12. That Ship Has Sailed

I went away for a few days with my family and when I came back I came to a conclusion.

Living with an enemy is horrible. I have faced what’s happening. It is what it is but if he’s going to be here for any length of time, we have to make some reasonable arrangement.

Liz and I were planning to go out to dinner . I looked at dave. He looked so lonely.  I asked him to go too. I checked with Liz first and she reluctantly said ok.

We went to the Indian restaurant on the block. He had already been drinking and ordered a martini when we sat down.

When the food came he didn’t touch it. He just talked about his tour and how successful it was. Liz, always the lady listened attentively. I didn’t even pretend to pay attention. He made a few snotty remarks like “I guess you couldn’t care less”

I didn’t respond.

He barely touched his food and even appeared to be sleeping at one point. He claimed that it was jet lag.

Clearly not buying this Liz said “Sure, after a week”

We packed up the food and went home.

Under normal situations I would have taken his arm and helped him out. This time I just got up and left.

Unfortunately poor Liz had to help him and make sure he didn’t fall into anyone’s table.

All I could think was “Soon this will be in my past.”

When we got home I said “How can you be angry at me for not being interested in a tour that you went on with your girlfriend?”

He said “I was being an asshole” and went into his room and went to bed.

The next evening he seemed ok.

We were preparing for the Hurricane.

I told him I’d make dinner that night and he could watch tv with me.

At cocktail hour Liz and David told me to come over alone.

At first I hesitated but I realized I have to fight my need to take care of dave. As I was leaving dave said “Am I not welcome?”

I felt terrible but I stood firm “I’m sorry but no. I’ll be back for dinner”

When I returned it was actually a friendly meal. We talked, rather formally but pleasantly and then we went into my room and sat in our side by side lazy boys and watched tv.

He said “Under the circumstances you are being very kind to me and I appreciate it.”

“It doesn’t change the way I feel about you” I told him “ but it’s too unpleasant living in a state of anger”

Then he said something really odd. “You’ve always been so open and honest and now I can be honest so I feel we’re even closer .”

Once again he didn’t consider me. Now that he’s being honest instead of a lying fuck I felt totally different towards him. I loved and felt closer to who I thought he was.  Honesty is way overrated.

We followed the oncoming hurricane and then went to our respective beds.

The next morning he was sleeping and I was making coffee when Rupert scratched on my door.

I let him in and Liz said come on over for coffee. I sat there for about a half hour and watched the hurricane reports and then I stood up to go home. David said “Where are you going?”

I told him “Home”

He said “Why?”

I said “ I don’t want to over stay my welcome”

He responded “That ship has sailed so long ago I can’t even spot it in the distance”

I sat down. Clearly he loves me.

11. He’s Baaaack

I went to Montauk for the weekend with Liz and David. I had the best time in there that I’ve had in years. We went to the beach, ate at Gosman’s and shopped.

The whole time I almost forgot the lump in my chest thinking about dave being there when I got home.

I arrived at about 10:30 p.m. His suitcase was in the living room. I looked in the guest room. He was sleeping. I got a reprieve.

The next morning I got up. I saw through his door that he was up and emailing. A little later I heard a female voice coming from his room. He was obviously skyping her.

I was sitting in the living room talking to my niece, Stephanie on speaker phone. He came in dressed and stood over me staring down at me. I didn’t stop talking. He finally heard me say Steff’s name and in a high voice he kept repeating “Hi Steff, Hi Steff”

I said “Dave no one in my family wants to hold a conversation with you.”  He kept repeating it.

I said “That’s not funny” he said “I think it is,” and kept repeating “hi Steph” until finally Steff just said “Hello”. That seemed to appease him

All through this he kept walking into the kitchen and drinking right out of the bottle of vodka on the refrigerator.

I continued talking to my niece until he went into his room. After I hung up I went into his room and said “Did you have something to say to me?”

“Yes” he said “I have a lot to say”

We went into the living room and he began speaking.

“I didn’t do this because of her.”

I interrupted

“You can stop right there. I have no interest in your reasons”

He got angry

“I don’t care I want to say this. I didn’t do this because of her I love her yes,  but I love you too. I probably love you more but in a different way”

That was every woman’s dream being told by her husband that his feelings for her were platonic.

