No one tells you that one day you are going to walk through a door and life as your know will cease to exist. If they had there is a good chance I may have chosen to not open that door to find my husband in bed with his best friend, and I may have not accepted the job that my husband’s best friend had offered me two years before and that obviously I had to leave after finding the two in a naked romp in our marital bed.
Did I mention that my husband’s best friend was named Douglas? Douglas, not in the way Americans name their daughters Sydney which is a boy’s name everywhere else in the world, and even a city in Australia, but used as a girl’s name in the good old USA, the land where anything is possible. Douglas as in a six foot, dark haired male Adonis that every female in the world swooned over, and now, as I was shortly after informed by my husband, was the love of his life.
“Our marriage was a mistake” he said, already putting it and me into the past.
Mistake – muh-staky. Noun. 1. Incorrect idea or opinion; thing incorrectly done or thought. 2. Error of judgment. Verb. Choose wrongly; in error.
“I was mistaken”.
Mistaken / muh-stay-kuhn. Adjective. 1. Wrong in opinion or judgement
I had been called a mistake once before in my life. My mother had met up with a friend that she hadn’t seen for many years one day when we were shopping and she descried me as her “happy little mistake”. At the time, being only seven I wasn’t sure what she meant, but as she rubbed the back of my neck as she spoke as she always did when she was being affectionate I somehow managed to understand that it, or rather I, was not considered a bad thing. Later, as I grew I understood the meaning more, especially when the large age gaps between myself and older brother and sister drew understanding. I had been unplanned, my birth a “happy mistake”, but my mother never stood in front of me naked and told me she would prefer never to see me again.
It was all one long out of body experience after that. I walked out the front door, then walked back in, only to see my husband being embraced by Douglas as if he was the one that just had his heart ripped from his chest like one of those actors in some B grade sci-fi movie that are always on at two in the morning when you can’t sleep and the only alternative is the shopping channel and you know that you don’t have the strength to resist buying some over priced magic dusting rag that you would never use anyway and so you watch the damn alien hand slice into someone’s chest and draw out the heart, squishing it between greedy fingers.
I digress, if such a thing is possible when your life becomes a B grade movie in its own right.
I walked back in and spoke to Douglas. He had shorts on now. Why was I feeling embarrassed when he was the one cavorting naked in my bed with my husband? “I want the keys to your cabin.” Douglas owned a cabin surrounded by trees on the side of some lake I had never remembered the name of. “You can have my husband if you give me your cabin.” Somewhat of a successful high flyer Douglas had more to lose then I did, I just had husband who made a mistake, and so a cabin to silence me would be a cheap payment.
“The keys are on my car key ring” Douglas replied gesturing to where his trousers lay on the floor.
If he thought I was going to rummage through his pockets as if searching for loose change he was crazy. I put my hand out and waited for him to retrieve the key from the key ring and place it in my waiting palm. If his hand had touched mine he would have felt my hand starting to sweat. It was quite possible that at any moment I was going to hyperventilate due to a panic attack.
“You two get out of here while I pack my things. Then I never want to see either of you again.”
They didn’t argue. I would like to think that they had the decency to know that I needed peace and solitude to work through the bomb blast that had just blown my fairy tale life to smithereens, but even then I knew that they just wanted down with me and in the easiest way possible.
I waited until I heard the car turn out of the drive and into the street before I screamed abuse at their retreating backs.
Anguish /ˈaNGgwiSH/ Noun. 1. excruciating of agonising pain of either body of mind, acute suffering or distress: the anguish of grief. 2. to affect with or suffer anguish.
Synonyms. Noun. agony – pain – torment – distress – torture – misery
It helps to have a sister who is a lawyer. Whilst not a divorce lawyer, sister knew lawyers who knew lawyers and so within days the divorce ball was rolling. I really didn’t have to see the husband ever again if I chose not to, and I certainly chose not too.
Not surprisingly it took me more than a night to pack my things. In fact, that first night I did nothing constructive, well not from a moving sense anyway. A therapist might have considered what I did as very constructive. After I exhausted my lungs and made my throat raw screaming abuse at the back of the closed double front door (did the size of the door mean I could vent more anger? It was a very large double panel door; maybe that symbolised a door for each betrayer) I saw in the hall mirror that my eyes were puffy and I had produced a red rosacea nose that needed wiping. I cried ugly obviously, but hey there was no one here to see so who gave a damn?
If my life had been a chick lit book at that moment I would have opened a bottle of the husband’s finest and drank myself into delirium, except it wasn’t a chick lit book, and I don’t really drink. Well, just a glass or two. One glass makes me happy and I laugh and laugh; the second glass sends me to sleep. A two pot screamer in the old language. Instead I made a pot of tea and sat in the kitchen in my pyjamas and just tried to breathe.
“The nose of the Bulldog has been slanted backwards so that he can breathe without letting go.” Winston Churchill.
The next day, after I sobbed on the phone to my sister, my brother, but not my parents, my siblings roared into revenge and sorted my life out. My sister organised a lawyer for me. My brother called a removalist. The house would be divided between us, but the contents were going with me, it seems. Professionals neatly and with great care packed my life into a number of cardboard boxes which they then deposited into a long moving van and drove to their storage warehouse until I summoned them to reverse their task and unpack the boxes to fit into my new life.
That was going to be the not so easy bit; mainly because I had to do that for myself. A tiny weeny bit impossible when all I wanted to do was sit in the corner of the room. The tea cup clutched in my hand was the only thing stopping me from curling up into the foetal position permanently.
For ever and ever amen.
No husband, no marriage, no home, no job. All I needed was a fatal disease and I would have the jackpot.
In the cold light of morning I realised that going to Douglas’ cabin was maybe not the best place to lick my wounds and blossom as an unemployed divorcee. The idea of a house in the woods on a lake still sounded right though. Somewhere where I didn’t know anyone and they didn’t know me. No questions, no replies required, no stares or knowing looks behind my back. I could be Eden the woman who lives in the cabin on the edge of the forest near the lake and not the ex-Mrs husband who had been too blind to see what was happening right in front of her face until it was lying naked before her.
So, the only thing I did for myself in those first few days was to phone a realtor and locate a cabin of my own. I mentally christened it Lake Woebegotten and loading my Honda Civic to the roof with basic necessities I headed out of town and into what was to be…
I got lost on the way. It was the sat nav’s fault. Recent road works had change onramps and off ramps and so female voice giving the direction kept recalculating until in the end I stopped to buy fuel and a map. Recalculating. If only I could recalculate the last fourteen years of my life. B.H. Before Husband.
“Over the last couple of years, the photos of me when I was a kid… well, they’ve started to give me a little pang or something – not unhappiness, exactly, but some kind of quiet, deep regret… I keep wanting to apologize to the little guy: “I’m sorry, I’ve let you down. I was the person who was supposed to look after you, but I blew it: I made wrong decisions at bad times, and I turned you into me.” ― Nick Hornby, High Fidelity