The Exterior Facade around Michigan Avenue entrance to Railway Exchange Building, by Karen Craven
Family Journey Men

The Other Woman

First I noticed the color where there should not have been any. I picked it up and the evidence was littered inside its belly. Flecks of dark red. Sulfites. They landed at its bottom. It was placed inside the box, hidden from my view, yet frozen in time. 

First I noticed the color where there should not have been any. I picked it up and the evidence was littered inside its belly. Flecks of dark red. Sulfites. They landed at its bottom. It was placed inside the box, hidden from my view, yet frozen in time.

Initially, I was surprised. Then I was saddened, then I was curious, then angry, and finally liberated. I filled it up and let it sit. The sulfites wouldn’t free up on their own. They were stuck. I needed to wipe them out. I needed to remove them. I needed to release them. And so I did. I cleaned it out, held it up to the light, and when it passed inspection I turned the glass upside down to dry.

When did he start using this glass? When did he start hiding this glass? Were there others? Sixteen months since I found him, crouched down, as if practicing malasana, as he discreetly sipped from it and then hid the glass, unbeknownst to him I witnessed that.  I approached and intended to ask him to join me for a walk. I lost my breath for a moment. I knew the promise was broken, but here it was staring at me in my face, deceit, and disease all over his. I pivoted, said I was going for a run and told him I’d be back soon.  I can’t remember now, if I confronted him when I came back, or if I waited for the next day. How appropriate for this glass to pop out in these days before I address Step 1. Because looking back at September in 2016 I know now that selling the house, moving to New Hampshire, and starting over would not have changed anything. She would have come to. She was always there in our marriage. She owned him.

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol ~ that our lives had become unmanageable.

I forgot about the glass until I saw it again this morning. And all the stages of grief slapped me in the face. It’s a disease, I tell myself. I can’t control it. I never could.

Plastic Wine Glass

This plastic wine glass, one of a set whose siblings were long ago donated to Goodwill, stood upside down and held a perfect curve, a symbol of the woman, the third person in our marriage. What a great gal she was to him. I certainly couldn’t compete. She was to him what cigarettes were to me. A crutch. The only difference was that ten years ago I quit smoking. I know it wasn’t a competition. And neither of us won. He didn’t quit. He couldn’t. Why would he want to? She didn’t talk back. She was always there for him when he reached for her. And while she couldn’t physically lay down for him and let him come inside of her, her essence relaxed him enough so his imagination could go to places where his human wife wouldn’t let him. This blush pink wine glass was an unwelcome guest, a symbol of someone who was tolerated by her and adored by him.

Her presence this Sunday morning, on my drying mat, makes me feel violated. I thought I tidily tucked all that hurt and anger away. It’s as if she yelled, “Surprise! I’m back,” when I pulled her out of dust covered box yesterday.  I walked up to my office, and now I get the last word.

No, no, you cheap plastic whore, you won’t ruin my Sunday. Surprise! Tomorrow is trash day! That’s where you are headed. Just to be a spiteful bitch I’m not going to recycle you. Nope. I’m going to make sure your purposeful life ends in a landfill where dirt and trash will fill your belly. No more wine for you! Hah! He and I will probably die before you ever disintegrate. And, tomorrow when the truck’s robotic arm dumps the bin into the bounty of trash, and I hear you spill out, it is then that I will smile and banish you from my thoughts. You may still possess him, but you don’t own me. You are no longer welcome in my home or my life because the marriage is over. A sore loser, I am not. Congratulations! You won. 

Just desserts, by Karen Craven
Just desserts, by Karen Craven

 

10 comments on “The Other Woman

  1. Powerful story, Karen.
    I have found that addictions are the gifts that keep on giving, long after we think we have moved down a more forgiving path. Ghosts, they are. Abundant and ever present, they never let us go, not really. There’s always going to be something, somewhere, that will remind us how very tenuous a line we walk on. Daily.

    Peace to you

    Liked by 1 person

  2. you have such depth in what you write, will you ever publish? These messages would make you a best seller, without a doubt, and I’d buy the first copy!! Love you Mom

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very powerful piece. I’m impressed with your ability to go within and then express it so as a reader I am given such insights. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Crossing the finish line – Table for One

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