He continued

“ I just didn’t like the way my life was going”

Again I interrupted.

“I better make this clear. I simply don’t care. I don’t care about you or why you did this. I am disinterested.”

The phone rang

It was my niece Julie.

“Is that your lawyer?” he asked. He was clearly drunk then.

“No, it’s Julie.”

He started the same thing he did when Steph called. “Hi Julie” over and over again. She was clearly upset by this. I could tell by her heavy breathing. Finally she said “hello” hoping to stop him. It did but then he started ranting about my having gotten a lawyer.

“I don’t see why I have to pay ½ of your lawyer. I didn’t hire her.”

I told Julie I had to hang up.

“How long do you intend to stay here?” I asked.

“As long as I’m paying ½ the rent I’ll stay here as long as I like.” He said.

I asked “How do you envision this working?”

He answered  “How do you?”

I responded “We are not husband and wife. We will not eat together or watch tv together. You will live your life and I”ll live mine.  I want you out of here whenever my family comes. They don’t want to see you or speak to you. I will shop for us both and you can make what you like”

He burst out crying.

“ I have no one. You have your family but I’m all alone. I should go back to Japan, at least I’d have her. I can eat in restaurants until it becomes too expensive but I don’t know what I’ll do then.I’ve fucked up everything. I have lost the best friend I ever had.”

I knew he was right. He was alone. I truly didn’t love him any more and maybe it was his own fault but he had no one else. I felt tremendous pity for him. Here’s where everyone reading this is going to throw up.

I put my arms around him and said “It’ll be alright. We’ll work this out. There is no reason for us to be enemies. When I’m home we can eat together.”

The phone rang. I went into the other room to answer it. It was my friend, Ronnie. She wanted to know if I’d like to meet her for dinner.  I immediately said no that I couldn’t.

I went back in the other room and looked at Dave. I realized that I was taking care of him again just as I always have.

I went back into the bedroom and called Ronnie back and told her I’d meet her.

I told Dave I wouldn’t be home for dinner. He said he’d eat in Kodama’s the restaurant near his office

10. Ick Ick Ick

I feel like throwing up.

Dave asked me to have the computer guy come and back up his computer to his new laptop.

I thought I was being hard by not hurrying to do it. I scheduled it when I had nothing else to do.

The computer guy, Ron came today.

While he was transferring things I saw a title with M and M on it in his document folder.

I asked him to open it.

It was a 15 page porno letter written by her giving blow by blow (pun intended) details of their sex life. Ick Ick Ick

9. Yikes! I snore!

He’s been gone for several weeks.

I used to watch a lot of tv. I watch very little now.

I see friends constantly.

I went to my niece’s wedding in Boston.

I went away for the weekend with Stephanie and her sister Laura. That was so much fun except for one thing. We all shared a room and I discovered I snore. In the middle of the night Stephanie actually took her blanket and pillow and slept on a couch in the lobby. Laura, the sweetest girl in the world said she actually found it comforting.

By the way “discovered” isn’t exactly the right word.  dave had mentioned that I snore but he was always so drunk and we slept with the tv on so it didn’t really bother him.

My sister Marcia and I are planning a cruise together and this could be a problem.

I told Liz and David about it when I got home. Liz, always kind and helpful, told me that there are a lot of things you can do for it.

David told me that snoring suggests sleep apnea which results in premature senility. The guy never disappoints me.

Now the time is getting close for dave to return.  He’s made it clear that he intends to come back as soon as his tour ends.  I don’t know what to make of it.

If he’s in love, why rush home? I still call it home even though I don’t want it to be home for him any more.

I look at our finances and though we could live pretty well if this had never happened, I don’t know how we can afford 2 New York apartments.

Does that mean I’m destined to have someone who gives me the willies living in my den forever?

I’m hoping that he’ll come home and tell me he wants to marry her and then it will be out of my hands.

This is not how it’s supposed to be.

When this first happened every woman I told said he would have been thrown out the night he told me about her.

I don’t know why I didn’t do that. I know for sure it wasn’t because I hoped he changed his mind. I had settled for what had become  a mostly boring marriage because I felt loved and it was us against the world.

