Featured

Broken Promises Under The Influence Of Blue Agave Chapter 6

I’m listening to Cat Stevens song, “How Can I Tell You.” I’ve poured a double shot of tequila and reflecting on my conversation with Rebecka and Gracie about their father. That is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do thus far in my life. I’m mentally exhausted, and I have to be up early to get the girls off to school before I go to work.

Joel has been non-existent and is bothering me more all the time. I sit here at the table staring at my fingers gingerly moving the full shot glass in small circles. I am thinking about contacting Joel again and telling him I finally told his daughter’s about why we split up. Maybe it’s time he steps up and faces his daughters like a man and interact with them. Help them understand and love them the way a father should.

So, I sit here wondering ‘what if’ how much my life would be different if I had not gotten out of bed that one early morning after Marshall and I broke our promise and had sex. Maybe we could have talked through the one-time compromise. On the other hand, if life had turned out differently for him and me, I would not have Rebecka or Gracie.

I listen to Cat Stevens poetic words, and they sink deep into my soul,

“How can I tell you
That I love you

I love you
But I can’t think of right words to say

I long to tell you
That I’m always thinking of you
I’m always thinking of you
But my words just blow away
Just blow away.”

My path is set, and I cannot get Marshall out of my mind tonight. Choices we all make determines whether our memories are good or bad. Sometimes a poor choice leads to long-term guilt that never goes away. The only way is to confront the situation that causes the guilt or live with it for the rest of your life. I can’t live with this for the rest of my life, just like I could not continue protecting Joel’s leaving us and not telling the girls. Tonight, that stress is gone. So now I need to find Marshall and apologize to my best friend for being an idiot and dropping him out of my life in one quick decision. Sitting here listening to Cat Steven’s song I start to cry. His song is digging at my soul, and every word is my life. Then it dawned on me I did the exact same thing to Marshall as Joel did us, his family.

*****

Sunday nights are the worst for me. Everyone I know is at home with their wives and getting kids ready for another week of school. I being single become trapped in my home with nothing but silence, so the television becomes my family. I flip through stations trying to take up time. I stop at a station long enough if something catches my interest. It’s a way of numbing my mind to my loneliness.

I flip the television over to the internet, and I turn on Pandora. One of my favorite stations is set up as a Neil Young station. I click on that one and one of my favorite songs, starts to play, “Heart of Gold.” I identify with this song like my life, I’m always searching for a “Heart of Gold,” but actually I’m searching for a woman that will love me, a family. I want to be like all my friends. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, I am lost.

I think about the past few years. Girlfriends have come and gone. The last one, Noemi I thought after a year of dating we would take the next step, and I was prepared to ask her to marry me. I tried working up the nerve one night at her house, and then I didn’t do it. I suspect that Noemi would have said yes, at least that is what I tell myself now.

*****

Now that I sit here and I can admit to myself that Joel has done the same thing to his family as I did to Marshall. That changes a lot in my mind. I feel horrible now as I think about it. Maybe I should try harder to find him. I don’t know if he would even talk to me, but it would be an attempt to apologize to him.

I’ve had a couple of offers for dates, but so far I cannot say yes. Our divorce was final six months ago, so I am single. Now I sit here and wonder if maybe now is the right time to start dating. How would it affect my daughters? Perhaps in light of what I shared with them about their father being gay and in love with a man this evening it might not be the right timing to bring a new man into their lives. I probably need to wait and see if Joel does decide to be a part of his daughter’s lives and makes contact with the girls first. Yet, I sit here by myself and lonely and my spirit slipping into a deeper depression. I’m afraid if I’m not careful I might not come out of it into the sunshine. I am beginning to hate me.

*****

Noemi, when I close my eyes and listen to Neil Young, I see her smile. I can remember our trip to the beach. Her blonde hair floated in the sea breeze and with her green cotton dress moving in the wind. I watched her arms outstretched and barefooted in the sand. She was free if it were only for a few minutes.

I sat on the sand propping myself up with my arms, and my legs stretched out and crossed over each other I watched her move in the breeze. I was happy. She twirled in circles and then ran into the sea, and the small waves tugged at the bottom of her dress. I cannot forget her it is more than a memory for me now. When I close my eyes, I see every moment as clear as if I were there on that sandy beach with her. I wished I could be as free as she was that day on the beach.

Noemi loved me, and I loved her. It was her smile. Oh, I loved her smile. Her eyes were full of life, and she told me how much she loved me just with those eyes.

So, I sit her on the couch by myself on Sunday evening trying to wait out tonight so at least I can go back to work. Work is my sanctuary and the only reprieve I have from the dead silence that screams at me when I’m alone.

*****

It dawned on me I have not seen my parents in quite a while. Maybe I should take Rebecka and Gracie to see them. They are getting older, and my dad’s health is not the best. I think tomorrow I will book a flight for us and go home for a week. The girls are in school, but I can take them out for a few days. A trip home could do all of us a lot of good. Maybe I can slip away and see if I can find Marshall if he is still there.

*****

How could I ever know that just a week later after our few days at the beach it would be the last time Noemi or I would share any more memories together. Noemi was in a terrible car accident. Some drunk asshole plowed into her car.

I sat in the hospital with her day and night holding her hand whispering to her, hoping she could hear me. Begging her to come back to me. Her lovely hair just a week ago, dancing in the breeze was shaved off, and a bandage replaced it. Staples and removing part of her skull to relieve the swelling brain.

