Tim's Odyssey

bycageytee©

"Miami?" I questioned.

"I told him my name was Janet Brownlee and that I was from Miami and going to Kansas City and Des Moines on business."

I was trying to keep control but I was losing ground. Tears were welling up in my eyes.

"Tim, believe me, it was a stupid, selfish act on my part. I love you and only you. You have done nothing wrong to drive me away and I love making love with you. I love everything about you and about us. I just thought I wanted to know what it was like with someone else. Seeing what I have done makes me embarrassed and ashamed.

I am very sorry Tim. I'll spend the rest of my life making this up to you. I'll stop all business trips, trips of any kind without you. I'll quit working if you want me to.

I have already destroyed the wig because I had already decided never to do it again! You will find the remains of it in the downstairs fireplace. I did it before you got home. I knew before you got here that I would never do it again!" she repeated.

"Damn you Amber!" I shouted, startling her, "How could you do that to us? You pissed away all that we had because you were curious? Our marriage was less important than your curiosity?"

"It was a mistake, a very bad mistake."

"No Amber, a mistake is something you do on the spur of the moment. You put that wig on long before the moment. You prepared for this mistake in advance. Did you use a condom?"

"Yes!"

"Who had it?"

"Me."

"That's not a spur of the moment thing Amber."

"Please don't do anything rash Tim. I know you're hurt and angry. You have every right to be, but if I ever meant anything to you, please don't do anything until you've had a chance to calm down. Please Tim, please."

The pain was becoming unbearable. My wife, whom I loved more than anything or anyone had gone out and fucked another guy and had planned for it in advance using her wig to disguise herself , even buying the condoms.

I knew in my heart that our marriage was over. How could I ever trust her again? What else is she "curious" about? The potential list was endless.

I was in a turmoil! My thoughts ranged from strangling her right there and right then to forgiving her out of fear of being without her for the rest of my life and I was struggling for some way to cope.

"Don't let them see how you feel. If you do, you lose!" was all that came into my mind. I can stand the hurt of being without her better that the hurt of living with someone who doesn't love me enough to avoid turning to another man, in this case a stranger, because she was "curious".

I put on my best "poker face" once again and said as calmly as I could.

"I'm going into town at least for tonight. I'll call you tomorrow or the next day."

Packing an overnight bag that night was the hardest thing I have ever done. The whole time Amber pleaded with me not to go. She promised anything I wanted if I would please forgive her and stay.

It wouldn't make any difference in my decision to leave, I was sure, but I somehow couldn't avoid checking the downstairs fireplace on my way out and sure enough, the remains of what was probably the wig was there. Just as she said, she had burned it even before I confronted her.

Too bad she didn't burn it weeks ago!

I knew I would forgive her. I have loved her for too long not to, but I would not stay with her. That would be a terrible life for us both. For her it would mean having her every move watched. A lifetime of worrying, not only about what she was doing, but what it might appear she was doing; for me, a lifetime of wondering if she was at it again, a lifetime of living with someone who didn't love me enough to avoid turning to another man for sex because she was "curious".

It was after two days and nights of soul searching that I called Amber and arranged to meet her at what used to be our home.

She looked at least as bad as I felt but at least she had stopped that bawling.

After a few difficult moments while she began apologizing again, I got her to stop and told her what I proposed.

"We have had a lot of good years together so we should arrange to split as amicably as possible."

That statement led to another round of crying and pleading and it took a threat to leave there and then before she calmed herself.

I suggested we tell the kids that we had just grown apart and had separated by mutual consent.

Amber's sobbing changed once again to a wail and I followed through with my threat to leave. The pain wasn't any better the following two days and I found myself shedding a few tears of my own except that I didn't have to bear the embarrassment of doing in front of anyone else.

Two days later I called again and suggested I would drop over after lunch. I was taken back a little when Amber asked if 3:00PM would be O.K. She was finally calm and I quickly agreed.

