The next morning I was in that blissful half-asleep state with no memory of the previous evening. The sheets entangled my legs as the cats purred happily against me. Life seemed simple and carefree. The sunlight streamed through the blinds while the chirping of the birds coaxed me into a peaceful unawareness of the night before. It wasn’t until I climbed out of bed that the memory assaulted my consciousness. An uneasy nauseous feeling struck my stomach and the world turned cold and dreary. Panic bubbled within me as I wondered if I made a horrific mistake. Every fiber of my being wanted to return to the tangled soft sheets of denial. My shoulders sagged with the weight of my decision as I replayed the text exchange in my head.
It was over.
As suspected, facing my husband was difficult. I slinked downstairs to find him waiting for me. He sipped his coffee with a certain deliberateness as if he was exercising restraint. I expected him to lash out in anger but there was only compassion. He had pain in his eyes but spoke with a gentle voice of understanding. In fact, he articulated my feelings better than I could even do. He acknowledged that he knew that him and Amy were on the train headed towards love and I was left in the station with a ticket waiting for Brad to arrive. He appreciated that I wanted to be on the same track as him and Amy and agreed that it wasn’t fair to me. He encouraged me to speak with Amy in person so I invited her for an impromptu lunch.
I met with Amy and explained my frustrations. Unlike previous outings with her, the tone was markedly different. Instead of responding with empathy, she shrugged almost indifferently and said that she had spoken with Brad and he wasn’t sure he could feel “that way” for another person. Her coldness took me aback. It became clear to me that our relationship was unsalvageable. Towards the end she asked what would happen with her and my husband. With a hint of defeat, I said that I didn’t want to keep them from each other but I wasn’t sure what would come of it. I explained that perhaps I could date and find someone else and they could still see each other. If she had any excitement about the possibility of still being able to see my husband she didn’t show it. Instead she spoke with triviality and said that whatever outcome that needed to happen would be fine. In retrospect, I now know that this was a defense mechanism of hers. She downplayed her feelings for my husband to me just as she had done to Brad. But I wasn’t aware of this and only knew that something wasn’t adding up.
I left with resolution that it was completely done between myself and Brad but had some optimism that it could still work with my husband and Amy. There was no part of me that wanted to take away a special connection from my husband. In some ways I felt relief but in others, I felt immense sadness. By the time I had gotten home, my husband told me that Amy wanted to talk on the phone. The phone was still forbidden and I was bothered by the contradiction of my meeting with her. When he declined she texted:
“She seems okay. I’m glad we don’t have to part. I think you know I feel about you…very strongly….”
The world stood still as my blood turned to ice. I came from a date with this woman who so flippantly disregarded my husband as though he was a rejected piece of art in her home…to her insinuating that she loved him? The contrast felt like a slap in the face. In person she pretended as though she had no feelings for him. When I expressed that I didn’t want him to lose a rare connection, she shrugged indifferently. She’s trying to have an affair. My jaw clenched as I swallowed my anger. This wasn’t a random woman, this was a woman who I had a relationship with. A friendship with! I told my husband that no, we were going on a date night and he could not call her. She would have to wait.