I wrote this below, almost 3 years ago. It was a different time, and I was a different person, but that is the beauty of writing. It's like a snapshot of what was then, but this is now.
I'm working this weekend, and worried for us all. September 11, 2001 was the day the world changed for me.
9-11-01 is a date that none of us could forget, nor should we. It was like a wakeup call in the most horrific painful way, for the whole country. For me it was a wakeup call on a completely different level. I didn’t know it was a wakeup call for another 8 years, and those 8 years will be something that I can never regain.
On September 11, 2001 my husband was spending a long weekend with another woman. His mistress. His first mistress, that I know about. Her name was Dora. Dora Elise Perez to be exact.
I just said that out loud as I typed it. Because for years and years I was afraid to say it out loud, to think it even. Because if I thought it, than I would be accusing the man I love of something horrible.
Dora was just the first, or at least he said she was the first, but that’s a different story for a different page. Dora was from Honduras. He flew her up here for a visit.
He said he was going fishing. Fishing at Billy Chinook. I even bought him a new anchor and float. He took his boat, but forgot the anchor. I felt something was up, something wasn’t right. So I did what any sane, hard working, healthy 29 year old would do…I tore everything out of my bedroom and painted the walls. Of course I picked a color, Columbine Pink, which was so close to the original you never would have known. I didn’t want to upset him after all.
I had painted all night long, into the early morning hours. I had taken the day off of work just to finish it. When I woke from my paint fume induced nap at 9 AM, the world was different. I watched the playback of that huge jet and all the destruction and I immediately called Tim. Wanting him to know we were ok. I left a message, upbeat that we were all fine and he didn’t need to worry.
He came home on September 14. Quiet, I thought it was because of what had happened in NYC. I even reassured him that I wasn’t hurt that he didn’t cut his fishing trip short, and believed in him.
I don’t know why I never left him. I can think of several very good reasons to leave him long before I ever suspected he was cheating. But I didn’t want to admit a failure. To broadcast to the world that I had chosen wrong. That a 20 year age difference might matter. That if he was cheater on his first wife, and then again on his second, that I being his third had no reason to be surprised that he was still…a cheater. All those reasons seem like the right ones. But there are more. I didn’t want to leave his kids, kids I loved, kids I would miss. I didn’t want to not be a wife. To be alone out in the world that scares me still. And who would want me? I was chubby, freckled and prone to crying jags. I can see now that the crying and the chubby were directly influenced by my misery, I can’t blame him for freckles, God gets that one.
But most stories of marriages that end in heartbreak don’t start out bad, and neither did ours. I can’t claim he was a bad husband all the time, he wasn’t. But what he was was controlling and violent and unpredictable. Like the old saying from who knows where, “when it was good it was very good, when it was bad..”, it was hell. When he was good he protected me and cherished me until that moment in our marriage when he gave up but didn’t want to tell me. I know that moment too. I felt it. I didn’t know what it was, but it was like a change in the weather, everything got a little cooler. I wonder if I drove him to that point. If I was and just am too much of a person for one man to handle. He said once that he could always see this bright shining light in me, a light that was good, and pure, completely hokey. It’s what attracted him, this idea of someone being pure and loving and wanting to be with him. It made him want to be a better man, a better father, just better. But I think it burned him. That trying to be something he wasn’t because of an idea of what he thought I was, it’s too much for any of us to handle.
I’m not that person. I don’t have that light in me. That’s a burden that isn’t right to put on another. What he saw in me, what is in me, is an ability to love. An ability to feel. It’s a blessing and a curse in one. A gift that hurts me as much as it comforts others.