It’s something i want to forget. I try to forget, like simply letting it slip my mind like a missed appointment. Maybe if it wasn’t the month of a holiday or the ever constant reminder of a past soccer tournament I could just pass right by it without a single thought to the date on the calendar looming closer and closer. Maybe there wouldn’t be an imaginary circle around a number that seems bigger than all of the other numbers in the month of November. It’s like there’s a big magnifying glass over the specific box, staring at me, daring me to pay attention. I fail miserably in my effort to forget that date.
Five years ago today, I had no idea that my fairy tale world was going to crumble around me, that everything I knew would have to be unknown. I didn’t know that all of the constants in my world would become unsteady, unreliable, bearing no resemblance to their former self. I was blissfully unaware of all of it, standing at the threshold of a big open door that I had no intention of entering, but would instead be pushed through violently by the person I loved more than anything. I didn’t know it then. I couldn’t see what lay ahead for me. And even though I have the outcome securely in the palm of my hands today, it doesn’t lessen the pain and anguish that would overtake me back then.
It’s not a pain you forget and put in the back of your mind like the pain of childbirth, but instead it’s a whisper or an echo of all the anguish and agony and it follows you…everywhere. It shows its face when it wants to, out of your control. Tears falling over seemingly nothing, a word said in the wrong tone, or a flash of a memory to painful to bear. And it’s doing everything you can to not bring it up over every minor or major infraction. It’s like a thorn in your side poking you to bleed again and again. And it’s fear of letting yourself get close again, fear of the unknown, fear of the known…fear, all the time….fear.
He told me this weekend that he feels like the only person in the world who doesn’t have a manual to life. It made me wonder what manual I would give myself if I could send it backwards in time. What would I tell me about all of this on how to cope and how to get through. What would my manual to me say? So, I decided to write one:
Soon, not unlike the captain of the great ship, Titanic, everything you know is going to be wrong. Only you still aren’t going to be privy to any of it for a few months. You will be blissfully ignorant to the fact that the man you love and cherish is stepping out. You will go on with your normal life of kids’ activities and still settle in every night with him, like always. He will still hold you and love you deeply, searching under the covers for your hand to hold his. You won’t know that anything sinister is brewing anywhere, and this will become your biggest source of stress…how could you not know? How is it possible that the person you feel the most connected with could be so unconnected without a hint that anything is awry.
The day it happens you will be oblivious. He’s been out of town and he tells you over and over on the way home that he wishes you would have been there. And you won’t think anything of that, because it’s normal for him to miss you when he’s away. You will write on his Facebook wall while he’s still on the way home that you think he’s the greatest. And you will go back to that statement over and over and wonder how it’s possible that the night before he was getting a blow job from her in a hotel room after he’d just talked to you and told you he loves you. I want to tell you that your mind will go over and over these details and it won’t help. You were dealing with two different people at this moment, and there’s nothing else that you could have done. And even though you won’t want to accept it, you will have to eventually accept that she overpowered him in the only way he could be overpowered. And you will hold onto the fact that he initially told her no, telling her that he had you and said your name to her, which is why he only ended up with a blowjob. You will hold onto that information so tight.
When you eventually find out all of this a few months later, you won’t be able to breathe. You won’t be able to function. And yet, your children are depending on you so you have to keep going. And you don’t tell anyone, even your sister, because even in your duress you will want to protect him and his reputation. You will suffer in silence for way too long. I want to tell you that you should talk to anyone and everyone. His reputation is not worth your heartache. And you need a friend.
I’m sorry to have to tell you that you will have to endure months and months of cheating and lying. You will observe the man you love tell such ridiculous lies that you won’t even be able to believe it’s the same man. He will hurt you over and over again, but you will be able to see the real him still there, even if they are only glimpses. And I want to tell you to hang in there and that eventually he will do the right thing. Eventually the person he is down deep will come out and it will be over. When push comes to shove he will pick you over her. And even though the finality of it all will take a bit longer, and things will be a little rough, you will get a miracle.
And when the smokescreen and mirrors are gone for good, he will be himself again. And you will still struggle, but you will be okay, I promise. Keep talking to each other. Keep believing in each other.
I promise you everything will be great again.
It’s not the first person you love…it’s the last.