Saturday, August 26, 2006

The other woman

Neither of us can remember "the" date. It was a couple weeks after his birthday, which was the 7th, but sometime before September 11, so I'm guessing that it was right about this time, 5 years ago, that he just showed up on my doorstep with everything he owned crammed into his car.

I figure since neither of us can remember the exact day, today...August 27...sounds as good as any for an anniversary.

Just as an aside, isn't it strange how 9/11/01 has become such a...pivotal time point in all our lives? I know it was before 9/11 because when I woke up that morning and turned the tv on, I was horrified by what was unfolding at that very moment and I went in and woke him.

Aaaanyway, "the" day is the day that Ziggy left his wife...and moved in with me. The other woman. Or the "desperate slut" as I was so lovingly referred to. I might agree with the 'slut' part, but desperate? Nah. Not so much. Oh, I desperately loved him. But he'd made it perfectly...brutally...clear from the get-go that he was married and had every intention of staying that way. So there were no scheming or planning. I'd made up my mind that if a little tiny part of his life was all I could have, well, I'd just have to be satisfied with that.

The other woman. I was the other woman. Kind of ironic, really. I dunno about you, but when I think about someone being the other woman, I think about this gorgeous femme fatale...this black widow of a woman...who knows every sexual trick in the book and knows how to use all of 'em in order to steal away married men from their happy, picture-book, Leave it to Beaver homes.

Uh. That ain't me.

The other woman. Believe me, it's not a title I wear proudly. Not like "ballsy" or "shameless"...some of the other things I've been called. Frankly, I'm pretty proud of the "ballsy" moniker. But no. I'm certainly not proud that I was the other woman. I'd have rather it happened just about any other way than it did. But, it is what it is and I am what I am.

But wanted or not, that's what I was. And I'll tell you why.

I loved him for what he was, not for what I wanted him to be. I loved him with no hesitation, no expectation. I loved him because he was kind and gentle and funny and smart. I loved him because he was brutally honest. I loved him because I could see the love for his sons in his eyes when he talked about them. I loved him because of his humanness and his common sense. I loved him because he tried...he really make his marriage work. I loved him for things that his wife never saw...never cared enough to take the time to find out...never wanted to see.

She thought he was leaving her because she'd gained weight. Ain't that a hoot? Irony epitomized.

But I was horrified. I was horrified that she could even think that he was so shallow. That she didn't even know him well enough...after 26 realize that things like that really don't matter to him.

I loved him later...long after we were together...for the hurt in his eyes when he spoke of her. I loved him and I cried for him when he told about never being good enough...never being enough for her.

I thought surely she must be crazy. Did she not see what I saw? Did she not understand this man and respect him for what he is? After 26 years, did she not realize what she had? Did she not know that he loved her but she killed it with neglect and criticism? How could she not know? How could she be blind to his utterly dense about their relationship?

Sometimes I still feel guilty. When I'm feeling particularly...verklempt...I wonder if he wouldn't have been better off just staying. He gave up so much. He gave up everything. Everything. He lost more than any one person should have to lose. For me. I have nothing to give him in return...nothing I can do can make up for what he's lost. Except love him.

Sometimes I feel a little guilty because we've always had the best of each other...we've never had those tough times to go through together...those trying times. Struggling as a young couple. Raising kids. Losing loved ones. It's like all the "dirty work" has been done and that doesn't seem exactly fair.

Sometimes I feel guilty about being the other woman.

But I get over it.

At any rate, those first few days...first few weeks, really...weren't pretty. They were scary and wonderful and horrible and amazing and terrifying. But they were also incredibly...easy. As if we were the ones who'd been married for 26 years. As if it had always been planned...always been.

And that's exactly the way it is today...five years later. It's like it's always been. Like it's the way it was supposed to be so many years ago. I love him more than I ever thought I was capable of.

I know that most "other woman" stories don't have happy endings. But this one does.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home