There is no sex in this story. It is the realistic account of the end of a marriage. It does contain love, anger, pain, and remorse.
The night that was
View of the crumbling of a marriage.
The pavement was wet and cold from the light mid-west October rain. Vibrant colors reflected up from the street as if it were a liquid mirror. He was on his hands and knees crawling around at my feet, splashing around in his own blood. I swore I could hear him crying as I quickly looked around to see if there were any witnesses to my crime, but I saw no one.
I jumped in my car and took off for home a few minutes behind my wife. I couldn’t believe she thought she could be three and half hours late from work, without so much as a phone call, and think I wouldn’t come looking for her. Damn it, I thought on the short, ten minute drive home, what a way to end eleven years of marriage.
When I walked into the house my two kids, Amy and Marsha were at the kitchen table cutting out paper dolls. My next door neighbor, the woman I had watching them for the last two hours, returned to her own home as soon as my wife walked in. She knew I needed her to baby sit so I could go out and look for my wandering spouse and I don’t think she wanted to stick around for the fireworks. Amy, who was almost ten, took one look at me and I could see the shocked look on her face. “Daddy,” she said, “what happened, are you all right?”
I saw the same fearful look in Marsha’s eyes as they both looked at my shirt. I lowered my head to see I had his red blood all over the front of my white shirt. I hate lying to my kids but I couldn’t very well tell them the truth so I had to think of something fast. “I’m okay honey,” I said, “daddy just got a nose bleed in the car, that’s all. I’m okay.” My explanation didn’t seem to relieve their anxiety even a little bit. “Where’s mom?” I asked.
“She came in and just ran up stairs, what’s going on daddy I think she was crying, are you and mommy fighting?” Marsha, our seven year old, looked even more scared than her older sister.
“No honey, please don’t worry, everything is just fine,” I said trying to comfort both my daughters and lying to them for the second time in less than a minute.
Everything was not fine. I had just caught my wife, their mother, with another man and I was sure the police would be at my front door shortly to arrest me. I got to the top of the second floor landing and could hear crying coming from our bedroom. As I walked in Diane, my wife, was sitting on the edge of the bed. She looked up through her teary eyes when she heard me walk in. The terrified look on her face mirrored the anger in mine.
“Oh, God, look at you, you‘re all full of blood. What did you do?” she asked in between sobs, “Did you hurt him?”
“Well let’s just say the next time you kiss the bastard his front teeth won’t be in the way of your tongue,” I said sounding as nasty and sarcastic as possible.
Things were just starting to register now. I was so tense I was literally shaking all over, I could hardly breath. My stomach was doing flip-flops and every nerve in my body was on fire. I realized my hands were still clinched in fists of rage; my right hand was starting to swell a little and I was having a hard time just trying to straighten my fingers. I needed to try and calm myself down. I took some deep breaths and tried to relax.
“You shouldn’t have done that, we didn’t do anything,” she said with a shaky voice.
“Bull shit!” I exclaimed, “you’re trying to tell me you were with him for three and half hours and all you did was sit in the car and kiss? What the hell kind of fool do you take me for, anyway?
When I first saw that car you were coming north on Graceland, there’s that little motel just a couple miles down the road, you really going to tell me you weren’t at that motel?”
“No we weren’t at any motel. He took me out for some drinks that’s all. He was a nice guy so when he took me back to my car I kissed him, that’s all that happened.”
“Yeah, I believe that like I believe a rabid dog won’t bite my hand if I wave in front of his face. I suppose you weren’t fucking Jerry either.”
Diane’s face went literally white. I could see the little wheels turning in that brain of hers. How is she going to try and lie her way out of this, I wondered. “Ah, Wha…what makes you think I was fucking Jerry?” she sobbed.
“You told me,” I said.
Her green eyes widened. “What are talking about, I never told you Jerry and I were having an affair.”