The minute he said the words “I’m in love with a Japanese woman”, continuing in this marriage became impossible for me.

I could have accepted an affair that he tried to keep from me because it would mean that he still put “us” first and wanted to protect me.

The fact that he could say those words to me, even if he changed his mind later was a deal breaker as far as I was concerned.

There were times in my marriage that I wished I had someone else but the thought of hurting him went right to my heart.

Even in this blog I can’t be as cruel as I’d like to be.

There are so many things I could say that would wound him as he’s wounded me but there are lines I won’t cross.

Until we come to some legal agreement, I guess he’ll stay here.

How on earth can that work? My family hates him. What about Sundays?  Violet has planned to spend her birthday here. She’s invited a few friends. I don’t want him here.

Thanksgiving won’t be a problem. He can go to Nebraska to visit his family although it’s been so long, they may not even recognize him.

He doesn’t seem to get it either.

When he came home that night before leaving for Japan, even though he was sleeping in the den, he came into the bedroom and sat next to me and watched tv as he always did.

I know what you’re saying. Why didn’t I tell him to get out? Beats me.

I’m going out to Montauk next weekend with Liz and David. When we return on Sunday he’ll be here.

8. That bitch dyed his hair

I made sure I had plans the night he was coming home to sleep.

Unfortunately I got home before he did so I went over to Liz’ house I guess to hide. She and David asked me to stay over so I wouldn’t have to see him at all but I refused. I think it was because I wasn’t afraid to see him but I hope it wasn’t because I wanted to make sure he didn’t need anything.

When he walked in I was shocked to see that she had dyed his hair.

So much for “He can’t manage without me”

We mostly didn’t speak except for a few “Do you know where  my…. is?”

After awhile I asked what his plans are. “Will you be moving to Japan?”

He answered with that disbelieving look,

“Kawashima went apeshit when I suggested it. He said if I move there it will ruin my career.  I think that’s ridiculous. I’m Dave Matthews! I have the #1 big band and small group in Japan!”

I didn’t want to say it but ahem there’s a Dave Matthews that’s a little more famous than you are.

He added “Anyway things are a bit crazy now. ”

“With your girlfriend?” Although I knew her name then because I saw it on the bills American Express sent for her plane tickets, I couldn’t bring myself to say it.

“Yes” he answered “Her daughter is having a baby and first she wouldn’t let us come to visit unless we were married, now I’m persona non grata I don’t know why.”

“Oh all of a sudden they’re so moral? Her screwing a married man was ok with them though?”

He just shrugged and smiled.

I was actually thinking that spending time with a big star in first class hotels was one thing, coming to the USA and going on a 31 ft boat that keeps breaking down and following it up with a hotel with a shared bathroom was quite another thing.

“Well if you’re not moving to Japan right now what are your plans?”

He didn’t miss a beat. “Well, I’m coming back here after the tour until February. I’ll sleep in the den”

I never asked what happens in February. I assume he and sluthead are going back to the boat.

“dave, you see how uncomfortable it is with you staying here.”

“We’ll get used to it”

It didn’t seem to occur to him that maybe I didn’t want to ‘get used to it’

I just said  “I don’t think so”

He looked at me in surprise and said practically in a whine “ But I have no place else to go”

Here’s the crazy part. My heart went out to him. I felt sorry for him.

I didn’t even think of saying any of the things that my sister and even my lawyer said when I told them about this:

“Ain’t my problem”

“You had to know that there would be consequences to getting a girlfriend”

or even my sister’s

“Tell your whore to take you in” or

“ Go fuck yourself you little shit!”

His suitcase was on the floor open. I noticed several packs of Marlboro in it.

“You smoke now?” I asked

“Yes”

backup plan #3.

The next morning just as he was leaving I said “When this is all over I never want to see your face or hear your voice again. If we keep the corporation and need to contact each other for work problems it will be by text or email”

This was the first negative thing I’d said since this whole thing started. He looked surprised but said once again

“I understand”

He left.

I breathed a sigh of relief. I had a month to think about what to do.

That night the phone rang at 2 a.m. It was dave.

“I landed safely. You can go back to sleep”

I just looked at the phone. Was he crazy?