When I arrived a few moments past 3:00, there was another car in the drive which I was pretty sure was Amber's sister, Erin's. Erin is her older sister and the two of them have always been close and I liked her a lot.

Once in the door Erin hugged me and kissed me on the cheek the way she always did. Although it may just have been my imagination, the hug seemed to last longer than it had before. Amber just stood in the hallway still looking somewhat worn and ragged, but at least for the moment, much calmer than the earlier encounters.

Erin got right to the point.

"Amber has told me what she has done and for the record, I'm shocked and very disappointed in her but I'm her sister and I love her and will do what I can to support her and, if you'll let me, whatever I can do to support you too Tim."

"Thanks Erin. I appreciate that but I cannot see this marriage going on. I love her too, but I don't trust Amber and I think trying to carry on to get past this will just be subjecting our lives to more fear and suspicion and I don't want that to happen.

I don't want any revenge. I don't want to hurt Amber. Quite the contrary, I want to end this as amicably as possible and let both of us get on with our lives."

Erin's look was a somber as it could be and I began steeling myself for an argument but none came. "As much as I love you both and want you to be happy together, I can't really blame you Tim and I've already told Amber that. I am asking though, that you two keep in close touch at least for the foreseeable future."

I thought about it for a while then responded, "I hope we can be friendly again sometime Erin, but right now I'm so hurt and angry that it's all I can do to avoid lashing out at her and end up saying something we'll both regret. I'm so full of bitterness over her infidelity that I can't be friendly about it. Maybe that will change. I hope it does, but until it does I need to have space between us."

It was then that Amber spoke. "Tim I'm ready to hear whatever you have to say, no matter how angry and bitter you feel. I created this mess and I'll take what's coming to me.

Erin has already convinced me that that stupidity on my part will possibly cost me our marriage. Whatever comes of it, Ill do anything I can to lessen your pain. What I did was a stupid selfish act and, so help me God, I cannot say why I did it or what I was thinking other than I was curious and I thought, given the circumstances, no one could possibly find out. Even the guy I fucked has no idea who I am. Anything I say now can only be self serving and you didn't deserve to have me do it to you and you don't deserve to be subjected to me trying to justify it either."

It was becoming increasingly difficult to keep my emotions to myself. I had to get out of there right away. The urge to take Amber into my arms and tell her everything would be O.K. was too strong and if I let myself do that I would have been lying.

I muttered something about sending an e-mail over with ideas about how we would deal with all this and if we were agreed, we'd have our lawyer draw it up, then, I abruptly turned and left to hide the tears welling in my eyes.

Two days later I had a proposal drafted that basically claimed to our friends and family that we had grown apart and decided to separate, that we would each take our personal belongings, that we would set aside sufficient funds to allow the kids to finish school and create a trust fund for them from our assets, that we would divide our remaining assets in half on the understanding that, included in my share, would be a controlling interest in Deston, that Amber could include the house, our cottage and some investment properties we owned in her share and that no alimony nor support of any kind would be paid by either party.

We were both wealthy even with the assets divided and neither of us would want for anything, except . . . what we once had together and could no longer have!

Amber agreed with everything except the story to family and friends and before I could discuss it with her, I got calls from both Charlie and Karen who both had been called and told all the gory details by their mother.

Needless to say, both were upset but what caught me off guard was how angry Karen was with her mother. I would have expected Charlie to be the more angry of the two but he quickly pointed out that she was still his mother and he would find a way to get along with her.

Karen, on the other hand said she would be O.K. if she never saw her mother again.

***

We somehow struggled through Christmas and I went through the most miserable New Year"s celebration I could ever imagine.

The next 5 months were a blur to me! I can remember incidents but not that much of the detail of what went on.

I had already cut back from work and I had good people who made sure everything ran the way it was supposed to.

I purchased a nice 3 bedroom home with a beautifully finished recreation room, a small gym, a pool and hot tub.

