Before He Told Me
Part 2 of a series, “Once More With Feeling”
I slept on the couch last night - again. “Slept” would be the wrong word. More like, I tossed back and forth for hours until I finally passed out from exhaustion. Like most nights, I was so uneasy, so tortured, I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t want to lie in the bed next to Geoff. I can’t replay even one more night the loneliness and the rejection I feel each time he pulls away at the slightest brush of my arm to his in our bed. He reacts as if my touch is physically painful for him.
I think I’ve been mad as hell at Geoff for a long time, but about what, I don’t know. Maybe I would know, if we ever fought, but we don’t because that would require intimacy. At this point, I wouldn’t even know what to fight about. I think Geoff slept in our bed last night, but he has been staying up well past me pretty much every night. He has been spending a lot of late hours on the computer. So, I’m not sure if he slept, or where, and I’m not sure I even care. There’s something wrong in our house and I don’t even know what it is.
After Geoff left for work in the morning, I secretly read his email. I just went to the computer and decided to check his messages, like it was part of my everyday routine. I tried what I thought might be his password to an email account that belongs only to him. He’s never shared the password with me – I don’t think I’ve ever asked him to. I never had an interest or a need in knowing his password, until now. There’s a code that he used to use for all his PINs. I’ll try that, maybe it will work. Why today? Why am I secretly checking his email today? I’ve thought about doing it before and never did. I’m not sure why now all of the sudden I feel brave enough to look inside his world as it exists in cyberspace.
A couple of weeks ago, I was on the computer and a website popped up through the internet history while I was looking for something else. I literally gasped when I saw a site with people doing some unspeakable things on a pornographic website. Later, when I mentioned what I saw to Geoff, he said it was probably one of our teenage sons and their friends, that it was just a ‘guy thing’. That didn’t seem so strange at the time, although I wasn’t thrilled with that idea. But, for the first time, I began to sense that the computer, the internet, might be a connection to another life for Geoff.
The password I tried worked and Geoff’s private email account opened. This was a bad idea, I should stop. But I didn’t stop. I reluctantly scanned down through all the items in the Inbox. I’m not going to find anything, right? I saw mostly spam and a couple of emails from me. Ok, done. Stupid idea, waste of time. Thank God I didn’t find anything. Wait a minute. Just as I’m about to sign out, one email buried among the rest catches my eye. It’s from someone with the word “Lover” in the Sender address and “Hey” as the Subject. I instantly knew that this was an intimate message to my husband, and I also knew somehow that it wasn’t the first one he had received from this person. Who is this person? My whole world suddenly came to rest on the typed words of a stranger. My face feels hot and I think I’m going to throw up. I have to know, I already know, what the email is about. I click open the message. Read it, you’ve got to read it. “Geoff, since it looks like Kim and you are not going to work out, I’d love to put a leash on you”. What? What the hell does that mean? A leash? Dear Jesus, what is my husband involved in? Who is he involved with? This is not just a one-night stand or a fling long over. This woman knows my husband well and she’s not the only one. Affair is not a word sufficient to describe this situation. This is bigger and more complicated than I could have imagined. In a half-breath, I experience a rush of shock, disgust, fear, hurt. What gives these bitches the right to just pass my husband around in some sort of game? Did anyone even consider me at all as they were making their burning plans? This must be what rage feels like. I don’t want to know this. I don’t want to feel this. No!
My entire body is shaking inside and out. I can hardly breathe. I’m pacing the floor because I can’t stand still. Everything in my universe has closed in to this room, this house, this body, this time. I can’t think about anything, I can’t see anything, I don’t know anything. I am suspended in a haze of merciful numbness, a dimension where nothing exists - not me, not my husband, not his whores. I’ve never felt more alone in my whole life.
Geoff. I have to talk to Geoff. I want him to be able to explain all this away, but I know he can’t, because it’s real. Somehow I am able to remember his phone number at the office. “I need you to come home and I need you to talk to me now.” Suddenly, I’m needy. I think this is the first time I’ve told him I need him to do anything almost ever. Geoff doesn’t say a word. He doesn’t question the meaning of my request. He hangs up the phone and he’s home within minutes.
Read Part 1 of this series, The Day He Told Me.