(I haven’t resumed my story telling in a long time. My blog kinda took a U-turn and I started writing more in the moment, and less about CEO and I. Here’s another installment which resumes after the ‘Butterflies’ post)
Returning from my run, I jumped in the shower and continued to wonder about Niall. Truth be told, I wanted to look at his photo and study his face before heading off to bed. I wanted to stare at his contours, and decipher if his eyes were a shade of blue or burnt amber. Honestly, I didn’t get a good look at his photo. But it would be incredibly risky logging back into AM, as my husband was over in the next room. Looking back, I can objectively say, my behavior at that time was incredibly risky (and would only become even more so, as the months went by). This is a by-product of all affairs: the risky behavior and decision making.
As the hot water trickeled down my back, I found myself pondering Niall with a curiosity I hadn’t felt in a long time. First impression? He seemed all too normal. Pretty vanilla and polite. Safe was the first impression I got. Boy would I be wrong. I turned off the faucet, wrapped myself in a warm plush towel and quickly opened my iPad. I tapped away at the glass screen, then nervously awaited my inbox to load. To my utter surprise, the key and Niall’s message was…poof–gone! Talk about a shocker. I wasn’t expecting that.
In typical knee-jerk fashion, I fired off a hasty message.
Hey, I just logged back in to look at the photo you sent me. I didn’t get a chance to look at it earlier because my husband suddenly came home. But now it’s gone. I realize you are new to this site, but in my limited experience here, men are very generous with releasing their keys. And they definitely leave them available, mid-conversation, while trying to forge a connection…
I kinda smirked when I sent it, wondering just how my message would be perceived. To my utter surprise, he wrote back immediately. Yikes! He’s online at this very moment!!
Please do not take my actions as a sign of my lack of interest. I didn’t mean to send them so soon. Like you, I am very cautious and didn’t intend to reveal all just yet. I know that must sound weak. But I like talking to you and just wanted to get to know you better first.
On second thought, I apologize. I will send them again now. Just know I look better in person and take horrible photos. Please tell me more about yourself, your travels (did you ever visit Rome?). And if I can be so forward, are you available this Friday to meet for a drink? Maybe the Beach House?
I had to laugh at his message. I thought only women got insecure over their looks. Apparently, so do men. The analyzer in me noted and filed this into my armchair-psychiatrist brain. So he has some insecurities. Ok, duly noted. That’s not some deal breaker. We all have insecurities. However my inner voice said, “But Kate, you are looking for an alpha male. This is just some millennial…move on. He’s just a kid with an internet connection.” (Ok- maybe that was a bit rough, but I’m trying to emphasize that I had absolutely no real inclination towards him at this point)
And just like that, his photos appeared in my inbox. One was a close-up of his face, taken from the side. The photographer in me realized that it wasn’t a great photo- it accentuated his side profile and distorted the ratio of his cheeks to his front facial features. It was taken at a horrible angle and made him look 10 pounds heavier than he actually was. But I could tell he was a decent looking guy (in all honesty, my husband is better looking than him…even to this day). My first impression was that he was “cute” and the full length body shot confirmed he was in fairly good shape.
I thought he was a baby faced millennial that would be fun to talk to. Nothing more.
And definitely not someone who would knock me off my feet…and into a full-fledged affair. I opened up his email and began tapping away at the keyboard.
Wow…you look young. Are you old enough to be on here? Kidding!! I have an honest question for you. Have you ever cheated on your wife before? There is no right or wrong answer here. I get that there are open marriages and different dynamics at play. But, I’m just trying to understand where you are coming from and what your situation at home may be.
I stared at my screen and saw that he opened my message immediately. I was about to turn off my iPad when he suddenly replied yet again.
I’ve never had a full fledged affair. But I was at a work conference with a competitor once. We were sitting with a group of employees from both companies when my competitor suddenly (and discretely) invited me up to her room. We excused ourselves separately and met upstairs. Once in her suite, she quickly removed her dress only to reveal lace thigh highs and a garter begging for me to, “Fuck her now.” and to “Finish her off nice and hard.” And well….I did. So to answer your question honestly, yes. Yes, I have. Once.
As I contemplated how to reply, I suddenly heard a noise in the distance. I logged out of my computer and didn’t respond.
But I thought about Niall for the rest of the day. And beyond.
Every once in a while, a song will come on that stops you in your tracks. Such piercing lyrics.
..loving you had consequences.
A really dear friend passed away over the weekend. And I had to find out over Facebook. I knew him from when I lived in London. He was an amazing guy. Had the best personality. The most infectious smile and could make anyone laugh for days. We had plenty of mischievous adventures together. Traveled to several countries. And partied to stupid o’clock hours. He could literally stay up for days and just go and go and go.
I was devastated when I found out. Just in a ball of tears. My husband had run out to the store and in that time, I learned of his passing. When he walked back through the door, he saw the look on my ashen face. I could barely muster the words… “Daniel suddenly passed away.”
There is a finality to death that you don’t fully appreciate until you are standing within its shadows. With the door of life firmly shutting on Daniel, in that moment, I couldn’t help but think of CEO. Knowing that you will never speak to your affair partner again is one thing. But facing that you may outlive them, and grieve in the shadows for their passing later in life, is another.
I don’t know what is worse. Dying young? Or living a long life- yet having to experience repeated grief and sadness, as everyone around you passes away.
It’s summertime. And in my house, that means adventure. I’m a big travel junkie and I like to travel to off the beaten path. It’s one of the things I let go of, when I first had my kids. And it’s one of the things I purposely restored in my life, after I examined my overall happiness post dday.
