I'm fascinated and love hearing stories about how two people met; I'm a sucker for it and it never gets old for me. I've documented extensively and in great detail how Brian and I met (short version: random night almost thirteen years ago at a bar named Wings & Ale), so there's not too much more to say about that. On the flip side, I'm also morbidly curious about relationship problems, which is why I brought up a story from our separation the other day. As usual, it was therapuetic for me to write it even though it happened so long ago and I have at least one written journal full of the story and it happened so long ago. I guess what I'm trying to say is it felt good to barf some bad stuff up so I'm doing it again.
Have you ever seen a movie or a show or read a book with a scene where a partner finds out about the affair of another? Yeah, me too. And I've found not only is truth stranger than fiction, it's usually more interesting too.
This story actually begins on another famously shitty day, September 11, 2001. You know how every year on that date you remember whether you want to or not? Well so do I, but with the extra added bonus of remembering the next day as well. With pretty much the same emotions; I used to say the world changed forever on 9/11 and my world took one more day to catch up.
You know what happened that morning. I was at work and listening to the radio when the first plane hit. I worked as a bookkeeper for a small lumber company at the time, in an office where I was alone most of the day. As the news started to spread, the guys came in from the yard, I got online using their dial-up connection and we all gathered around my computer to watch the horror unfold.
Brian was in school during this period of time, and we had one car. About a half hour after the second plane hit, he showed up at my office. Nothing really struck me weird then; I was too busy wondering if World War III was starting. He was acting kind of funny, but so was I and everyone else. He stayed for a few minutes, asked me if I wanted to come home or stay at work for the rest of the day. I said I guessed I'd stay at work (a very fateful decision but I didn't know it at the time)and he said okay; he'd be back at 4:30 to pick me up, which he did. We went over to a friend's house to watch everything on the evening news. While we were there, he told me he wanted to call his parents and since neither of us had cell phones at that time, he told me he was going home to call from there.
If I was thinking straight, I would've questioned why he couldn't just wait until both of us left to go home for the night and call then, but again, I was still in shock over the day's events. He quickly left and was gone for two hours. So you don't think I'm a total clueless schmuck, I did ask him what the hell took so long when he got back, but I don't recall his answer. Understand - this man hates lying and liars and had never given me any reason not to trust him in the five years we'd been together.
Next morning, he drops me off at work per usual. Needless to say I was in no mood to work and as soon as I was done with what had to get done, I went online to read and write email to family and friends. I had a cousin who worked and lived in NYC, more family in upstate New York and a good friend who was (is) a flight attendant who was frequently there, so like everyone else, I wanted to touch base with everyone I could. I'll never know exactly what made me write to Brian's mom. I knew he'd talked to her the night before, but I guess I just wanted to say hi to her as well. I sent her a short email saying something like how I was glad Brian got through to them the night before and that they were okay. About an hour later I received a reply back from her that said she hadn't talked to Brian last night at all, but was glad to hear from me and that we were okay as well.
Writing that just now makes my heart start pounding like a fucking jackhammer, let alone the reaction I had at that moment. She hadn't talked to Brian last night. Which was the reason he'd left me at our friend's house. For two hours. And just like that, my blissful ignorance came to a crashing, crushing halt. I don't know how I made it through the next few hours waiting for him to pick me up. I suppose I spent most of the time making up plausible reasons for him. Maybe he'd talked to Dad and not Mom and George. I'd just misunderstood. Maybe one of our friends stopped by the house and he got caught up with them and just forgot to tell me. Maybe my life as I knew it was over and I'm the world's biggest dumbass.
He picked me up at 4:30 on the dot and it was all I could do to wait until we pulled out of the parking lot to confront him. I'm sure I looked psycho because I felt like I was not so much shaking as vibrating. I was also being unusually quiet, waiting for him to ask me what was wrong. Which of course he did. I said, Are you seeing another girl?
I will never forget his reaction as long as I live. God help my husband if he ever has to be in another situation where he needs to lie because holy shit does he suck at it. He didn't say anything right away, but immediately jerked the car over to the side of the road. I watched as he blushed purple from his neck up to his hairline. I didn't know until then he was even capable of blushing and I haven't seen him do it again since that day (damn good thing, too right?). But right then? That was really all the answer I needed. As all the justifications and stupid excuses flew out of my head, I opened the car door and the contents of my stomach flew out of my mouth. Not that I'd eaten much that day, but I would soon learn you didn't need food in your stomach to throw something up.
I love a good cliff-hanger, don't you? Heh.