“Sure you did, at the Christmas party last year. I was wondering why Jerry and Samantha didn’t come. They hadn’t missed a party in years. When I asked you why they weren’t coming you said they had a previous engagement, but at the party, when Beverly asked about them, you told her Samantha threatened to scratch your eyes out if she ever saw you again. Either you just forgot about me standing next to you when you said that, or you just didn’t care. Now, there’s only one reason I can think of for one married woman to want to scratch out the eyes of another woman, especially when they were good friends before that.”
I could see Diane trying to come up with a good lie but she was trapped and she knew it. She offered no explanation, she just sat there, looking at me and sobbing.
“Since you would even say that to Bev must mean she knew about you guys, right? How many other people knew, huh? How many more of our, so called friends, knew you were out screwing around behind my back?”
I wanted to sit down but couldn‘t, I couldn‘t relax enough to sit down. “Now I know why you wanted that job, it finally dawned on me. I couldn’t figure it out. You didn’t even want to keep modeling after we were married. Then, all of a sudden, you just had to get a part-time job at the bank, all of twelve hours a week. Now I get it. That was just about the time when Jerry and Samantha moved away, isn‘t it? Sure, you wanted to get out of the house so you could find yourself a new boyfriend.”
“It wasn’t like that,” she said in a feeble attempt at a defense.
“Yeah, right,” I said. “Too bad Samantha found out, at least Jerry was a man, the wimp you were with tonight was crying like a little baby when I left him.”
She was still sitting on the bed sniveling when I went into the master bath adjacent to the bedroom and ran some cold water over my hand for a few minutes.
She was dabbing at her eyes and nose with a tissue when I walked back into the room. “I’m sure the cops will be here any minute. Don’t bother posting bail, I’ll get my folks to do that. As soon as the squads pull up I need you to go down stairs and keep the kids away from the front window. I’ll go out in the yard and meet them there. I don’t want the kids to see their daddy being led off in handcuffs.”
Diane started to cry harder again, I guess from visualizing the scene neither of us wanted the kids to see. “What are you going to do, I mean, when you get out?”
“What the fuck do you think I’m going to do?” I could hear myself swearing, something I never did in the house but I just couldn’t help it. God, I was just so damn angry! “I’m going file for a fuck’n divorce.”
Just then I heard the pitter-patter of little feet and knew both Marsha and Amy were on their way up the stairs. “Mom, dad, is everything okay?” Amy asked.
Damn, I thought, this is going to be so hard on the kids. They’re always the ones that suffer the most in situations like this. I felt so damn guilty about how this was going to hurt them and now I had to lie to them for the third time tonight. “Honey everything is fine. Do you have all your homework done?” I asked hoping to get them involved with something else for the moment.
“Yes daddy,” she answered looking around me and seeing her mother on the bed still crying.
“Okay honey, how about if you go down stairs and get a bowl of ice cream for you and your sister, then pick out one of your movies and sit and watch it with her.” I said trying to mask the anger still in my voice, “mommy and daddy are talking right now, okay honey?”
I knew Amy was too smart to accept my lies anymore, she knew her mother and I were fighting. I was hoping Marsha wouldn’t pick up on it and get even more upset than she already was. Amy took Marsha’s hand. Just before she turned to walk her little sister back down the stairs, I could see tears forming in the biggest, most beautiful blues eyes God ever gave to a little girl. This was the reason I had stayed with Diane for so long, the girls, it was tearing my heart out knowing what I’m about to put them through, that… and of course, I still loved the bitch…God help me!
I walked to our bedroom window and parted the floor to ceiling vertical blinds with my swollen fingers to look for police cars.
“What are you doing?” asked Diane, her voice still shaky but with tears now subsiding some.
“I’m looking for the cops,” I answered, “I thought they would probably be here by now.”
“Do you want to get arrested?” was Diane’s stupid question.
“No, of course not, but I don’t want them coming in the house. This is going to be hard enough on the girls without them watching me get arrested. Damn it!“ I was so frustrated at the whole situation, the whole damn night was a nightmare. I couldn’t just sit around waiting, I thought, maybe I should go down to the station.
“I wonder if Tom is on duty tonight?” Tom was a, long time, member of our police force and a friend for years. We would sometimes go target shooting together as well as play an occasional game of golf.
