“He’s home!” I thought with relief, anticipation and, most of all, love. My heart lept when I saw the car door open and my handsome husband regally step out of the car. Standing with strong posture, he excuded confidence. Just his manner of being instilled a faith in the safety and unconditional love he could provide me. My heart lighted at seeing him; my leg muscles tensed and my arms lifted in preparation to run into his arms. But I did not run. I stopped before I began when I saw the other car door open and a beautiful, young, strawberry blonde woman stepped out. My husband opened his arms wide in front of himself and announced, “I got married while I was away!”
My heart fell like thudding and sudden death. The air I breathed wasn’t sucked from my lungs; it just simply disappeared. I was left suffocating, my chest concaving where my heart used to be whole. How could he do this to me? He didn’t even tell me. This is something a husband should at least warn his wife about, let her voice her opinion. At least.
The new wife stood by the car, , her slender, perfectly pale fingers gripping the top of the door, almost using it as a shield. The mid-morning sun hit her hair in a way that made it glow from the top, sending a deeper shade underneath. She was breathtaking. My husband chose her too.
Guiding her into the house with his arm at the small of her back, the plans for a party quickly were made. I have always been a good cook. My pride in life was the growing numbers of my husband’s waistband. “My wife and I are in a war over the size of my belt. I want it smaller and she wants it bigger. She’s winning,” my husband used to say, bragging on my ability to master the kitchen. My heart used to swell with love, “If he has a bigger tummy, that’s okay. It shows me that he is happy at home. It means that he’s content, he doesn’t need to find anyone else.” What an ironic, terrible, nasty, pitiful joke that is now. Look where that philosophy got me today: cooking for the celebration of my husband’s second marriage. His second marriage while he’s STILL married to me. The joke has obviously been played. On me.
I walked past the dining room, a cozy room with wrap-around seating, hugging the walls due to the tiny space of the room itself. A large table in the center, adorned with a white lace tablecloth and carefully placed with a fresh flower centerpiece. Light from the large picture window spilled over the inhabitants of the room. The family, being introduced to her, my husband’s arm around her shoulders, and she taking my place in the safeness of his side. Where would my safe place be now? There was no room for the both of us there.
My heart shattered more than I thought possible. I thought it had already been obliterated. Denial and disbelief are good adhesives, but faulty and awfully deceptive. They hold the pieces together but only long enough for another wave of reality to come along and merely breathe them apart.
The party was a success. The guests’ palettes were satisfied. They were entertained and they were overcome with the infectious joy of the new couple in love. For me, the day had been long with all the preparations. There had been no time alone with my husband in order to scream the obvious question; to plead away this new reality; to beg for assurance.
I walked through the hallway, hearing the revalry spilling through the large, heavy doors of the second dining hall. Suddenly, standing before me was my husband. We were alone, at last. He looked so handsome in his suit. His confidence made me weak. The smell of his cologne permeated the air around us, and memories of love and passion filled my mind. No! I can’t think like this. He has betrayed me. He has abandoned me and yet he hasn’t left me alone. Walking towards me, his head was tilted ever so slight to the left, his eyes soft, and his lips curled slightly up at the corners – a familiar facial expression. Sliding his hand in behind my neck, his fingers spread and braced the back of my skull. His lips were near mine, his cologne was intoxicating. I nearly forgot. I wanted so badly to be loved; to hear that he loved me. I wanted to fold myself into his arms, lay with him, feel his chest rising and falling with each breath. I wanted the past. I wanted the comfort and the unconditional love. I wanted to be the only as he was my only. “I love you,” he murmered. No! How could you do this to me! I was revolted by him. I wanted to be sick. I love him. I need him. I can’t stand him! I don’t want to be near him!
The onslaught of equally powerful and contradicting emotions was too much to bear. I broke our embrace, and fled before he could answer my pleas for answers.
Time passed, and life fell into something new. A reality of tension that balanced between acceptance through routine and unacceptance in the secret of my heart. I walked into the bathroom one morning, faced in close proximity with the new wife, even paler than usual, her face ashen and layered with sweat. Vomit was all over the floor and the toilet. She looked at me with scared eyes. And I knew. She was pregnant.
For the first time, I saw her as she was: a woman, an unwitting player in the game that my husband had orchestrated for us, alone in a house with an increasingly bitter woman, trying to make a life for herself without making too many waves. She is a woman, just like me.
On one hand, she’s my sister in the club of femininity. We have a sisterhood among us women. We look out for each other. We support each other in the issues that only another woman can possibly understand and relate to. We can bitch about the parts of our make up that aren’t fair, and understand the emotional upswings, downswings, overswings of hormonal days. Looking at this girl, puke in her hair, so afraid and ill, I wanted to reach out to her. I know what it’s like to be pregnant for the first time; thinking that this stage of sickness will never end, fearing that the reality of becoming violently ill over the smell of fresh baking bread will be what life is like from now on, forever and ever. The question, “Will I ever feel normal again?” ruling each thought as the heaving continues. How I wanted to hug her and say, “It will be okay. This is normal. You’re doing fine. Don’t worry about the mess, sweetie. We’ll take care of it. We’ll take care of you.”
If I take care of her, though, he will think that I’ve accepted his new choice. I have not! I will not! I can not!
The dream ended with me standing before her, as the awkward observer. Silence.
I told this dream to a woman here at a tea party. She said, “Did this dream come true for you?” I said, “No, thank God.” She said, “I had the same dream on my honeymoon. It came true.”
Her reality is that after nearly 10 years of marriage, her husband returned home to tell her that he had gotten married. The new woman lives with his mother. She has never seen the new wife. She has refused. Her husband’s explanation for the new marriage was, “My mother wanted me to marry a second wife. But you are the one that is better suited to me. I prefer your personality. You are strong. I love you.” She’s says she can’t believe him anymore when he says that he loves her. I can honestly say, I know how she feels.