When my husband and I first started our relationship together we spent a lot of time on drives in the car. I never wanted it to end. Our times in the car meant wonderful, meaningful conversations with great depth and substance. I’m sure it’s where we fell in love, though I don’t remember the exact moment. I always asked him to take the long way home, craving just a few more minutes with him. For many years, two of which consisted of his affair with Bobbie, we would travel each weekend to take care of an elderly family member. Our car trips started out as a journey with each other and then morphed into the saving of our marriage. We frequently lament now that those weekly car trips were the catalyst that forced us to come together every week and be the people our relative needed us to be. There were moments of rage and moments of silence. But, when we got to our destination we were the old us, the people that we were expected to be. Ultimately it saved us.
Very frequently, if it was possible in the time frame we had, my husband would choose to take the long way home. Most of the time on that winding road, we were both silent. But, every time he would try to talk to me. Mostly I refused. Sometimes I would entertain him and respond to his quest to have the conversation. His thoughts though were discombobulated and not easily understandable. I never asked, but I think he didn’t know what to say, as much as he just wanted to be sitting there next to me taking the longest route home, even if it was in silence. That was normal. Two kids who wanted to spend every possible second together.
Days after Bobbie had called me to break her silence, we made the journey we had been making for years to help. The trip was without radio or music, something neither of us could tolerate for a very long time. Some genres I still can’t bring myself to go back to, but momentarily. We showed up and began our act of normalcy for the four or five hours we were there. We acted like that super happy couple that we once had been, it all easily faked because we both knew it so well, the nuances of the once was. We would be laughing as we walked out the door, and the minute our car doors closed, silence. The lack of music making the already awkward two hour drive home even more so. He didn’t take the long way home and I didn’t want him to either. It already felt long.
I have since come to realize that the aftermath of an affair is a very long drive home. It’s a miles and miles long windy road off of the beaten path with no music, just air and the sounds of sighs. And you don’t get to decide that you would rather go the fast way on the interstate. The choice is made for you that you will be taking the long way. But, soon, you will realize that even though you’re going on this long journey, that you would have rather hopped on the interstate for, you are still going home. And it really doesn’t matter how you get home, as long as you’re heading there.