When Big Daddy first walked out on our family to be with Secretary, I knew literally nothing about her. And, like most scorned women tend to do, I found myself completely consumed with a sick, twisted curiosity...who was she? What does she look like? What makes her so awesome that she's worth throwing your family down the proverbial garbage chute? I spent a lot of time on this worthless pursuit, checking Big Daddy's old emails, poring through boxes of receipts, old credit card statements, etc. I talked to former coworkers of his, and through this pathetic Encyclopedia Brown investigation I came up with the whole story: beginning, middle, and of course, the end.
Turns out she was a dozen years younger than me, worked alongside Big Daddy for a year or so and then got a job at the office building across the street from his. Ironically enough, she too was married (no kids though). I was expecting someone unbelievably hot, someone tall and supple and seductive. After all, don't you have to be a knockout in order to pull a man away from his wife and kids?
No, you don't. Apparently the major requirement in Homewrecking 101 is that you have to be ready, willing and able to date a married guy. Believe me, beauty has nothing to do with it.
So, most of you know how it went: he left, they moved in together immediately, they got their divorces and began living happily ever after.
What some of you may not know is that they decided to live happily ever after about 2 miles away from me and the kids. Some days, when the wind is blowing just right, I swear I can still smell his halitosis. But that's not the point of this post.
What I'm rambling on about today is what it's like when your ex-husband and his wife, the woman he left you for, live within spitting distance of you.
At first, it freaked me out to the point that I looked around at stoplights, wondering if it was him or her or THEM in the car next to me. I turned corners at the grocery store with my breath held, hoping I wouldn't come cart-to-cart with Secretary. I'd be walking my dog, having a perfectly blissful conversation with him, and look up to see Big Daddy's car driving by. Sometimes, to put a bizarre cherry on top of this surreal sundae, we'd wave at each other. Like neighbors, or acquaintances.
One memory is very clear, and for some reason I still think about it from time to time: I went to pick up some dry cleaning, and the clerk handed me a bag of clothes that didn't look familiar...I took a closer look at the name on the slip and saw HER name. I'll admit, just between you and me, that for a few brief seconds I imagined myself taking the bag home, going out into the backyard, dousing all of it in gasoline and then setting it on fire while I cackled over the flames like a vindictive crone . But then I handed the bag back and said, "Right last name, wrong first one."
It really started hitting home when my friends began mentioning their Big Daddy/Secretary Sightings. "I saw them at the grocery store..." or "my husband saw her at the bar with her friends" or "guess who I ran into at Costco". For the first time, I thought about what it must feel like, knowing that everywhere you go, there are people who know who you are, and what you've done. Big Daddy had once written me a scathing email, lashing out at me and my posse of hens for ostracizing him and making him feel like a "pedophile" whenever he darkened the door at school functions or sporting events. My reaction to that accusation was the same back then as it stands today: Tough shit. Everything we do in this life has consequences: some good, some bad. I'm guessing leaving your wife penniless, with three mortgages and in charge of four children means your consequences are going to suck.
So, what makes you think of this today, Jenny? Are you asking yourself that? Or are you thinking, "Crap..I think I left the laundry room lights on."? Either way, I'll tell you. Yes, you left the light on, and the reason this is on my mind today is because I ran across Secretary on Pinterest, of all places. One of the people who liked or commented on one of my "pins" also commented or liked or repinned one of HERS. And, being the creeper that I am, I decided to check out her boards.
Yawn. Lots of baby stuff, lots of Pottery Barn-ish home stuff...blah blah blah. And then I saw this:
She had this picture posted, and under it she wrote: "And your husbands."
Can you smell the irony? Can you? It positively REEKS. I laughed. Actually, that's a lie. I snickered. I snickered the snicker that only a woman who has been cheated on can snicker. You know why, right? Because that sweet bitch Karma is coming around.
I'm sure when you're dry humping somebody's husband in your office or in the backseat of your car in a sports bar parking lot, there isn't a whole lot of concern floating through your mind. You, after all, are the danger. You're the one thing wives fear. You are that scary, unknown element who can crawl out of thin air and snatch up a husband like a fox raiding a hen house.
But now...now the tables are turned, aren't they? Now you are the wife. You are the mother of his child. Now, it's sinking in. Somewhere out there is a nubile little 21 year old who's just DYING to meet your husband. She hasn't had kids, her belly is taut and she doesn't have stretch marks on her boobs. All she has is time, collagen and the desire to make some man feel like he's King of the World.
Who knows? You may have already crossed paths with her. It happens every day.