As my gut churned, I could see the tears welling up in her eyes and I knew I was destined for a doosey. My mind was spinning with worst case scenarios about what could be going on in her life, hoping that reality would soften the blow of my imagination. My thoughts were interrupted with my BFF saying, “It’s really hard for me to tell you this because I love you so much...” Wait, this wasn’t about her? It’s about ME? I can’t handle any more bad news! My life already felt like one calamity followed by the next. In fact, there hadn’t been enough space between the sucker punches to shake it off, catch my breath and resume fighting position. I was getting pummeled; staggering through life and clinging to the ropes just trying to stay in the ring.
“Where were you on New Year’s Eve?” she continued. Huh? At this point my heart felt like a ticking time bomb and I couldn’t even remember what I did yesterday. How was I to have the wherewithal to process 7 months back through my mental calendar? She was stalling and I wanted to throw up. “I dunno. Why?” I asked with a facade of calm as if I had the patience to wait any longer for the bomb that was sure to shatter me to smithereens. Despite my apparent composure, my insides were already running around in hysteria through Union Square Park. “I love you so much” she reminded me “and I don’t know if it’s even true, but I heard something about your EX that I think you deserve to know.”
My body already knew how to respond before receiving its final blow. It went numb with shock in order to protect me from the immeasurable pain I was about to endure. She continued, “I heard that your EX cheated on you while he was performing at a New Year’s Eve gig in Palm Springs”. Ah yes... and now the mental calendar flipped back 7 months to remind me that we were, in fact, bringing in the New Year apart. New Year’s Eve events are big money makers for dancers so he snagged a job and I hung out with friends. Wow, 7 months ago? My marriage was a lie for 7 months? And it took him 7 months to finally get the balls to realize that “married life is not for him”! And how did the rumor mill miraculously circumvent my ears and find it’s way to my BFF when we run in completely different circles? And how many of my “friends” knew about this and conspired with my EX to maintain his little secret? Was I the laughing stock of LA?
And, if it’s really true that he cheated on me, how did he have the audacity to crawl into bed with me the next day, kiss me and tell me how much he loved me ? And how did he continue making love to me? And how did he continue our married life engulfed in that BIG FAT LIE? And wait! Was he having a full-on affair for the last 7 months and I was THAT STUPID that I didn’t even realize it? How could I be SO DUMB?
“Does that seem possible?” my BFF asked me. Perplexed, I said “No”. The weird thing is that, lying wasn’t even part of my EX’s character. But, with the way my life was heading, I wouldn’t be surprised if it continued to play out like a 20/20 investigation about a man that had a wife in LA and a secret family stashed in Palm Springs; complete with a wife, 2 kids, a dog and a white picket fence. Control of my own reality was eluding me. “I’ma call him right now and ask, though”.
With resolute calmness I dialed my EX, remembering how we had always insisted on a relationship based on openness and honesty. We insisted that, if we ever felt an irresistible urge to be with someone else, we would discuss it; not act on it. More importantly, we insisted on working hard to never let our marriage even get to that point. For 8 years we had dealt with each other so lovingly and respectfully. Of course, as in any relationship, we had disagreements, misunderstandings, miscommunication and tears. But I never doubted the honesty that existed between the two of us.
My EX sounded excited to hear from me as he picked up the other line and said “Hello” in his usual upbeat tone.