Part 4 is here
~ Part Five ~
~ Little did I know then that this would be my farewell not only to Newfoundland, but to my life as I had known it - August 2005 ~
Finally I got the call that he landed safely and drove to pick him up at our usual randez-vouz spot. It's amazing how the anticipation of a reunion with one's beloved can overcome any ailment, slippery driving conditions, blowing snow, holiday traffic or fear of mortality. I was light headed, indeed, but with anticipation, not vertigo – at least that is what I convinced myself then. Bursting with joy and relief, I kissed Selim “Bye” and promised to return with 'daddy'.
That was the last time I'd leave home as I knew my life until then.
Our meeting was the same as it had been for so many times over the years. A big hug, a warm, ticklish kiss, then his driving over the Champlain Bridge towards our home on the south shore, where his favorite meals and a warm, crackling fire within a match strike would be awaiting him.
After dinner, B said there was something he wanted to talk about, so I sat next to him on the Kelly green Italian leather loveseat, listening. What I heard from that point on – I still have no words to describe. I've been referring to it as – the BOMB – his Christmas present to me. There are really no words that can express how a wife feels when her devoted, loving husband comes home for the holidays to tell her that he wants out of the marriage because his “heart is no longer in it”. Barely three hours after whispering into the telephone from the airport, “Can't wait to see you darling - love you.”
There's disbelief, shock, the dumbfounded look of 'you're kidding, right?' one gives to the utterer of such non-sense; or the big 'Why?' as the understanding that he is not kidding slowly creeps in. And then there's anger. Followed by an emptiness in the pit of one's stomach - preceding hopelessness, fear, alarm, and questioning the reality of the moment. These and more indescribable feelings set in all at once - like vultures to devour the fresh kill. The face you have loved all the years, the hands you've held, the lips you kissed and kissed you back - they have been possessed by an alien who is sitting there saying that your 'illness' is not getting better and he doesn't wish to consider early retirement to look after you – that he has been already unfaithful with someone else and he is interested in her. So, this is his last visit to let you know that he will not be coming back again in April.
How does one wrap her head around such information overload, fired like a round of bullets from a semi automatic shotgun, shattering one's heart and one's paradigm? When you finally inhale again, you ask, how could he be unfaithful? Wasn't he impotent? Didn't he always say he had eyes for you only? When was he unfaithful, with whom?
The answers to all these and a lot more than I could have ever imagined would find me, despite his secrecy and lies, by what I can only call 'divine interventions'. Maybe somewhere in my life or at some point, I must have done something good – and now, in my darkest hour, I was being rewarded although the irony of my reward didn't escape me even in that shattered frame of my mind.
The following day when my daughter arrived, she questioned my teary red eyes, which I justified as tears of joy at reuniting with her after such a long separation. I buried my face in her silky long hair and inhaled her scent to forget my predicament momentarily. She had plans for the holidays with her boyfriend and her father, for which I was grateful. B would spend this last Christmas with me.
I will spare the painful, daily details of sleeping and living with a man as if nothing had happened, yet knowing that when he was snoring or dreaming, or 'working' at his computer, his mind was probably on his new lover – a 'feminist and a grandmother, a professor of feminine studies' whom he met at a CAUT meeting in Ottawa. I continued a semblance of a normal life, entertaining our guests on the 21st as was planned, asking him not to mention anything and to please act 'normal'. I guess I was still in denial – the final resort to survival, thinking he was out of his mind and would return to his senses. I baked and cooked all day, and photographed my creations to send for a lifestyles piece I had written for The Telegram, provincial newspaper of Newfoundland and Labrador. (The article is now on-line)
Sometimes we survive on automatic pilot, regardless of what havoc sweeps through our lives. I could hardly eat any of my cooking when we sat to a candle lit dinner or a home made pancake breakfast. After the first couple of bites I felt like throwing up and couldn't touch what was on my plate. I tried reasoning with him, asked him how he could have such a change of heart, what had I done, where I failed him? He was vague and distracted. He could not find his passport which he always carried with him when took flights– in case his flight was rerouted through the States. He seemed bothered by that more than usual, but he let the matter go after a few days. (Later I would learn that his real plans were – after dropping his bomb on me – to fly to LA, California to meet his lover and spend his Christmas break with her who was visiting her daughter and grandchild. How did I learn that? Remember, I mentioned Divine intervention?)
What about your impotence and the intimacy you denied me? The pills you tried and my concern about your pulse and accepting to do without – not to jeopardize your health? His reply was simple.
“I'm not impotent. I never said I was.”
Then he admitted that I had been the one to blame all along for “aborting our honeymoon” (politely) refusing a cruise offered by my mother and my sister when we were married. He accused me of rushing him into marriage before he had time to decide whether he wanted to marry again.
My mother – who lives on a widow's pension and my sister – a single mother with two college aged youngsters at that time were kind to make such a generous offer, but I could not have the heart to take so much from them, when B did not contribute anything to our marriage. It just wasn't right. I told him then that in a few years we could afford to travel and take a cruise if we wanted, but this would be like robbing my sister and my mother for our own pleasure. He seemed agreeable then, but must have buried his resentment deep inside. Almost eight years later, he was using this as an excuse to blame me for his infidelity.
As for my rushing him into marriage, I would find out later that when he proposed to me, he was not even legally divorced. When I said “yes”, he put the wheels in motion and a divorce, filed by his ex and had been dragging on for four years suddenly was settled so he could be free to remarry. He received his divorce decree on March 17, 2000 and we were married on June 27, 2000 at the City Hall in Granby in the Eastern Townships. Montreal City Hall is a lot more beautiful architecturally, in the middle of Old Montreal. But the waiting list for civil marriages was so long, we'd have to wait for six to eight months. He did not want that; I agreed.
After Christmas B said he wanted to go to Toronto to see his brother and complete the business on his father's estate. We had already planned a visit to my brother-in-law and his family. But B wanted to go alone. He did not want my company. I was so devastated by then and not thinking straight then that I didn't fight and let him take my car to drive by himself. He said he'd be back to celebrate the new year's eve together. Day before he left, I thought I would bake some raisin walnut loaves to send with him.
While I was in the kitchen, the phone rang, and as always B answered in the study. It was for me. I must have turned around too fast and as was passing through the hallway I blacked out and fell on the ceramic floor. I vaguely remember hearing his footsteps come down, pause and then go up again and say that I was indisposed at the moment, but he'd have me call back.
Work space we shared
I don't remember how long I remained there. I opened my eyes with a pounding pain on my left temple and a chill going through my limbs. I called for him, he came downstairs again asking what happened. All I knew was feeling faint and blacking out.
“No wonder, you've hardly eaten anything for the last week.”
(To be continued...)
Füsun Atalay ~ Copyright © Will of my Own -2011