The following is my entry to the XO Jane, It happened to me contest.
Aren’t you delighted that you get to read it first!
It happened to me: while I was trying to write about my biggest challenge, something worse happened.
While I was trying to figure which event in my life was the most harrowing, surviving a hemorrhagic stroke or watching one of my closest friends die a painful death from liver cancer, my husband of eighteen years told me that been having an affair and now she’s pregnant.
I am still trying to sort out all of the things that have to be sorted because this came out of the blue. It’s too cliché for me to absorb; the wife is always the last to know. But it’s true. I had no idea. Not because I hadn’t had any doubts about our relationship but because I few months ago I asked him specifically if there was something was going between him and this person, let’s call her Sam.
He said, “No.”
That’s the part that hurts the most, the out and out “No.” That would have been the time to tell me that something was up. A good time to tell your wife that you’re having an affair is when she asks you and BEFORE your girlfriend gets pregnant
The problem is that after eighteen years my husband told me that he is not in love with me anymore. He loves me; it’s just that he can’t find the spark we once had. Rationally speaking, which, believe me, I don’t want to do right now, after eighteen years constant spark is not the main part of the marriage. Marriage is about getting through life together.
I hate to shatter any illusions that any young women may have. Marriage is about getting through life. I thought I was with the person with whom I am going to spend the rest of my life.
Ten years ago we separated and I moved to another state, I think it’s called Insanity. While I was there, I had a hemorrhagic stroke.
When I was released to outpatient therapy, I lived with my husband who said that my place to heal was here with him. His ex-girlfriend, Sam, still lived in the house because she didn’t have anywhere else to go. I wasn’t a big fan of this arrangement, but since I was trying to grow a new brain, I didn’t feel like I had a neuron to stand on.
After I completed my therapy, I moved back to Insanity, mainly because Sam was still here. Two months after I left, Sam finally moved out.
I did finally leave Insanity to move back home.
I asked my husband if it was all right if I moved back in with him. He said, “Yes.”
Everything went on as life often does with little ups and downs, and big ups and big downs. True, there were many times that I wondered if I am actually part of some bizarre reality show to see how far a slightly brain damaged, moderately pudgy woman can be knocked around before completely snapping and going on a nut-punching spree, but I never expected this.
I keep waking up hoping it won’t be true. But it is.
I’m terrified because for the first time in my whole life, I can’t detach.
All of the hard things I’ve had to face over the last two decades have been easier to handle because I always knew that I had my husband by my side.
I can’t imagine a life without him.
I’m not even angry. Everyone wants there to be a bad guy. I don’t know who that should be; although I strongly suspect that I will get unsolicited nominations from the general public. Every woman who has heard about this, except, of course, for Sam, is angry on my behalf.
Ten years I ago I had a hemorrhagic stroke caused by burst blood vessel.
Two years ago my best friend died of liver cancer.
Two weeks ago my husband of 18 years told me that he had been having an affair and that his girlfriend is pregnant.
This sounds like the set up to the world’s worst improvisational comedy skit.
It hasn’t been profane enough to turn it into a Mamet play. I haven’t punched anyone or had a dance number so Tarantino won’t want it. I have, however, been having a recurring dream where Laverne DeFazio sings “Nobody knows, the trouble I’ve seen” over and over again But that’s probably because I sleep with the TV on. It’s nice to know that my subconscious is sponsored by Nick at Nite.
And then there’s the things people say to me. I can’t decide which is the stupidest. Maybe I am still too numb to find this anything but a background for even more sarcasm. Everyone has a friend or a cousin or an aunt that this exact thing happened to, except this time the love child shows up years later wanting a part of the estate or family and the outsider is left wondering who on earth would want to bang that guy in the first place. Maybe it’s just me that thinks that. I do have a bent for the inappropriate.
The one thing no one has said is, “It sucks. Here’s some Cheetos and a big bottle of chocolate milk.”
I know Cheetos are not the solution. Neither is angel food cake mix blended with cherry pie filling or two and a half huge brownies. ( I had to do the research to test my theory.)
I know I’m going to have to eventually pull myself together because I am starting to get on my own nerves. I’m not really the “Woe is me,” type. I’m more of a “Job is me,” in that I usually handle adversity with acceptance and do the best I can to not lose faith in the bigger picture, whatever that is. It probably includes Cheetos, or brownies or both. (Hey, I’ve been traumatized.)
(Picture-One Week Later) Self portrait without snack food, one week after the latest disaster.