Part Three- Somehow, it was just the beginning of the end- not the end

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It all feels like a lie. I wanted to get it all out, I find myself at the turn of the story…the turn of my marriage and I can’t move forward. In this blog or in real life. I feel like it’s a lie- I’m betrayed but I’m not recovering. It’s been nearly a year since the ‘official’ breakup and yet I feel just the same as I did nearly a year ago. Nearly a year ago I was picking P. up from the airport after a stint overseas and I wasn’t sure if I was excited or not. I find myself in the same place now. I should be leaving for the airport yet…let’s give him time to get through customs I tell myself.

So, non-recovering fake that I am. Writer of narrative prose when the truth is my heart is breaking and I feel like cutting the pain out…I will leave you with something I wrote on the pain of infidelity:

You feel as if you were dead but still living. Your entire being wants to follow that dead part of you to where ever it went but you are trapped in an awful purgatory that pulls and twists and tortures you.As though your heart has shriveled. Like those pictures of mummified bodies. And the pain of it trying to beat, the dried edges slice into your chest like a knife as it vainly tries to keep beating.

At the same time it’s as though your heart has swollen so much that there’s pressure inside of your chest, pushing, straining to explode.

Your stomach doesn’t exist anymore. Well, it does but it’s in your throat. So every time you think about eating it swells up and chokes you.

You’re standing there and suddenly the floor drops from underneath you. If it was a Road Runner cartoon, you’d be Wiley Coyote w/ that panicked look of recognition on your face. You know it’s just a matter of moments until gravity takes over and you are pulled to earth w/ a bone crushing thump. When it happens, it very nearly kills you b/c this is no cartoon.

And after d-day 2, so me I could feel the pain crawling through my body. It was a literal, physical pain that moved through my veins, swelling them and burning them. It was so bad that I began to think the only way to release the pressure was to cut myself, to let a pain I could handle replace the excruciating pain.

Your dreams are haunted. You sleep fitfully when you do and you are woken by horrible nightmares that the one you most trusted betrayed you. You wake in a panic and a sweat, usually minutes after you fell asleep, only to realize the nightmares are real. You fall asleep and the process begins again. It’s like ghosts are haunting you and taunting you in your sleep. Snippets of everything come back to you, torturing you for not seeing the truth sooner.

You may have loved your family of birth. You may have loved them even if you had been abused, neglected or emotionally torn apart by them. But the pain of this person, the person you chose to bring into your life, to let into your heart- the pain from that chosen one choosing to abuse your love in that way is so much worse. You question everything. Your judgment, your self worth, your right to live.

Your future is in question, but everyone knows that the future is never certain. Having your past be in question is so discombobulating. The world turns upside down. And it feels as though someone put a plastic bag over your head. You not only can’t breathe, but everything you look at is distorted.

And nobody can truly understand how it feels. Soon enough they will be saying, if only to themselves, “Just leave then” or “Get over it already.” And they will hopefully never know the pain of love, hate, mistrust, hope, despair swirling around in their bodies all at once.

Finally- I can Relax! Sort of.

I was in my first year of teaching. P. initially was in basic law enforcement training but got a job as soon as we graduated. One day he came home with a dinner invite from one of his co-workers. I was thrilled. His instructor had given a speech at graduation on how important it was to make friends with fellow cops. After all, the job was stressful and only other cops knew what it was like.We all hit it off right away. There was never an awkward pause. Soon, we began going out to dinner with them, they hung out at our place, we hung out at theirs. Yes, J. (the husband) and S. (the wife) were a lot of fun to be with. There were awkward moments though. Like one night we were watching a movie at their house. There was a new movie we hadn’t seen yet, but J. and S. insisted on watching “Wild Things”. When the threesome part came on, I felt uncomfortable with the look J. gave me. After the movie ended, J. talked about S. making out with a female co-worker while they thought he was asleep on the couch. She laughed and told him she knew he was awake, just like he had been awake for the lap dance she bought him…and she ended up making out with the stripper. Another time they invited us to go to Hedonism II with them. P. said it wasn’t likely, we had other vacation destinations to save up for. It was after that he described the place and told me it made him uncomfortable. He thought maybe they wanted more of the friendship than we did. J. had told him some stories, guy talk. P. didn’t want me involved with that.For the first time in my life I had next to no worries. There were no money problems. I was in love with my husband more than ever- look what we had survived. Not every couple can stop abuse, even the ’small’ abuse P. dished out to me. My biggest stress was teaching and an extremely overbearing mentor. But that soon ended. It was summer and I was free. Except my classes of course. I had graduated w/ a BA in my field and needed a few more courses to get my teaching license.

