Fighting Irish

Most Fridays, K and I go to the pub a couple of doors down from the firm to have a drink and celebrate getting to the end of the week.  On the occasional Friday, we go to the pub a couple of doors down from the firm to self-medicate after a week full of suck.  We are treated very well, and as a famous sitcom used to say, sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name.

 Recently, the pub added a new staff member, and he is absolutely adorable.  He is Irish-French, and I could listen to him read the phone book.  His voice is just like music,  It doesn't hurt that he's lovely to look at, and an extra bonus that he's very smart and articulate as well. 

Steph and I went to the pub last night, and after we were comfortably ensconced, he teased me about having a crush on the new bartender.  It was fairly obvious that I was watching him longer than strictly necessary.  I looked back at Steph and flushed.  

 I'm sorry, I told him.  

He winked at me.  It's ok, love, he told me.  I have a crush on him too.  Then he started talking to me in an exaggerated Irish lilt, and I cracked up.  Life went on.

Faced with that same set of circumstances, my wasband would have accused me of cheating on him, made a scene in the pub, and dragged me out by the hair if I wouldn't accompany him willingly.  

His first wife had cheated on him, fairly spectacularly, with the best man at his wedding, and there were members of his family who would still wonder aloud, because it's scandalous and naughty and feels more fun to do it that way as opposed to keeping it to yourself, if his daughter from his first marriage was actually his.

He didn't like the small property management firm I worked for, because there were many young, single guys who worked there.  He additionally did not like it that one of my co-workers, who was married with a young son, had a fling with one of those young men.  He thoroughly disagreed with me when I said I had no intention of telling her husband or getting involved in any way, and only barely restrained himself from doing it himself.

When I left that firm and took a job as the executive assistant to the director of research and development to a multi-national company, working alongside an engineering department of about a hundred and fifty people (almost all men), he wasn't crazy about that either, despite the fact that many of them were married.  Marriage was, in his experience, not a barrier to relationships becoming intimate.  The worst part was that my boss had married his secretary, and was only hiring me because his recent promotion made it such that his wife could no longer work for him.

It probably didn't help that I had been "amoral" (his word) when it came to boyfriends in high school.  Once a cheater, always a cheater, in his book.

Next Monday is our nineteenth wedding anniversary.  Still married, due to circumstances beyond my control, though we separated in 2009.  For nearly our entire marriage, starting with the third day of our honeymoon, he told me he believed it was entirely likely that I was having an affair. Every time we had an argument, he invited me, in much more vulgar language, to take a lover and seek solace for my bad decision in marrying him with someone else.

In 2007, and not at any time before, I did.  Coincidentally, with a lovely Irishman.

It was mostly an emotional connection, two people who were each with the wrong person, who had once had a thing for each other, but we were together once, and I said the L word in the heat of the moment, which I have regretted ever since.  It should never have happened, and the fact that the day I decided I was going to do it was the day after R took a swing at my face with a closed fist really shouldn't matter.  It wasn't vengeance, or payback.  I couldn't stop thinking, writing, dreaming, about a man I wasn't married to, who was married to someone else.  I could have ended our marriage cleanly, but I didn’t.

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