I was unfaithful. I cheated myself, my children, my heart, my faith, my hope, my spirit, my character. Not only that, but I cheated Dave and worse yet, I cheated all of these things from him as well. I cheated every one of everything that was right and good in our lives.
As with anything and everything, there is certainly more to the story and sometimes in fleeting moments of denial, I can comfort myself with those factual, but sad and pathetic extenuating circumstances, but for the most part, I cannot.
Is it wrong to have thoughts at times which say, “Surely there was something he did wrong before the infidelity…” I would actually attempt to distort something (anything) he once did or maybe once said even just one single time that was slightly unkind or perhaps alluded to some kind of future abuse or psychosis….
And many have said to me there must have been something? There had to have been. You couldn’t have been truly happy or it wouldn’t (couldn’t!) have happened.
Nope. Clear as a miserable bell, I know I was very happy. I knew it then (can’t blame this on hindsight either). I know it now.
Too happy? So happy it didn’t seem possible to realistically maintain? Yeah…frighteningly happy? Like when you go to a horror movie and the happy music is playing and there’s sunshine, laughter, security abounding and you wait on the edge of your seat, heart beating, pulse racing, and your logic silently screaming, “It’s coming!” You know any second something horribly tragic is going to explode on the screen. It must. You don’t want it to come but something in you knows you really do want it because that’s what you’ve ultimately come to the cinema to see, right? After all, you’ve specifically asked for this tragedy with the price of your ticket.
That kind of happiness. Scary happy. Waiting-for-the-other-shoe-to-drop-happy.
Only it never did. And it surely had to… Right?
So, it seems I forced it to drop. Was the anticipation too much? Did the happy part go on and on so long that my heart couldn’t take the wait anymore? Was logic screaming so loudly at me that I couldn’t relax in that kind of happy? Had life taught me too well already that this was only possible in fairy tales? My life certainly had never been anything near fairy tale quality. I was no long-lost beloved princess finally saved from all the evils of the world by my fair prince who had been looking for me all his life. There was no way this existed on any plane of reality possible for me…
There were no signs of impending doom. There was no cruel undertone in something he even once casually said in a quiet or controlling voice. There were no sarcastic words; no subtle insults to my character, my appearance, or my intelligence, phrased as a “joke” so as to make it acceptable to keep me in my place or put me down sub-consciously. …except in my logic. In my brain and my experiential wisdom there was always this little nudge. Nudge, nudge – another day full of kindness has passed… another day of sincerely spoken compliments, loving gestures, and sweet-nothings has passed… the music of my logic is getting scarier and scarier… Da-da-da-dum, da-da-da-dum…playing faster and faster. The bad guy is coming. The moment of tragedy is hanging in limbo directly over your head. It’s just hanging there waiting around till you feel so safe and comfortable that it’s definitely not coming…for full, tragic effect, you know…
I might even be able to convince myself that this is only the hind-sight story of a romantic hopeful, the rose-colored version of falling in love where nostalgia and regret fade the facts and amplify the colors of happiness to such a vibrant shade that the bad stuff disappears into oblivion. Except, I was so overly aware of this unrealistic happiness that I spoke regularly of it to my dad, whom I knew would understand that this wasn’t logically possible. Whom I expected to point out the tiny ugly realities I HAD to be missing throughout this experience. And even he couldn’t. My wise and all-too logical father could only continually remind and reassure me that I deserved this happiness and offer advice to me to accept it or else by looking so hard for the ugly, I would eventually make something ugly happen.
What? Make it happen?? That’s not possible! I’m gloriously happy. No person desperate for happiness, like me, would ever create the very unhappiness they fear and dread from a gift so pure and beautiful it must be directly from God. That’s just some psychological mumbo-jumbo! No one in their right mind, finally experiencing happy without a single sign of impending doom on the horizon would sabotage such beauty, such intoxicating joy of life, such a sense of security and love. NO….don‘t be silly!
Hindsight does, though, strongly indicate to me that there was another sneaky element going on through this. One I could never have anticipated or braced myself to handle. The sneakiest of subtle sabotage tactics, so very tricky that it just hung out in the corner recesses of my mind, innocently playing all alone and not mingling ever with the other thoughts and fears which were obvious enough for me to ask advice from those wiser than I. Quietly gaining power and strength…
I am not worthy…
This sneaky element of sub-conscious sabotage actually came out in the light only once.
Right around maybe the sixth month marker, we had gone for a few drinks away from the crowd of friends, romantically alone, and were laughing and enjoying ourselves. Having a nice traditional date in out-of-the-way places where we could adore each other uninterrupted by the “Ahh you two lovebirds make the rest of us sick!” And I was loving every minute of this until it dawned upon me. Maybe this was even the first moment I ever had seen my happiness so very clearly and felt it to the core of my being, minus the what-if’s and can’t-be’s. And I said to him, “What is this? I’ve never known anything like this. It can’t be real, can it? And if it is, there’s no way I deserve this much. Here is why….” And I commenced to tell him why I didn’t deserve this…deserve him, deserve genuine love…
And then he said one of the most beautiful things I’ve heard anyone say in my life that wasn’t written in a song, a book, or a movie…
…He said, “Every single horrible thing that has happened to you or me, every single bad choice or mistake we might have made in our pasts, every single thing right wrong, good or bad, has brought us right here right now. And we have to just be grateful for it ALL and know that this was why it ALL happened exactly as it did. If not for that exactly, whatever it may have been, we would not be here with each other right now in this exact moment, having this.”
I choked up. A huge lump in my throat developed, my eyes stung and threatened to cry as every horror-movie moment of my past flashed across my mind and I saw every path of it leading me, sometimes even forcing me to this moment with him. He was so wise and so right. He could see more broadly than I. My devotion, my respect, my gratitude, my understanding quadrupled in that moment, with those stunning words of amazingly insightful wisdom. And suddenly everything made sense. Everything. Every pain and every struggle from my earliest memory I could instantly and directly connect to the events (forced or otherwise) which led me to RIGHT HERE, directly to HIM. A million individually ugly tiny puzzle pieces of time dropped at once, snapped into place, and created a gorgeous sunrise shimmering with love and happiness. And I could think of each one and actually FEEL each and every one of them as reasons to be grateful for it all.
I loved his simplicity…adored it even, amidst my confounding and irritating contradictions. And it was in this moment that I realized his “simplicity” wasn’t so simple after all. I saw him in an entirely new light of love and blessings. And it was also then that I began to fully realize that this might indeed be real…that perhaps the other shoe was not ever going to kick me in the face after all. A most beautiful moment… Or the beginning of the end?
Less than a year later and ironically while singing his praises, my blessings, and this very theory of deserved, “everything happens for a reason” happiness, I cheated.
Yes………. I cheated.