Six Days of Separation

Six Degrees of Separation

My husband had moved out.  It had been six days. Six days of separation.  (I had to make the picture relevant somehow. )

I was a wreck.  Truly.  I can’t  even describe it here. I’m not ready.

It was the weekend after he’d moved out and my husband stopped by the house to see the children and to tell me he’d be away for a few days. You see, the “other woman” who I’d just found out about a couple of weeks prior, see My Worst Superbowl, Remembered, lived in another city.  She planned to move to our town but that hadn’t happened yet.  So he was going to see her.   Ironically, she lived in a city where I had wanted to move, but my husband  had vetoed that, said absolutely not, he would never live there.  Now he was going there for a  long weekend– to see his girlfriend.  Huh. 

On our anniversary weekend . . .  Huh.

Regardless, the matter at hand was that:

My husband stopped by our  house on his way to catch a flight  to spend a few days with his girlfriend.

Let that sit for a minute.

My husband and I had been together since high school.

Let that sit for a minute.

We had been married for many, many years and  had five young children.

Let that sit for a minute.

But on this day,  six days after moving out, after breaking my heart, hell, after breaking me, and causing unspeakable pain to the children as well, he showed up at what used to be at our house . . . and knocked.   That was appropriate, given the situation, but it was like a kick in the kidneys.

It hit me:   He really doesn’t live here anymore . . .

Still, what sent me over the edge was . . . him . . . the sight of . . . him.

The brother looked good.

Terrence Howard

Now my husband has always been a very good-looking man, but he could be a bit of a slob sometimes.   He went too long between hair cuts and shaves.   He  had a good job, but not the kind of job that required that he be clean-shaven.  His facial hair came in spotty, he could never grow a full beard, so it wasn’t the sexy five-o’clock shadow.  It was more of a “I just don’t give a crap look.”  Still, he would  clean up semi-regularly and  when he needed to for an event.  And when he did?   He looked damn good.

On this day, six days after having moved out,  he had shaved and had a fresh hair cut.     And he was wearing, not the tee-shirt he usually sported on weekends, but a nice button down shirt and slacks.  He looked damn good — for her — for his girlfriend.

Let that sit for a minute.

I didn’t know what to do so I went to the store while he played with the kids.  Shortly after  I returned he looked  at his watch and  said he had to go.   I asked if he was going to her city (I didn’t use her name)  and he said yes, and then snapped,

Dangerous Liaisons

What am I gonna do here?” 

Ouch.  Yeah, perhaps I’m not ready to share so much, but I digress . . .

Then he left.   He left what would later be referred to as  “the marital home”  to catch his flight to get to his girlfriend’s house.

Huh

He had literally left me to go to her, and looked damn good while he did it.   I, on the other hand,  didn’t look so good — or feel so good.

He was gone and I lost it.

Dangerous Liaisons, The Breakup Was Beyond His Control

I guess it was a good-old fashioned panic attack, with an underlying dose of depression.  I hadn’t been eating or sleeping and had been crying off and on for a month.  I was already fragile.  So fragile.  And this, seeing my husband, my high school sweetheart, my first love,  looking like he was going on a date, six days after having moved out, well that was too much.  The thought of him, so coiffed and together and jetting off to stay with a woman and kiss her hello, maybe see her friends and family — like a couple — literally drove me mad.   I went  to my room.  The kids must have been watching TV or something.   I remember grabbing my address book (I didn’t have a smart phone at the time) and paging through it, trying to find someone to call, looking for someone to help me because I felt out of control.  I was shaking.   I was breathing too heavily.   But my parents didn’t even know he’d moved out, I have no siblings in the area  and my best friend who had helped me on moving day is not always available, being a physician.  My heart was racing, my breathing panicked, the tears were coming and I  had the kids to think about and take care of.

I found the name of a woman, an acquaintance, really.  I’ll call her Christina.  We’d met through our children and attended kids parties together, did the couples dinner thing at her house a couple of times (my husband and I rarely had people over, that’s another issue).  I always liked this woman —  but we hadn’t become good friends.  There were a lot of reasons, my husband and her’s had nothing in common, I had so many kids, not a lot of money, was insecure socially and my husband was a loner and I followed his lead, as I’d been conditioned to do.  Christina, a lawyer turned stay-at-home mom ,was also a professor’s wife with a manageable sized family.  They entertained, they traveled, and she spoke three languages.  This was not her home town.  I think I felt inadequate around her, though we were both lawyers, or maybe it was that I saw in her a life I’d missed out on. Huh.   But  I digress . . .