The next day I got an email from him

if you want to hear a slightly disgusting, very embarrassing and bizarre ly hillarious story. i will tell it to you. i cant tell it to anybody else.

if you want you can put it in your blog. it certainly doesnt make me look very good but i think its very strangely funny

I had told him a week or so ago that I planned on writing a blog. Still my last words to him didn’t exactly encourage friendly contacts. I can only guess that the finality of what I said got to him. Using the term “I can’t tell it to anyone else” said a lot. I guess he realized that one of the things he was losing was a best friend. I didn’t answer the email.

As for the blog, When I told her several weeks ago my lawyer said that I can’t post it until all papers are signed.

I thought if I got his permission that might make it ok.

I sent him the following email:

Subject: can I have your permission

to write a blog about what I’m going through? It may not be that complimentary to you but you’ve always considered the laugh the important thing.

If I can, email me back stating that whatever I write is ok with you. I don’t want some shyster lawyer talking you into suing me later.

mattie

His answer:

I hereby officially and legally authorize you to write any thing about me that you want.

officially signed

The lawyer still suggested I wait to post it.

7. His hair was in a braid

The next day dave showed up.

He looked very thin and kind of old. My heart went out to him but then I noticed that his hair was in a braid. Obviously he hadn’t done that himself. It brought me back to reality.

I just went in my room.

He went in what had been his office. His computer was there but nothing else was as he left it.  He showed no reaction.

He asked me if I knew where his computer glasses were. I was standing in the doorway of my room I couldn’t even talk because I was crying. Tears were streaming down my face. Not only didn’t he make reference to it, he didn’t move towards me or show any reaction at all. He kept talking about his glasses. He turned and went back into the office

“A Stranger With the Face of My Best Friend”.

On one of his visits he told me she was leaving on the 19th and he was leaving for the tour on the 20th so he’d like to spend that night here.

I said ok.

On another day I asked him where he was staying now.

“On 37th street”

The only way I can describe the smile on his face was ‘conspiratorial’ as if we were both sharing a bummer

“The room is so small you can barely move in it. We share a bathroom!”

His eyebrows went up “and it still costs $1000 a week!”

I knew he wanted me to sympathize with him because he and his squeeze were crowded.

I just stared at him.

On another of the days he told me he had a scary symptom. I’ll save you from knowing what it was. I pooh poohed it. He said if it didn’t improve he would go to the doctor when he got back. That seemed soon enough to me.

Unfortunately it cleared up. I know because every time he saw me he kept me informed of the condition of his ‘situation’.

I asked him how he was feeling, meaning physically. He answered;

“I feel bad about hurting you but very happy about my decision”

There was that knife again.

A few days before the girl left he said “When I come over on the 19th can we go out to dinner or should I eat before I come?”

“I don’t know”

“Ok, we’ll see”

Just as he was closing the door, I panicked.

I said “We can go out to dinner”

He smiled that creepy smile and said “I’ll pay”

After he left I felt ashamed of myself, wondering what someone would have to do to me to give me a backbone.

Later that day I sent him an email with “I changed my mind” on the subject line. It said:

Dave

I hope you understand but I can’t have dinner with you on the 19th.

I feel like a fool that I even contemplated it.

We are not friends.

Mattie

I pressed ‘send’ before I could think about it and was relieved to see that I immediately felt better.

At first he sent back his new usual:

“I understand”

A few days later he followed it up with;

“I’m the one who was foolish. What would we talk about?”

6. Dear Alan Rubin

Although I never expected it I started hearing from the musicians. They either called or emailed me telling me that they were shocked and were available for anything I needed.

Then a terrible thing happened. Alan Rubin, Mr Fabulous in more ways than one way, died.

How do I describe Alan. He was simply outrageous. He said things that made everyone cringe and laugh.  He was a great trumpet player and one of the funniest guys I ever met.

I knew he had cancer and though he seemed to be beating it in the end that wasn’t the case.

I sent an email to his wife asking if it would be alright for me to visit. I thought I could give her a break and he and I always liked each other. I planned to walk into his room and say “You think YOU have problems?”

To my deep sadness he died the next morning.

