Yesterday

CEO took me to a beautiful hotel overlooking the Pacific Ocean during the early lust-filled days of our affair. I remember pulling up to the resort feeling so special as he held my hand in the car. As he drove through the windy roads, traversing through the canyons, the peek-a-boo views of the Pacific ocean glistened in my eyes. As his sportscar purred along the asphalt, I stared at the eroding sandstone cliffs daydreaming.

“Here, this is for you” he said, as he pulled a card out of the middle compartment.

I smiled.

Couldn’t help it.

This millennial was blowing me away. That…was unexpected. Looking back, I can honestly say these little gestures were reminiscent of any early courtship – the kind you see in a normal dating situation.

In that moment, I felt special. Cherished. Appreciated. And damn right sexy as my ecru silk blouse billowed in the salty breeze.

It was a Valentine’s Day card.

His words were those of a smitten man. I blushed. Hard. Then paused for an extremely long time, trying to figure out how I should respond. And honestly, it left me speechless (something that’s a rarity for me). I didn’t know where this relationship was going but I certainly set the expectation in my head that this was sex only.

But CEO kept progressing our pace and moved things forward, like a normal dating relationship where two people are falling for one another. It confused me…but deep down, I loved it. He was so different to my husband, calm with an assertive alpha male way of handling life. It was refreshing. Very, very refreshing.

The valet took his BMW and we walked into the resort looking like a married couple. He went to check in before telling me to head down below. I found us the most perfect table, perched above the cliffs. The glass French doors were open to the Pacific Ocean and it was a stunning view, for a Tuesday morning. Golden sand. Shades of teal and blue. The sound of pounding surf below. He arrived moments later, smiling. Relaxed.

We ordered Mimosa’s and a fruit platter, then talked about his start-up. I remember him making a point of saying, “In my everyday life, I am a man of integrity.  I want you to know that.” I think he was trying to convey that he really was a good guy. My gut sussed that out long ago. But obviously, we were two cheating hearts in that moment, so you can debate the merits of that yourself.

The conversation flowed as always. He would occasionally reach over and hold my hand. It was really sweet. These little gestures had long left my marriage. I had forgotten how lovely it felt to be pursued. And he did so in spades. Had it been anyone else, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it. But it was him…CEO. And I had a huge soft spot for him that was growing exponentially every week. His sheepish grin melted my heart. Those big brown eyes stared straight into my soul and we had a magnetic connection from day one.

That was three years ago. Seems like yesterday sometimes. Especially when I sit down to write and reminisce.

I have only been back to this city twice now. Each time, barely within the town border. I’ve avoided this city for a long,  long time because the memories shared with CEO were perfect here. I’ve been reluctant to ever return, and especially to drive past the resort. Not sure why, other than its quite the distance for me to travel to.

But today, that all changed. I drove past the resort while I took my kids on an outing further afield. It was strange driving past the sign. Almost surreal. My heart didn’t race or anything. Had I visited years ago, that would have been the case. The adrenaline would have been pumping as I relived the memories of what occurred there. The photos flashed throughout my mind like a moving picture book.

Sex on the balcony ✔️

“That was a fantasy of mine.”

Was it? We didn’t talk about this up front. But it felt organic and natural, which is why I went along with it.

The desk ✔️

“Not quite the right height. But A for effort.”

The sofa ✔️

“Kate, that was amazing. Don’t stop grinding my cock like that.”

The corner ocean view suite- king size bed- with seagulls squawking in the distance. While I repeatedly orgasmed as he pounded my g-spot with the Njoy his wife refused to take out of the box ✔️✔️✔️

This time it was like looking through a keyhole to a past time in my life.

Like Alice in Wonderland.

Me…Wondering.

(*CEO would kill me if he knew I took a photo of this card)

Dreams

I had a dream about Niall last night.  And that hasn’t happened in a long, long time my friends.  Like in years.

I was walking through the beachside town, passing a little gift shop when all of a sudden, I heard my name being called out.

Kate!

