Tuesday, January 10, 2017

I Want Us To Be A Family Like Before--"Thank You Ashley Madison" excerpt

     Sunday, December 2

     I got up and went for a long run and hit my yoga mat for two hours. I feel every cell in my body vibrating. I’m on high alert. Physical exertion helps, but I can’t make myself feel better.
     Tom walked through the door. I looked at his face. He appeared irritable, tired.
     “Did you and your friends sleep last night?” I asked.
     “Not really,” he said.
     Tom and five other boys had gone to Mikey’s to shoot their social studies videos. They needed to create commercials for ancient Egypt products. Tom’s product was scented mummification linen.
     “Did you shoot your video?”
     “Only Mikey got his done.”
     “Nobody was cooperating,” Tom complained. “Everyone was goofing off.”
     “Did you have fun?”
     “Not really.”
     “I thought you might have a rough time. What happened.”
     “I’m really sad. I spent most of the time laying on the couch. I went to the bathroom a lot so my friends wouldn’t see me cry.”
     “Did they ask you what was wrong?”
     “Did you tell them?”
     “What did they say?”
     “They said they were sorry. That’s about it.”
     “Did you talk to Jake? His parents are divorced.”
     “He said his parents got divorced when he was a baby.”
     I hugged Tom. “I love you,” I said. I kissed the top of his head.
     “I love you, too.”
     “Go take a nap. We’re going to your favorite restaurant with Nana, Olive Garden.” Tom knew the restaurant was for him. It wasn’t my favorite.
     Tom went upstairs and slept a couple of hours. I woke him up when it was time to leave.
     “I don’t want to go,” he said.
     “But you and Nana love Olive Garden. The bread sticks.”
     “I don’t feel like it.”
     “Come on. I’m not making dinner. Nana is almost there. You don’t want to blow off Nana, have her arrive and not show up.”
     Tom grudgingly got up. We drove to the restaurant and he sat at the table looking forlorn. The basket of breadsticks came. I put one on Tom’s plate. He gobbled it. He devoured his salad and spaghetti, too. By the time we left he seemed in normal spirits.
     We got home and I had Tom wash up, get ready for bed, and we watched a couple episodes of his favorite show, King of the Hill. During the second show, Tom paused the TV.
     “Why can’t Dad live here?” he asked angrily.
     “He did some hurtful things. I can’t live with him anymore.”
     “Why not?”
     “There are things people do that make their spouses not want to be with them anymore.”
     “Like what?”
     “I’m not sure it’s appropriate to say. I’m trying to figure out what to share with you. For now, just know your dad did something that was a deal breaker.”
     Tom started crying. “I want us to be a family. I want us to be a family like before.”
     “Your dad’s flying to Los Angeles tomorrow. He’ll be gone a week. He’d be gone a week if he were living here. You’re going to see Dad a lot. I bet you’ll even spend more time with him.”
     “It won’t be the same.”
     “No. It won’t. I feel horrible, too.”
     I hugged Tom. He began sobbing. I started crying. We cried together and Tom went to bed. I checked my phone. There was a long text from JB.

     “I am so sorry to have hurt you and the kids. I don't want to be this way. I want to be the honest, decent man you thought I was -- and once was. I am not a monster, but I am clearly not well.  
     “When I get back, I will sit down with you and review everything, and answer the difficult questions you will have for me. Then I will work with you on a plan to get our affairs in order.
     “You and the kids still need me to provide and that responsibility matters more to me now than it ever has. I don't deserve or expect forgiveness. But I will take responsibility and repair what can be repaired. It's going to be painful but we will get through it. 
     “Please understand that my love for you and the kids has always been true to my core. I am so incredibly sorry."

I switched off my phone. I threw it on the table. I woke up in the wee hours drenched in sweat, my thoughts racing.


  1. Kids and divorces are so rough. I always believed if I didn't have 2 little ones with my Husband, I would have left him in a heartbeat after the cheating.

    But I distinctly remember when I was 8 years old, my parents calling my older brothers and me into the living room to "talk". That's when they revealed Dad would be moving out. My brothers went back outside to play, and I cried, for a long time. And I remember going back to those feelings when I filed for divorce, it's a bunch of heatbreaking to everyone involved.
    I can't wait to read more, you are so strong Brenda. You deserve the best!

    1. Hi Heidi,
      You deserve the best! We all do. Wouldn't it be beautiful if we were all kind, respectful, and honest with each other, wanted to lift each other up, not chop each other down? Divorce is heartbreaking for everyone. Your comments are incredibly moving. Thank you for sharing and reading.

      P.S. I responded to your earlier comment but failed to hit the reply button. I hope everyone who comments get notified if I hit reply.