Dear Three: To The Woman Dating My Husband

Dear Three,

Hi, I'm Deuce. We haven't met yet, but we will.
I've known about you long before auditions began.
And I've always told him I aim to be your friend.
There are children involved, after all.

You are no doubt lovely, and gentle and kind.
He has top-shelf taste though his budget is sometimes inflated.

He says he is going to wife you soon; very, very soon he tells me.
I think he intends that to stun and sting.
But I am already quite numb from the earlier blows.

Though we are not exactly divorced yet, I tried that whole kinstugi thing.
The gold we found in Rome's mountains could not heal or seal us, and all the King's horses and Prince Simon's men, couldn't put us back together again.

It takes both sides holding their broken parts, together.

While I must note the ease with which two decades have been discarded, it is only a reminder for myself.
You must not read into my tone a longing or desire to change this tide.
We don't crash onto such shores without first losing a battle with the raging sea.

This letter is simply a note of welcome, a word of warning, if needed.

Have you met Ace, yet ?
There was a time we were not permitted to speak of her, nor the son she bore him in their youth.
She's nice.
A lot more in common than you'll realize at first.
There will be differences, but more-so, the similarities.

In the beginning, Ace offered a similar courtesy to me, though she was more brief and to the point:
"He's a liar and I don't care who he dates" she said.

She was finished then as I am now.

I know stories are going to differ, mileage will vary.
Even now, he would have me believe fanciful versions of my own story, assigning himself roles of both victim and hero, while I am cast as villain.
Some days, he is nearly successful.
If I hadn't seen his fingerprints wrapped around throats for myself, or if I could forget that night my own breath was obstructed as he carried me down the hall by my head, almost he'd persuade even me.

His current version, as he recently shared with our youngest daughter during their visitation, depicts me leaving home in search of some love, new.
"I didn't do this," he told her  "it was your mom who left me."

She is young, but not too young to remember the yelling and the fear he doused our home in, the struck match of grabbed throats and the hold-your-breath encounters when he wasn't very kind.
She remembers the Christmas tree, sailing down the stairs and the splinters of wood when he killed that dining room chair.
After all, it wasn't even that long ago.

She remembers him telling us all to go... and stay the frick gone, too.

I remember a similar tale, about Ace looking for someone new, leaving him behind and bewildered, holding their  baby son.
Later, on a VHS  tape I found, the little boy, handed a cordless phone: "You want your Mama?" he asked "Call her and tell her to come home."

Years later, he would ask me if, in a conversation Ace and I had on the phone, she had finally admitted to cheating on him.

"I did what I needed to do to get out." she'd said, which he counted as a resounding "Yes."

"I knew it!" triumphantly, him.

He hadn't had all the proof he purported to in the beginning, and the question still lingered in his mind. But now, at last, their bloody divorce was justified.

She would have to tell you more about how he came to be briefly keeping their son, but I imagine it was not unlike the way he came to be holding mine.

Hear me: his keeping their son does not equal her leaving him behind.

When he had not paid child support in some time, (just you watch how much I have to prod him)  he told me to tell her to ask that old alleged boyfriend to help her.

Ace gently pointed out how long it had been since they'd divorced. How odd to still have that guy's name on his lips.
She was remarried (not to the alleged boyfriend) and he was remarried and they both had children with somebodies new.

I am telling you, it had been many years and three new children long.

Alas, his suspicion and grudges have staying power.

In advance, I apologize if this cramps the life you hope to build.
It may not creep out right away, which is what makes it harder still.
You think he's happy to be building a life brand new, with you.
Then you find an "Aha!" in his pocket from an argument, long past due.

You're going to see (eventually) that it runs deeper than her or you or me.
There's something tangled in his biology.

If you are even a little bit pretty, Three- as you almost have to be,
you may wish to listen carefully to me.

There's something deep inside him that finds you too good to be true.
He's so lucky to have you.
He's not quite sure how he pulled this off... and that's where the doubt comes in.
Surely it is too good to be true.
And he will place the burden of proof on you.

This is an impossible thing... to prove what is not nor ever has been.
You cannot reason with a wild imagination.

Family, friends, it matters not.
You must always place him first-er than first.

He knows that he is jealous, gets crazy in love.
He finds the notion romantic.
He wants to completely consume you.

What is a love that does not fully possess the object of its desire?

I will follow Ace's lead here, she knew that I would have to just see for myself to understand. She offered very few explanations or defenses for his claims.
I asked her directly a few times, because I had begun to suspect things I'd been told did not align.

Myself, I will answer any questions that arise, but I already suspect against what odds.

It must seem that I want no one to have him if I may not keep him myself.
I point you to the various offers he made for us to reconnect, from July through December.

A point is reached with the lying where you have no choice but to accept defeat, despite wanting to believe.
You find yourself dwelling in a land of pure imagination... no ceiling to shelter under, no walls to lean on and certainly no ground on which to stand.

