I have been working on writing more frequently, and while I have shared my story here, this is my effort to concentrate on what the moment meant for me. If you have been through something similar, what did the moment mean for you?
It took a moment for my eyes to adjust to what I was reading.
“I am running out of interviews to prepare for. Maybe we could go get a room in the city.”
My stomach flipped and my heart sank. I tried to convince myself it wasn’t real, but a few minutes later, I was running through various scenarios in my mind. I thought I was going to vomit. I sobered up quickly as I tried to rouse him from his drunken stupor. I told him to get out. He was black out drunk and had no idea what was going on. I had a house full of people coming the next morning and I would not be able to get any sleep if he was here. I pushed him out the back door. I did not care what happened to him, I just wanted him gone. I moved away from the locked door and it burst open again, the frame cracking and splitting. He was enraged, and I called his father for the first time in our near six years of marriage. I asked him to come and pick up his son.
Once he was gone, I trudged up the stairs. I tried to lay down in bed, but his phone was in our room and I could not be near it. I went and sat in the glider in our child's room, listening to the breathing. Sighs and movements made the tears flow. “So what happens now? You leave him, right? Now you have proof he was cheating on you. With her, while you were busting your ass to keep your family together and to keep him from falling into an unemployed back hole. So now you leave. You pack your shit and take your child and you go home. You spend the rest of your life alone, but you prefer that, right? You go, because you don’t put up with that shit and he lost you.” I dialogued with myself the rest of the night. Both selves were right: I should go and I should stay. Ultimately, he will be the one to choose.
When the sun started to come up, I stood up and peered into the crib. My baby's soft cheeks were rosy, and it was a good dream. My baby would be one in a few days, and in a few hours our family would be downstairs to celebrate. I got in the shower so that my mom would not be able to hear my tears or my thoughts. “My child loves him. Can I really break that up? It isn’t your fault though: you were faithful. I fixed my hair and caked on the make-up to hide the bags under my eyes. I could hear mom downstairs with my baby, making breakfast. I stood in front of my closet trying to find something to wear that would be forgiving. I still was not used to my body after giving birth. I heard a vehicle door slam, then a few moments later, our front door opened and closed.
He walked up the stairs and the vomit started to rise, but I managed to keep it down.
“Sorry about last night. I didn’t know I was so drunk. I’ll fix the door.”
“That isn’t why I had your dad come get you.”
“Then why?” He sounded annoyed.
I took a deep breath, mustered all my courage and looked him in the eyes. “I am only going to ask this once. If you lie to me, I will pack my things tonight and this marriage is over.”
“Did you sleep with Her last year when you were out of work?”
As the tears started to well up in his eyes, he looked to the floor. “Yes.”
He tried to pull me close, and begged me to hug him. He pleaded with me to say something, anything. I looked down at the top of his head. He could not bear to look at me. All I could think was how unfair this all was. I married the love of my life. I married my best friend and my entire life as I know it changes at the glance of a text message, because he could not keep it in his pants? In that moment, I decided to stay. Not for him. Not because I am a faithful Catholic. Not because I took my vows seriously, and not for our child. I chose to stay because I deserved the life I wanted. I had spent the last five years and change bending over backwards to make our marriage work. I did in the face of insults and fear. I did it during happy times and awful times while he left it up to me to pick up the pieces. After pleading for his honesty throughout the course of our entire relationship, if I bailed the moment he was finally honest, what would that prove?
“Do not ask me to comfort you right now. That is unfair. You need to take a shower and go get the birthday cake. I will talk to you later. If you can continue to stay honest, I will stay. Lie to me and this is over.”
I bit my lip to keep myself from crying and I walked away.