My heart sank. OH FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK I thought. I texted back immediately “Oh shit. I’m so sorry.”
I was standing in my bathroom and steadied myself on my doorway as tears welled up. It’s over, I thought. I fucked up, doesn’t matter if it was an honest mistake. He’s going to think I’m crazy and now I’ve caused drama.
I took some deep breaths.
He replied: “No, my bad, don’t know phone numbers…”
“I was really worried about you.”
“Thanks for the concern, talk soon.”
“She has your name on the voicemail. I thought it was your # and you’d never changed the message. Look forward to hearing from you.”
I texted my Mom and the few girlfriends who I’d been talking to about this all weekend, to let them know.
He replied a few minutes later: “Nope I don’t have a home phone.”
I felt terrible. I didn’t know what to say other than that I was sorry. “I’m profoundly sorry if I’ve caused you any trouble.”
“Hmmmm. I’ll let you know when I’m done being accosted”.
At that point, I started to think… why is this such a big fucking deal? Yes, I made an honest mistake and left a message on his ex-wife’s machine. The address matched what he’d told me about his house. But (assuming he’s telling the truth) they have been separated for two years.
I thought about what if it was Will and I. If a woman had left a message on my machine for him, I would have found it funny. Perhaps annoying and off-putting, but I wouldn’t be yelling at him. Will remained in our house for three years after we split and left my name on the listing. Had I lost my phone and someone called there thinking it was me, he wouldn’t have lost his mind.
But in our case, we were emotionally done with each other. Neither of us wanted to get back together. We each knew the other was dating.
So what the hell was going on with Bruce’s ex-wife?
More than anything else, I was concerned he was going to end it with me. I felt like an idiot. I didn’t think I’d overreacted by leaving him one voicemail – I hadn’t sent 100 texts (just one) and hadn’t called him 100 times. Once each day to his mobile, a few times to what I thought was his home phone.
But to have made a mistake in not considering it could have been his ex-wife’s house? That’s what bothered me the most: a fault in my logic may end things with him before we really started.
He said he’d call me and I did my best to not text. At 8:30 I caved and asked if he was still being accosted. He replied he was putting the kids to bed and we could talk afterward.
At 10 pm my phone rang. We spoke for thirty minutes.
It was no laughing matter and I had every reason to feel terrible. She lost it on him, in front of the children. Screaming about why some woman was calling him and what if the kids answered the phone. She wouldn’t listen to reason – before she mentioned my name he said he had no idea what she was talking about, certainly hadn’t given anyone her number, and it could have been work related.
Once she mentioned my name, he said yes I was someone he was dating (he admitted to me he tried to downplay it at first), he had lost his phone, I had expected to hear from him, probably looked up the number and assumed it was his. What he said to his ex was pretty much exactly how it went down – and this was without my explaining anything to him. While he tried to placate her, she wouldn’t listen to reason.
He told me once he knew it was me he started looking for his phone “in earnest”. She didn’t tell him what my message was, and he admitted he was angry at me when he thought perhaps I’d deliberately left some nasty message. While he said he didn’t think I’d do that, he didn’t know, especially since she was so angry.
He said once he found his phone he could see the one text from me and the low number of missed calls, not a sign I’d lost my mind and left some angry message. “No!” I said, “I was just really worried about you. All I said was ‘Hi it’s Ann hoping you’re okay can you give me a call.'”
He admitted to me that on occasion, she seemed to want to get back together. He said it’s not what he wants, not at all. He is the one that left, even though he stayed in the house. They still do a number of things together with the children, and live close to each other to make it easier for them. Their former wedding anniversary is coming up. She had been drinking.
Right. Of course. Now it was making sense to me why she was angry.
I am the first woman he’s dated since they broke up.
I am the first woman he’s dated since they broke up two years ago, and we certainly hadn’t dated long enough to warrant him telling her he was dating someone. It wasn’t as if I was about to meet the children.
So here’s a woman who may want her ex-husband back, she hasn’t yet had to face that he’s dating, and a woman leaves a message for him on her fucking home answering machine. An answering machine that still mentions all of their names.
Jesus. What had I done?