Capital C Change

A guest post by my friend Belle
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To put it bluntly – my husband got a 21 year old prostitute pregnant.

Let it sink in. Breathe. Run. Run far. Run fast.

The weekend of our 8th anniversary–eight years since I met this man and fell head over heels in love.  Autumn Equinox. The seasons change, and so changes my life. Except this change, this is Change with a Capital C.

How do you even know it’s yours, I rage at 3 am while snatching our framed wedding photos from the walls and slamming them into the ground, not caring if I wake the neighbors, secretly hoping they’ll call the cops so I can expose my lying scumbag husband to the world. He just knows, he says. He slept with her, so its probably his kid, he says. Hello? how stupid are you? she’s a hooker!!! He’s the only john who stuck around after she told him. Ya don’t say? He’s a good guy, he’s doing the right thing. After all, what other married guy would call her back and agree to take care of the baby that is going to destroy his life?

Oh wow. You’re an idiot.

I pack up and leave. Being in our home, being near him, makes my skin crawl. My first stop is my sister’s place around the corner. I spend 2 days on an air mattress on the floor of her living room. Stare at the ceiling. Stare at the wall. Don’t speak. Don’t eat. This is shock.

Go see a divorce lawyer. Hear the horror stories. Realize all you’ve given to your husband, and discovery exactly how much more he can take.

Run. Run far. Run fast.

Stop. Run many miles away from home. High in the Rockies where the air is so thin you can hardly breathe.

And there it is. Clarity. Breathe in. Breathe out. Stop and look around. What do I do now?

God I love this man so much it hurts. It hurts that he has done this to me. It hurts being away from him. He’s my best friend. I have never been away from him for this long.

 As angry as I am, I miss him so much. My vows. Our vows. We promised.

I take you to be my husband. I promise to be true to you, in the good times and the bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.

I said it. I meant it. I believe in my vows. Even if he doesn’t. Or didn’t. Or can’t. Whatever. I promised. I’m not a regular church going person, but I was raised Catholic and I still have a strong faith. When I married him, I believed in the sacrament of matrimony and I still do. My parents were married until death. His parents have been married 46 years.

I never saw divorce as an option.

I can’t help but review every word, every day, every week of my marriage, of my life. How did I not see it? How could I not know? Was any of it ever real? Yes. Of course it was.

It is.

I stare out the window, watching the snow fall. What a change this is from home! When I left, it was 90 degrees. Here I am 2 days later in the snow. This is change, small c change.

The last time I watched snow fall, it was through the gloomy windows of an ICU room. I held his hand as he held his mother’s nearly lifeless hand while the tears silently streamed down his cheeks. At 41 years old, he finally had to face his parents’ mortality.

Six months ago, he encouraged me to quit my dead-end job and devote myself full-time to graduate school. One income instead of two; one partner a housewife/student and one a working professional. I thought that when we were married, that it would be a Change. But really, we exchanged rings, I got a new last name, and life went on happily like it always had. It was change.

After a few weeks in the mountains, I call home. I miss you, I say.

I miss you too.

I love you.

(silence)

(Ouch.)

I want to come home.

It’s your house too. I can’t stop you.

I make arrangements to fly home that weekend. The first night is ugly. I scream. I say awful things. He sits and takes it until he finally can’t anymore. Goddamnit! Isn’t your sister’s couch free?!? Just get out of my house!

I’m the victim here, why should I leave? I haven’t really slept in weeks. I haven’t been eating. I am physically and emotionally drained, so I go to our bedroom, lock the door, and crawl in my bed for the first time in weeks.

The next morning, as I’m poking around in the bathroom during my usual morning routine, I notice the assortment of feminine hygiene products in the cabinet. It hits me: When was my last period? A long time ago. God, this stress is taking a toll on my body!

So I stay back home. I don’t know what to do, so we just live our lives. My husband and I get along swell as roommates. We don’t speak about the pregnant hooker. We don’t speak about divorce. He goes to work. Comes home. I take care of the house. Cook dinner. We watch TV or a movie. Chit-chat about current events. I sleep in the bedroom; he stays on the couch.

We both still wear our wedding rings every day. Is this strength? Or is this just crazy?

Then CHANGE comes along.

I’m pregnant.

I don’t know what to say; what to feel. I’m supposed to be excited, but that is not one of the many emotions surging through my head. I’ve been through a lot in my young life and I’m a pretty tough woman. Mostly though, I’m scared.

I have to agree with Robert Frost when he said, “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on”

So this is CHANGE.

Its you and me, baby. Just you and me now.

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Belle, one of the strongest women I know, lives south of the Mason-Dixon and is surviving — which is all she, or any of us, can do.

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Throughout the month of November, I will be posting stories of change, gratitude, forgiveness, and grace — both my own words, and the tales of carefully selected guest voices.

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