But the fun continued. Except for J. and S. They were having problems. They had been married less than a year, in fact, they had just come back from a delayed honeymoon right before we started hanging out. Hedonism II. P. knew of it, but the significance was lost on me. But now, less than two years into their entire relationship, S. was dissatisfied. I remember us hiding out in her closet while she told me she wasn’t sure if she loved J. She lost that ‘fairy tale feeling’ and missed it. I assured her it comes and goes. Hold on, it will come back. Marriage is full of hills and valleys. Why, look at P. and myself. We just got over a deep valley. Now, I loved him more than ever before. S. just needed to share her feelings with J. Communication was a must. She replied, “I just want what you have.” I sighed. She didn’t get it. What I was having now wouldn’t last forever. It comes and goes.

Soon after though, I noticed her giving P. looks. She expected him to react to her the same way he reacted to me. She’d dress in clothes that showed her to advantage, then point it out. For instance, once after I confided in her that I was self conscious about my upper arms and so avoided sleeveless shirts and dresses, she wore a white tank top the next time we met. It showed off her tan skin to advantage. She also asked if she should follow J.’s request and put her crochet white sweater over it, as without her bra her nipples were almost visible.

As for P., he was pulling away from me.

We’d go out and I’d think P.’s friendliness was too close to flirting. I’d get upset, S. would comfort and support me. Soon, P. and I began fighting about all sorts of things. S. would support me, tell me I wasn’t blowing things out of proportion. One night, P. decided to spend the night at S. and J.’s house. I wanted to beg him to stay but S. told me if I accepted his treatment of me, she’d tell him off herself.

One night she called us, freaking out that she heard a noise. Apparently the gun she had, the phone that could have called 911 instead of us, the Rottwieler…that wasn’t enough protection. She insisted my husband come to check it out. I came with, staying on the phone until we were out of range. P. went into the house alone and came out after about 15 minutes. It was nothing.

During all of this, we would still go out, with one exception. We’d go while J. was on his shift. S. didn’t seem to mind being a third wheel. We played tennis together, S. pouting in the backseat of my car as the Bryan Adams song “Run to You” played on the radio. I thought she was crying over her marriage. I felt sorry for her and hoped we’d have fun. When it came time to play, I became disgruntled because S. kept mocking my tennis playing skills. I was there to have fun and it was not fun for me at all. At least she had her high spirits back though.

One ridiculous moment happened at Olive Garden.  P. said something about how he liked the olives in the salad although he always picked the soup instead.  I was teasing him and said, “You can’t have mine, you want one, eat some salad.”  S. jumped in, “He can have mine!”  I kind of looked at her and said, “No, I’m his wife, if he wants an olive, he can have mine.”  She insisted and gave him her olive.  Weird and stupid I know, but that’s the kind of thing that even in the moment you think, “What’s going on here?”

One night we went to the local sandwich-brew joint, S. was pouting in the backseat the whole way. When we got home, P. pulled out his telescope. He was showing S. the stars. I asked to see them too and he backed away. I tried to look but was too short. I moved away as he guided S. to the telescope. I sat on the curb, trying not to look at my husband standing behind my friend, looking at the stars together. I couldn’t even tell you how long it was, just that they didn’t notice when I went inside. I told myself it was nothing. Even if my friend had a crush on my husband, I could trust him.

Soon after that, P. picked another fight. Again, he went to spend the night at S. and J.’s house. This time though, J. was at work. I sat at home crying. I finally decided to fight. I went to their house. I pounded on the door and insisted on seeing P. right away. She led me to the upstairs guest room. I scanned the room, relieved to only see P. cleaning his gear for the next day’s shift. I got on my knees, clinging to his. I begged him to come home and talk. He coldly refused. I reluctantly left, S. shutting the door firmly behind me.

I found another note to his high school teacher. She had long been a sore point for me. Always the “What If” woman. I held back though. I had been jealous for too long. I was taking a psych class and my project was to change my behavior for two weeks. I did it. I kept calm. I was proud of myself. I wanted to make myself better for our marriage. I wanted a husband that wanted to be with me. After all, less than two months ago we were in love like newlyweds, right? It could happen again. If I was just good enough. If I just held my temper.

