not matter enough to him for him to stop hurting me.  I will not tolerate it.

January 26, 2010

I’m at the end of my rope, and so is he.  Last night didn’t go so well.  He was gone all day with a photographer, scouting locations for a shoot.  It most certainly didn’t help when [my mother-in-law] came over in the midst of me being angry.  She was “checking in on me”, seeing how I was doing. I showed her the article he had written, and, again, it didn’t faze her.  I tried to explain why it upset me so much, until, finally, I erupted.

“Your son is a piece of shit!”  It felt so good to say that.

She edged forward on the couch across from me, and her eyes narrowed.
“Don’t you dare talk about my son that way.”  Her voice was cold.

“Don’t you dare come over here, uninvited, and pretend to know how I’m feeling.”  My voice got louder.  “I can say whatever I want to about my husband because he’s my husband.  I know him better than you do.”

I could feel the adrenaline pulsating through my veins as I got even more angry with her.  [My husband] finally came home, with blood on his white T-shirt.  He just stood back and observed the madness.  I threw his article at him, and told [my mother-in-law] to LEAVE MY HOUSE.  I yelled and cussed at her – obviously not good behavior – but I just can’t take her or [my father-in-law] anymore.  Leave me alone!  Things escalated and got even uglier, when she grabbed me by my shoulders and pushed me up against the wall.

I did not touch her.  I moved forward, off the wall, using the threat of my body weight to make her back away.

I opened the door.  “Get out.”

She tried to slam it on me and then left, screaming, “You’re making the biggest mistake of your life!”  — and — “I’m DONE with you!”
GOOD.  BUTT OUT AND STAY OUT.

Oh, Lord, I just can’t do any of this very well.
Am I proud that I lost it and cursed at his mother?  No.
Am I right by throwing papers and his infidelity at him over and over again?  No.
Does it solve anything?  No.
Do I feel worse?  Yes.

IT MAKES ME RAGING ANGRY to think about the way he stood and watched his mother physically assault me, and then take her side.   Did she apologize to me?  Nope. I was the one who apologized to her.  My therapist AND marriage counselor asked, “WHY?”  Ha, ha.  Touche.

I can’t talk to him about it, because he will forever and always defend her – she is his mother — and whatever fucked up Oedipus complex he has with her.  The truth is that his parents are way too overinvolved. EVERYONE can see it, even the neighbors.  I can’t even talk to him about it because he matches my catastrophizing with statements such as, “I’m sick of you.”

I give it to You, God.  I give You my anger.  I am extremely angry with his parents, maybe even more so than him at this point.  I need to forgive them for the hurt they have caused me for years.  I have felt “unworthy” of them and their love for years, unworthy of their “golden, summer son” who STILL can do no wrong in their eyes.  The point is to not get angry with them, it is to accept it and move forward.

From this day forward my relationship with my in-laws must change.  That is true and necessary.  I cannot change them but I can change with Your help, Lord, and I pray that You would release me from my anger towards them.

God, forgive me.  I am ashamed at how I behaved last night, yelling and screaming.  It does no good.

I am to accept that my husband will always write about women.  He will always look at them, think about them, etc.  I thought for the first 9.2 years of our marriage that he didn’t do that.  I was wrong.  I thought he would always be faithful and always love me.  I was wrong.

I hate who I have become: the jealous, miserable, insecure wife who will never be as exciting as the lover.  I will never be as exciting as the story or the description that he writes.

While watching the rerun of the Golden Globes, one writer won Best Screenplay for “Up in the Air”.  He dedicated his win to his wife and said that, when asked how he wrote women so well, he used his wife as his inspiration.  She was his everything.  She inspired him.

My husband shakes his head, and peers at me through those identical blue eyes that his mother possesses and says, “You don’t want to understand.”

I truly do not know if we will make it. After dealing with the incident with my mother-in-law, I just want AWAY from these psychotic, fundamentalist, judging, enabling and hyper-involved people whom I can never please.  Even if I’m doing something right in their eyes, it is a temporary good.  I will never be good enough for their salty, tall and tan, blonde baby boy.  BARF.

Clearly I could go on and on but I am getting worked up again and I want today to NOT begin with anger and malice, and a cold heart.  I can’t do it any longer.

