Marriage has been on my mind lately. It is no wonder, with all the hysteria surrounding the royal wedding. Or shall I say … Royal Wedding … and yes, I have to confess, I did watch it on TV.
The topic has also been on my mind because a few of my friends and family members have recently gone through very traumatic divorces and break-ups. I have wept with them and tried to help where possible, but ultimately they are in that dark hole by themselves. No one can presume to know what it feels like, until they’ve been there.
However, one by one, these women have clawed their way out of those black holes and carried on. Changed forever by the experience, but still looking forward and carrying on. They have my utmost love and respect.
The following is a result of my ‘musing’ on this topic:
Something strange happened today. Well, strange isn’t quite the right word. Tragic describes it better. Very tragic, actually.
My life fell apart. It is quite interesting in a surreal, detached kind of way, watching from the sidelines while the white, indestructible tower resembling the illusion of my marriage came crashing down.
My husband is having an affair. Has been having one for a long time, and I never suspected a thing. Never knew … before today.
I had this dream last night … more a nightmare really. In the dream I found out that he had been having an affair with someone I’ve known for a very long time. In the dream I completely lost all self control and started screaming at him like a woman possessed, which is very unlike me.
I was relieved to wake up this morning, even smiled at the stupidity of the dream. I jokingly told him about it while we were still in bed.
While I was talking, laughing, his face became very still, his body frozen. His eyes met mine and in that moment it was just the two of us in an unending black hole in time. It was at that moment that the tower came crashing down.
“No,” I whispered. “No!”
He gave a disbelieving little laugh. “What do you mean, honey? Don’t tell me you actually believe that stupid dream?” He turned his back to me as he got out of bed.
“I know you,” I was still whispering. It felt as if a veil had been lifted from my face and I could see him clearly for the first time in years.
My husband, my lover, my friend.
Father of my children.
Liar, cheat and cold blooded bastard.
He turned around, embarrassed and defiant. Like a schoolboy caught with his hands in his pants. “Get a grip will you!”
I slowly got up out of bed and walked over to him. Determined to stay calm, the hysteria of my dream-screams still fresh in my mind.
I will not lose control.
Then, of course, I did.
I slapped him.
I hit him so hard that the palm of my hand stung for a long time after. He just stood and looked at me. And it was then, with the ruins of the tower at my feet, that I found my strength.
“You have one hour to pack and get out,” I hissed.
“Come on, let’s talk about this. You are acting like a mad woman!”
He was trying to sound impatient, but I could hear the fear creeping into his voice. He couldn’t understand how I knew. How could I? He had covered his tracks so well. All those late nights at the office, entertaining ‘clients’ in town. Always an explanation, while his children and I spent another Sunday alone at the park.
“You are insane!” He was acting indignant. Trying to get past me to answer his phone that started ringing on the table. He looked at the screen and took the call. I knew it was her. I knew it with every fiber in my body. He was talking in monosyllables, ‘yes’, ‘no’ and ‘not now’.
He put the phone down and looked uncomfortable.
“I have to go in to the office now …,” his voice disappeared in the silence of our room.
I wanted to scream at him, rip his throat out, tear his skin off and kick him in the balls. I had a billion questions. When did it start? How did it start? What the hell are we going to tell the children? Why her?
I knew above all else that I no longer wanted to be married to this man, this stranger. We’ve known each other for 20 years, yet I didn’t know him at all.
I thought I did, but I don’t.
Some of the rage brewing inside of me was directed at myself. I must have known subconsciously. How else to explain the dream?
He was still standing, looking at me.
“I’m sorry,” helpless.
We stood a meter apart. It could have been a world apart.
We had moved that far away in the space of 10 minutes.
Twenty years versus 10 minutes.
We stood there, listening to our children waking up.
“Start packing,” I told him. “I’ll tell them you had to go on another business trip. They won’t be surprised.”
“Please, we can work this out. Let’s just talk about it,” he was pleading.
“I don’t want to.”
“Why not?” he was surprised.
“Because you are fucking your secretary.”
He did not deny it.