The family was sitting Shiva in his sister’s house on Park Avenue. It never occurred to me not to go but I was a little nervous seeing everyone. By now they had all heard that I had been dumped.

I asked my friend Ronnie to meet me in the lobby of the building so I wouldn’t have to walk in alone.

We went in and I looked around. Practically every musician I had worked with and socialized with was in that room.

If it had been any other occasion it would have been a great hang. Even here, there were no sad faces. Everyone was telling Alan stories.

Alan’s wife Mary said that when he heard that dave had left me he said “Why?” and one of the guys said maybe he wanted to have fun before he gets too old. Alan said “Who could he have more fun with than Mattie?”  See why I loved him?

I walked over to several long time friends. They hugged me, looked at me with sad eyes and immediately turned away. I understood. It was uncomfortable to be around me.

It brought another truth home to me. I lost more than a husband. I was no longer a member of this group. I was an outsider and didn’t belong any more.

There were only 2 people who treated me exactly the same as always, Kenny Ascher, a magnificent musician and a long time friend and Lew Soloff.

Lew Soloff is one of the best and most famous trumpet players in the world.  He used to play with Blood Sweat and Tears and every major star that ever performed or recorded. He was in practically every band dave ever had. He’s called me several times to tell me how stupid my husband was. You can never hear enough of that.

In spite of the knowledge that dave was in love paradise and the music business was probably no longer in my future, I felt more in touch with the world than I had in years. If only it weren’t for the dreams.

The days were fine but the dreams were terrifying. They were dreams of abandonment and fear. Sometimes I dreamt of my two dead sisters or my parents. Often it was dave walking away from me in one guise or another

When I got into bed at night it was a mixture of emotions. First I stretched out and felt totally happy that there was no one I had to cater to but as it got closer to dave’s return date, on the edge of that happiness was dread that the dreams would come.

I finally sent him a text saying that I would appreciate him letting me know what day he was coming home.

He didn’t answer for a few days. My friend, Susan, said that maybe that sounded like I wanted him to come back to me. I clarified it by sending another email

It said:

As you understand it will be uncomfortable for me when you come back. I know that you need to gather your music for the tour and get your visa and visas for the band ( a job that I usually did)

I would really like to know in advance when you are coming.

He answered:

I plan to be in new york from July 10 to July 20. It might take a while to get all of my stuff out of the apartment.

I wrote:

Are you planning on staying here when you come back on July 10?

When you say you are packing all your stuff do you mean just for the tour or to leave forever?

He answered:

I thought it would be uncomfortable to you if I stayed there but I have spent a fortune and a hotel is very expensive. I’m trying to find a room for the week.

Forever?

I had hoped we could be friends. I still hope so but it’s up to you.

…I need a new computer. Any way could you call Debra and have Ron (our computer guy) get me a new one and transfer all data from my tower or should I?

From me to him:

You can stay here.

I made the den into a guest room. We have been together for 45 years. We can stay under one roof.

There is a lot of business we have to take care of.

He answered:

With her?

I don’t want to make you uncomfortable.

“A Stranger With the Face of My Best Friend”.

I had determined that I was going to stay in the apartment for the whole time that girl was in nyc. The thought of him bringing her into my home made me want to throw up. He promised he wouldn’t but I didn’t know him any more.

The first day he didn’t call and he didn’t come over. Then I got a call from Jim, the guy who is the librarian for dave’s music.

He asked if he could pick up the music and bring it over to his office to work on it.

I was relieved because that meant that it would cut down the time that dave would need to be in the apartment.

Jim arrived and  put his arms around me. He said “The guy’s a fucking asshole”

I put the passports and the visa forms and dave’s bank checks and personal amex card in with the music.  At my suggestion he had applied for these things so he could pay for his slut with cards and money other than our joint accounts.

I sent dave a text saying I was doing this.

5. Dave and his babe go cruisin” on my boat

By this time my whole family knew. How do I explain my family?

What happens to one, happens to all. If you’re loved by one, you’re loved by all. Do I have to carry this on to if you hurt one?

My niece Julie was in the supermarket when her mother called her and told her about me and dave. She just put her groceries back and went home. She felt sick.

Stephanie had to hang up and lie down when I told her.