He is actually 100% right about me wanting things to be “fixed” my way.  I release that burden to you, Lord.  I can’t deal with it.  And it isn’t about MY way, it’s about YOUR way.  It will only be good and right when done YOUR way and in YOUR timing.  Not his nine months, not my “today”.

YOUR WILL BE DONE.

God, I earnestly pray for Your guidance in pursuing a separation.  This situation doesn’t work and I want to not be so crazy.  Everything has changed and I’m desperately grasping at whatever I think or thought was left of the old _______ and Leslie.  They were naïve and happy.

My heart is so heavy.  I’m shutting up now.  Help, God.  Please, please help me.  I am so lost and confused.

Please, Lord, fill me.  Be the love that I so desperately need, that my husband cannot give.  Lord, You are all I need.  I have to believe that, and trust it, even when I seek human love and approval.  Oh, Lord, I am such a fool.

January 27, 2010

Lord, I know I need to calm down.  He makes me so angry.  He criticizes me for “my rotten behavior”, yet he sits on that stupid couch all day long, doesn’t do the dishes, doesn’t deal with life.  He sits back and criticizes.  He hurts purposefully.

I DON’T WANT TO BE MARRIED TO THIS PERSON ANYMORE.

I can leave and maybe I will.  He broke the marriage.  Oh, and it’s my “rotten attitude” that is keeping it from being “fun”.  NO, it’s the fact that he is a LAZY person.

Ugh, I am overreacting.  I am impatient.  He makes me so angry; his whole “deal”. It’s nauseating.  He doesn’t want to “deal” with anything.

I want out I want out I want out

I WANT OUT!!

Die For Love

For weeks, I had asked my husband to join me in Baltimore for Thanksgiving.  He was back in Portugal, covering some sort of car race for his magazine.  The race ended a few days before the holiday.

It wasn’t long before I started to get the sense that my husband had, indeed, gotten back on the “trouble train”.   He hadn’t ever actually given me a straight answer about joining me in Baltimore, much less spending a week on the road with me.  When the time finally came around, he didn’t have the money for a plane ticket.  He had only asked the magazine for a one-way ticket to Lisbon.  He had “gambled” with making something out of the car race story, but it wasn’t looking too good.

He asked me to cover his ticket to Baltimore.  I couldn’t afford it.  I had been paying all of the bills, and our property taxes were due in a couple of weeks.  We would not have survived financially had it not been for my tour.  Money from my husband’s stories had started trickling in, but it certainly wasn’t consistent, or substantial.

To be fair, I did understand that my husband was trying to make something of himself and his career.  He certainly couldn’t return to teaching, especially since he had crossed professional lines and slept with one of his students.  Furthermore, he had dreams of becoming a writer.  Every chance he got to cover a story, he took.  I was supportive, and wanted to be moreso, but the damage had already been done.  I was wary of the content of his articles.  I didn’t trust him.  I didn’t know whose company he was keeping.  I felt like he was giving his career way more effort than his marriage. And if all of this meant that he was going to be traveling extensively over the next year or so, I didn’t want to have any part of it.

I was sitting on the leather couch in my swanky tour bus, unpeeling a banana for breakfast as my husband and I emailed back and forth.

I’m not staying in a long-distance marriage, my thumbs pounded, furiously.  Nope. Won’t do it. Not when there are prettier women, more exciting people and parties, more alluring countries, sights, smells, sounds, food…I won’t compete because I just shouldn’t have to.

I shouldn’t have to feel bad for wanting you around. I shouldn’t have to feel bad for being mad that you can’t get your ass to Thanksgiving on time. You should have booked your return ticket from Lisbon to Baltimore when you bought the ticket in the first place. But, no, you had to keep your options open just in case a better opportunity came up. For what? Money? Really? 

Your actions have spoken deafeningly louder than any of your words.

He didn’t want a long-distance marriage, either, but he was writing to me from almost four thousand miles away.  He just wanted me to understand, and not place myself in competition with his career.

My blood started to boil.  I stood up, and threw my banana as hard as I could.  It narrowly missed hitting a trombone player square in the face. He ducked as the banana splattered on the window and sank to the floor.  Everyone in the front lounge stared at me.  Still, no one knew of my relationship troubles, so I tried to pass my behavior off as PMS.  One of the guys jokingly offered me a beer.  I cleaned up the mess, crawled back into my bunk, and quietly cried myself to sleep.

