Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Finally gonna do it


It’s 11 o’clock in the morning on a beautiful September day in Michigan. The boys are back in school, the girls are downstairs playing nicely together (YES!) and I’m sipping coffee, folding laundry and mindlessly chatting on the phone with Aunt Grace. She’s headed to KOHL’s later in the week and wants all four of the kids’ sizes. We’re about ready to discuss little boys’ underwear & little girls’ jumpers when I notice my cell phone has 10 new messages. Jeremy’s ex-wife is blowing up my phone. I ask Aunt Grace if I can call her back in a minute. She wonders aloud what Joey wants & I tell her I have no idea, but it WON’T take long. I’ve already given her all the pertinent info for the school year: teacher’s names, room numbers, extra-curricular activities. Not like she’ll show up for anything anyway. She never does.

Taking a sip of coffee I ring her back.  As I wait for her to answer I am annoyed. I have no idea why the woman is calling ME & I have no desire to speak with her. She is nothing but trouble. For Jeremy, for me, & quite honestly for her own two sons. My husband has custody of his two boys, ages 11 & 6 and she has supervised visits for 2 hours on Wednesdays & every other weekend. Most people are shocked when they learn this. I usually say, “She struggles with addiction” It sounds better than “She’s a fucking drunk” Joey picks up on the fourth ring. “Hello?” she asks, like it’s a question, like she doesn’t already KNOW who it is. This annoys me more. “Joey. It’s Amy. What do you need?”  She tells me she needs to discuss Jeremy with me. I am confused. “Jeremy?” I ask, growing defensive. “Why do we need to discuss Jeremy?” She asks me if we can meet “in person” I tell her absolutely not. I don’t really have time for this, Joey. I explain slowly, as if she’s retarded along with being an alcoholic.

“Well,” she says, “Jeremy’s cheating on you. He’s been having affairs. For month. Possible years. I have proof.” Now any other woman in the world would’ve been horrified. I laughed. I fucking LAUGHED. “Sure he is, Joey. My God, will you stop at nothing?” I ask her. She remains even keeled. Goes on about how she knows of at least two of his girlfriends, Valerie & Marianne. This startles me for two reasons: First, everything I’ve been told about Joey points to a volatile response, but she’s completely matter-of-fact. This bitch is cool & calculated. She has names. She has addresses. She has PHONE NUMBERS. Second, no one wants to hear their spouse is sleeping around. Even in jest. Infidelity is NO laughing matter. 

When I found out about Jeremy’s affairs with women he met on FB & other dating sites. I was embarrassed. Ashamed. I felt like there was something wrong with me. Defective model. When I discovered the lengths he went to —leaving the state & burning personal days to sleep with some woman in a Days’ Inn off I-7 I was horrified. I imagined how foolish I looked to them--the punch line to their private joke. Here I was sending my husband texts about Madeline’s progress at swim lessons or Vivian’s latest trick at Gymboree while he was curled up with his mistress.

I never know when the sickening panicky feeling will overtake me. Maybe I will be at the gym when the man who wears the same cologne as Jeremy will walk by—fresh from a shower & smelling sweetly of Gaultier’s Le Male. Maybe I will be in the dentist’s office & hear the Beatles’ “There Are Places I Remember” and by the time John sings, “…I know I’ll often stop & think about them…In my life, I love you more” I will be hyperventilating while a fluoride treatment prevents any more decay in my life. Or maybe it will be simply watching my 23 month old daughter sleep and knowing that I will never be able to provide her the one thing that matters so much to a little girl—a daddy—that will cause me to burst into tears and head for the garage. I do so much crying in that damned garage. It’s like my own private ark.

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