Glancing back over my left shoulder, there Niall was, standing in front of quaint men’s store which does not exist in real life.  My eyes met his and I stood there on the sidewalk stoically, unable and unwilling to react whatsoever.  My pupils did not dialate nor did I break out in a huge Cheshire Cat grin.  It was as if we were frozen in time, suspended for many moments.

I took a breathe without parting my lips and finally, Niall tilted his head backwards, gesturing for me to meet him outside the store.

I don’t recall thinking anything during that time but my feet suddenly moved.  And within a moment, I was sitting down on an ipe bench facing the Pacific Ocean with Niall seated to the right of me.

I didn’t say anything.  I just sat there listening to the pounding surf below.

The familiarity was there in an instant, along with his signature cologne.  He was dressed sharp, of course- he always knew how to dress.  And he still had those baby faced good looks.

He stared at me while I looked out towards the sea.  I glanced down and saw that his hands were clasped together, with his legs far apart.  He leaned forward onto his elbows, took a deep breathe in and broke our silence.

“Kate, when you have 20 million dollars of your own money sunk into a company, there’s a lot on the line.  I wanted to buy the lot behind our house and I had investors breathing down my neck.  I’ve been so unbelievably busy…”

As I looked out at the waves, I could see his mouth moving but I could no longer hear what he said.  My own thoughts took over, becoming center stage.  And they were spinning fast. “Did he really just start this conversation off talking about his bank account?  He didn’t even ask you how you’ve been.  He didn’t even apologize for the hell he put you through…”

As he continued to speak, I stood up and walked away.  Step by step, his voice drowned out amongst the crashing waves.  I could tell he had risen and heard the sound of his shoes pivot towards me.  But he stopped.  I thought for one millisecond that I should turn around, and look at him one last time.  But I knew better.

Instead, I continued to walk forward, overcome with a sense of peace.  Away from Niall.

As the distance grew between us, he became a smoky shadowy blur.  Like a dark cloud way behind me.

I woke up suddenly to Zane grabbing the pillow off my head,  smashing his adorable face into mine whispering, “Mama, for Christmas will you buy me a Lego police station?”

Ahhh, real life.  My life.  I love it!

***

(Feel free to comment and discern what you think this dream means.)

 

 

 

 

 

Fate

Tonight, I texted my husband, “Want anything else from Whole Foods?”  And he replied asking for a specific craft beer that I had never heard of before.  I finally found it on the shelf and as I placed it into my basket, two little girls came running past me.  I lost my breathe, not from their beauty, but because they are CEO’s kids.  And they look just like him (especially in the eyes).

Yep, I had another run-in friends.

I froze, then stealth glanced the perimeter and saw his wife, now standing in front of the seafood counter with two little girls tugging at her shirt.

Great.  Just great.

This has got to be the 10th time I have run into her.  It’s like fate keeps bringing us together.  I don’t even run into my own friends this much.  Statistically, what are the odds?  Like nil?

I quickly grabbed my phone and took a pic, because this has become a running joke between my best friend and I.  I sent her the photo (it was only the back of her body) and yet her reply was priceless, “OMG!  I know who that is!  Fuck how on earth do you keep running into her?  You don’t even live in that small of a town.”

Before I could reply, it suddenly dawned on me, “Niall could be behind them, perusing the produce section and shopping as a family.  Oh geez…please say he is not here.  I’m in my workout clothes and sweaty from a 6 mile run…then again, my ass has never looked better.”

I took a deep breathe, turned the corner and there was no Niall to be found.  Just all the friendly workers who know me by name, waving to me saying, “Heyyyyy Kate.  What’s up?”

I couldn’t help but think…she’s in my territory.  There is a huge Whole Foods less than 1 mile from her house and yet, she came to this little neighborhood location.

As I checked out, I half expected for her to end up in my lane.  Thankfully, that didn’t happen.  I pondered back to the time I ran into her over the holidays, both of our kids staring into the same decorated windows during the annual Christmas stroll.  And sadly, for the second year running- Niall is never by her side.  It’s always just her…and the girls…alone.

He’s a brilliant entrepreneur, but an absentee father and husband.  Had we left our spouses and ended up together, I would be just like her.

Alone.

