real life

'When my husband had an affair, I asked him for every little detail. I desperately wish I hadn't.'

The greyness of the sky hits my eyes in the same way spending 14 hours under a fluorescent light in a windowless room does. I’m drained. 

And then I remember it all. Heartbreak swirls its way up from my chest and grips my brain.  

My thoughts are suddenly awash with the affair my husband had almost a year ago.

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He left me. For six days. 

And then came home, and in a moment of pure vulnerability I told him how I felt about him, and that I didn’t think, despite everything, our marriage was beyond repair. 

He came home that night. And together, we have shoveled our way out of the steaming pile of s**t the crisis of infidelity can bury a relationship under, using teaspoons. And like all good gardeners know, nothing is better for a blooming, beautiful garden than a mountain of manure.

But every now and then, I get swept in the undercurrent of thoughts. 

My brain, I assume, is trying to protect me from the pain that stopped me eating and sleeping and snatched my life as I knew it away from me.

I made a mistake. When he came back. 

I looked at everything. The text messages. The saucy pictures. The emails. The Spotify playlist they collaborated on. 

I asked. All. The. Questions. I thought I was being smart. I questioned him for hours. And he told me everything.

I wanted to know what I was getting myself back into. But what I really did was put a bullet in the chamber and load the gun. I collected triggers. And now the things I know haunt me.

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To be clear. My husband is working hard. We both are. We have learnt each other’s love languages. We have done therapy. We have dropped all the armour. We see each other. We are growing together in a way we never have before. 

My brain on the other hand is not fully on board. And I am exhausted of all the moments it hijacks:

He is a FIFO worker. She is too. On the same mine site. The same roster. 

And now, thanks to someone in HR who doesn’t give a dog’s biscuit about my triggers, they are on the exact. Same. Flight. 

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I think I saw her when I dropped him off at the airport this week. And I was so shocked to see her in the flesh, that I almost drove right into another car. 

Every airport pick up and drop off is like this. On one hand, I know it doesn’t matter where she is and what she is doing, but my brain reminds me: THERE SHE IS. RIGHT THERE. PERFECT. HE WILL LEAVE YOU.

When he is home and driving into the city. He phones me. We will talk for at least the hour it takes to get into the city. It’s new for us. And I love it. I love a fat chat. 

But he did it with her. Sometimes I don’t even hear what he is telling me. I just think of all the times he volunteered to do the driving on purpose so he could talk to her away from me and all the times he said HOW MISERABLE HE WAS WITH ME AND HOW DESPERATE HE WAS TO LEAVE ME.

He sends me music. It’s always been my thing. 

And sometimes, instead of enjoying the fact that he has heard a song, and thought of me, and sent it to me, I am side swiped by the thought of THEY HAD A PLAYLIST TOGETHER. HE DID THIS WITH HER! YOU ARE SLOPPY SECONDS.

Other times when things get steamy, in the way they tend to when relationships have distance in them, he tells me how hot I am. Or that he can’t wait to get his hands on me. 

I feel physically sick. My brain is right there with the nausea calling out HE DID THIS WITH HER. FOR MONTHS. AND THEN HE BOOKED THEM A HOTEL. HE WAITED FOR HER THERE AND THEN THEY SPENT THE NIGHT TOGETHER.

I wish none of it was true. I wish there was no her. But I know without facing such a crisis together, we never would have gotten rock bottom honest with each other.  

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The garden would not have been fertilised. The flowers would not be blooming beautifully.

Mostly I wish I could get a handle on my brain, which is in overdrive. But then he comes over and hugs me, and whispers in my ear: "That was the biggest mistake of my life, and I am here for the long haul. No matter what happens. I love you. I am in love with you. I am so in love with you."

As I exhale, my shoulders drop, and I rest my head into his shoulder a little voice inside my head screams:

HE PROBABLY SAID THIS EXACT SAME THING TO HER. I TRIED TO WARN YOU LAST TIME AND YOU DIDN’T LISTEN. PAY ATTENTION. IDIOT.

Feature Image: Supplied.

Tarrin Lenard is a Zimbabwean Immigrant who loves gin but drinks tea, teaches yoga and writes words. And not that it should matter but who has also birthed four humans. And been married. Twice. You can find more from Tarrin on Facebook or Instagram.

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