Having a real Detlef Schrempf kind of day. And, yes, I know the title of this post comes from a different Band of Horses song but, honestly, those words are all too sad and loving. I’m more in the sad and unloving camp today.
That’s the thing about heartache, right? Especially the kind caused by a blindsided betrayal. You vacillate between disbelief and anger, aching to quench your thirst for retribution, and then sometimes, you still feel the disbelief but also just want to remember the way they looked at you, and hope they treat her better.
As much as I loathe thinking about it, I do hope John actually loves Crystal and wouldn’t dare cheat on her again. Let alone for more than three years, again. I still cannot wrap my brain around it. Certainly not my heart.
I don’t know how other eyes look at you. I hope everyone around you finds out who you really are. I’d like to know how those eyes look at you then. You certainly know how mine did. Once.
I’m looking forward to looking at someone else like that again, sooner than later.
“When eyes can’t look at you any other way, Any other way, any other way So take it as a song or a lesson to learn And sometime soon be better than you were If you say you’re gonna go, then be careful And watch how you treat every living soul”
In the interest of recognizing there are two sides to every story, you have mine in the many public posts over the past month (and years) here. These text receipts from Weds. Oct. 27 – Fri. Oct. 29 show his side of the story, in his very own words. The questions that I screamed into the void after yet another interminable night of no sleep, the morning of Sun. Oct. 31, are included too. I don’t know if he ever saw those, though I suspect he did. I suspect a lot of things because, after all, I knew this man for years. There’s only so much you can fake. And although I do believe I’m blocked now (he certainly is), I don’t for a second think I was then.
I’d love answers to all of those questions. I mean, on Sunday the 31st, he didn’t yet know I had already sent all of the screenshots below to her, as receipts. Or the unfathomable extent of the things I found on MY computer because he stupidly left them there.
I know that he knows all of that now though because I also printed and physically mailed all of these text screenshots to him the next day for good measure. To *their* home – just in case he found it convenient for his narrative to delete them from his phone (he prided himself on saving all of our texts from the very beginning – that used to be cute) or in case she didn’t receive the email at work, and/or he wasn’t really in Philly and she’d be curious enough to open a clearly personal envelope addressed to him from a chick in DC. I printed and included the blog post from that day — a written record of 11 hours of catharsis — longer now, of course, as more memories have come back. Before John read that post in the mail, I don’t even know if he realized how I came to have a copy of his wedding contract. I didn’t say, just included it as a screenshot via text when he kept lying to me the morning after I already discovered the truth.
I told him only in the Oct 31st post that I emailed the screenshots of our texts to her so he had to have read it. I implored him to be brave and do the right thing. To tell her.
It’s notable that he did try to call me two days after I mailed it, while I was walking home from work that Wednesday, but I missed the call and didn’t even notice it until days later. I had to Google the number. Apparently it was a work number, but not the one I had. He didn’t leave a message. I’ve wondered a few times what he could have possibly intended to say over the phone.
His only response came the Friday after, via text of course, exactly a week after he discovered that I knew. That’s included at the bottom of this CVS-length receipt below. The only thing not included here is my incredulous response which was simply, “Thanks so much for your concern. You have no right to ask that of me, let alone beg.”
Then I blocked and deleted him from my life. Granted, I still know his number in my brain. I wish I didn’t. And I am ashamed to admit that on several drunken nights when I’m trying to be numb and not think at all, my brain has remembered and probably texted, and promptly deleted, various things. Who knows what. I cringe to think about it. Still, I have nothing to hide. I’ve written everything in my heart and soul out here for anyone to read. Here are my receipts.
Go ahead. Ask John for his.
Karma has entered the chat. I hope he’s ready…
You may ask what I want after all of this. I’ve been asking myself the same thing. Every night while I watch the shadows cross the ceiling. Here’s a list:
– I want to go back to July 21, 2018 and shut you down.
– I want to go back to August 21, 2018 and let you go.
– I want to know the answers to all of those questions from October 31, 2021.
– I want to add two questions to that list, for Crystal: Did you know about me? Why did you go through with marrying his lying ass anyway?
– I want to know what he meant in that last message by “multiple messages and detailed accounts” — I sent her one message, with the screenshots. I mailed him the printout of the Oct. 31 blogpost and the screenshots he already has/had on his own phone. There is no multiple, no massive plurality. It makes me think he has no idea what I sent her but assumed it was the same as what I sent him (the blog post) and he’s covering his ass. Maybe she still doesn’t know? I can’t abide that. I won’t.
– I want him to hurt too.
– I want to know if she knew. I’m still not sure. But if she did, I want everyone in her life to know how objectively stupid she is. And also how much support she’s going to need when he does it to her again.
– I want to get all of this shit out of my head, out of my heart, out of my life.
– I want to stop having to write here because I have no other constructive way to get out the poison he intentionally left inside me.