The Business Trip

The following evening, after we got Vivian to bed, we sat down to talk.  We both felt that attending marriage counseling was causing more problems than solving them.  So we made a pact to sit down every night and keep talking.  Till we figured everything out.  Including the Why.

It’s probably a good idea to explain right now that my husband is adopted.  And although we make no excuses for adultery, we believe it’s been a huge contributing factor.  At least in his case.  I am not adopted and have no idea how it must feel to be in his shoes.  But my husband expressed numerous times during our talks that, “the most important decision that impacted my life was made before I was even born.”  Pretty powerful epiphany.

Being adopted shaped a lot of his core beliefs, way more than I ever realized until we started our nightly chats.  He has always felt the need to conform, to be a people pleaser.  He makes for an excellent employee in that way.  His nickname is Switzerland, as he is impartial in everything he does.  Very diplomatic.  He never pisses anyone off.  Everyone genuinely likes him and he is looked upon as “a nice guy”.

A lot of his core beliefs stem from feeling rejected at birth by his biological mother.  If anyone really knew the real him, they wouldn’t love him.  That is what he told himself.  So despite being older and wiser, he still had moments where he went along with the group.  Even if it meant going against his values.

He also spoke of wearing a mask.  That he felt conflicted and that no one would really love the real him.  Faults and all.  So he mastered the art of becoming the perfect son and perfect employee throughout his life.  He essentially was portraying himself to be one way for fear of rejection.  And he had a deep underlying need to be accepted.

Let me set the scene for the first incidence of his cheating.  We were living in Europe and had just returned from a trip around the world.  We left a month after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and returned nine months later.  Jobs were scarce and his industry had crashed.  Usually we had jobs lined up as my husbands field was in demand.  And most times, he was being offered greater and greater positions as there was a shortage of qualified people in his field.  We banked on the fact that we would start work immediately.  However, this was not the case.  Finding employment was not just difficult, it was proving impossible to find for him.  It was like the industry had dried up overnight.

Weeks later, he finally got offered a position: a short term contract.  In Africa.  Kinshasa to be exact.

For those of you who failed geography, that’s in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Democratic isn’t exactly how I would describe Congo either.  It’s a third world country and corruption is rife.  There is a lot of fighting going on and you are often guarded by armed security when traveling.  I won’t lie, it’s dangerous there.

Since we had traveled through Congo on our trip, we felt it was doable.  We weighed the pros and cons, and quite simply, the money was too good to pass up.  He would be gone for one month, something our marriage had never dealt with.  However, I knew we could handle it.  Four weeks and it would be over.  The biggest concern at the time was for his general safety.

It wasn’t until the night of his confession that he even told me what really happened on that trip.  He came home after four weeks, clearly exhausted.  And he managed to give me a synopsis of his time there, which basically revolved around staying in his hotel for fear of being robbed and then being driven each day to the worksite.  It was basically work, sleep, rinse, repeat.

He was overseeing a crew of guys, all of whom were from France.  They had been working there for months and spoke very little English.  Needless to say, he felt like a fish out of water.  And clearly out numbered.  They would speak in French the entire time, with him clueless as to what they were saying.  They had been there so long that they had a dedicated driver who picked them up on the weekends and drove them to dinner, bars etc. and then back to their hotel.  My husband watched them go out every night, him staying back at the hotel.

A few weeks into the job, the crew was invited to the embassy for a night out.  It was the first time my husband had done anything outside of working and sleeping.  And he had a really fun time, and could finally relax as it was surrounded by guards.  The biggest fear was being driven back late at night.

For anyone who hasn’t traveled abroad, specifically in a third world country, it’s hard to even grasp what I am describing.  But traveling at night can lead to disaster, which is why you are often accompanied by armed security.  It’s like nothing you have ever experienced.  Your heart is racing every time you see someone lingering on the side of the road, hoping your luck isn’t up and you’re about to be ambushed.  It’s like you’re living in the Wild West.

He got home safely that night, but it left him wanting to get out of the hotel more.  So when the French guys finally invited him out to dinner, he went along with them and their driver.