The separation was formalized and the divorce papers signed. Amber wanted to have the cause listed as "adultery" but we settled on "irreconcilable differences". I saw very little of her as all communications were done through Dan Weston, our lawyer, Charlie, our son and Erin, her sister.

Karen lasted almost three weeks in refusing to talk to her Mom and only relented when, one night on a conference telephone call with her brother and me, we convinced her to call her Mom and start mending the relationship. It was most of another month before Karen began to talk about her mom in a way anything near normal.

For the most part, it was an awful time for me. I missed Amber terribly but managed to convince myself that it was the right thing to do and that I would be even more miserable living with someone I loved but couldn't trust.

Finally after a particularly bad weekend when the final divorce decree was granted, I decided it was time to take some positive steps. I had been turning down invitations to attend a variety of social events up till then but realized that was a bad move. I needed to get out and meet people and maybe even date again.

***

The first function I attended was a dinner and silent auction in support of a local charity. It wasn't bad and I did reconnect with some friends from the golf club and did make a date to play which I enjoyed a great deal.

At the second function, a wine and cheese affair at a private art gallery owned by the wife of one of my executive staff members, and the third, a dinner before the opening night at our local theater, I was shocked at the number of women, mostly divorcees, but some who were married (and at least one whose husband was there with her that night) who hit on me.

Never, even on a night when Amber had been feeling amorous and "touchy feely", did my ass get such a workout.

It might have shocked me but it did convince me that I might just still be "dating material" so I set down to get back into socializing. I made a list of the single women I know and examined the list to see who I might like to go out with.

It took a while because I think I might have been comparing them to Amber and the way she and I used to be. When I got past that, I settled on Marge Gambol, who had been divorced from her husband Phil about two years ago.

They were a few years older than us but I liked Marge and Phil and can remember being disappointed when I heard their marriage had failed.

The event was a dinner and dance put on by the foundation that supports our children's hospital and when I called, Marge accepted immediately. I had called about two weeks in advance and was surprised to receive a call from Marge the next day asking me to dinner at her place the Saturday evening prior to the event.

I accepted.

I took a bottle of one of my favorite wines and went off to my first date, other than Amber, in almost 30 years.

It was fun!

Marge is an interesting person and I enjoyed her company that night. It was inevitable that we would discuss divorces at some point and I stuck with the story that Amber and I had parted ways by mutual consent.

It was the only time that night I can recall that Marge didn't have the most pleasant of smiles on her face.

"You're being a gentleman to the end Tim," she said, "and you can keep "whatever" to yourself as far as I'm concerned, but you should know that Amber has made no secret of her role in your divorce. I was playing bridge with some of the women from the club and several of them told the same story; that Amber openly says she screwed up her marriage. The details are fuzzy, but it appears you caught her with another man.

Phil was a good man but he was too much into booze and try as we did to deal with it, it just got to be more than I could manage.

Now," she added, "to get back to our evening together, let's eat, shall we?"

There was no more talk about divorces or former spouses. Marge, it turns out, is a Chiefs fan and quite knowledgeable about the team and the game and I enjoyed our conversation.

I was surprised at how late it was when we finally called it a night at about 11:30. She kissed me goodnight at her door and said she was looking forward to the following Saturday.

Not knowing just what is standard these days I decided to call my daughter and ask if flowers or whatever was appropriate. I could tell she was taken back at the idea of me "dating" but she's an intelligent woman and after a few questions around how well I knew her, what sort of event we were attending and . . . what I had in mind regarding a relationship with this woman, she told me that following my instincts would be O.K. and that only a very few women didn't like getting flowers.

I found a florist who suggested a nice bouquet of mixed flowers with some greens and baby's breath (whatever that is). It sounded good to me so I went with it.

When Marge answered the door I was most pleasantly surprised!

She looked gorgeous!

I remember thinking I should have got roses but Marge was so visibly thrilled with what I had brought that I dismissed the idea immediately. She asked me in and offered a cocktail before we left.