– I want to sleep and eat again, with any semblance of normalcy. Though the 12 lbs I’ve lost so far is a tarnished silver lining.
– I want to stop having to pay a fortune to talk to a stranger about all of this shit because I don’t want to burden the people I love. A sweet and unconscionably young therapist who isn’t terribly helpful; instead, she serves as a human version of this blog where I still vomit words and feelings, but she actually responds. However, she also tells me things like “obviously there was something about you that he wanted to keep. That was worth the effort of the lie. For so long. Something he didn’t get in his relationship.” Seriously? I want a different echo chamber. That is not helpful.
– I want to go to bed at night without praying that I just don’t wake up at all; I don’t want to have to feel all over again every few hours. It’s too painful. When will that stop??
– I want to move the fuck forward and forget this ever happened to me.
It’s distressingly clear though that returns and exchanges will not be honored with these receipts. No one cares that the item never matched the description and was defective from day dot. There is no customer service to call. No manager to speak with.
It’s my burden to bear, my heartache to sort through, my trust to rebuild, my mind that races. I hate that I’m stuck in a loop of revenge and retribution right now but I also cannot stand for injustice. Who would I be if I didn’t fight for the little guy, the good guy, the one for whom no one else will?
I know this references death and the interconnectedness of humanity. I cannot help but think though that wedding bells, at least the ones today, also mark the death of a collective us.
I have to assume the wedding is still on, that at 4pm today, he will marry her. That she will still choose to marry him. That they will say those vows I found on my computer — vowing to be “generous with my time” which is the antithesis of him, but also not even a whiff of a vow to be faithful, though I, and really anyone who deigns to get married, must assume is implied. And yet, already violated.
Really wish I didn’t care. That just hours shy of a month to the day since I discovered that ceremony script, and the guest list, and the venue contract, and the pictures — all confirming a dark, duplicitous, unbelievable side of the “good” man I loved — that I would have somehow been able to compartmentalize by now.
But I cannot stop thinking about it today. Every moment of it. I’m with my family and trying so hard to keep everything tucked beneath the surface. I hope they don’t wish I hadn’t come here. I really have tried to keep my melancholy and the manifestations as impatience, crankiness, and general malaise at bay. Actively gritting my teeth, baring a smile, and partaking in conversation, food, and drink. I’ve consumed more calories in three days than I have in three weeks for the sake of appearances, for normalcy, for not further worrying my village.
Being with my family is the highlight of my meager existence and the lack of it is generally the biggest source of ache. But these days have been a bit difficult, as much as I do not want to waste them or take them for granted.
This time is too precious.
This day though is too hard.
I’d rather be dead, or at least drunk, but instead, I’ll try being distracted. I’ll run errands and get out of the house just so I can stop fixing my face, cry in the car, punch at the air, think out loud in solitude, even if just for a brief reprieve.
I don’t know if the bells will be ringing. But I assume they will. Cowardice is too strong. And when they do, I am positive I will be able to hear them in my soul.
The longer the separation, the harder it is to heal the hurt. Time passes while you’re thinking and all that time is really just wasted, isn’t it?
While my thoughts turn into doubling down on insecurity and doubt, what are you thinking about?
Do you realize that while you’re thinking about yourself, and presumably about her, that you’re responsible for what I cannot avoid thinking about?
Why did you have to do it to me? Couldn’t you have chosen anyone else? What about me is such an easy target for narcissists masquerading as nice guys?
Are you wishing you’d met me first?
Are you thinking about me at all?
It’s been two weeks since I discovered that I was the other woman. And two weeks from today you’ll be married to her, probably? I couldn’t if I were her. She must be frantically trying to process that you’ve been sleeping with someone else for more than three years while also deluding herself into believing she’ll have time to process it and work on trusting you after you vow to be faithful to only her … during a wedding she’s been planning for years, and probably dreaming about her entire life. You’ve taken away all the possibility that her wedding day will be magical; it will forever have an undertone of ugly – whether it happens with you in two weeks, someone else after she moves on from your trifling ass, or never because you’ve robbed her of feeling secure and however many years of her life … it’s possible she’ll never be able to move on.
I keep thinking about your ceremony, what it will be like when you look at each other. What you’ll both actually be thinking when you’re performing for your guests. I wonder what song your first dance will be to — and whether there will be smiles passed between you that hide the doubt. Or if one or both of you will have tears in your eyes — for reasons only the two of you and I will know.
I could be there to witness it. After all, you left all the vital details for me. But I don’t know if I could stomach watching those pregnant seconds tick by. I would probably laugh; contemptuously and incredulously of course.
Those seconds will turn into years. That will become your marriage. Always wondering if trust exists. If belief in you exists. And no matter how fading a memory you may come to have of me, of us, all of those seconds that pass will have just a touch of ugly that you can never undo.
You have only yourself to blame. And yet both she and I also have to deal with the insidious ugliness you created. For better or worse, she has you and you have her. I have my thoughts.