A few hours later, we arrived in the next city.  I wrote a more lengthy reply from the privacy of my hotel room.

Greetings from Wausau, Wisconsin.  I am staying in a hotel that is nothing short of the midwestern version of “The Shining”.  The crisp, white bedding and the worn carpeted halls scream death!  It’s fun to be in the midwest.  I realize how great my life actually is. I have profusely thanked the Lord that I do not have to work at the Walmart nail salon in Waukegan, Illinois.  I think I have issues with the entire state of Illinois.  Sufjan Stevens would be sad.

Regarding our earlier exchange of emails (the new way to conduct a marriage!):
I’m sorry for sounding unsupportive.  More than anything I want to support you in your career.  And I really DO. I DO, and I know I don’t show it well.

I think that anytime I lose my focus on the Lord, I start going insane.  I’m not used to this type of insecurity.  I know you think I’m crazy, but sometimes I feel like you will just dump me because you get tired of my reactions; you’ll dump me because I’m not excited enough or supportive enough of your new venture.  The fact that you had an affair opens every single door that is available.  If you were able to fall in love with and have sex with another girl so easily and quickly, why not dump me over the tiniest matter?  Especially when the door is open for a new, more exciting life?

I keep asking God, “Is this why he had an affair?  So that he could have a successful career?”  It’s not that far-fetched.  You started intensely focusing on your career mid-affair.  It has paid off.  

It feels like our marriage got in the way of your career in the first place, and when it was at its worst: shattered, destroyed and hopeless, you were at your best, getting your career off the ground.  

I know I am just speaking from my dumb, idiot, messed up, emotional heart…I’m trying my best to think before I speak.  But this is me, and I am a passionate person. 

 I want to know that you aren’t going to leave me because I piss you off, or because I mention UKR’s name for the millionth time.  I don’t want to mention her stupid, lying, manipulative, evil, destructive, blood-sucking, husband-stealing name ever again, actually.  I have to forgive that bitch.  I have to forgive you.  I want her dead.  I sometimes want to become Dexter and wrap you both up in your favorite brand of condoms, real nice and tight, and then stab you both in the heart.  Multiple times.  Murder you both dead, and make you watch each other scream, bleed and die.  Die for LOVE, you infidel mother fuckers.

Yeah, that’s the hate in my heart that I carry for you both. Not pretty.  I have to control it.

I have to forgive her.  I have to forgive you.  I have to forgive as the Lord forgave me.  An excerpt from today’s devotional:  “If your mind needs a focal point, gaze at My Love poured out for you on the cross.  Remember that nothing in heaven or on earth can separate you from that Love.  This remembrance builds a foundation of gratitude in you, a foundation that circumstances cannot shake.”

I have to remember that, even if you do dump me, I will be OK.  God will carry me.  But that’s insecurity talking.  Beyond that, I have committed to being your wife.  It’s extremely difficult.  It never was that difficult before.  I know that I am not easy to be married to, either. I truly do not want to have this affair define our marriage forever.  I need your help.  I need your patience.  And if you can’t do it, then let me go.  I know I keep saying that, but I truly cannot live like this, in hopeful expectation only to be devastated again.

I am committed to being your wife.  I DO support you in whatever you do.  I am sorry I can’t be more excited about things right now.  I know that with God’s help, I can get there.  I am truly committed to trying.  I am sorry if I go bezerk and/or project worry into the future.  That’s my sinful nature.  I lose focus on the Lord.  We are in the midst of doing this, and it’s hard, but we’re doing it.  I just miss you and I want you to miss me and want to be with me more than you want to be in Portugal, or Lebanon, or Yemen, or Hawaii.  But I can’t make you do that, and I have to be OK with it if you don’t feel that. 

GOD is in control, let us not lose our focus on Him.  Forgive me, forgive my rants and raves. I am human and I am hurting.  I know you are, too.  God is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine.  Let’s ask him to help us.  We can do this.  We can, but only with God’s help, guidance and direction.

My husband showed up in Baltimore, the day after Thanksgiving.