It isn't that I didn't want One heart, forever.
It isn't that I wanted something new.
I was no longer able to endure the conditions he set for reaching ever after, wanting as he did, to remove the happily and replace it with taunts to just die.

So, as we wait, I offer you a set of short proofs, verified easily by sources other than my words.

If he hasn't lied to you about these things, you are off to a good start.
If these topics haven't come up yet, you now have the advantage of his being forced now not to lie.
If you find there are already discrepancies, I suggest you confront them together now, while he's in the "everything-is-brand-new" phase.

But Three, do not blink because 'new' dissipates with speed.

1.) Did he graduate college? Where did he attend?
(No, but he loves to tell people he did. Some classes through work and a semester unfinished at - -U.)

2.) Did he attend the school for the team he cheers the loudest?
(No, but he loves to tell people he did.)

*I remember when he breathed a sigh of relief that he no longer had to keep up this particular facade. For years, he had been telling me and various employers it was true. I was so happy to see him embracing truth. He was going to enjoy life so much more without having to keep his stories straight. I mean, I liked him for who he was at that time - without an impressive back-story, without degree or alma mater. I believed others would, too.

A few years later, I overheard him telling our waitress that same familiar tale, now resurrected and demanding a feast of brain.  I found myself wondering why he wanted to impress her so. It wasn't flirtation- for she was our mother's age old... perhaps it was insecurity? I never could understand why this little inconsistency was more valuable to him than the life we'd built, tooth and nail, together.
Or why he didn't just return to school and make it true.

3.) Does the money he spends freely belong rightfully to him?
(Ask the IRS and a man named Nevermind)

4.) Did his second wife really leave him and steal their kids or did he angrily demand his freedom?
*(Refer to his own words (in the gray bubbles)  here:

(there are more bubbles than room to share them)

5.) Was he the victim of theft, with a money hungry wife who tried to sabotage their livelihood, or did he play the bully who, not able to force her back into a volatile home, locked her and children out cold? (again, gray bubbles)

In closing Three, I have nothing against you.

You really shouldn't be here, and if he could be depended on, maybe you wouldn't be.
But neither would I or the children I love.

Perhaps He and Ace would be nearing their 30.
But she would miss some pretty amazing turns for good, too.

Each person only gets to choose for themselves.
He chose.
I chose.
Now you deserve informed consent as you choose.

Not only Ace,  but another woman in his life told me he was going to lie. She said that I should accept it and expect it. She sort of asked me to see past it.

My internal response was along the lines of " He lies to you perhaps, but not to me...he likes me."

Even then Three, he was lying.

He did, continued to and will.

Of course, I hope I am wrong.
Maybe this change is real.

From where I was left standing, (at the cash register, unable to buy them dinner)
I have to let you know our account is left unsettled.
He hasn't made things right.

From the bag he left me holding, he continues to pull out justifications for the terrible things he said.
"Go drive from the tallest bridge you can find" is just something you say when you're having a bad day.
Feigned apologies weren't real.

Marriage Tip for "Making it to 50": shower her in profanity.

I'm telling you to adjust any secret expectations you may have of being honored or cherished on days whether good or bad.

Though I must point out the danger in order to remain a decent person, I understand too,  why you probably cannot hear me just now.

No matter what happens or doesn't, for the sake of the kids and all peace, we must make an effort to be friends.

There will be no "Told you so's," nor "Should have been me's" from me.

Best wishes to you both and welcome to the family,

Your new friend,

P.S. I promise these letters won't always be so heavy. Next time I will share recipes or family memories you should know.



It was meant to be one of those poetic, possibly romantic gestures.

We were celebrating two decades of life together. There had been some brokenness along the way to be sure, but we had survived, persevered and even as recently as this very trip, chosen each other once more.

A few months prior, in a fit of anger, he had taken off his wedding band and set it on the hotel dresser where we were arguing staying before comforting himself with a deep and silent brood.

True to the well-worn pattern, he drew near once the broody mood had lifted and wanted his ring back, but it had been indefinitely misplaced by then.

We talked of getting rings tattooed.
But he couldn't mark up his body, he said.
Instead, he ordered an identical ring to the one he removed.

We had long worn a matching set that said "I am my beloved's. My beloved is mine."
I found out later they don't make that ring anymore.
He had not placed an order, but I am sure that he meant to.

Back to the future-past, where we find ourselves in Orlando (Lake Buena Vista to be exact), celebrating twenty years of a continuously renewed subscription.
I purposed to draw another circle around my chosen-again one and headed down to the gift shop.

I chose the shiny black ring.
Some because it mimicked a tattoo and some because of the darkness we had seen.

We always tried to work those quirky little traditional markers into our anniversary gifts.
When we marked 11, it was steel. On our anniversary date, I ducked into a cobbler's shop and asked for two steel nails.