I first tried his cell phone but it went to voice mail. The department didn’t allow the officers to carry their cell phones with them while they were on duty so I dialed the non-emergency number for the cops. The desk sergeant picked up and introduced himself. “Hello,” I said without giving my name, “can you tell me if Tom Cummings is on duty tonight?” I asked.
“Tom?” said the voice on the other end. “Sure, he just walked in, wait a minute, I’ll get him….Tom,” I heard the sergeant yell.”
“Okay,” I heard Tom yell back. “Hello, this is officer Cummings, can I help you?”
“Tom, it’s Dan, how are you doing?” I said.
“Hey old buddy, what’s up?”
“Can you check real quick and see if there is a warrant out for me?” I asked.
There was a short silence from the other end. “Warrant. Why would there be a warrant out for you?”
“Well, I had a little altercation tonight,” I said, “I think I hurt the guy bad enough that he would have had to go to the ER. I’m sure they would have called you guys and reported it so I’m figuring I should see squad cars any minute now, most likely with a warrant for assault and battery.”
“Dan I just got back from taking a statement from a guy in the ER. He said he was mugged in front of the bank on Graceland.”
“Yeah that was me,“ I said, “He said he was mugged? He didn’t mention me?”
“Nope, not a thing about you. He told me he was mugged by two guys but he didn’t know why. Supposedly they just came out of nowhere and beat him up for no reason. You want to tell me what this is all about,” said Tom.
“I caught the son-of-a-bitch with Diane smooching in his car, that’s what its all about. I pulled the mother fucker out of the car and decked him…a couple of times.”
Diane looked at me, I guess she couldn’t believe I was telling Tom about her infidelity. “Don’t look at me like that,” I told her, “it’s bad enough I’m lying to our kids I’m not going to lie to Tom, he asked what happened so I told him.”
Tom was still on the other end of the phone listening. “Well listen pal,” he said, “I really don’t think you have anything to worry about.”
“Why is that?” I said, a little surprised. “He has to know who I am, you don’t think he’s going to press charges?”
“No I don’t. His wife was at the hospital. How is he going to name you as the person who beat him up with out telling his wife why you did it?”
I looked at my, still sobbing wife. “Did you know ass hole is married?” I asked her. She had her head in her hands again and was moving her head but I couldn’t tell if she was shaking it yes, no, or it was just moving from her crying.
“Well that’s at least one thing I don’t have to worry about tonight. I was so afraid you guys would come into the house and put the cuffs on me in front of Amy and Marsha,” I told him.
“Come on old buddy, I’d never let them do that to you. If it’s any consolation, you got him pretty good. You cracked a rib, broke his nose, knocked out one tooth and loosened some more.”
“Unfortunately Tom, that doesn’t put my marriage back together… but you’re right,” I said with a small grin, “it does make me feel a little bit better. Hey, could you get me a copy of the police report?”
“Yeah…if you promise you won’t anything stupid,” he said.
“No, nothing stupid, but it might help if I have his name and address for Larry, my attorney,” I said. “Maybe I’ll even frame it and show it to my second wife as a warning,” I said with as much venom as I could put into my voice while looking straight at my wife.
“Okay,” said Tom, “I’ll get you a copy, no problem.”
“Hey, do you think you could do me one more favor?” I asked pushing my luck.
“Well it depends on what it is,” he said.
“You know that little motel on Graceland a couple miles south of the Bank?” Diane quickly raised her head up from her hands and looked at me with terror in her face. “Do you think you could run by there and see if they have a registration card for ass hole and my wife. She won’t tell me where they went but I figure that would be the most convenient place and they were coming from that direction when I saw em driving up.”
“Yeah, that’s not a problem. We’re over there all the time for one thing or another, I know the desk clerk, If that‘s where they went I‘ll get you the proof. What are you going to do for tonight? Are you going to be okay?” he asked. “I’m sure Mary won’t mind if you want crash with us for a couple days.”