Pull the Trigger

Deeply frustrated with my husband’s apathetic response to my (admittedly funny) experience at the gynecologist, I started to act out.  I was fueled entirely by my unstable emotions, insecurity and fear.

I went ballistic, I wrote.  The divorce papers came out, [he] revealed that he doesn’t quite love me enough.  [He’s hoping] feelings will follow because he’s doing the “right thing”. 

Painful, hurtful, hopeless, awful.

And then, another piece of the puzzle fit into place.

A few weeks earlier, while I waited for my husband to return from Portugal, my dear friend had “accidentally” been forwarded an email.  It was a conversation between my husband and his best friend.  This was the same person from whom I learned of the initial affair, via a candid Skype chat on my husband’s computer.  In addition, the two had traveled extensively together throughout the years, and shared the same ideas and beliefs.  The friend was divorced.  In this particular email, they casually discussed the “investment banker”. My husband called her a “half breed”, and they evaluated her age, background, and how “hot” she was.  My husband’s BFF asked if they had been “shacking up.”  He evaded the question.  BFF went on to detail plans of meeting his new, model girlfriend in London after she recovered from her breast enhancement surgery.

Then, my husband wondered when he should “pull the trigger” — end our marriage.

I was glad my friend summarized the content of the email for me.  It would have been too painful (not to mention familiar) to read the actual exchange.  I absorbed the shock, and then exploded.  I grabbed the big file folder, angrily labeled “DIVORCE”, and fled the house again.  Since my husband had no cell phone, he tried communicating with me via email.  It had oddly become a new form of texting between us.

He wrote and asked me where I had gone, most likely from his permanent spot on the couch.  His laptop was always glued to his knees.  I would go to work every day and he would sit and write. Oftentimes I would come home after a long day and he would not have moved.  His writing seemed to consume him: mentally, spiritually, emotionally and now even physically.

“To pull the trigger,” I emailed back.  “I am done.”

He asked why; why today, why now.

You are free…goodbye.

My heart can’t take any more.  I don’t think I’ll ever be patient enough to wait for you to come around.

I think you got what you wanted, anyway.  In five months, five years, you’ll be glad.
I’m tired of being dramatic, I know you are tired of it, too.  This is the most cinematic way to blow it all up.

He asked again where I was.

I’ll be back later to get my stuff.
Kathy will be in touch with you about signing the lease papers for the house.  You just have to sign, she’ll do all the rest of the work (finding a tenant, etc).
I’m thinking we can find someone to rent starting in January.  I don’t want to lease the house before I get back from tour because I want to go through, sort and pack it up.  I’ll re-post furniture, etc. on Craigslist.
I’ll pay the rent for November and December so you can stay in the house.  Unless you want to move out, that’s fine, do what you need to do.

He wanted me to come home. He understood my frustration, and if we were to end things, we should do it face-to-face.

Sorry.  Talking face to face doesn’t work.  Nothing works.

Fuck it.
I give up.

You got what you wanted.

He reiterated that, no! – this was not what he wanted.  He wanted to talk.

You don’t even know what you want. I don’t fit into your life.
You don’t talk.  You just sit there and listen.
I’m tired of talking.  Deep, deep down, you don’t want to be married to me.  I know it.  I feel it.

I DON’T WANT TO TALK TO YOU BECAUSE YOU ARE GOING TO BREAK MY HEART
I CAN’T DO THIS ANYMORE

A simple line: Please.

BANG BANG
MY BABY SHOT ME DOWN.

Destroy the Monster

A few days before the picture was splashed over the internet, I had asked my husband to return home in time for our 10th wedding anniversary.  I was mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausted from trying to hold on and save our marriage all by myself.  It also seemed to me that he was just wasting time; playing around in Europe.  Paychecks that were promised hadn’t arrived.  I had to sell my beloved piano — a wedding gift —  to pay the mortgage.

I kept hoping my husband would “wake up”.  I pored over a book, entitled Sacred Marriage.  The author posed the question: “What if God designed marriage to make us holy rather than happy?”   I had completely forgotten what it was like to be happy, so holiness sounded pretty good.  I read the book from cover to cover in almost one sitting. To this day, I highly recommend the reading.

