I have chronic shoulder and neck pain; have probably never mentioned it. It’s stress and posture related, and I was in agony that night. I opened a bottle of prosecco with a goal of getting a little drunk before he showed up. Feeling dramatic, I chose to make the cocktails we had on our first date. Prosecco, ginger liqueur, and orange curaçao. Gorgeous drink. It hurt emotionally to make it.
I wanted all the pain and anger to wash over me. I hadn’t ever really let it all out, I always let Tony’s intentions limit my responses to his actions. In other words, I’ve always told myself since he didn’t intend to hurt me, I could get over it. I have been ultra understanding and kind, this whole time.
But it would be the same thing as me saying HWSNBN’s behavior was okay because he loved me desperately. And I certainly didn’t allow it in that case.
A few readers commented I shouldn’t be angry, it’s a wasted emotion. Sorry but I said FUCK NO to that. My anger needed to be felt, I needed to let it flow through my veins like ice. When I’m very angry I get very cold; it’s pretty rare.
It wasn’t as though I hadn’t expressed anger and sadness to Tony before. He’d seen it and heard it. But not like this. You see, the last couple of months the only way I was able to see him was because I’d finally let go of the yearning to have him as my boyfriend or any future partner. As I said before, I realized I wasn’t sure if I caught the fish I would want it anyway.
I don’t think I’ve written much about it.
Anyway. He has provided more pleasure and comfort than pain. It’s been good.
I drank my drink, and when I was on my third I decided to do some self-therapy on my neck and shoulder. This involves lying on the floor with a softball (in this case) under the parts that hurt. I was still wearing a black dress from work that day, nylons removed.
Music. I needed a soundtrack. I love music and usually what I listen to is determined by my mood.
My choice? Beyoncé’s new album “Lemonade”. I was laying on my floor with a softball under my shoulder, listening to “Hold Up” over and over again, and drinking my third cocktail.
And that’s exactly how Tony found me when he let himself in.
He wasn’t sure what to make of me lying there, he asked if I was hurt and helped me up. I gave him a glass of water (his choice), he commented on my choice of drink, and we moved to the couch where we sat, facing each other, not touching.
And I let it all out.
I said absolutely everything in my head until my anger was spent. What did I say?
Well, pretty much everything. I used the word “fucking” a lot. As in, you’re a fucking liar. You’ve fucking strung both of us along for 18 months, and it’s fucking bullshit. If she believes your lies then maybe you fucking deserve each other. I can’t believe you fucking lied to my face over and over again. It is fucking bullshit that you didn’t plan for this, you could have fucking told me what was going on. I feel like a fucking idiot for not seeing your goddamn true colors two fucking months after we started dating when you fucking cheated on me. I have put forth so much emotional energy on this fucking relationship and this is what happens? I should have trusted my fucking gut which knew you were spewing bullshit about the trip. Here you are and you fucking lied to her about travelling with me and how it’s come full circle and you fucking lied to me about travelling with her. You’re a fucking cheater and you’re just going to back to her and fucking cheat on her again. I’ve become truly your fucking mistress and I fucking deserve better than that. I can’t fucking believe you think getting back together is better for your kid.
Get the gist?
I told him I felt hurt he didn’t trust me enough to tell me what was (fucking) going on. That of course I wasn’t going to be happy knowing he was going on vacation with her, but ultimately if he and I didn’t have a basis of truth about the path he was on, then what kind of relationship were we going to have?
I told him everything I needed to tell him. The anger was gone. All the resentment I was still carrying from his actions way back in Chapter One, last February, was gone.
What filled the anger was sadness.
I looked at this man on my couch and felt sorry for him. He wasn’t going to be happy, he’s sorely misguided about what’s best for his child, he’s going to go back to an unhappy marriage and never move forward. I’m far more significant to his life than he is to mine (and not to say he’s not important, it’s all a matter of degrees.)
I was so sad that here I was, almost 18 months after meeting him, and I’d gotten to a good place where he was a positive force in my life, secure and known, and he has to go fuck it up by lying to me.
I realized in that moment I had never really contemplated what would happen when he decided to move back. I had presumed it would be unlikely to happen any time soon, and I would probably find someone to date before then and Tony – at my choosing – would be relegated to an occasional phone call.
It was so goddamned arrogant, I suppose.
(Now he hasn’t moved in yet, so we can still take bets when it’s going to happen.)
Then I was overwhelmed with the loss of this love, the actual realization that – because I don’t want it and he can’t do it – there is no hope for us. I let go of the yearning, because I realized he is not the man for me in his current state. But it all really hit me in that moment.
I leaned forward and practically crawled into his lap, putting my arms around his. We stayed like that for several minutes.
Then I told him about a conversation I’d had with Liam just the night before. Liam, my sweet boy, who is in love with a girl in his class who he fears doesn’t love him back.
“Honey, that’s a problem that applies to being 8 years old or 42. But you know what, when you love someone? You have to put yourself out there and risk they won’t love you back.”
My voice cracked.
“Sometimes people don’t love you back, sweetheart, but loving them is amazing. Liam asked me who didn’t love me back, and I said you didn’t Tony, which is why now we are just friends.” I couldn’t hold back the tears anymore.
As I leaned into Tony’s shoulder, sobbing, he said “But Ann, of course I love you back. I always have.”
The images in this series are from the Cary Grant movie “My Favorite Wife”