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.

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