My little niece, Sadie, said “When she dumps him I’m going to fly to Japan and laugh in his face. Ha! Ha!’

Dave had been loved by my family, first of all because I loved him and also because he was always generous and happy to see any of them.

But when he did the unthinkable, it was if he had been a president erased from Mount Rushmore. He no longer existed to any of them.

My days became filled with phone calls. My nephews all called me on their way to and from work. My nieces each of them called all thru their days.

And my sister, my sister barely got off the phone with me. Each of them trying to give me comfort.

One good side to this was that I was forced to act upbeat because I knew how we all felt about each other. If I lay in my bed in a ball, something that I was a hair away from doing, they would all suffer with me. A brave face gave them some peace and surprisingly made me feel better too.

The night before dave left for the boat he sat on the bed and told me that his girlfriend, I still didn’t know her name, would be flying in at 6 a.m. and then they would catch a plane to Florida.

“You know how hard it is for me to wake up that early” he said looking at me pleadingly.

I just looked at him in shock “You can’t be serious, I’m not waking you up.”

He just said “well will you show me how to set the alarm?”

I did.

And I also did something else. When I looked in his suitcase I saw he hadn’t put in his skin cream or his sun protective clothes. I just threw them in without saying anything.

The next morning he stood at the foot of the bed and said good- bye. I didn’t answer.

He said “I understand” and left the apartment.

It was like a light came on. I jumped out of bed. I saw that he left his dirty underwear on the floor by the bed. I picked them up and put them in the wash. Later I wondered why I didn’t just throw them away.

I grabbed his pillows and put them in the hall closet. I stripped the bed and put on clean sheets.

I felt happy and free for the first time since this whole thing started.

In fact I felt happier than I’d felt in years.

The stress of having him in the house and pretending that he wasn’t spending every moment emailing and phoning his girlfriend in Japan had really gotten to me.

I made dinner plans with friends and had play dates. I went to my first movie in 15 years (dave couldn’t sit through a movie, we watched everything on video). In case you’re interested, it was “Bad Teacher”. Loved it.

My most rebellious moment occurred around mouthwash. Dave was a constant user of Listerine. The day before he broke his girlfriend news I had gone to Costco and bought 6 big bottles of the mouthwash.

I returned them all.

And most importantly I turned his office into a guest room. The office was a dusty mess because he wouldn’t let anyone touch his piles of papers and cd’s. I rarely went in there in winter because he kept the heat up so high and in summer, well, just the dust.

I bought big plastic containers and filled them with the cds, papers and magazines with his face either on the cover or inside.

In an effort to show me support Sunday had become a traditional family day with my niece, Julie, her husband, Paul and sweet Violet.

Paul dragged heavy book cases etc down to the basement to be thrown out. I had my super take out the 20 year old couch and one Sunday as part of our entertainment we all went to Sleepy’s so I could buy a new bed for the “guest room”.

In the bed store while Violet went around testing all the mattresses, I picked out a top of the line trundle bed. No longer would my visiting relatives have to sleep on a pull out couch in the living room.

I was a little scared when the salesman added up the purchase. Julie had a look of disbelief on her face when I said to the guy

“Listen, I just got dumped by my husband after 36 years. Can’t you do a little better on the price?”

He said “I can’t but let me call my boss.”

He dialed. “There’s a lady here who just got dumped by her husband after 36 years, is there anything we can do for her? Take off $150 bucks if she buys it right now?” He looked at me. I nodded.

I was really happy.

First of all I felt like I had taken back control of my apartment and part of my life. Second I saved $150.

It was strange that though there had not been one day in my married life when I had not either seen or spoken to dave on the phone, I didn’t miss him at all.

Other than my strong commitment to never giving Rupert a lonely moment, I felt so free. I could stay out as long as I liked and eat dinner at whatever time there happened to be a dinner served.

One thing I haven’t yet mentioned was that even though dave assured me that we didn’t need a lawyer because I could trust him, I got a lawyer. Only a stupid person would have bought into his reassurances. I no longer knew this man.

She was recommended to me by close friends. She was smart and comforting and expensive. I figured it probably cost me 35 bucks just to shake her hand at the door but I’ve never regretted hiring her.