“I appreciate that Tom, thanks, but I’ll be okay. Amy and Marsha know something is wrong so I’m just going to stay here tonight. Hopefully they‘ll feel a little better if they see me here in the morning. This is going to be so hard on them, Tom.”
“Yeah, I know Dan, I’m so sorry, I wish there was more I could do.”
“Thanks, unfortunately there isn’t much anyone can do anymore. I’ll give you a call tomorrow. Maybe we can go out for a drink and I can pick up the police report and that motel registry card if there is one. The way my wife just looked at me when I mentioned it though, I’m sure it’ll be there.”
We each said good-bye. I closed my phone and looked back at my wife, who’s face had now gone from sorrow to anger. “You just had to embarrass me by having Tom go to the motel didn’t you. Damn it, why can’t you just take my word for it, why do you always have to be right?”
“Because you’ve proven over and over that your word is no good. Why are you worried, you just told me you weren’t there.”
“Alright! Alright, damn it, yes, yes we were there. We fucked for hours, is that what you wanted to hear?”
“No Diane, that’s exactly what I was hoping NOT to hear. I just don’t understand, I loved you, loved you with all my heart. Why”
“You don’t love me, you love your work, your photography. You’re either at the studio or you’re on location somewhere with some gorgeous, young model. And, if you’re not there you’re at the damn college, teaching. You haven’t touched me in years, what do you care who I sleep with anyway. You’re married to your fucking job, you’re a photographer, it’s who you are,” her trembling voice exuding the stress of the night.
“Jeez, I just don’t believe it, we’ve been together for twelve years and you don’t have a clue as to who I am,” I said. “Being a photographer isn’t who I am, it’s what I do. Yes, I am one of the lucky bastards who actually makes a living at doing something he enjoys, but it’s far from who I am.”
I had been pacing back and forth all night, I finally sat down on the bed next to Diane. “Who I am is the guy who fell in love with you the minute he saw you. Who I am is a loving father and husband who hates spending time away from his wife and kids and who would give anything to be with them day and night, but who knows he can’t do that because he has responsibilities and obligations as head of the house. How do think I get the money for all this? I have a wife who just has to redecorate the house every six months, who has to have new furniture every year, who has to go to Carson’s and Marshall Fields to buy clothes for her young children, who had to go out a buy a fucking horse, for Pete’s sake, because her girl friend had one.”
Now my own eyes were starting to tear. “You got a whole closet full of expensive clothes,” I said gesturing at the closet with my had, “and yet, every time we go anywhere, you tell me you don’t have anything to wear. Yes, I’m at the studio shooting one assignment after another all day long, then I have to sit in the back editing half the night when all I can think of is how I wish I was home with my family. When I’m on location some place I sit in my motel room at night lonely and depressed because I miss my family and I can’t wait to get home. And yes, I took the job teaching at the college at night because one day we‘re going to turn around and our own kids will be going to college, and somebody has to pay for it. You really think I do all that because I don’t love you? Shit, you and the girls are all I think about, you‘re my whole life, you and the kids, not the studio…”
Now it was my voice breaking up and I had to wipe my nose with a tissue; as pissed off as I was, I knew divorcing my wife was going to be the hardest thing I ever had to do. “As far as not touching you, hell every time I reached for you at night you’d tell me you weren’t in the mood. I finally got tired of being rejected by my own wife all the time so I figured I let you make the first move, but you never did. Not once in two years did you ever reach for me in the night, or try to initiate sex in any way. Shit, you didn’t care enough to even ask me if there was something wrong. Every night for months I prayed that you‘d reach over and just give me a touch, that‘s all it would take, just a touch, but you never did. Finally I just gave up.”
Diane had her head lowered when I looked at her.
“That’s WHO I am, Diane. That’s who I am, just a simple, hard working guy who loves you and his kids with every fiber in his body, that’s who the fuck I am.”
Diane looked at me like she never saw me before. “You’re going to tell me you went on those two and three day trips with all those young models and you never once slept with one them. Remember me, I was a model for years, I know what goes on at night on those location shoots.”