As before, I continued to attend marital and personal therapy.  I was desperate for answers.  At the same time, I was desperate for someone – anyone – to give me the green light to get out.

But so few people knew what was going on, and those who did know, weren’t going to tell me what to do.

Just get me out of this, Lord, I wrote in my prayer journal.  I want to be whole and I want to live.

After a few days’ silence, I finally wrote to my husband.  Our anniversary was a week away, yet he still had no firm plans to return home.  He tried to assure me – again – that the picture was “dumb”, it had meant nothing.  His readers had been clamoring for more of his travel companion.  He had to deliver.  Sex — an “the element of the story” — clearly sells.

Thirty-seven emails immediately shot back and forth.  He knew he had “fucked up badly”, and said he felt worse than he ever had in his entire life.  I was tired of hearing the same thing over and over again.  Where were the actions to back up these remorseful and heartfelt words?  He told me I deserved better, and that he’d spend the rest of his life regretting what he had done.

[Then] GET on a FUCKInG PLANE AND END IT WELL yOu FUCkING COWARD, I spat, angrily.  I didn’t even try to go back and fix my capitalization errors, much less censor my foul language.

Tried to end it well with [the affair], how about showing some respect and ending it well with your WIFE?????

I know deep down you are done. Just be a man and say you don’t want to be with me anymore. I have tried everything. I am exhausted. I know you don’t want me and that’s OK now. Just let me go. Stop hurting me.

He said would be home before our anniversary.  He then offered that he didn’t blame me for going to New York.  He blamed himself for letting me go, or, at the very least, not going with me.  Then he said he should have known that he couldn’t live without me.  He still couldn’t live without me.

These were words for which I had longed, yet I seethed.

Well clearly I am not any reason to live now. And there’s such a thing as grace, forgiveness and mercy, and COUNSELING (the Holy Spirit is called Counselor!!!!!) but you are too cool for any of it.

You hate me so much.
Where do I even begin?

I believe in marriage, and this affair is bullshit. Your investment banker is bullshit. But please call it and say you want it – them, whomever, you can have it. But do NOT put this on me. You have NO idea what I have done in the last few weeks for you.

He knew I had done everything.  And he didn’t hate me. He hated himself.

I continued.
Fucking investment banker, fucking Ukrainian keychain that I found in your drawer today and hammered with a vengeance.

I am ready to live.

He told me he would come home soon.

Did you fuck that ugly investment banker?

“No!” — Simple answer. Over email.

Whatever. I don’t believe you. It’s always later, soon, blah,blah, blah. Just leave me be. Go live the life you always wanted: untethered, “cinematic”, travel without baggage or obligations.  Give me the house. I have invested so much since you have been gone. You won’t even recognize it.

I am dead. I am dead. I need to learn to live and love again.

Even through my anger, I wanted him to see me.  To TRY.  Something.  Anything!  He couldn’t even break up with me properly.

It’s soooooo not cinematic to break up over a dumb affair. Let’s be the couple that loved each before the lameness and makes history afterward.

He said he kept asking himself why all of this had happened, but resolved that the only thing that mattered was the future; what happened next.

What happens next is your choice. You can sit in Portugal with the rain, your ego, your fantasies and your investment banker (next affair). I don’t know. I’m so bored by you and your image and your so-called career I actually cry myself to sleep every night. And then I wonder, why I am wasting my time?  

He was hurt by my description of his “so-called” career.

My tirade dragged on.
If you insist that this is your career — writing jerk-off fantasies for 14-year old wanna-be’s– then by all means, go for it. But you will pay a huge price…

What’s so wrong with being married?

Just file. Get rid of me. I know you want to. You have every reason to dump me. I didn’t love you enough, I’m not “hot” enough, I’m not exotic, I’m not anything that is print-worthy.

JUST FILE.  End your confusion and end my pain. Give a real reason to not wear your wedding ring. Give a real reason for not caring about our wedding anniversary. Give a real reason for not allowing me back into your life.

And then I realized something.

Oh my god I am such a fool.
You are so so done.
You just want me to do it all.
You want me to file, don’t you?
Wow. wow, wow wow.
What an idiot I am.

I received his response a little while later.  His words were wrought with sadness, confusion and pain.

