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.
“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.
“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?”
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.