“Not once, Diane,” I looked her straight in her teary, green, photogenic eyes, “not one time have ever I cheated on you with anyone, not once!”
At least she knew me well enough that she could see in my face, I was telling the truth.
She lowered her eyes again and I believe I could hear true regret in her voice. “I’m sorry,” she said, “I really am sorry. I don’t want a divorce. I promise, no more cheating… ever, and we can make love all the time if you want, but I don’t want to get a divorce.”
“Well I’m sorry too, Diane, but I’m not giving you a choice in the matter, I’m calling Larry tomorrow morning to get the paper work started.”
I couldn’t believe her face showed shock as she looked back up at me. “What did you expect, Diane?” I said, “Jeez, you didn’t even have the courtesy to lie to me.”
She looked at me and I knew she didn’t know what I was talking about, after all, she’d been lying to me for years.
“Tonight,” I said, “if you had called and said you were going out with the girls after work, or had a meeting or just about anything, that would have been one thing. I would have been suspicious, but I probably wouldn’t have gone looking for you, but you didn’t. You just fuck’n didn’t come home, no call, no nothing! You just didn’t give a damn! You didn’t give me enough respect to even try to keep it from me. What did you think I was going to do, just sit around and twiddle my thumbs, wondering where my beautiful wife was? And now you don’t want a divorce, that’s make no sense, you obviously don’t love me, you sure as hell don’t respect me.”
“That’s not true, I do respect you, very much and I do still love you. Somewhere things just got screwed up. I don’t know how it happened but it did. That doesn’t mean we can’t fix it, Dan. Think of the children, what it would do to them if we got divorced.”
“Oh, now you want me to think of the children, and when did you think of the children when you were out screwing around? I’ve been thinking of the kids, for years now, it’s the only thing that’s kept me from divorcing up till now.”
We certainly weren’t going to settle any thing, not then anyway. “Look, it’s getting late,” I said. “It’s already way past the kids bed time. Do you think you can pull yourself together enough so we can both put the kids to bed?”
Diane went into the bathroom and washed her face. In a couple minutes we both went down stairs. As we walked around the front of the couch, there they were, both cuddled together and sound asleep.
I had to turn away, my face scrunched up in the pain of knowing my life, as I knew it for the last eleven years, would soon be coming to an end. Silently I just kept asking myself why, why didn’t she love me like I loved her. I raised my left hand to wipe the tears from my eyes.
I felt her hand on my back. “It’ll be alright, honey. We’ll work through this…it’ll be okay.”
“I’ll be right back,” I said as I headed for the down stairs washroom. Now I had to rinse my face. We had to wake the kids to get them into their pajamas and get them to bed and I didn’t want them to see me crying either.
I composed myself and, together, we tucked them into bed, kissed them good-night and went back down stairs. “How about if I put on a pot of coffee and we talk,” Diane said.
“I’m done talking for the night. I was going to stay here tonight but I just can’t. I’m going to go down to that little motel on Dempster and spend the night there. I’ll be back in the morning before the kids get up.”
“Dan, don’t do that, please. Stay here, I want to make love to you tonight. It’s been so long, I want us to reconnect.”
“You really believe I would take sloppy seconds and stick my dick into you after that ass hole?” I was shocked as I heard my own voice, the intensity of emotion, the hatred, maybe not for Diane, but certainly for what she did, it was all coming out. Diane was shocked as well. I think she finally got it as she looked into my face and saw the pain I was going through.
I had never talked to Diane that way before. I think it scared her, I know it scared me. “Honey…”
“Don’t honey me!” I said, raising my voice again. “Just don’t say anything right now. This marriage is over, it’s dead and you killed it,” I said. I was getting furious all over again. I had to get out of there. I turned and went up stairs. I threw a few things in a bag then went down the stairs and out the front door without another word.
I checked into the motel and left a six a.m. wake up call. Diane would be getting the kids up at seven-thirty. That would give me plenty of time to shower, have some breakfast, and be at the house for the kids when they woke up. As it turned out it was for nothing, I didn’t sleep a wink all night. I laid there, wondering if there was some way I could salvage my marriage. I always came up with the same answer, no way in hell. As much as I loved Diane, I would never be able to trust her…never.
