I practiced years being steady on ever-shifting ground as my husband spat comments such as:
“Those girls at the gym have hard bodies” – when I didn’t.
“That bitch at work didn’t take my advice so I quit” – just about every 4 to 8 months.
“Oh, I forgot to tell you, I bought two horses today” – how do you handle that one?
Handling and hiding these and the hundreds of other unfortunate surprises through the years made me more resilient – or so I thought. I juggled bills, covered embarrassing social faux pas, and patched together a façade of normal life. His verbal abuse, laziness, joblessness, reckless spending, controlling and unpredictable behavior caused strain. I struggled with the question that all people in such relationships ask: How bad is bad enough? In July of 2008, I found out one evening before dinner.
It happened as I slouched over the 10-foot-long, granite-topped, cherry desk Bill had purloined from work and installed in our family computer room. The desk was one of many items parading through the garage door over the years that, for some reason, each of his employers “didn’t need any more”. They included: the aforementioned cherry desk as well as ones made from oak and pine, metal shelving, smooth rolling executive office chairs, power drills with multiple attachments, air compressors, insulated coveralls, scrubs in a rainbow of colors, stethoscopes, scalpels, blood pressure cuffs, stair steppers, stationary bikes, commercial grade cleaners, yards and yards of carpet and ceramic tile, weed eaters, lawn mowers, horse saddles and bits, wood fencing, and even, yes, paper clips.
Since his average tenure varied from six months to a year, it was a colorful parade. He bragged proudly of his catches. Like a cat bringing home a prized dead mouse to lie at your feet. I protested the first few years, and then gave up as I realized it was futile.
So that evening at the granite and cherry desk, I ignored the brilliant, late-afternoon sun and engrossed myself in our chronic financial uncertainty. I wish I could turn back time. I would protest stronger.
“Momma, can I play on the computer?” Julie, my 7-year-old, leaned over my shoulder.
“Sure, honey, go ahead. Pull up the other chair.” I kissed her cheek absently and paid the first mortgage then the second mortgage.
“It won’t work. Can you do it for me?” Thinking she wanted attention, I gladly shelved the bills and hopped over to her chair. She snuggled in my lap as I typed in the password. The screen saver disappeared. Bill’s email account was up and previewing a Craigslist confirmation. I nearly minimized it until I read the subject line:
POST/EDIT/DELETE : (casual encounters) sex with your wife or gf – m4mw.
I went cold, then hot and abruptly scootched Julie off my lap, distracting her from the screen.
“Julie, honey, can you go set the table for dinner? We’re going to eat in a few minutes.”
“But, Mooooom! I want to play on Webkinz! I didn’t get to play!”
“I don’t think it’s working now. Go! Close the door behind you.” My fingers flew pulling up Cragislist in another window, typing the confirmation number listed in the email.
——Sex with your wife or gf – m4mw – 36 (South Albany) Date: 2008-07-22, 6:44PM EDT Looking for a relationship with a couple. This would be with consenting adults. This situation would be best where the man can’t keep up with the women’s drive but wants her to be satisfied or if the man thinks he might enjoy watching his wife being pleasured by another. This would be all the way through to an orgasm but not necessarily intercourse (her choice) so please be serious about the decision and PLEASE talk it over. Bottom line would be helping the relationship out. This is not for those who are having problems in their relationship thinking this will spice it up, it won’t. This is more for those who are secure in their love for one another and think they might want to take it to the next level. Love and sex are two different things. No jealous types please. I am 6’1, 180, muscular, very fit, strawberry blond hair, brown eyes 8+/10. There might be some kissing, massage, foreplay, music, etc…whatever it takes for her. Searching for average and above couples. Absolute discretion, no getting together without the other being present unless we meet first. Prefer between ages 30-40, please weigh under 150, no D/D, condoms a must. Please send your pic, turn-ons turn-offs, what you plan on getting out of this if selected. I am sincere so please be too. Location: South Albany
What a considerate little prick he is! He actually doled out relationship advice as a bonus to the ‘buyer’–enlightening others on subjects he knows nothing about. I forwarded the confirmation to my sister in Tucson, deleted the forward and marked the original email as ‘unread’, erasing any obvious evidence that I had been there. I couldn’t get caught in the act of catching him. The buzzing in my ears spoke of the adrenaline blasting through my system. Back to the bills, my heart raced, blood pounded.
“What do you want for dinner?” I blurted when he walked in.
Later that evening, I covertly called my sis in Tucson. She needed no explanation.
“I already printed it out. Want me to mail it to your work?”
“Yes,” I confirmed. “Several copies.”