He couldn’t get his heart to open towards me — not even a crack.  He was waiting for it, and wanted it to open; he wanted to love me like I needed, but he couldn’t.  He couldn’t pretend, but he also wanted to make everything “right”.

My husband didn’t want me to be in pain anymore.  In fact, he felt like he deserved all the pain.  I deserved to be blissfully happy.

He recalled how he used to love me, and when that love went away, so did his life.  At the same time, he still loved me.  Obviously he was confused.  He hated who he was, what he had become, but it didn’t change or fix anything.  He said that he needed to start over, and destroy the monster that he had become.

And, almost in that moment, it seemed like he had an epiphany.  He said he would come home, and we would choose how we would color the rest of our lives.



Tagged ,

UPS Man, Investment Banker and a Condom

With my husband in Spain, I immediately felt more productive.

I met my friend, Curt, for lunch one afternoon at Spitz in Eagle Rock.  He and his beautiful wife, Kathy, were one of five couples in our Bible study group.  We all had formed the group in 2004 and dubbed it “Jequila”.  Jesus and Tequila.  Yes, please.

Curt sat and listened to me recount highlights of the past month’s struggles and asked why I wasn’t taking the time to heal, myself.

“I believe God wants to redeem my marriage,” I explained.

“Leslie, God wants to redeem YOU,” Curt offered, matter-of-factly.

Oh.  I actually hadn’t really thought of that.

He suggested allowing Kathy to list the house for lease (conveniently, she is a realtor). He then offered me a room in their gorgeous home in Pasadena.  I left lunch that day, inspired.  I could rent out our home for six months and not have to worry about a mortgage payment.  Maybe even separating from my husband for a while would be the best idea.  Anything was better than the situation that I was in at the moment.

Trouble was, even after all we had been through, I still loved my husband and wanted our marriage to work.

Yet the thought of starting over was exciting.  I was at least doing something, moving forward.  I was so tired of waiting around for something to happen.   Kathy came over, breezed through the house and gave me suggestions on how to prepare it for a tenant.  Repairs were badly needed.  I hired her handyman to do the work. I blindly started packing, and prayed for a good tenant.

I also continued to attend marriage counseling, until my counselor suggested a different therapist.  Not much you can do in marital therapy when your spouse is out of the country, I suppose.  I started seeing my current therapist, who initially encouraged me to write down my negative thoughts.  (I think I’m still writing them down, just in a different, more public fashion).

In the midst of my focused frenzy, my friend Andrea was moving into a new loft downtown.  I was helping her unpack one afternoon, when there was a loud knock at the door.  I answered it.  It was the UPS man, delivering a package for the neighbor.  He needed someone – anyone – to sign for it.

I stood there, in old jeans and a bulky T-shirt, messy hair and no makeup.  As I signed my name on the chunky electronic device, he suddenly said, “You’re really cute.  Are you married?”

I looked up at him. “I don’t know, “ I blurted.  Honest answer.

He grinned.  “Can I give you my phone number?”

I hesitated, but then offered,  “Sure.”

I took it.  As he backed down the hallway, the UPS man told me he’d take me to lunch, or to the movies, or on a hike or a bike ride or even a motorcycle ride – whatever I wanted.  I was flattered, and immediately wished that my husband could be that enthusiastic about me.

I never called the UPS man, but it felt really good to be noticed.  Especially when I wasn’t trying.  Hmmm.

I continued to do hard work around the house, preparing it for potential lease.  One of the harder things I had to do was to find a new home for our 14-year old cat.  We had rescued her from an organization five years earlier.  I never really wanted an indoor cat, but my husband liked her because she “looked like a pirate”.  She was a sweet animal, and I felt terrible that I was tossing her aside.  I drove her back to the organization from where she came and sobbed like a mother who had just lost her child.  The cat people tried to calm me down but I was inconsolable. It felt horrible to leave her there, in a cage.  She was terrified, and I abandoned her.  She didn’t do anything wrong; she didn’t do anything to deserve that kind of treatment.

I prayed for my cat.
Oh, Lord, I hope she will be OK.  I know she’s just a cat but she was part of our family, and now our family is so broken.

What was left of our family was me, a part-time dog, an outdoor cat, and two chickens.

And so, the days passed.  I hadn’t heard from my husband at all, until I received a text one evening.