Even though we weren’t that close, I dialed Christina’s  number after my husband backed out of our driveway on his way to his girlfriend.  Christina had unwittingly won my dysfunctional lottery, got my call — and  answered.

I could barely speak yet I stammered something along the lines of:

He left.

He was here and he left.

He left to be with her.

I don’t know what to do.

I can’t handle this!

I know I’m supposed to be strong but I really can’t handle this.

I can’t.  I really can’t.

The tears were coming much harder now.   I was pacing, panting and alternately shaking and clenching  my free hand.

I was not handling this with grace and ease.  Not by a long shot.

I don’t remember what Christina said to me.  I can’t remember not because it was so long ago, but because I was really — ill.  I couldn’t have told anyone what she’d said even the very next day.

Long story short, as they say, she talked me down from my frenzy and kept me from spinning further  out of control.   I think she told me to breathe.  I needed to be told that.  I think she offered to take the kids or at least some or one of them.

I don’t know.  I don’t remember.

I do know that her answering the phone that day helped me more than she’ll ever know.  (Not to sound overly dramatic but the situation was pretty bad.  I was pretty bad.)

Christina and I  never became the kind of friends who hang out regularly.  She did take my son to play with hers a few times, but our kids were not in the same grade, and we lost touch.

Recently,  however, I ran into her at a school concert. I admit that since that whole ordeal I’ve felt a bit embarrassed by my actions, my condition and my persistent inability to bounce back.   I know she never judged me but I often feel like other women deal with this stuff so much better than I do — so I judge myself.   Still, I was glad to see her to exchange pleasantries.  Truthfully, I’ve always admired her.    But when I saw Christina  she had a bit of news.  She casually told me she’d moved out of her house and now lives alone in a nearby apartment.  I knew her oldest was away at  college,  but she told me that the other boy, a ninth grader, lives with his father in their marital home.   Huh.

I didn’t know what to say, so I said, “Um . . . what?”  ( I have such a way with words.)

She smiled, repeated herself and said,  “You never know what life brings”  and added, matter of factly,  that her husband was going to buy her out of the house and that she’d been on her own for about three months.

She seemed fine.  In fact, she seemed good, really.

Maybe we’re all Desperate Housewives . . .

We exchanged  cell phone numbers.    I don’t know if she needs help or someone to talk to . . . or whatever.   If I can help, I will.

Just Me With . . .  maybe a new (old)  friend?   

I’ll try really hard not to hyperventilate when I call her from now on.   

See Also:  “My Daddy Moved Out” — My daughters announcing the break up.

Riding With My Boss — wise words from a surprising source

When I Needed a Helping Hand  — A good friend’s assistance

7 responses

  1. Sometimes I think it’s easier to vent to someone that you don’t know that well. I’m glad she was there for you!

  2. Oy. This whole comment system doesn’t seem to like me much.

    Let’s try this again!

    I’m so very glad you reconnected with this woman so many years later. It’s true what they say: you never really know a person until you’ve spent a day in their shoes. While it may have seemed at the time she had it all together, there were obviously underlying issues there, too. I hope you can remain friends; she may really need your help now, too!

    XOXO and great post.

  3. Around 5 years ago, when my family had gone through a tragedy I would never wish on anyone, I grabbed the phone and called one of my closest friends. I told her what had happened. She said ‘oh my gosh’ and I never heard from her again. I did call her one time just to see if she had any explanation, for her coldness and all she had to say was that she’d lost some weight. Strangely enough, I met someone online (I’m really a private person) and she was there for me. Didn’t know me, she just always answered every e-mail as I would write while crying. I was able to pay her back later on, but if it hadn’t been for this woman I’ve still never met, I would have probably gone insane. So strange. The people you think will be there for you aren’t and someone you don’t really expect anything from, is the most compassionate.

    1. I got help from people who were really on the fringe of my everyday life. It’s funny that you mention an online friend, because I’ve met a woman online who has been a godsend to me, having someone who understands and who will respond to those crying emails — it’s priceless.

  4. Sorry…I know that I’m writing too much. I’m just so affected by your writing and your courage. I’ll give you a Tovah break now. lol.

    1. As long as I live, I will never forget her kindness. I am so thankful for her. Her life wasn’t that easy and yet she took the time. My friend, on the other hand……well, I wish her well but will probably never speak with her again.

  5. [...] “When I Needed A Helping Hand“   and “Riding With My Boss” and “Six Days of Separation“ Share this:TwitterEmailLike this:Like6 bloggers like [...]

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