For 15, it was a tiny clay Krystal burger, with Swarovski crystal onions.

Twenty can be marked with china and platinum.

 I had seen the picture online that we have all at some point re-posted about kinstugi and the beauty of sealing broken things with gold. You know the one:

I thought I would do is this: break a china bowl, seal the cracks in "platinum gold" and place his new ring inside.

So I took a purchased china bowl into the bathroom of 'our' Embassy Suites and  dropped it on the floor.
It didn't break the first through third times. I'm not really sure how many more times I dropped it before it broke into four distinct pieces.


I trimmed the brokenness in platinum gold paint.

I sealed it together with E6000 (That stuff is really amazing!)
Or I attempted to. It would hold together, until it wouldn't.(Okay, somewhat amazing.)

I used the hairdryer to try and seal it faster, firmer.
I tried to seal it from the inside.
I tried to seal it from the outside.
I tried from both directions. 
I tried to seal it with the paint.

The bowl would not be fixed.

Some shattered bowls stay broken. 

As Paul Harvey would have us do, I bring the story now to rest.

I threw the bowl away and thought of something else to finish the gift with meaning and metaphor.

We put the children to bed and had dinner in the lobby restaurant just below.
I gave him the ring (which he would remove again a short while later)
And the lyrics to a song:
"...Maybe you and I were never meant to be complete
Could we just be broken together?
If you can bring your shattered dreams and I'll bring mine
Could healing still be spoken and save us?

The only way we'll last forever is broken together..."

Turns out the song, like me, meant well but was misguided.
You can absolutely last forever, broken but not together.
With broken shards you can sever ties, shatter vows and gild your lies.
New bowls are cheap and easy had,
Swipe left for paper, plastic or diamond-clad.
Broken bowls can't hold things, like cereal or wedding rings.
But pieces can be moved about, rearranged and mired in grout
Now I am mosaic.


Early Release

As if we had memorized a script, came the request from one who had called himself beloved:
"Release me?"

We, the children and I, had just listened to the recording where Neil Gaiman read 'A Christmas Carol' at NYC Public Library and we had begun to listen to an audio drama of the same story.

So, the scene where Belle releases Ebenezer was fresh in our minds.

But listen, it has never been far from mine.

I should mention we've been traveling down the crooked alley of divorce for at least a half a mile. We are closer to the end of that passage than the day Clay filed intent...

Best Man and Maid of Honor replaced now with attorneys on either side.

The Reverend who married us in his backyard and bumbled through the vows  replaced by a judge,  honorable and wise.

There is no music, but the courtroom's bailiff has a delightful sense of humor and keeps things running smoothly. She tells us when to sit and stand and speak.

We meet in courtroom 2B, inviting metaphors about 'Not 2B' at your leisure.

Together, we and our witnesses have taken new oaths, oaths to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth unless it will land us in debtor's prison or at the mercy of paying alimony. Then we have apparently decided to 'posture' our way through. Well, he has.

But listen, this has always been his way.

From what must there be release? I cannot speed up judicial proceedings, nor did I set them into motion.
My hope for the return of a friend both kind and gentle was pulled from my grasp at his own angry, insistent command.

"So, do I have your permission?" he asked me two weeks past.

Rest easy, my old beloved, those aren't my chains you wear.
I wear the chain I forged in life,' replied the Ghost. `I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it. Is its pattern strange to you?' 
Scrooge trembled more and more. 
`Or would you know,' pursued the Ghost, `the weight and length of the strong coil you bear yourself? It was full as heavy and as long as this, seven Christmas Eves ago. You have laboured on it, since. It is a ponderous chain!' 
Scrooge glanced about him on the floor, in the expectation of finding himself surrounded by some fifty or sixty fathoms of iron cable: but he could see nothing. 
`Jacob,' he said, imploringly. `Old Jacob Marley, tell me more. Speak comfort to me, Jacob!' 
`I have none to give,' the Ghost replied. `It comes from other regions, Ebenezer Scrooge, and is conveyed by other ministers, to other kinds of men...
And so I sent Belle's reply as my own:
For again Scrooge saw himself. He was older now; a man in the prime of life. His face had not the harsh and rigid lines of later years; but it had begun to wear the signs of care and avarice. There was an eager, greedy, restless motion in the eye, which showed the passion that had taken root, and where the shadow of the growing tree would fall.He was not alone, but sat by the side of a fair young girl in a mourning-dress: in whose eyes there were tears, which sparkled in the light that shone out of the Ghost of Christmas Past. 
`It matters little,' she said, softly. `To you, very little. Another idol has displaced me; and if it can cheer and comfort you in time to come, as I would have tried to do, I have no just cause to grieve.' 
`What Idol has displaced you.' he rejoined.`A golden one.'Have I ever sought release.'`In words. No. Never.'`In what, then.'`In a changed nature; in an altered spirit; in another atmosphere of life; another Hope as its great end. In everything that made my love of any worth or value in your sight. If this had never been between us,' said the girl, looking mildly, but with steadiness, upon him;' tell me, would you seek me out and try to win me now. Ah, no.' 
He seemed to yield to the justice of this supposition, in spite of himself. But he said with a struggle,' You think not.' 
`I would gladly think otherwise if I could,' she answered, `Heaven knows. When I have learned a Truth like this, I know how strong and irresistible it must be. But if you were free to-day, to-morrow, yesterday, can even I believe that you would choose a dowerless girl -- you who, in your very confidence with her, weigh everything by Gain: or, choosing her, if for a moment you were false enough to your one guiding principle to do so, do I not know that your repentance and regret would surely follow. I do; and I release you. With a full heart, for the love of him you once were. 
He was about to speak; but with her head turned from him, she resumed.`You may -- the memory of what is past half makes me hope you will -- have pain in this. A very, very brief time, and you will dismiss the recollection of it, gladly, as an unprofitable dream, from which it happened well that you awoke. May you be happy in the life you have chosen.' 
She left him, and they parted.
And being given this release, he thanked me, said he had needed just this freedom from me and before he turned to go, offered me first place in line for his newly available heart.