They entered the restaurant and ate like kings.  These guys clearly knew everyone who worked there, slapping hands and giving high fives.  A group of women immediately came over to their table and sat down.  In their broken English, they were referred to as their “friends” although from all the kisses and hands on their asses, it was clear to my husband that they were more than that.

The drinks flowed….and he found himself trying to fit into their world.  He thought about leaving the group.  He felt out of place from the moment he showed up.  But the driver was theirs, not his.  So it would mean taking a taxi alone, which would be dangerous especially at night.  So he stayed.  And he drank.  And he drank, till eventually he didn’t feel so out of his element.

That night, the French guys said, “she is yours” and “take her back, just give her money for a taxi ride home”.  Needless to say, instead of refusing, he went along with it.  Partly out of fear.  Partly out of trying to fit in with the group.  Partly because he had been drinking and not making the best of choices.  Shit, there’s a lot of reasons which contributed to his decision in that moment.

Nothing is ever black and white.  There are many facets to each of us, to what motivates us to make certain decisions.  Nothing is clear cut in the world of adultery.

There are more than fifty shades of grey.  I know that much for sure.

The Marriage Counselor

“My therapist won’t see us as a couple.  She said she is too involved with me already and it wouldn’t be fair to you.  She wouldn’t be impartial.  So she gave me some referrals but none of the marriage counselors are on our insurance plan.”  That is how the following morning started, in between dressing Vivian and prepping snacks in advance for V’s entire preschool.  Getting dressed he said, “Ok let me see what I can dig up today once I get to work.”

As anyone who lives in Los Angeles understands, asking for therapist referrals on a mommy blog was akin to standing on the 405 freeway, at rush hour, with a blow horn.  Pretty much every mother in the entire LA basin was throwing out recommendations.  So once I kept hearing the same three or four therapists, I knew I had my short list.  That explains how I was able to get into therapy so quickly.

Now Hubby offering to find a marriage counselor was 1) a chance for me to offload some of the work in sorting through our marriage problems but 2) fraught with the very real fear he would likely pull out the yellow pages (like who uses those things anymore?).

We are polar opposites in that way.  So I am telling you this upfront.  To be fair, I drive him nuts with my penchant for thoroughness.  I have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and will gladly dive knee-deep into any subject till I become an expert on it, only to abandon it and take up the next topic.  Just how I am.  However, my husband is the exact opposite (can you say yin to my yang–is that even correct?   Whatever.  You get what I am trying to explain).

My husbands lackadaisical attitude towards life in general is embedded in his culture.  I can’t divulge more than that without fear of exposing who he is.  But let’s just say, he comes from an entire country that relishes in being laid back.  And no, he is not from Jamaica.

It’s safe to say that when he found a marriage counselor, I approached our first session with extreme caution.  We both pulled into the parking lot at the same time and I distinctly remember things were really icy between us.  Despite wanting to extend forgiveness, I was combating waves of anger still or maybe it was just hormones.  Who knows.

We entered the therapists office and sat down.  He was fumbling about and clearly unorganized.  And he was slow like molasses in everything he did.  It was beyond annoying because he would ask a question, and then close his eyes for several minutes while he pondered another.  I couldn’t help but think, “This twat is milking our therapy session!”  Despite having several diplomas all over his walls, he lacked any real social skills needed to be a therapist.  That’s academia for you.

“So what are you hoping to achieve?” he implored.

“Why….I want to know why he chose to do this.  Without understanding the why, I can’t move forward.” That is what I said to him.

Incredibly, he replied like Yoda from the movie Star Wars, “You…..may never…get that answered.  The why…does not matter.”

My my mind was racing at full speed and I could feel my heart pounding.  I wish I could say it was because I was pregnant.  Or that someone kidnapped my manners.  But when faced with idiots who lack common sense, I feel compelled (no rather it’s my duty to all of mankind) to inform them of their ridiculous notions.

“Listen here Yoda.  I went to Starbucks this morning.  I ordered a plain bagel and iced latte (it’s ok people the new guidelines say pregnant women can have a cup now and again).  I know why I ordered that.  Because I wanted it.  I craved having carbs and needed some caffeine.  Don’t tell me for a second that my husband doesn’t know why he decided to fuck someone else.  We all make choices.  And we all know why we do that.  We’ve hired you to get to the bottom of the “why”.  If you’re not on the same page, then I am out of here.”

