Today this blog turns two years old. When I wrote my first post on March 26, 2007 I was living a very different life than I am now. So what better time to talk about that life a little bit more?
This is the beginning of the book I'm writing. Some of you may have seen it before and it's virtually unchanged, since I'm trying really hard to knock out a first draft before I go back and start my compulsive tweaking. I'd really love to know what you think. Is this a book you'd keep reading?
In the end, really, it was all a lie. I suspected it at the time and couldn’t prove it, but as time went on it all fell into place, one puzzle piece at a time. You’d think the fact that I knew it was all a farce would have softened the punch a little, but it didn’t. It made it worse, to tell the truth. If there’s a rattlesnake coiled up two feet away from you that is looking in your direction and the person who supposedly loves you assures you it’s only a corn snake and it won’t hurt you, you don’t worry as much. And this is your first mistake.
See, what happened was this. My husband sat me down one day out of the blue and said these words to me:
“We have to fix our marriage or end it.”
He had that look on his face he gets when he’s put something off for a long time and really doesn’t want to face it, like the time he took over paying the bills and accidentally paid the gas bill four times but forgot to pay the electric. It was pitch black in the house when he was trying to explain the situation to me, but I knew the look was there. It’s a look I’ve grown accustomed to over the course of twenty years. It’s the look that says “I’ve screwed up but I’m going to find a way to make it your fault.”
That was actually written into our marriage contract, the clause about everything being my fault. I don’t remember the exact wording, but it was something to the effect that he had retained the law firm of Dodge, Divert and Deflect to keep him from ever expressing an opinion one way or another and when I had no choice but to make a decision, it would then be held against me forever in the emotional equivalent of Marco Polo. (Remember Marco Polo? As a real
This all ran through my head sitting at my kitchen table hearing what I took as an ultimatum coming out of my husband’s mouth. Fix it or end it? Could he be a little more specific? What exactly was it that he thought was broken? The kids were all in the other room, so I knew he was speaking to me. He was still talking. At least his lips appeared to be moving. He reached out and took hold of my hand, as a few of the times he’d had this particular look on his face flashed through my mind.
There was the time he’d sworn he had made the car payment on time and then I caught him frantically trying to do it on-line before I noticed. The time he insisted he’d stuck to his low-carb diet, yet had part of a jelly donut smeared on the outer corner of his lip. Or how about when he was an hour late picking me up from the airport and blamed it on the traffic, only for me to find out later that he hadn’t even left the house for the thirty minute drive until ten minutes after my plane had landed?
“I’m at the point in my life,” he was saying, “where I’m really looking at where I am and where I want to go. I love you, and I want us to stay married, but I want to make it better. I want to have a different kind of marriage than we do. I want us to be closer and do more things together. You're the woman I want to grow old with, so I’m really ready to put the time and effort into making this the best possible marriage it can be. I’m willing if you are”.
And that’s when I knew he was leaving me.