It was coming and I knew it. The trust was gone. The love was cold. In a last ditch effort I asked her to stay with me. “Let’s pack it all up, you, me, and the boy. Let’s get far away from here, and rediscover each other.” No deal. She already had plans, and they did not include me. I was not the world’s perfect husband, nor was she the evil bitch from hell. We were just two people who had created more differences between us than similarities. It happens, and it’s painful.
As I write about it now, I actually feel a bit melancholy. But at the time, deep down, and despite my apparent desperation, I knew divorce was best for both of us. Our son was going to bear the brunt of it, and we knew it. We quietly resolved to do everything we could to alleviate the inevitable pain for each of us, but especially for our son. Before she walked out the door, her last words were, “John, you are just not the man I want you to be.” Hmph … In thirteen years?
After three weeks of living alone, she called me. With my ego in the dirt, I was wondering if maybe she had a change of heart. It was not to be. She actually called, well, to confess, for lack of a better word. She wanted to come clean. It’s what you do when you move on.
She told me she had met someone else three or four months earlier. I figured something was up. I honestly didn’t care so much that she had an indiscretion. Given my state of mind at the time, I would have taken her back. And then, given things the way they are now—some ten years later—I would have come to regret it.
She described him, but not in a way that you might think. He was in his fourth month of a twelve-month drug rehabilitation program. He was on probation. He had no car, no house, no driver’s license, and he barely managed to pay rent for a room—not a one-bedroom apartment, just a room in his friend’s house. He was divorced, way behind on his child support, owed back taxes and court costs, and worked a seasonal job on a road crew. You see, you can’t lay asphalt in Denver in the middle of winter.
He was in trouble with the law for stealing cars, forging checks, and pilfering credit cards. How many of you ladies walk outside on a cold winter morning, start your car, and leave it running with your purse (checks and credit cards) inside, and leave the doors unlocked? Did you know you can see cars like that from blocks away? The cold exhaust vapor gives them away. Yeah. This, apparently, was the man of her dreams.
At this point you may think I was about to do myself in. Not so. I poured over her words—about thirty minutes worth. When it was clearly my turn to talk, “All I can say is he gets one chance with my son. If he screws that up, I’m pulling all the stops. You know as well as I do that no judge in the U.S. will let you keep your child housed with an ex-con.” She played ball. Would I have really taken my son away from his mother? Fortunately, we never had to find out.
As I hung up the phone, her last words reverberated. And she was absolutely right. There was no way I could have ever been that man.
Thanks for reading. Take care of you.