Zzz.

Seriously?  That was the best he could do?

The next morning I received an email from him, saying that his phone had been stolen.   He asked me if I would call AT&T and sort it out.   I complied.  Sure enough, hundreds of dollars in international phone calls had been charged to the account in a matter of a few hours.  I suspended his phone line.  Problem solved, except that I now had no way of getting in touch with him.

So I emailed.

So odd that your phone got stolen.What are your days like? Ahhh, beautiful Spain — wish I could go.
I read your story… It was really good.
I will admit your use of the present tense in the sentence “my own cheating heart” made me sad.
I love you.  I would say I hope you are having a good time but I am sure you are.

He replied, almost instantly.  He told me he loved me, and that the line I worried about was just a song lyric.  And then he told me to not worry about the investment banker.

My heart almost stopped.  I immediately scoured the internet for his latest writing.  Sure enough, my husband detailed this “investment banker” as his travel companion.  She was a lovely, young woman who drove a BMW.

FUUUUUUUCCCCCKKKKKKIINNNNNNNGGGGG SHITASS MOTHERFUCKING LIAR SONOFABITCH CHEATING ASSFACE DOUCHEBAG !!!!!

And then, the phone rang.  It was a guy in his 20s trying to purchase one of the items that I had listed on Craigslist: my husband’s 1968 Honda Café Racer.  The motorcycle was cool, but it didn’t run.  It just sat in the garage and took up space.  We were desperate for money (still), and this kid wanted to buy it.  He was coming by to look at it in a few minutes.  The only problem was that I couldn’t find the key to the dang thing.  I swallowed the immediate pain of the investment banker and emailed my husband back, asking him where the keys to the motorcycle were.  He said to check the glove box in his truck.

I scurried down the cement stairs to the 1997 Nissan pickup truck that was parked on the street.  I dumped the entire contents of the glove box onto the bench seat, and started sorting.

There, I saw it:  a single, neatly packaged condom.  It was at the very bottom of the sandy glove box.  I jumped back in horror, and squeezed my eyes shut.  When I pried one of them back open, that cheap condom still lay there.  I could almost hear it laughing at me.

My husband’s voice echoed in my head:  “It happened just ONCE.”

All of those horrible feelings of betrayal, on top of the new information about this “investment banker” that was “part of the story” flooded back.  I felt incapacitated, discovering more lies, deceit, and actual evidence of it all.

I ran back upstairs, fingers flying on the keyboard:

Where are the keys to the motorcycle?  All I found was your condom stash in the glove box of your truck.

He denied it and stopped emailing for the rest of the day.

I had to keep it together.  I had to keep packing.  I had to get out.

Sex & Spain

Two days later, we had sex.

It was carnal, short, traumatic, unsatisfying (for me) and completely emotional.  I quietly sobbed the entire time.  All I could imagine was her, despite his calm reassurance that he was thinking of me.  I really felt the loss of connection between us.  That is something that you can never, ever, EVER undo.  The trust and – dare I say  – innocence of our sexual connection had been obliterated.  It HURT, deeper than any other pain I had experienced in my life.  I was needy, though, so I threw myself at him. I was grateful that he finally took the bait.  It was an oddly comforting place to be, considering the fact that my previous attempts to seduce him were met with disgust, or comments such as, “It wouldn’t be fair to you.”

I figured I could keep him interested in me if I offered my body to him.  And he finally responded.  He wanted me.  PTL (Praise the Lord)!

Yet, for the first time, I experienced “meaningless sex”.  I felt used.  I was so insecure about the way I performed, or what he (now) liked.  He had new “tricks”, and he seemed more interested in doing kinkier things with me.  For the most part, we had always had good, inventive, crazy, fun (and sometimes dirty) sex.   Sex was safe.  I never had to worry about STD’s or emotional baggage in my marriage.  It was fun to explore.  Ironically, I never worried about another woman in my bed: emotionally, physically or even mentally.

This “new” sex disgusted and saddened me, and made me feel like absolute, complete, utter shit.   It wasn’t love.  It wasn’t safe.  It was “just sex”.

As if that weren’t enough, after our physical reconciliation that October afternoon, my husband announced that he was going to Spain.

Pardon the expression, but WHAT THE FUCK??!?!?!?

