It was the day before Thanksgiving, which can be stressful enough without infidelity shaking things up, right? There's always lots of family around. One of the bunch is probably a bad apple, at least where I come from. That makes for the distinct possibility that there will be some sort of confrontation, hurt feelings or various other family exchanges that are most certainly not reason for giving Thanks. A daughter hiding her emotions brought on by a cheating husband is right up there with any major league family drama. I was dreading the effort it would require to put on my happy face for the entire day.
We were going to spend the day with our kids, my parents and my amazing grandpa. We do this every other year. The other Thanksgiving days are spent in Florida with Richard's family. He has two older sisters in Vero Beach. They have husbands and grown children, most of them with spouses and kids of their own. It's a fairly large group that we rarely see, but every other year we enjoy spending time with all of them. Perhaps I should have been more thankful that we were not heading to Vero that year. Can't imagine how difficult that would have been.
Woke up early. I usually did. Wasn't sleeping well these past 2 months. (shocker!) I just laid there with my brain spinning as usual. The lovely Dr. K advised us not to discuss the affair in our bedroom. What can I say? I'm not the greatest patient ever. The conversation that started the next battle in the infidelity war went something like this:
"I don't know how I'm gonna hold it together all day tomorrow. Maybe it's time to tell mom & dad the truth. I just don't know what to do." (BTW...I don't know and I don't care were at the tippy top of my current responses to anything!)
"It's Thanksgiving. Why ruin Thanksgiving?"
"I'm going to have to tell them soon. I can't believe they haven't called us on anything yet. Mom knows something is up. I'm sure of it."
And...here it comes....Wait for it.....
"Your dad already knows."
Are you freaking kidding me?? Did I just hear what I thought I heard? I thought my head was gonna explode like a grenade, skull shrapnel and brain matter all over the place!
It took me almost a full minute to catch my breath and gather my wits about me. My eyes must have been as big as melons and my mouth was agape, hanging to the floor in utter shock. I tried to ask for details, but when you can't breath, speech is difficult, so is rational thought.
"What do you mean? How, when?" (So articulate!)
"I told him when we hiked up Mt. Woodson two weeks ago." TWO WEEKS AGO??
"What made you think that was OK? I thought you'd come to your senses? Stupid me! How dare you talk to MY father about this??"
"I thought he could help me/us." (I don't remember if Richard said ME or US. My guess is, he said me, but I'm hoping he said us.) "He went through this with your mom. I thought he might have some insight."
Yea, my dad is a cheater, too. I remember when my mom tried to tell me at Soup Plantation years ago. She gave me the "a friend of mine is going through this" story line. What did I say? "If Richard ever cheated on me he'd be gone! Men like that are complete pigs!" Or something equally as compassionate. Ugh.
The battle intensified. It was about to escalate out of control. I tried to absorb the fact that Richard had lied yet again. He said it wasn't a lie, he just didn't tell me. He was trying to find help for us. Seriously?? I thought Richard may have had a stroke! He used to be so much smarter than this!
Plus, I was thinking about my dad. How could he have known for two long weeks and not once come to me? Didn't he care how I was doing? What in the hell was happening? Richard is only related to him because of me! I'm his daughter for the love of the Lord! Oh my God! Did he tell MOM?? I was headed to panic mode about mom, so I didn't feel the pain in my heart about my dad not coming to me until later.
The screaming in my head was so damn loud! My voice had to stay at a slightly lower volume because of my kids. There was a lot of pacing and arm flailing as I ranted, raved and stormed about our bedroom. This must have been why the lovely Dr. K suggested that we not discuss the affair in there.
Even as I processed the potential impact of this new offending lie, I was plotting my next defensive strike. For me, there was always payback. If he thought telling my dad was no big deal, why shouldn't we tell his sisters?
And the war raged on.