The motel phone rang promptly at six a.m. and a cheery fellow on the other end announced my wake call. I showered, put on some clean clothes and checked out before hitting Denny’s for breakfast.
I had devised a short term plan of action. There was a bed and a couple rooms in the back of my photography studio where I could bunk for a little while until I found an apartment. After the kids left for school I would pack some clothes and things and get set up there. Tonight, when they get home from school, I would do the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life…tell my children their mother and I are getting a divorce.
I walked into the house a little after seven. There, dressed in the same clothes she was wearing the night before, was Diane, sitting at the kitchen table just as I left her but now staring into a cup of coffee. As she lifted her head to look at me. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her. The way she’s been acting, I really didn’t think it was going to be this hard on her.
She didn’t say a word, just followed me with her eyes as I walked over and poured myself a cup of coffee. I sat down on the opposite side of the table.
“Have you been sitting here all night?” I asked.
She slowly nodded her head yes. “Are you still so angry?” she asked me. “Do you think we can talk?”
“I don’t have anything scheduled until eleven-thirty, so we can talk after we get the kids off to school, but it won’t do any good, Diane, we’re done.”
“Dan, you don’t mean that. We can work this out. Look, I admit I’ve done some bad things, terrible things. I showed you no respect and literally treated you like dirt at times. I’ve been sitting here all night trying to figure out why because, in spite of what you might think, I do respect you and I do love you, very much.”
“Diane, we’ll be getting the kids up in just a few minutes, let’s not talk about it until we get them off to school,” I said.
For the next fifteen minutes we sat in silence, each sipping our coffee. It’s amazing how many thoughts can go through a person’s head in a short period of time.
Again, for the umpteenth time in the last twelve hours, I wondered if there was a way…any way to save my marriage. I glanced up from my cup and looked into my wife’s beautiful face. A tear broke free from her eye and come to rest on an, already tear stained, high cheek bone. There it rested briefly before gravity forced it on the rest of its journey, ending on the top of the hard kitchen table.
I took a deep breath started to stand. “What do you say we get the kids up, huh.”
“Yeah,” my wife replied taking one last sip of her coffee.
As hard as I thought it was going to be to keep it together while Diane and I got the kids up and off to school, it was harder…much harder.
I almost lost it as we walked into their bedroom and I looked into their angel like, innocent faces. I almost lost it again as I bent over and kissed them on the forehead while gently shaking them to wake up.
I went down stairs and started breakfast while Diane stayed upstairs and got them washed and dressed. We all had, what I knew was our last, breakfast as a family and it took every ounce of courage I had to keep from falling apart as I hugged and kissed them both before Diane and I put them on the school bus. This was the morning routine I had grown to love so much.
“Come on,” said Diane, turning to go back into the house, “we have to talk, we’re both adults, I know we can work this out.”
I gathered up the breakfast dishes and put them in the washer as Diane rationed out the last of the coffee then made another pot. She took both cups. “Let’s go in the living room and talk, it’s more comfortable,” she said, turning and walking in that direction. She sat down on the couch with me sitting down next to her as she set the coffee cups down on the table in front of us.
“I’ve been up all night wondering why I did the things I did,” she started. “I’m not making excuses, I know there is no excuse for what I’ve done to you and our marriage, but I believe I know the reasons.”
Her hand was shaking as she reached for her coffee. “When we met we both had kind of an exciting life. You were wheeling and dealing every day, building up your business and my modeling career was going well. Hell I had three covers in one year just before meeting you.”
I sat and listened, praying she would say something that would make all the hurt go away. She continued. “When we got married my life changed drastically. I know, it was my decision to give up modeling, but it was because I wanted to settle down and make a life with you, have a family with you. But your life didn’t change, not like mine did. I don’t know what I expected, I really don’t. I knew your studio was your livelihood, our livelihood, but it was like my life had changed so significantly, I guess I just figured yours would too…but yours didn’t, your life was still exciting. You were still traveling and doing what you loved to do. I was jealous, Dan. That jealousy somehow turned to anger and I wanted to strike out and hurt you.”