She makes an excellent vodka martini.

After enjoying that and commenting again how marvelous she looked, we headed off to the dance.

We were seated with some other club members that we both knew and in a short while we were both feeling quite comfortable. It was a huge affair with dining tables spread far and wide and Marge and I seemed to be the object of attention for many of the attendees.

Dinner was excellent and the speeches were mercifully short and soon the dinner trappings were removed and the tables re-arranged for the dance to follow. We ended up finding that our table was almost "ringside" and after a very brief period of nervousness, Marge and I discovered we danced much more than just adequately together and we began enjoying ourselves immensely.

I found that once again, whenever I happened to be on my own, a number of women, some of whom I knew better than others, stopped to talk and inevitably suggest that I call . . . soon.

Actually, it was flattering!

About mid evening, on returning from the ladies room with some of our tablemates, Marge pulled me aside and said, "Your "ex" is here. Please feel free to do whatever you are most comfortable doing. If that includes going over to say hello or even asking her for a dance, I will not be offended. I'm very pleased to be here with you and will support whatever you do."

My first reaction was to try not to react! My next was to appreciate how supportive Marge was being.

My chest, however, began to constrict and I felt that all too familiar pain although, perhaps not as badly as a few months prior.

I put on my best poker face once again and said, "I don't mind saying hi or even dancing for that matter. Where are they?"

She said she didn't know as she had seen her and another woman together in the ladies room.

I asked Marge if she wanted another drink and on getting a positive answer, I set out for the bar. We may have been next to the dance floor, but we were far from the bar and by the time I got there I spotted Stan, my former brother-in-law with his wife Erin and with them was Amber. There was no sign of Amber's date.

I put down the empty glasses I brought from our table and went over to say hello.

Stan rose and shook my hand and after the usual "how are you", "nice to see you", among the four of us, Stan and I stepped aside to the bar and I spent some time catching up with him. He and I had always gotten on well and I hoped there were no hard feelings. Clearly, he was much the same as Erin, he wished that Amber and I were together but didn't blame me for what I had done.

Trying not to overdo the joviality, I said that was behind us and then I went back to their table and asked Amber to dance. She seemed startled at the request but after being pushed by her sister, she accepted.

The conversation was bland and although she was visibly nervous and I was much more nervous than I let on, we managed to get through the dance. I began to walk her back to her table when Stan took her hand and called out, "How about we change partners?" and without waiting for an answer, took Amber's hand and led her back to the floor. Erin joined me at once.

"It has taken us all this time to get her out of the house. I hope she sees that you are going on with your life and she should get on with hers." She said.

"I don't wish her any ill Erin. I hope she gets on with things too and I hope they work out well for her." I responded.

"Sometimes I just can't believe it has happened myself." Erin went on, "You two apart and her not forgiving herself for the pain she caused you as well as having caused her to lose the only man she has ever loved." she continued.

"I have dealt with the pain and I'm O.K.. She needn't worry about me and as for her, I don't want to be sarcastic nor mean but if I had really meant all that much to her, she wouldn't have gone off with someone else. She's . . ."

"You can't really believe that!" Erin interrupted. "If you do, you don't know much about women or about Amber."

"Erin, I don't want to argue. I'm sorry I have said something to upset you. Amber's an intelligent and attractive woman and I'm sure she could find someone who means enough to her to stay true to him. She's too fine a person to be unhappy and alone." And with that I thanked her for the dance and turned to get back to the bar and my date.

Later as Marge and I were dancing, she leaned in close and said, "I'm glad you said hello and had a dance. It somehow seems more civilized and mature."

That night over coffee and brandy at Marge's house, she told me she had to go to Bennington, a small town about a 150 miles south the following weekend and might I be interested in joining her. When I looked somewhat bewildered, she continued by telling me that she had already sold this home and was moving to Bennington to be nearer her son and daughter-in-law and her grandchildren.

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bycageytee© 75 comments/ 165734 views/ 42 favorites

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