On occasion she’d ask me questions or give me advice that would make it necessary for me to contact dave on the Love Boat.

I would text him and he’d give me terse one or two word answers. He always gave me the answer I wanted but he included not one personal word.

Occasionally he’d text me to tell the band something or send an email to one of the promoters of the tour.

A few days after he left I received an email from his Japanese partner and a close friend for 25 years.

Mattie sama

I love you forever !  I cannot find any other word.

I do hope we can keep working together !

Kawa

My days were really busy. I visited my niece, Stephanie, I spoke on the phone constantly (mostly with my sister but almost every other member of the family called me daily) and the Sunday ritual was becoming more and more fun.

4. What part of dumped don’t I understand?

For the next 10 days I didn’t really know how to act.

We slept in the same bed but he came in only hours before I woke up. He spent the nights emailing his girlfriend.

At first I made dinner as usual but then I realized that was an unnecessary discomfort so I started making enough for us both but eating alone and telling him to help himself.

My friend and neighbor Liz, who was the first to know what was going on insisted that I come over each evening to get out of the house.

Liz and I became fast friends 14 years ago when she got a new puppy, a poodle named Rupert. From the very beginning, she and I exchanged keys and shared our homes. If one of us runs out of, say coffee, we go to the other’s house to get it.  Each morning Rupert scratches on my door and stays with me until Liz comes home. We often say Rupert has 2 mommies.

Liz is someone I’ve always admired. She is kind, smart and reliable and has always been there for me.

During this period when liz was working late, her fiancé, David, would send me an email at around 5 saying simply “Cocktails?”.

Now how do I explain David?  Frankly I’ve never known anyone like him. He’s a right wing WASP. He proudly describes himself as a Protestant, Republican gun owner from Texas.  I like to refer to him as a whacko but out of respect for Liz I don’t say it that often.

He seems to think that there is no difficulty that can’t be cured by pulling out a gun and spouting some John Wayne or Clint Eastwood saying.

I won’t go so far as to call him a racist but there is no racial, ethnic or religious stereotype that he doesn’t embrace.

To be fair, he treats Liz like she was made of glass. I’ve never heard him be anything but sweet and solicitous of her.

He has been known to roll his eyes when he walks in and sees me in his house with Liz but I just ignore that. He refers to me as Ethel Mertz and never speaks of me without using the word “omnipresent”.

It always made Liz furious when he would start telling me the worst possible thing that could result from any action I thought of taking.

His response?

“I know you (Liz) wish I would say “Everything will be just fine” but I’m doing her a favor telling her the ‘truth’”

He also delighted in sending me emails about hunting or any Democrat that got in trouble. The Anthony Wiener mess made him elated beyond belief for weeks.

Here’s the mystery. During this period when I’d get some bad news I couldn’t get to him fast enough.

He’d usually be nice to me until the worst was over then he proceeded to remind me that my life is in the shitter.

Anyway 5:30 became cocktail time. Liz even remarked that she was getting used to coming home to us sitting on the couch drunk.

Each night Dave would come home, see no one there and ring Liz’ bell or just open Liz’ door and peek in. He’d join us and chat away until they were ready to have dinner.

He asked me if I had told Liz and her David. I said no. I was learning to lie too. How he missed the two of them looking at each other strangely each night when he showed up I don’t know.

The conversation was cheerful and friendly. Dave frequently made reference to things we had done together and talked of the future as if there was one.

We’d go home and not say another word to each other

It was only a matter of days before dave was leaving for Florida.

He came into the room one day when I was on the phone talking to a friend making dinner plans for the next night.

“How about Greek food?” I said.

Dave interrupted

“We could go to Astoria.”

I said ‘”dave, you aren’t invited, I’m making plans to eat with Ronnie.”  I never in all my married life made dinner plans with a friend if dave was available.

A look of genuine shock came over his face

“But I’m not leaving until Saturday.”

Though he had removed me from his life, he still expected to be included in every part of mine.

The next night I was at Ronnie’s house ready to leave for dinner and my cell phone rang.

It was dave.

“Where are you?” he asked

“I’m at Ronnie’s”

“Should I come up?”

