These stories are inspired by Felicia’s colorful 2017. If the reader prefers, the short stories/blogs or parts of it may be regarded as fiction. But as Ernest Hemingway said, there is always the chance that fiction may throw some light on what has been regarded as fact.
I’m hoping you have read some of past blogs already. Otherwise, you may be lost in this one. For a little background, I suggest to read blog entry, "The One When I Spent My First Weekend in Hartford."
It’s the second month of year 2017. This time, February 14th fell on a weekday. This meant I had to wait for the weekend to be with John, the weekend that ended up as our our last Valentines together. Also, this was the last of our many road trips with our kids. See, I also planned a weekend trip to Vermont. It was, after all, the start of David’s and Samantha’s February/ winter break.
I bought 4 tickets to “The Trevor Noah Comedy Show” in Hartford the Friday of Valentine’s weekend. John and I are fans of the handsome, intelligent and articulate comedian from South Africa. We were introduced to his work by John’s cousin/best friend, Patrick,at one of our Youtube video marathons at the Smith family vacation in Martha’s Vineyard in the summer of 2014. I made sure I got good seats so I bought the tickets 3 months early, in November 2016. This was about two months since I decided to give John “time and space.” And though I gave him back the engagement ring, our communications never stopped. There were still Facetime, daily text messages and endless invitations to come see him. So it never felt that we were truly broken up. He also wouldn’t accept me breaking up with him, regardless of how many times I ignored him. His cousin, my friend Amy, told me that John even told his family at Christmas, that I could not join them for the holidays because I was working. I also remember this exchange of text messages in December 2016-
Somehow, I was still very hopeful, and that time, I still didn’t know there was someone else. Also, he continually made me hope. There were many text messages of “ In a few months, my situation will change,” “When I finish my PhD, I will have more time for us,” “Just wait until David goes to college next year, things will change…” So with hope and excitement, I bought tickets to Trevor’s Valentine Show. I believed by then, we would “officially” be back together. Why wouldn’t we? I still get my “I love yous” and “I miss yous.”
I bought 4 tickets to the show because I was hoping we can go on a double date with his cousin/best friend Patrick, and Brenda, John's twin sister. Brenda wanted to pay me back for her ticket, I told her it was my treat. After all, I have eaten much of her food at every family gathering she hosted. I also told John not to take Patrick’s money, and to tell him the same thing I told Brenda. But he never did. In fact, in front of me, he took the money from Patrick, put it in his front pocket, and used it to buy us drinks at the show and cocktails after the show. Well, later I realized, he probably wanted half the money he spent on 2 orders from 1-800-Flowers.com back.
Lili said that John’s excuse that Valentine weekend was he was taking his son, David snowboarding. Naturally, John did not tell her who else was on that trip (or maybe he did). But I’m pretty sure, he did not mention to her who planned and paid for the trip to Vermont, the same person who paid for the Trevor Noah tickets. This is not about money. I just could not believe that one would be that shameless and opportunistic. John was already almost living with Lili and yet, not only did he mislead me and our children, he took advantage of me, physically, emotionally and financially. I can see that when you know the relationship is doomed, you probably would not want to “invest” in it anymore. But then, if you continue to mislead the other, and take advantage of her trust and generosity, while you continually betray her, then you’re just one horrible person.
I had been crying since May of 2017 when I found out about the “new” girlfriend (See Blog Entry- “The One When I Found Out”). But that day in July 2017, when I found out that it was Lili all along, I started putting the pieces together. I did not think that he had been cheating on me since February 2017… since 2016… since 2015, and as far back as 2013. So when I found out in July that it was Lili all along, I had many flashbacks, many explanations to his past behaviors, many realizations… from the one where John did not want any pictures at the Trevor Noah Show, to the one where Lili was sitting 5 pews behind me at John’s sister’s funeral service in January 2016(Spoiler Alert: “The One at the Funeral”) to John’s behavior in one of our trips(Spoiler Alert: "The One When We Went to Bermuda”). Now I know I spent my last weekend with John, when he still had Lili’s scent on his body. That was when I rushed to my bathroom and cried my heart out.
Movie Scene from "Must Love Dogs"
I’ve heard and seen (in movies) about shower-crying. I guess there is something about being alone, naked and soaked in running water that brings on tears. Or is it the privacy the bathroom gives, the sound of falling water and shower drops hitting the tub, further masking the sounds of crying and body convulsing sobs? One author (Ray Bradbury) even wrote a poetic ode to the shower-cry—“Why didn’t someone tell me about crying in the shower? You wear your sadness, properly assuaged. Your head and face massaged by storms of spring.”
I guess crying is cathartic, and so is showering, then both together is twice as good. But for me, it was more than needing catharsis. It was more than just finding a safe space where no one can hear me. I did not need the warm water to sooth me or wash away my tears. Tears which, for several weeks, seem to have dehydrated me already. I was crying in the shower to cleanse myself, both with my own stream of tears and the shower on full blast … to cleanse myself … from all the filth I unknowingly accumulated … sleeping with John “and” Lili, to wash off John’s cells left on my body, to flush away any remnant of Lili’s scent on my skin, and to wash off any guilt that John strategically put on me.”
My friend Karol said, “It is normal to question yourself. After all, the one person you thought you could trust with your life has done something horrible. That will make you question everything.” She said the affair actually has very little to do with me. It is about the character of the cheater. She said it is okay to think about the infidelity. It is part of dealing with the betrayal. It’s a natural reaction to have, when someone had literally ripped your heart out of your chest, after he stabbed it multiple times. I know I cannot allow the thoughts about the pain to take over my life. Karol said, “Once you have truly dealt with it, it’s time to move past it and move on so that you can completely deal with betrayal in a healthy way, one that will allow you to make a new life for yourself. “
Now, to my readers… As heartbreaking as these may all sound, remember that my blog’s title is Bye Felicia, Hello Life. The “Hello Life” parts will be blogged about, (some are already in “The One With The Piano” and “The One With The Summer Surprises.”) But as writer Octavia Butler said, “ You don't start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap… thinking it's good stuff, and then gradually, you get better at it.”
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I love your comment the end, it’s so true about writing. I’ve never heard that before, but I agree we start out and get better as time goes by.