Lucky me, but I declined, for he is a free man and I must stay to bury these vows.
Besides, I am not sure he would be able to handle my ex - that man is truly a work of arts.


Truth Wears A Big Pink Cast

The truth is, and has always been, that I went to the fire station.
I sat across from a man who was not my husband and entertained the invitation to sleep with him.
I almost accepted. Almost.

But I went home, to my husband,  instead.

This is nowhere near a request for applause.

I was foolish to be in the fire station.
Regardless of the angry marital disputes that led to that encounter, I could have chosen not to take the bait, could have said no to being baited.

Sometimes I think about that incident like Nemo touching the boat... only I was angrily told to touch the next boat that drifted by.

For a long time, I allowed the guilt of putting myself into a bad situation negate that I removed myself from it.

I allowed the truth to be lost in angry weeds.

I have too often listened to the incessant voice taunting "Same difference"

Except, you know,  it really isn't.

I had an opportunity to choose someone different, and reasons to seek a kinder, gentler man. I had been dismissed by my husband. But I chose my vow, though some would call it now-tarnished, and I wrapped myself in my commitment all the more. Years went by. Years and years.

One of my running struggles has been hoping to fix my bow-legged choices through long suffering and perseverance, rather than allowing myself to be broken and reset, especially when a large and cumbersome, probably neon pink cast will be required.

But truth wears the cast and lets her beloved sign it.

There are many people who already know this part of my story, but I have not told it often because I believed the voice of that phantom skeptic, the one that hisses "Yeah, right. No one will believe you went home" would influence people's opinion of me more than the truth.

Other people's opinion of me is up to other people.
I am letting go of that kite string because it is beyond my control.

Those who would define me by the lessons I've had to learn, and the humility I've needed to bear are probably not intent on being my friend, anyway.

I have more scars earned by other foolishnesses than I've got unblemished skin left.

This is not a story of moral rectitude or piety.

I do not think I am a better person than anyone else.

Here's the thing... in this story, I didn't stay and therefore multiply my foolishness, but in other stories, my foolishness did abound.

And what's more- much more- I love many people who, in their stories, did stay.

They stayed in whatever dilemma, addiction or abuse was their metaphorical fire house and made choices they wish, even now, to undo.

And you know what? I still love them fierce.

This is obviously more than a random blog entry, it is a direct answer to the taunts and hissing that I've allowed to continue for too long.

No amount of jeer will create a version of my story that isn't true.

Anger and violence are never justified, but less so based on an over-active imagination.

I chose to no longer live under a cruelty that fuels itself on the "Yeah right, same difference" version it has imagined rather than have its own limp corrected.

This is my stop.
I am getting off bus of secreted shame by telling my own story aloud.
I am the only one who can tell it.
Believe it or notI'm walking from here...



Clay said it all the time. I don’t know if he meant it as a catchphrase, but as often as not and especially when wrapping up a phone call, he said 'Have fun.” where some might place an “I love you.” 
As I was looking through all the old photos this morning to embarrass...I mean, celebrate... Fisher on social media- I realized, I did. I had fun. I gave birth to fun on this day sixteen years ago and life has been more fun ever since. 

Fisher is:










A Good Sport 

Fun to be around

A good friend 

A good big (& tall) brother

A loving & loyal little brother


An Unoffendable Misfit 

A gentleman (with shining dance moves) 


It’s true. 
This guy is so much fun.
So grateful I have him. 

Happy Sixteenth, Fisher Kai PoohBeah!