“No”

What part of I’m leaving to go on a month vacation with my girlfriend and I love her, not you, didn’t he understand? Did he expect no repercussions to this?

For that matter what part didn’t I understand? I had to fight my feeling to run home.

3. A stranger with the face of my best friend

I have to say that though I acted fine I looked at him with different eyes. I had once written a song called “A Stranger With the Face of My Best Friend” and now those words were coming to life for me. I had been a wife that cut her husband’s meat and took the lobster out of the shell for him. I was always terrified that something would happen to him. Every time he took a plane he’d call me when he landed no matter what the time because he knew I couldn’t sleep until I knew he was safe.

Now I didn’t care if he ate or starved.

I said to myself that life is even easier this way. I am comfortable with this life. I will be financially secure and I don’t have to be constantly afraid that something will happen to him. I just didn’t care if it did.

Except for that, I felt like life had gone back to nearly normal and even that started to pass.

That is until a few weeks later at 5 in the morning when he said

“I have something to tell you. I’m in love with a Japanese woman.”

I was making him poached eggs at the time.

I turned off the stove, walked into the living room and sat on the couch. I didn’t say a word. That frozen thing came back.

He said he didn’t want a divorce. He just wanted some kind of money distribution because he felt guilty using our money on her.

I asked how long it had been going on and he said about a year. This was a surprise to me because he was in Japan each year for not much more than a month and he never stayed beyond the tour schedule, something I would have thought nothing of.

He said she was 50 years old and had 3 grown children. She spoke little english

I asked him how he saw this playing out.

He said he wanted to spend about 3 months with her in Japan and 3 months on our sailboat with her

He added that he’d like to spend the other 6 months living here with me.

He said he knew it was silly but ideally he hoped to make her a part of our family. He even said he asked her if she could be friends with me and she said

“I have no grudge against Mattie-san”

I just looked at him thinking “That’s big of her”.

Then he turned and ran into his office . He came back with a self satisfied look on his face and  said

“I told her I told you.”

What was he waiting for I wondered? Me to say “Great, what did she say?”

This man is not someone I know. I always thought he ‘gets me’. If I told a joke and no one laughed I’d look around the room and he’d have a smile on his face, more to show me he was with me than that the joke was funny.

He stood over me looking trying to look sad.

“Do you actually want me to feel sorry for you?” I asked him incredulously

“No, I just feel bad about what I’m doing to you, but it’s necessary.” His tone was removed.

The whole time all I could think about was how did I stay married to him for 36 years and not have any idea that he could be this unfeeling about hurting me?

He kept saying we don’t need lawyers. We can work this out by ourselves. He reassured me that he would be more than fair. He’d give me more than half. I could trust him. I just stared at him.

“I know I know,” he said “ you think you can’t but you can, you’ll see.”

I asked him “Do you intend to move to Japan?”

“Probably.  Now that we don’t have a marriage anymore, there is nothing keeping me here.”

I was stunned at his dismissal of our 45 years together. This was new to me yet he had obviously moved on.

I told him I needed to take this in.

He continually brought her up. “Do I want to know her name?”, “Her parents want us to get married” “I’m not sure I want to marry again”

I finally stopped him and said,

“Do not speak to me about anything but business.”

In another 7 or 8 weeks he was leaving on another tour. This time with his smaller group.

Again, due to the situation in Japan we had to find replacements for the whole band..

There was a lot of panic about this. This was the number one group in Japan. Each member had his own fans. dave was asked to write to each of the venues and explain the substitutions. This kind of thing was my job.

I was numb but moving as if everything was the same, except for the not speaking thing.

I decided to tell the venues that when it was known that the regular band had decided not to take the risks of traveling all over Japan even thru some of the hardest hit areas, the best musicians in town started calling dave , asking if they could fill in to give support to the brave Japanese people in their time of need.  This seemed to help them accept the replacements. Only one club backed out.

About 6 weeks before he was leaving he announced that he was having his girlfriend come to America in about 10 days and they were going to spend about a month on our boat in the Florida Keys before leaving for his tour.

He expected an argument although my immediate reaction was, “I think that will be easier.”

What was I really thinking?

Good Luck to your shithead slut. The best part of this whole thing was that I would never have to go on that fucking boat again.