That Moment the World Drops from Under your Feet

That moment can come back to you even years later. I had to come back to this posting more than once to get it all out.One summer morning I sat in our closet, I couldn’t find anything to wear because I felt unattractive, unloved and unlovable. I tearfully told P. I did not want to go out with S. that morning. I just wanted to stay home. Him. Me. Talking. Having sex. Just being together. P. insisted the plans had already been made, we couldn’t stand her up.I sat next to P. waiting for our order at Denny’s. We normally sat across from each other so we could look at each other. But S. was across from us. I could swear I felt her try to reach out to touch his foot with hers. There was something I couldn’t put my finger on. The looks they gave each other, it was as if I wasn’t there.

As usual, Denny’s was taking forever. I suddenly couldn’t take it anymore. I was still in denial. My mind was retreating. So my body did too. I got up and fled from the truth. I ran to the fast food joint next door. I saw P. looking for me, so I tried to run in there. Closed for renovation. I ran to a nearby hotel, tried to hide in there. I waited. I came out. P. was waiting in the parking lot, S. in the car. I tried to run across the field, tried to get anywhere. P. caught me. He held me in his arms. He kissed me and cradled me and told me that yes, he loved me. Yes, we would work on our marriage. I nestled in his arms and looked past him. S. was standing with her arms crossed. A scowl on her face. Even then, the truth, the words would not form in my head. It was all her I thought. P. wouldn’t go there. Not and still hold me like this.

We drove home. P. dropped me off first and was supposed to drop S. off. I waited. And waited. Those words still were banned from my mind. I did gather all the pills in the apartment. I sat in my car. I contemplated how to do it. A country road I thought. P. and I always talked about going down a long country road. It was a joke and a promise. We had done it one starlit night. Well, today it would be a different country road for a different purpose. I got in my car with the pills, cloth to stuff in the tailpipe and a drink. I drove down the road, heading away from town. Vaguely I remembered two girls had been found killed somewhere near this area. I wondered if I would be drawn to that place. As I drove past the community college, my mind clicked in. The unthinkable wasn’t happening to me. I had to take a chance I was mistaken. I could do it later if it wasn’t true. I turned around in the parking lot of the community college and headed home.

Soon after, P. came home. He sat on the couch, his eyes sad. He told me, “We have to talk.” I remembered the last time he told me that. I thought it would be bad news but it turned out to be the best news- he loved me. Surely it would be the same this time. Nothing awful could happen after he held me like that earlier.

“I’m in love with someone else.”

I gulped. I denied still. “Who?” the word barely croaked out.

“S.”

The world fell.

I hit him, I pummeled him as much as I possibly could. I wanted to cause him pain like I was feeling. He just put his arms over his head and took it. There was no way my 5′3 frame could cause his 6′3 frame the pain that was destroying me at that moment.

At some point I stopped and just started sobbing. I went to the bathroom, got the pills. Got into my car where my drink was waiting. P. came out, saw me sitting there, dazed.

“What did you do? WHAT DID YOU DO?”

I limply waved my hand to the empty bag, “Took some pills.”

“Which ones?”

“All of them.”

P. called the ER. They told him to give me syrup of ipecac and monitor me. He rushed to the store and got some. He stayed with me until I threw up for the first time. Then he left. I think for two days. It’s all a blur. He was gone. I was alone.

I lay on the couch, dazed, out of it. Some of the pills had had a chance to get into my system. My body was heavy. I kept drifting in and out of consciousness. I got up to throw up. I cursed the fact all my pills were gone. I looked for his gun and couldn’t find it. I went back to the bathroom. I looked into the mirror, trying to determine if my pupils were dilating. What I saw freaked me out. Someone else was looking back from behind my eyes. There was me. Then there was someone else. Someone who felt wrong.

I stumbled my way to the other end of our apartment building and walked into the open door of my neighbors and friends, B. and O. They were in the process of moving. B. had a friend helping while O. was at work. He was clueless, didn’t get my slurred ramblings. He called O. and put me on the phone with her. She talked to me then firmly said, “Put B. on the phone.” I did. I could hear her tell him what I had done and to take care of me. B. sat me in the living room as they loaded the truck. When the first load was ready, they loaded me in like another piece of furniture. When the got to their new home, I was put on the floor of the living room like yet another box. I just sat there. They dragged me back and forth until O. came home. I don’t remember anything after that.

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