We cannot live together
We cannot live apart
That’s the situation
I’ve known it from the start.
~Phil Collins, “Throwing it all Away”
The first time I fell in love was with the man I would marry. There’s a line in The Godfather where Michael Corleone was banished to Italy where he fell for a young local girl. The thunderbolt, it was translated, was how it was described that he fell so madly in love.
The thunderbolt had struck me…
… on a hot, humid Arizona summer day. I met him at work and very soon we were together constantly. I was living south of Phoenix in an old ranch house in the middle of an orange grove. We would lie on the roof every night and look at the stars in the clear desert sky for hours. And talk. We talked forever. Sometimes I would cry when he had to leave.
Most of the time we would just stare at each other as the newly smitten do.
It wasn’t long before we set up house together in a little condo in Mesa. We were student poor and it was furnished with a couch, tv, and a waterbed. It was enough. And we had our two dogs. A beautiful golden retriever named Jake and a low intelligence lab mix named Trapper. Both dogs would dutifully dig up and eat the garden I would constantly plant. I was nesting.
I have two memories from this summer of newly found love. The first is that I was in heaven floating on a raft in the swimming pool every day in the 115+ degree heat. We worked nights, and at some point in the afternoon, John would ruin my reverie and embarrass me announcing, “Party time is over” across the fence as my work alert alarm.
The second memory was of a visit from his parents who lived in Michigan. We had planned a trip to California, and before we left, my soon-to-be mother-in-law went upstairs to use the bathroom. Apparently, she did not turn the water off in the sink because when we arrived home one week later, half of the ceiling on the bathroom side of the condo had completely caved in from water weight. There was a foot of water on the first floor. A mess beyond all description. Symbolic of my future relationship with his mother.
Not long after this, he was transferred to California, we married, and lived seven years in the happy happy happy. His career stayed the same. Mine soared. A bit of the first chink. Then he began working nights and I worked days. Chink squared. I suppose the seven-year itch became inevitable in this perfect storm. It happened with him.
Goodbye happily ever after. Hello anger and cynicism.
I tried. We tried. Hours of counseling. But I just could not get past the betrayal and asked him to move out. A few months later I went home to Arizona for Thanksgiving. When I returned he had moved back in with no explanation. We never spoke of anything again and tried to go on with life. Chink chink chink. But inside a seething piece deep inside of me hated him, hated her, and in time would never forgive him.
Can you win trust back? I say no. Emphatically. He was singing Phil Collins and I was singing Alanis Morrisette.
Amazingly, we made it another ten years together. My anger never disappeared, I never forgave him, I had affairs of my own–it all became a sham. I knew he doubted his love for me and before we destroyed each other, it was time to say enough.
I did find my happily ever after once, but betrayal broke it into little pieces, dragged it out to the driveway and backed over it several times. He’s actually married to Affair Girl now. He was never very good at originality or creativity.
“I want you to know, that I’m happy for you. I wish nothing but the best for you both.”
Loving again is possible, I have known it, but never again in that pure, innocent faith where your world revolves around your perceived soulmate. Perhaps it’s the bounty you pay for throwing it all away.
“You oughta know.”