Last week, I went off the grid with my kids. Packed the car up and hit the road. Just the three of us. We weren’t even out of LA when my daughter fished out a CD, which I didn’t even know was in this car (I rarely drive it anymore). Traffic was thick, so I wasn’t really paying attention to what she was doing but the next thing I know, the lyrics started up and it took me back four years. Memories of immense pain and longing bubbled to the surface as I kept my eyes fixated on the road. I must have listened to this CD a thousand times, I thought. Music put into words what my heart and mind couldn’t say back then. I couldn’t believe she was actually playing this.
I think of you
I haven’t slept
I think I do
But I don’t forget
My body moves
Goes where I will
But though I try my heart stays still
It never moves
Just won’t be led
And so my mouth waters to be fed
And you’re always in my head
My mind instantly went back to CEO and how these words would echo through the chambers of my heart. Every word from each successive song matched the emotions back then. How apropos that I was on a journey, looking back at the most painful journey of all.
“Did you remember to pack my bathing suit mom?”
And just like that, I’m snapped back to reality. “Yes honey. It’s in your bag.”
”Can we eat the chips now?” my son chimes in. “Ummmm, no buddy. We’re not even 20 miles from our house and you are already asking for food?!?”
The music fades as the kids chat about Pokémon, why I took their iPads away for summer and if we will see a bear (like last time we went off the grid). I let their conversations drift into the back of my mind as the lyrics took center stage. The next song begins and my mind suddenly travels back in time.
Call it magic, call it true
I call it magic when I’m with you
And I just got broken, broken into two
Still I call it magic, when I’m next to you
I remember being split between my husband and CEO back then. Neither getting all of me. It broke me into two- literally. And definitely wrecked my spirit juggling these two relationships…and yet, there was magic between CEO and I. Undeniable magic.
Dating an entrepreneur is fraught with difficulties. First, they are married to their start-ups. And their time isn’t linear. This posed problems in our relationship. I learned through knowing CEO that my love language is time- and there never seemed to be enough of it. I need that face to face connection in all of my relationships. Daily contact was there via technology, but nothing replaces looking into each others eyes. Seeing the way his eyes danced as he recounted a story. Or hearing his laugh.
As I drove along the highway, I reflected back upon the negative undercurrents of our relationship. The lack of real, valuable time together. Did I think we could improve the amount of time we spent together back then? Most definitely. I truly believed we could find a middle ground there. I believed we could find our way.
And if you were to ask me
After all that we’ve been through
Still believe in magic?
Well yes, I do
Oh yes, I do
Oh yes, I do
Of course I do
My wanderlust was dimming and so had my conversation with the kids. Vivienne looked over at me and asked, “Are you okay mom? You seem distant. Like you are thinking deeply about something.”
“Yes sweetie. I’m fine. Just going over in my head everything I’ve packed.”
”Did you remember the bacon for Zane?”
”Oh crap. I didn’t pull it out of the fridge. Can you google for the nearest Whole Foods on mommie’s phone?”
Needless to say, we had a little detour before we got out of proper LA. It was a nice break from what had been going through my mind. But the second we got back in the car, my daughter continued to play the album with the significance lost on her. Each song was like a journey into my past.
Got a tattoo that said “together through life”
Carved in your name with my poker knife
And you wonder when you wake up, will it be alright oh oh
Feels like there’s something broken inside
All I know
All I know
Is that I’m lost whenever you go
All I know is that I love you so
So much that it hurts
Urgh- the pain started brewing in my chest. The hurt was unreal back then. In an instant, I was brought back to the turmoil of loving two men. One I had built a life with. And one, I had fell in love with. My broken heart realized I needed to box up that love and ignore it for life. I loved Nial so much and this song tore at my heart, every time I heard it. Memories came flooding back. Me- leaving my house for the first time, after I had confessed. Driving away from my neighborhood. Then once I was at a safe distance, just screaming at the top of my lungs. Trying to get everything out, so my kids wouldn’t see my pain. I was conflicted. Truly. Knowing I had purposely dropped an atomic bomb on my relationship with CEO so I would be forced to do the “right thing”, even if my heart was utterly in love with him, was gut wrenching…
“How much longer till we transfer freeways mom? Do you think we will be able to find a swimming hole or waterfall once we get there?”
“Don’t you fret my pet. Mom’s got it covered.”
The melodies faded into oblivion, while giving birth to the next song. Miles tick over on the odometer as the road opened up. As I juggle the past and present, memories of Niall continue to flood to the surface.
For a second, I was in control
I had it once, I lost it though
And all along the fire below would rise
And I wish you could have let me know
What’s really going on below
I’ve lost you now, you let met go but one last time
Tell me you love me, if you don’t then lie, oh lie to me
“Are we going to stop for lunch on the way?” Zane asked softly. “Yes darling. We will get lunch soon.’
And then the keys on the piano begin. Notes take shape. Softly, yet full of every conceivable emotion. It rhythmically tells the story of my heartbreak, note by note.
A flock of birds
Just a flock of birds
That’s how you think of love
And I always
Look up to the sky
Pray before the dawn
‘Cause they fly always
Sometimes they arrive
Sometimes they are gone
They fly on
A flock of birds
Into smoke I’m turned
And rise following them up
Still I always
Look up to the sky
Pray before the dawn
‘Cause they fly away
One minute they arrive,
Next you know they’re gone
They fly on
So fly on
Maybe one day I’ll fly next to you
They fly on
Maybe one day I come fly with you
I’m stronger now. I’ve forged a new path. But it’s in moments like these, I realize just how far I’ve come. And how I can listen to Coldplays entire Ghost Stories without bursting into tears.
And yet…I still miss him.
Thats what 4 years post Dday gets you.