You want to hear the truth?
I came home from a trip and the ceramic tile that hung on our bedroom wall with my maiden name on it was turned around. I quietly turned it back right while he sat with his back to me at the computer. I never said a word.
I would wake up when he can home in their early morning hours and hear him go straight into the bathroom, into the shower, before coming in to me, kissing my forehead, laying down next to me and then rolling over to fall asleep. Time after time. Many, many nights.
Once, I knew he wasn’t out this late with his mom. His rushed tone in the phone, asking me not to come meet them: You just finished work. Go home and relax. Don’t drive across the city. I agreed. I thought I’d call his mom at home just then but I didn’t. In case she was there.
Once, he had purple scratch marks down his back. I explained it away. For this perspective now, I can’t imagine how, but I did.
I was not a victim. I was complicit. I, too, am a liar. And the worst kind: I lied to myself. Over and over again. I wanted to believe, I had to believe, that we were what we said we were.
We spoke two different languages: one with words and one with what we didn’t say. I fluent in one, he the other. Agreements made in each that we both misunderstood or mistook or misconstrued or picked and chose as they suited our fancy. Two things always at once: the yes and the no, the I’m here but not here, the truth and the lie.
It was enough for me: the turning over the tile, the explaining away of fingernails marks, the not checking up. He was enough for me. Even only partially there. What he gave to me and what he hid. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and he took it. And he ran with it. And I kept handing it over and he kept taking and running. That was our language.
It’s okay. Two to tango. Enough is enough. If he’s cheating, it’a his thing, not mine. I’ve told him we ca talk about it and if we don’t and he does that’s his issue. I have enough of him. I have 90% of him. He works and cooks and runs. We are his world, except when we’re not. Except when he sneaks off and we all pretend he doesn’t. Because we agreed without words that I won’t ask and he won’t tell.
I can see my role in it. I can see the hole I dug for myself, for my marriage. I can see how I taught him how he could treat me by not saying a word. I did so much and said so little. And so did he. I was in a 13 year marriage that I tiptoed around. That I wouldn’t allow myself to be myself in. That I was so afraid he’d leave (someone who just might not this time if I didn’t rock the boat) that I never said a word, never asked a hard question, never took him to task. What I did watch carefully was what he wouldn’t put up with and I avoided those things like the plague.
I did this to myself. I, too, created this relationship. The one where the lying and infidelity became so egregious because it could. Because I’d never said anything before. Because is never left before.
In my brain and out loud, proclaim myself to be so virtuous. So above all this. So incapable of ever hurting another in this or a similar fashion. That is also bullshit. This injury from the “weapon” I say he used, the lying and cheating that was fine until he “used it a s a weapon when I was already down”, was self inflicted.
I had happiness and contentment and love and connection for over a decade with my husband. The bulk of our marriage was the happiest of time of my life to date. All of that is as real and true as the purple lines down his back. In the not speaking, in the language of permission by omission and unacknowledgment we forged a relationship that worked for us. That we found joy in. That we both had what we needed: he, me and secretly other women and me, enough with that.
I don’t want to be afraid anymore. I don’t want the fear of being left to land me with someone who would kick me when I was down. I want more than enough. I want happiness and love and connection and joy and neediness and anger and sorrow and fighting and confusion communicated with one or more languages that we have all agree upon using. That we are aware that we are using. That we are, at the very least, interested and available to discover if we’re speaking a language underneath our words or anywhere else.
This is the good stuff. This is what I love. When I can say “thank you” to myself and this man I loved so dearly who also nearly killed me. That was the worst, or nearly the worst, but it woke me up. I’m awake now. I see myself and where I’ve been and the direction I want to head. His betrayal and lies, my compliance and fear, they got me to here. To not being a victim. To being a heroine. Writing and rewriting her own story.