Throughout the duration of our marriage, my husband traveled extensively — to Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, Lebanon, Somalia, Australia, Japan, France and Hawaii, to name a few.  He pursued danger, and wrote about it.  He was also pursuing a career in writing, and had increasing opportunity to publish articles about his adventures.

I edited most of those articles.

It was a slow fade, but his stories started getting darker.  Rather than being centered on the particular subject, person or tournament he was covering, his writing became more about himself, fashion and image.  Then it shifted to parties, women in his industry, and sex.  (I would later find pages upon pages of explicitly written encounters entitled, Leave Them Wanting Less.  I burned them.)

It was almost as if my attractive, fun, sweet and loving husband had morphed into your typical 20-something, amoral, douchebag bachelor.  At least that’s how he portrayed himself in his writing, and his readers lapped it up.  He was able to charmingly convince those of us who were concerned that the questionable content was just “an element of the story”.   After all, he was a married man who loved Jesus and his wife.  He could just “flirt” with danger but not ultimately be affected by it.

Ha.

Back to Spain: this particular job opportunity required him to travel on his own dime to cover a sporting event.  He would then sell his stories to a couple of different magazines.  Unbeknownst to me (except in that post-coital moment), his parents had purchased his plane ticket and encouraged him to go.  They hoped that his new efforts in his writing career would bring stability and finances to our broken home.

He was leaving in two days, and would be gone for two weeks.

What choice did I have?  We had no money.  I was working every possible odd job I could find.  I attempted to sell our clothing, furniture and vehicles on Craigslist to get some extra cash. I canceled cable.  We even met with two different realtors to discuss the potential of leasing out our house.  So, how could I say “no” to a promising job opportunity?  I was constantly reminded of how I had just spent six months in New York, pursuing my dream.  I had to let him pursue his.

I asked him what he would be doing, where he would be staying, who he would be seeing.  He mentioned that he was going to be picked up from the airport by a young woman that drove a BMW.  Apparently she was a promoter of the event, and a fan of his writing.

“NOPE,” I felt my fists tighten, and a surge of endorphins pulsed through my veins.

He calmly explained to me that he had a wife and the woman had a boyfriend.  He didn’t know how else he’d get from the airport to the hotel, but I really didn’t have anything to worry about.  He promised he’d check in with me every day, and blah, blah, blah.   He wasn’t going to cheat again.

I held my ground.

“NO.  Don’t even go there.  Don’t even tempt yourself.  There are a million different options for transportation and lodging.  I’m sure you can figure something else out.”  I couldn’t even believe we were having this conversation.

He finally agreed to avoid the BMW woman, saying he understood how it “might look bad”.

I felt uneasy.

He is packing, I wrote to myself, the night before his plane took off.  Freshly shaven.  Leaving.  I feel sick…who knows if he’ll come back.  I hope he gets in touch with his “wrecked” heart while he is in the beauty of Spain.  Ugh.

He says he’s sad, doesn’t want to leave, but cannot tear himself away from the computer.  I just don’t believe him.  I don’t trust him.  He is incapable of feeling anything.  He leaves tomorrow and will go with his parents’ money and the potential of $1,000.00, but that is to cover his expenses there.  The “potential” of making more money, but not immediately. 

Running.  Running from me, his responsibility, his lover.  Or to his lover, who knows.  He leaves me no assurance, nothing.

That’s fine.  Go.  Go, run, hide, find something (or someone) better.  I’ll stupidly hold down the fort, and you can come back at me with something to the effect of having had to do it for the last six months.  You had to work and pay the bills and support me.  But I was gone so you found someone to meet your needs.  And you “fell in love”.  And don’t love me anymore.  You feel “bad” for me.  That’s not love.  I don’t want pity.  I want a husband.  What’s more, I want a MAN in my life, not a child.

Early the next morning, he was gone.  I found a note on the kitchen table.

It was from my husband.  He told me he was sick at leaving, would be praying every day, and thanked me for my love and understanding.

He also said that he didn’t deserve anything.

But the part of the note that gave me hope — that helped me to hang on — was that he said he was sorry for everything that had happened.

He said he loved me.  Deeply.  And when he returned, he hoped he could love me how I needed to be loved, every minute of the day.