Writing on the Wall
~ Part Six ~
Following day, B drove to Toronto to see his brother and sister-in-law and close his late father's estate matters. I phoned T to tell her that I really did want to see them too, but it was B's wish to go alone. I couldn't refrain from breaking down and confiding in her what he had told me. She tried to calm me assuring it probably wasn't true, that I shouldn't worry and that she'd try to find out when he arrived.
All of of sudden my unreal reality started sinking in. The man I had loved and trusted with everything, including my life, my home and my life's savings had told me he no longer wants me. He was interested in another woman for reasons which made no sense. He had taken my car and driven away with the promise to return for new year's eve. We maintained contact through his cell phone, but what did that prove, except that he was still alive and breathing? I realized I had to pull myself together and think. Calmly, quickly and sensibly.
As things were, he had, having being absolved of bankruptcy in 2005, already incurred well over ten thousand dollars of personal debts on his credit cards, for which he was paying the minimum and 19-24 percent monthly interest on the remainder. I, on the other hand, religiously paid my balances in full on every bill and never spent more than I could afford. All my life. That was something he 'admired' about me. I had excellent credit, for which I was regularly offered balance transfers at 1.9 – 2.9 % interest on my cards for six months. Having no balances myself, I had asked B if he'd like to transfer his to my credit cards and reimburse me with 500$ every pay period to avoid those ghastly interest rates – for his own good. This had been working for a while. Although occasionally he retrieved from the amount he transferred because he had an 'emergency' to cover – in which case I couldn't repay his debt-now in my name- as fast as initially I thought would be possible. So I became a juggler of transferring the balance every six months to whichever credit card company offered the lowest rate.
B returned on the 30th of December. We shopped for our new year's eve dinner. I cooked steak Diane and he fried olieballen, a Dutch tradition, dusted with powdered sugar and eaten warm at midnight. He had brought the mix from visiting his brother. The melancholy was palpable at midnight when we opened a bottle of bubbly and kissed each other. I made a wish that in spite of every thing the magical countdown of seconds – five! four!three! two! one! – Happy New Year to 2008, would sweep over the past two weeks' nightmare with a magic brush, and restore our lives to the way I had known it. Then we went to bed just as we did – only I was more aware of the looming count down to our departure.
On the first day of 2008 he took me to see Hansel and Gretel - simulcast on large screen from The Met in New York – an early birthday present since he was leaving on the 4th(never to come back, remember?). While he was probably doing these out of guilt, I was accepting his offers simply to spend every last moment with him, like a beggar – with no integrity or pride. No wonder it is said love is blind. It is also dumb and hopelessly deaf and stupid. He also took me to view the newly released film “I am Legend”. All I remember is the horror I felt, sitting through the movie, holding his cold hand. He liked it, he said.
On January 2nd I approached him with the suggestion that, since he was not intending to come back, we should write down our financial status quo and sign a paper promising that he would honor his debts. After looking at me oddly as if I were speaking Greek to him he agreed to humor me. I wrote in point form the account numbers, the cards and the amounts he owed as of that date, the reason he owed me the money and how he agreed to reimburse it. All in red pen, on a lined page from a spiral notebook I had at hand. Dated and signed by him and by me under our names printed clearly.
I had no more energy left to continue to cook or plan so I offered to go out to an Indian restaurant close by for his last evening. It was a cold, icy night. We had to wait a little for a table since we made no reservation. I don't even remember what I ordered – only that the naan which was not eaten came home in a doggy bag and lasted me with coffee for a few days after his departure. I haven't been back there since then, although I had eaten there with my daughter and son and we like their food.
* * *
I look back on those days from a more sober perspective now – offered by time and distance – and wonder how I survived like a condemned prisoner awaiting her execution – counting the hours, or a burn victim – exposing my skin to cool air that only exacerbated the excruciating torture. The only answer I can find is that not panicking, and giving into the all consuming rage of passion, might have worked for the better in the long run. Perhaps, I was guided by a force greater than my anger and pain and suffering. That force led me to do what would be my only panacea for this Scorpio’s poison. If anyone takes away something from reading about my experience, I would like it to be this:
You are much greater than your anger; and revenge is petty.
* * *
After we returned home, B was pretty tired, and a bit tipsy. He was falling asleep on the Kelly green love seat watching “Numbers” on TV. I suggested he go to bed and I decided to take a shower to get the curry smell off me before calling it a night myself. I must have puttered a nit in the kitchen before heading upstairs for my shower. On my way to the bathroom, my eye caught his computer that was left on. He often put it to sleep or turned the monitor off. I headed in the direction and sat at on the chair. There was an e-mail on his desktop with the subject heading: my mom loves U 2.
I have never been hit by lightning in my life but I imagine if I were, the feeling might be similar. Cold sweat and icicle fingers took over my entire body as my fingers, defying my better judgment and deafened to alarm bells, reached forward and clicked on the message. I thought it was an inappropriate heading for an e-mail to a professor, thinking it was from a female student. His past experience flashed through my mind. I was wrong. This was from the feminist lover with whom he was already on intimate terms of endearment writing to him that he needed to take care of his marriage for she could never dream of pursuing a married man.
In her feminist wisdom and experience her advice was that when he returned to St John's, the first order of business should be to send a legal separation paper to F (that's me). After a year following the date of separation, he would be granted an automatic, no fault divorce on basis of abandonment. She signed off by thanking for the flowers he sent her and promising him another slow dance.
Fighting to keep my heart from jumping out of my mouth, I clicked on the next, and the next, then the previous in no particular order. My head was whirling and my heart terrified that he might wake up and find me reading his e-mail. In my shock and bewilderment I could not find the “forward” function on his computer. So I printed all of them and hid those pages in my filing cabinet behind the last folder titled Household Bills. In the course of nausea and denial I also deleted some, as if by deleting her messages I were wiping off her insidious, toxic presence from our lives.
By the time I was through I had no energy for a shower. I went to bed and crawled in quietly – ice cold, sick to my core. He was deep asleep, snoring, the room smelling of beer. I lay like a marble all night, frozen, warm tears flowing from the edges of my eyes into my ears, and I - too tired even to wipe them. Emotionally drained, physically wiped out, yet my senses were sharpened – not destroyed or dulled. Above all was my sense of hearing – acute in the stillness of night, in which the sound of his snoring rose in crescendos, driving me out of my mind. I fantasized about thrusting the feather pillow over his face and throwing myself on it with all I had left in me - until - I could hear his snoring no more. But he was much bigger and stronger than me. I shuddered at the possible scenarios and bit my lips instead. I nudged him as before, to which he would respond by toning down. This time, his breathing became only louder and more guttural. I sat up in bed and reached for the extra pillow .
Could I do it?
( To be continued...)
Füsun Atalay ~ Copyright © Will of my Own - 2011