posted by susan-oh-susan / february 27 at 4:27 pm / uncategorized / 12 comments
For the next two or three days, I hid in the master bedroom. Nika brought me tea and meals, and in-between, hid with me. John slept on the couch. In-between, he tried to justify himself to the boys.
It didn’t work.
There was a lot of screaming. Especially from Cody.
Nika, I think, was secretly pleased. I mean, she was horribly apologetic about her role in the disclosure. But she was pleased about how Cody was unilaterally taking my side. So was Tyler, of course.
We watched Pride and Prejudice. Like, all the Pride and Prejudices ever made. The entire six-hour BBC series with Colin Firth, then the Joe Wright film with Kiera Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen, then the 1940 adaptation starring Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson.
It made me feel so much better.
Darcy would never cheat on Elizabeth. And if he did, she’d never find out, because he wouldn’t sext on an iPad.
I started to feel ready for the conversation. You know, the one that John and I hadn’t had yet. The one in which I would say, “What were you thinking?” and he would say, “I don’t know, Susan, I love you, I love only you, I was mad,” and I would be mad and he would beg and cajole, but I would relent, and everything would be just fine, and on Valentine’s Day, he’d buy me not one, but ten dozen roses, and maybe in the spring, we’d take an extra-special trip somewhere for our twenty-second anniversary, and…
Pounding on the door.
No, not pounding.
Knocking. Polite, but firm.
“Mom? Can we come in?” Cody’s voice. “We have…” a pause… “Dad with us.”
I nodded to Nika and she opened the door.
The three of them walked in and I saw—well, three men, yes, but also… God, my husband, in the middle, Cody to his left and Tyler to his right—Tyler towering over them both, and Cody and John, so small and slight by comparison to my giant baby boy, and John even smaller, shrunken. Head bent forward.
Walking between his executioners.
I shuddered. I felt so bad for him. So sorry. He must feel so awful, so ashamed, I thought. And I was ready… and then…
“Susan,” John said. Took a step and straightened up. No longer between his executioners. No longer humble. Defiant? I don’t know. It was… a thing happened. He was so small between them and I felt sorry for him.
He took a step forward and…
“Susan, our sons, they told me, and I quote, ‘Get the fuck out of our house. Now.’ I said, ‘Don’t you think that should be your mother’s decision?’”
And he stopped there.
But apparently there were no other words.
I looked at him… what did I feel? Was I shocked? Appalled?
I looked at my sons. Cody was staring at his father. Eyes cold. Hands in fists.
Tyler was staring at his feet and I knew, without seeing, there were tears in his eyes.
I realize, now—I realized a few days later—that this was the moment where I should have—could have—said, “No. We can work this out.”
Or at least, “We need to talk about this.”
I mean, if I wanted him to…
If I wanted him.
If I could forgive.
Could I forgive?
I don’t know. I still don’t know. Because what happened was, I was waiting for him to say something… anything… that would make me feel he was worth fighting for.
But apparently, “Don’t you think that should be your mother’s decision?” was all he had.
So I turned away and buried my head in Nika’s neck and as her arms wrapped around me and pulled me close, let out a graceless sob.
“Take what you need for the night,” I heard Cody say. Voice cold. Then, nasty: “I’m sure your whore will put you up for at least one night.”
“We’ll pack up the rest and send it over,” Tyler added.
“Or send it to the dump,” Cody put it. “We’ll decide.”
“Or let it be Mom’s decision,” Tyler said.
He had nothing more to say to them either.
The four of us watched, the boys standing, Nika and I still sitting on the bed, as John moved stiffly through the room to the bathroom. Then rummaged through the nightstand on his side of the bed—too close to me, almost, yet so far away.
“Can you get my suitcase from the basement, Susan?” he said—and I believe, honestly, this was more thoughtless than malicious, but this was when Tyler lost it.
“Get. The. Fuck. Out. Of. Our. House. Now.” He grabbed his father by the lapels of his shirt and shoved him towards the door. Toothbrush, toiletry bag, phone charger—they all went flying from John’s arms. “Get. The. Fuck. Out…” Nika bounced off the bed and she and Cody moved towards Tyler, grabbing him and pulling him away.
But John was already out the bedroom door.
Nika gathered up the things he dropped. Ran after him.
Cody kept his hands on his brother’s shoulders.
Tyler didn’t shrug them off.
“I wasn’t going to hurt him,” he said.
“You should have,” Cody said.
“Boys,” I said. But they didn’t hear me.
“We’ll take care of the rest of his shit tomorrow,” Tyler said. Cody nodded. They turned to me.
“Do you need anything right now, Mom?” they asked.
I burst into tears.
They backed out of the room, embarrassed.
12 comments on This is just awful… why am I reliving this?:
sugar&spice76: Holy cow, I can’t believe they did that. Were you ok? Did you talk to them about it after?
susan-oh-susan: To be honest, it is only now that I am realizing what it is they did. And the implications. I mean… John moved out… without us having that conversation.
sugar&spice76: But honey, do you think it would have helped? “Susan, you’re going to ruin Christmas.” “Don’t you think that should be your mother’s decisions?” Are those things a man who is sorry, a man who is in love with his wife and who wants to save his marriage, are those the things such a man says in a crisis?
susan-oh-susan: I don’t know. They are the sorts of things John typically said. They are not… out of character.
sugar&spice76: Oh, honey. And you were married for how long did you say? Twenty-two years? I’m so sorry.
mommyshidinginthebathroom3: Yeah, he sounds like a total prick. You’re better off without him.
susan-oh-susan: No, no, I’m not.
BeautifulThingsEveryday: Not fucking this again. Susan! Pull yourself together. Are you dressed and showered?
susan-oh-susan: Yes. And I shovelled the driveway.
BeautifulThingsEveryday: Good girl.
susan-oh-susan: You know, it’s easy for all of you to pontificate. You’re not the ones who got left, all alone.
sugar&spice76: Oh, honey. Ok, keep on telling the story. What happened next?
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