I promised her if she came back to me I would ask her to marry me. All I heard were the monitors working non-stop to keep her alive. I could only hope, she would wake up and say, “I will marry you.” The doctors were optimistic at least for the family. I prayed, oh I prayed a lot. I cried and played music she loved. I promised her of more trips to the beach.

Nothing could be done except wait. Noemi slipped away from us on the fourth day after the accident. I know she fought, but her injuries were too much. I held her hand it was 2:30 in the morning and her mother and father left to get some sleep, and I said I would stay until they got back. She took a deep breath, and there was no more.

I can only hope if there is a God somewhere that He has given Noemi a beach to dance in the waves for all eternity.

 

Featured

Broken Promises Under The Influence Of Blue Agave Chapter 5

Sunday evening dinner is kind of a tradition for Rebecka, Gracie and me. It’s something I have insisted on for the past couple of years since their father left. It actually is something both girls are starting to look forward to each Sunday.

I try and make something a little different. We try a lot of ethnic foods from various countries. As we finish our dinner with the dishes still on the table and the mess to be cleaned up, we take our map of the world, and we pick a Country for next Sunday. One of the three of us studies that countries food, and by Wednesday we plan for next Sunday’s dinner.

I can’t say it always turns out great, or we care about the food or the flavors, but the experience of working together and making the meal is a great bonding time. It has helped with all that we three girls have gone through the past couple of years.

Tonight, working on dinner together started out with typical girl chatter. It wasn’t until we finished dinner that I had this overwhelming thought now was the time to talk to them. I had no intentions of ending our Sunday night with this conversation. It just happened that way.

I got both Rebecka’s and Gracie’s attention. I told them I wanted to talk to them about their father. They both got quiet and sat back in their chairs. You could have heard a pin drop it was so quiet. How to start?

I told them that something seemed out of place about two years before he left. I felt it, but ignored it or perhaps denied it to myself. Maybe a little background first.

I married Joel McBride after college. Joel and I met about a year after Marshall and I parted company. I was in college and Joel had recently opened an accounting firm. He was 5 years older than I. He was stable, good looking and we dated all of my senior year of college.

We got married a year later and had Rebecka almost immediately. I’m pretty sure we got pregnant on our honeymoon. We had talked about children before we married and we both decided we would wait a couple of years after marriage to make sure we had a stable home.

When I told Joel I was pregnant he seemed surprised, and gradually he became more distant. At first, I didn’t think anything of it. When Rebecka was born Joel stepped up and became a real dad. He doted over Rebecka, and it seemed like we were finally becoming a real family.

Gracie came along two years later, and Joel changed. His attention was on the business, and he spent less time at home with we girls. Some days I felt like a single parent. I was so busy and only during the quiet times when the girls were sleeping did I have the time to reflect on our relationship. I had this feeling that perhaps Joel was having an affair. He was gone so much of the time.

I shook off those thoughts and concentrated on making a good home that would make Joel want to be home with his family. The harder I worked at our home life the more he seemed to distance himself from me in particular. I asked him once if he was not attracted to me anymore. He shook his head back and forth and said how could he not love me I was the most beautiful woman he had ever met and the mother of his children. He melted my heart, but it didn’t change anything.

Our lifestyle continued the same way as before. I resigned myself to raising our daughters. Joel worked a lot, and I took care of the home. It wasn’t until Rebecka’s thirteenth birthday party that I finally had the answer what was really wrong with our marriage. This is where I started with my girls that Sunday night after our special dinner.

I started out by asking them if they wanted to talk about their father and in fact did they want to know why he left us. Of course, they both said yes vehemently. This is what they both had been bugging me about, and right now I felt it was the right time to discuss it. I went through our history and how much he loved them. I told them that their dad finally made it clear what I had suspected all along. It was on Rebecka’s thirteenth birthday party. Joel was about forty-five minutes late. I figured he was gearing up for a house full of thirteen-year-old girls and the drama associated with a party of that nature. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Joel came in, the house was decorated in pinks and purples, Rebecka’s favorite colors, there were ten of Rebecka’s girlfriends there with three other mothers to help me with the party. Joel came in with one of his employees. His name was Oliver Sharp. He was working as a personal secretary for Joel. They came in the house holding hands.

I stood there with my apron on holding a bowl of cut fruit. Joel didn’t say anything. What was there to say it was evident he was having an affair. The part I somehow missed, he was having an affair with a man.

From that day forward after lengthy discussions and many, many tears Joel made it clear he was in love with Oliver and had known for many years he was attracted to men. My natural question was then why get married to a woman and why have children? He had no answer except he buried his true feelings in denial, and now he could no longer live with the guilt.

So here I sit and finish this story to my daughters. There were no tears. Rebecka put her head down and folded her hands in her lap. I again said the same words I had used a million times before that their father loved them very much.

Now Rebecka and Gracie knew the truth. At first, neither of them said anything. Finally, I felt a sense of relief and in a small way freedom from hiding behind my own embarrassment and guilt. Now for the first time in a long time, I can admit to myself I wasn’t at fault or a bad wife to Joel. There was nothing I did wrong. I cried.

*****

The kitchen is clean, the girls are up in their rooms and Sunday evening dinner has turned into a deathly quiet thick fog of depression as I sit by myself second guessing that I had done the right thing. Now I have to figure out how to raise my girls with the knowledge their father is gay, and I need to somehow get Joel back in their lives. I sit here and doubt myself if I’m capable of teaching them about acceptance without judgment.

I got up from the living room and went into the kitchen. I reached into the cupboard and pulled out the Blue Agave Tequila and one shot glass. I sat at the kitchen table, and I poured one shot and threw it back. Here is to you Marshall where ever you are.