She shifted her body to face me more. “I started to think about the opportunities you had to sleep with other models. I’d have coffee with some of my girlfriends and tell them I thought you were sleeping around on me and they just supported my suspicions, telling me you were a man, what did I expect. I literally convinced myself you were having affairs so I could justify having one myself.”
At that point she broke into tears and just repeated she was so sorry. I put my arm around her and pulled her to me kissing her on her forehead. I took the, now empty, coffee cup from her hand before she dropped it and held her tight. Once again tears were welling up in my own eyes.
After giving her a few minutes to settle down I went into the kitchen to fill our cups with some fresh coffee. When I returned she proceeded.
“I did have an affair with Jerry…for almost a year. It wasn’t until two or three months after we both broke it off that he confessed the whole thing to Samantha. I thought sure she was going to call you but she never did. She just told me she didn’t ever want to see or hear from me again. And, yes Bev did know, but she was the only one who knew, honest.”
I sat there trying to absorb everything. I was trying to understand. I could actually understand the jealousy part because I was always a little jealous of her being able to stay home with the kids all the time. How ironic I thought.
“What about last night; what about the guy I decked.”
“He works at the bank. He’s a loan officer. We had been together a few times before but always while you were out of town. To tell you the truth, I thought, and thought, and thought about it, I have no idea why I didn’t call and say I’d be late. Maybe I wanted to get caught, maybe I needed to get caught, I don’t know. I do know how guilty I always felt right after we were done.”
“Okay,” I said. “Look It’s getting late and I have to get down to the studio. I had planned on taking my clothes with me then coming back tonight so we could tell the kids together that we were getting divorced. I’m still going to take some clothes with me and stay at the studio for a couple days, but I just don‘t know what to do yet. I hate to do this to you, but I still have a lot of thinking to do, Diane. I’m telling you right now though, I wouldn’t get my hopes up. I just don’t see us staying together, not at this point anyway. When the kids come home tell them I’m out of town. I need some time to think.”
I went upstairs and got some clothes. Diane was waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs. “I know I screwed up, Dan,” she said, “but I don’t want to lose you. Please, give me a second chance.”
I smiled, kissed her on the cheek and left. For the next three days every waking hour was consumed with thoughts of my situation. I even cancelled all my shoots telling my clients I wasn’t feeling well. It wasn’t a lie, I felt like crap all day and all night and there was no way I could concentrate anyway.
I wanted so much to put my marriage back together. I thought about a trial separation, marriage counseling, or just flat pretending as if nothing happened. It always came down to one word though, trust. She lied to me for so long, even the other night, after being caught red handed she found it so easy to lie to me. No matter how much I loved her, no matter how much I loved my kids, it would never work. I would spend the rest of my life wondering where she was, what was she doing, and was she doing it with somebody else. I couldn’t live like that. It would kill me.
That’s exactly what I told her when I returned to the house. I think she expected it and tried to prepare herself because she took it better than I thought she would.
I called Larry, my attorney from the house and told him to start the paper work. The house was paid for. I would give it to Diane with no strings attached. She would also get everything in the house except what little camera gear I kept there, my golf clubs, and personal items. Diane asked if she could keep the wedding album and I said of course she could.
We discussed telling the kids and decided we would wait one more day. Tomorrow was Friday. I would come by after school and we would tell the kids together, then I would take them for the week-end and show them I would still be their dad and still be part of their lives.
Three weeks later I found a two bedroom condo just a mile and a half from the house. I took the larger bedroom and put in twin beds for the girls and flat screen TV. Diane gave me some of their pictures and things to hang on the wall so it would feel more like home to them.
Diane was extremely generous with visiting rights. Even though the court gave me every other week-end, Diane let me have them almost every week-end and I would sometimes come over in the evenings to help them with their homework.
This is not the end. There really is no end. Kids grow up, life goes on, passions sometimes die. Only one thing has remained a constant…Love still burns in my broken heart.