I sat at the dining room table eating lunch with my friend, a tense knot forming in my stomach. “Something weird is about to happen,” I blurted as I picked at my Taco Bell lunch. “Something feels really funny”.
When Jack came home from work that evening, he left his jacket on, pacing around the house as if he had somewhere to go or some important news to report. I was working in the study, watching him pace back and forth down the hallway in front of me. “Jack, what’s wrong?” I asked.
My heart raced, my body felt hot; I tried not to panic. Then out of my mouth tumbled, “Jack, have you had an affair?”
I felt faint as he walked away, guilt and shame etched on his face. I bolted after him into our bedroom, and when he turned to face me, his body was rigid, his shoulders squared. His eyes darted back and forth toward the wall behind me. He wouldn’t make eye contact with me as he stood frozen in place.
I reached out to him, looking to find some answers in his vacant gaze. I tugged on his shirt—crying, pleading, begging. He pulled away from my grasp and told me that he didn’t want to be with me anymore, and he could no longer live in our home. He didn’t admit to an affair, he only defended why he wasn’t staying.
He leaned against our bathroom counter, his arms folded, and glared at me with a smirk as I paced around our bedroom, crying and demanding answers. I was falling apart, not understanding the sudden turn of events. Jack, an affair? (My gut told me that he had had an affair, and since he didn’t deny it, I knew it was true).
How could that happen? He had shown me for almost eleven years how devoted he was to me, how committed he was to us and to our family.
I begged for an explanation, a hug, anything. Jack never budged from his protective stance, and he offered nothing—no words, no explanation, no comfort. He almost looked pleased with the idea of hurting me.
I was surprised to be so panic-stricken. I hadn’t felt in love with Jack for a while, and I had been waiting for something to happen to make me want to leave. This was the perfect opportunity, yet I panicked.
Why wasn’t I relieved about this?
My worst nightmare was playing out before me. Maybe I didn’t want to leave. Maybe I did love him. Maybe I was just nuts, not appreciating all I had with him.
But now as I stood before him, I did not recognize Jack. He scared me and I suddenly felt unsafe in his presence. I paced around our bedroom, sobs wracking my body.
What the hell am I going to do?
* An excerpt from “Coming Through With Grace”.
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