Chapter 13, loren
They say Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned…and scorned I was.
I had been scorned by a man not once, not twice, but what felt like a thousand times. I always bit my tongue - to the best of my ability - and gave second chances out as if they were raffle tickets at the state fair. Just when I thought I had hit a breaking point; I was faced with another mountain. Not this time! No, this time I hit a breaking point of mental abuse that rattled my decently educated brain to the point of utter confusion. Some days I would wake up and not even be able to tell you who I was or where I was at. My world felt like a blur, nothing made sense. I’ve never done hallucinogenic drugs, but I imagine an acid trip to be exactly like what I was feeling. The days drug on as if I were falling through syrup, slow and vast. In one minute, John was the love of my life, the next he was spearing me with his words. He pushed for me to call off our divorce. I was skeptical but hopeful. I recall debating his honesty when he said he wanted to fix everything and fight for our marriage. I was hesitant because I felt like maybe he had ulterior motives. Perhaps this was all an act so that he would have a chance to have more of a say in our divorce and custody agreement if he were to refile. Then, that naive side of me was hopeful that he meant these kind words he was now saying to me. Also, if I didn’t call off the divorce, it would prove that I didn’t want this marriage to work. I couldn’t let him see that. I still wanted this!
As soon as I called my attorney and cancelled the court hearing....regret sank in. I had been so close to escaping, why did I want to go back and keep trying? What had I done?
Familiarity and my family were the reasons why I never lost hope that the man I called my ‘husband’ would eventually see me as the wife he wanted me to be.April and I had kept our distance from one another for quite some time. Here and there I would see her. Depending on the day and mood John was in determined how I greeted her. Some days it was an open-handed wave as I drove by, other days it was a one finger wave. By late November, John was no longer coming home every day, and I barely heard from him. I spent that Thanksgiving alone with my sister, who had driven up from Georgia. She was also going through a dark time, and you know what they say - misery loves company. We spent the week shopping and Christmas decorating, keeping ourselves distracted momentarily from the mess that was our lives. It felt so good to vent to her, my best friend, about things I couldn’t explain to anyone else. She heard me, and for so long I had felt unheard and unnoticed. When John came back from his visit with his family, she was still there and enjoyed a front row seat to everything I had vented to her about.
One evening, John came home and told me, “I can’t do this anymore.” He told me that he was falling in love with the woman next door and he wanted to pursue a relationship with her. That’s when he confessed to me, the ultimatum.
My husband explained that the woman he was torn between leaving me for or not, had given him an ultimatum tagged with a deadline - Her or Me. I stormed my fuming self over to her front door, banged as hard as I possibly could, and the second she opened it I screamed, “You can have him! Take him!!! I don’t want him. He is worthless and will bring misery to your life!” Then, just as I entered, I exited that scene furiously stomping back to my home next door. End scene. I wish I could fully re-enact that because I really don’t think the dictation does justice of the dramatics.
My next plan of attack - to dig up the truth. I had decided I was going to be as direct as possible. The very next day, I marched barefoot down the street to Roy’s parents’ house. Side note: Her in-laws lived just 3 houses down. I sat down and spoke with April’s mother-in-law for quite some time. This poor woman, having no clue who I was, was listening to me sob and complain about the tangles I was trying to comb out. Bless her for having the patience to listen, although nothing was really resolved.
From that day forward, I never believed another word that came out of John’s mouth.
My hope was gone. The ounce of trust I had left in him was gone, never to be seen again. Ever. For years after, I never believed another word from him, and I expected everyone else to feel the same. How could they not? How could anyone believe him? How could she? December came quickly, and the dark place in our home grew darker. John had moved out, leaving me in a state of loneliness, feeling more unwanted than I had ever felt before. This was the end. I told myself for the hundredth time that I had to let go. During Christmas, my Texas family came to visit, and I felt human again for a few days. They were still convinced John and I were going to get back together. I couldn’t possibly tell them the true Hell I was living in and how far from reality that possibility would ever be. Shortly after their departure I noticed that April’s husband had returned from Japan for the holiday. Relief set over me for a short time. I was put at ease thinking that she and John would not spend time together since her husband had returned. One afternoon I went to the mailbox and noticed we had received a piece of mail belonging to April. Her husband, Roy, was outside washing his truck, so I walked over and handed him the mail. We began chatting and discussing the crazy events that had been going on. He admitted he also had his suspicions and had in fact reached out to John telling him to leave his wife alone.
I took comfort in knowing that I was not completely crazy!
He seemed upset but not nearly as perplexed by the situation as I was. Perhaps his wife had been more honest with him than my husband had been. Perhaps, the issues John and I had were not stemming from April. We exchanged numbers and he promised he would be in touch.Later that night, about 4 glasses of wine deep, I sent Roy a text. I asked him if he would like to come over and swap stories about our spouses. Brazen? Probably. But, I was going to get to the bottom of things, and what better way to do that than with the only other person in the world going through the exact same thing. He came over, beers in hand, and the stories started pouring out of us. We began swapping text messages and discussing timelines. Call the FBI because we should have been hired immediately! We formulated our own investigation and drank away our misery and tears that night.We were the only two people that could dissect our mess and understand it. We had an instant bond, one that would go on to get us through the next few years. We both looked at each other that night with pain and tears in our eyes and thought - we can take back our power. Let’s fight pain with pain. Four can play at this game. He was heading back to Japan soon, so we had to act fast. In our drunken state, this sped along the process some. He left that night and we poured ourselves into well written texts. Roy and I are very similar in one aspect, we are not secretive or discreet. No, we were going to be blatant and obvious.
Our plan was set, and the deed was done... and we were discovered much sooner than expected.
The next day Roy called me, excitement in his voice, he told me our pain had been matched. April had discovered our texts.
Now this is the part where you would expect to hear some headline about John’s reaction... but he didn’t have one. The next time I heard from him, he laughed at me. Not a humorous kind, but the kind that makes you feel as if you are the most worthless, disgusting person on the planet. In his mind, everything he ever thought of me had been justified. I was as good as gone to him.