We ended up storming out of his office and fighting in the parking lot.  Me leaving in one car, my husband in another.  And that was the extent of our marriage counseling.  To date.

Needless to say, things were back to being miserable between us.

 

My Brave Heart

After any major life changing event, there comes a point where you either accept things or it slowly begins to define you.  We all know that person, the one that holds grudges against their ex-spouse.  The ones that spew hatred for anything that triggers them.  The ones that have literally lost years of their lives being enslaved to the travesty which they endured decades ago.  I didn’t want to become one of those people.  That was for sure.

It took listening to a news program for the penny to drop.  For me to see the bigger picture and wipe the mess off my rose colored glasses that was clouding my view.  Essentially after much soul searching, I figured out real quick that my husbands infidelity had less to do with me and everything to do with breaking up our family.  And I wasn’t about to let that happen.  My kids, quite frankly, mean everything to me.

So on that spring morning as I drove back from yet another doctors appointment, I returned home a changed wife.  I recounted the news story to my husband and told him, “I don’t know how I am going to forgive you.  If it will come in stages or one lump sum.  But today, I chose to forgive you.  And each day I wake up, I will say those words until they become my reality.”

He cried.  I cried.  Then we had sex.

If I could go back in time, I would stop myself.  Looking back years later, I realize that I fast tracked my forgiveness for the sake of our family.  I placed all the pain and hurt into some imaginary box because let’s be honest, I had a life growing inside of me.  I didn’t have time to wallow in this mess.  Like Mel Gibson in the movie Braveheart shouting, “Onward!”, I too had to keep pressing forward at living.

So I did.

The next day

I wanted to hurt him.  To humiliate him.  To go next door to our neighbors and borrow a baseball bat, then start bashing in every single one of his car windows.  In public.  That should suffice to get the neighbors talking and no doubt, they would put two and two together and know something awful had transpired against me.  I don’t know why I dreamt of these things, but I did.

Perhaps it was because I was pregnant.

Not pregnant as in going to deliver any second pregnant.  Try just ten weeks along.  Yeah, we had just found out.  Just gotten past the ‘oh my gosh, we are really having a second child’ phase.  Long enough to feel all the familiar subtle symptoms.  Long enough to start dreaming if it was a boy or a girl this time.  And long enough to feel utterly conflicted as to why he didn’t feel the need to confess this to me prior to bringing another child into our family.

I was beyond angry.

I felt he timed his confession, at the most inopportune time, to ensure I would stay.  That isn’t to say, I didn’t think about leaving him all the time.  Trust me, I did.  But we had a child together already, and one on the way.  And I wasn’t about to go and become a “martyr” at that point, just to prove how strong of a woman I was.  “Oh look at her.  Poor thing.  Raising two kids all by herself, after her husband cheated on her”.  Fuck that.

“Why should I be the one to suffer more, when he cheated on me”, I thought.  No I wasn’t going to move out, to deal with finding a new home.  To pack up and start over.  Become a single mom day in/day out.  No way.  He was going to deal with seeing all my pain each and every day.

But before moving forward, we needed space to try and figure things out.  So I did what every wife in that position would do: I kicked him out of the house.  To my mothers house in fact.  That in itself, was real punishment right there.

He doesn’t have any family living by us.  In fact, they live several continents away.  Plus he didn’t want to involve any friends at the time.  So that was the plan.  To my mothers house he went…..

….until my oldest child starting peeing in her pants 10-15 times per day.

Despite arriving back at our home before waking up each morning and despite being there for the bedtime routine, kids figure stuff out.  They are like sponges and my oldest, which I will refer to as Vivian (V for short), sensed Daddy wasn’t just over at grandma’s helping her unpack (she had just moved).  That excuse only worked for so long.  Clearly she was being deeply affected by everything going on between us, even though we tried to shield her.

So two weeks later, I asked him to move back in.

Needless to say, I knew this was not going to be easy.