Today was my weekly allotted meeting with my wife. It also happened to be the day on which she chose, belatedly, to celebrate my birthday. It was a very good day.
She texted me this morning to tell me that she would be ready to go around 9:30. I had kept the whole morning and early afternoon open, so I was ready to go at any time. I had a gift wrapped and ready for her, too: this time, it was a picture she had left behind, one of her dog as a puppy that one of our former neighbors took and gave to her. It has great sentimental value to her, and for some reason she chose to leave it behind in our bedroom. I thought it fitting to give that to her. I was looking through the closet and came across an envelope with some Austrian coins. My wife first went to Vienna many years ago, probably in the late 1990s, and she kept her leftover currency in that small envelope as a souvenir. I put a little note on it, something to the effect of, “I came across this in the closet” and wrapped it up in the same package as the picture. I put this into a colorful paper bag, along with a card that I had bought. On that card, I wrote a simple note thanking her for wanting to celebrate my birthday with me, and saying that it meant a lot to me. These I took along with me in the car as I went to pick her up. At home, I left behind a small gift of a pack of Japanese potato chips, salt and seaweed flavor, exactly as pictured in this link. I left this along with the dog’s carrier, because she’d be coming to get the dog today, since next week is her “custody” week.
As for the dog, I put her into the car, since I figured my wife would want to see her. We set off to the acquaintance’s house. I called just before arriving there, and when I pulled up I saw the van of the acquaintance’s husband in the driveway. He lives out of state now, and they are in the process of separating, and probably will end up in divorce. As I wrote about yesterday, I would hope that their situation be illustrative to my wife about the horrors of divorce, and also illuminative as to how fundamentally different and better our own situation is. She came out, bags in tow as per usual. She seemed pretty happy to see me. She was also happy to see the dog. She got in the car, and I jokingly tried to give her a kiss, and she backed away. We chatted a bit, and we both agreed that we shouldn’t schlep the dog around, so the first thing we did was to stop by the house to drop off the dog. On the way there, she told me that her acquaintance’s husband had come home to pack up his stuff and move out. This should be illustrative as well for her, I’m hoping. Then we set off for coffee.
On the way out, my wife brings up the uncomfortable things. She wants to reckon our cell phone bill and cancel her phone line. I make no comment. She wants to shift her rental piano to my name. Again, no comment. She asks me to stop by a nearby bank, where she has an account. These are the “secret” accounts that I’ve known about for a while, and she told me she opened them because the branch was nearby during the time she was staying with her friend a couple of blocks from our home. This is true: she could just walk there.
Unpleasantness out of the way, we set out to have coffee. I headed us toward a favorite spot where they make a drink called the “Sevilla,” which is basically a mocha with orange zest in it. She offered to pay. We chatted for a while and had a pretty nice time. So far so good. She brought up lunch, and she offered to take me out for sushi. (Yes, that picture is what I ate.) But it was still a bit early, so I suggested we go off to a favorite neighborhood to do a bit of shopping. She also mentioned that she had a gift in her bag for me.
We got to that neighborhood, and she gave me that gift. It was beautifully wrapped, and I nearly broke into tears. I gave her a kiss on the cheek and she did not back away — in fact, she offered me her cheek. I suggested I open it later. She noticed some new shop — I guess she hasn’t been in that area for some time, since it appears the adulterer doesn’t really get around too much. We stopped in a “natural apothecary” so that I could buy some incense, and she aksed them for some herbal tea that would help her throat. It seems like her health is a bit depressed these days, which is not surprising, considering the stress she is putting herself through. They put together a concoction for her, and she bought some bath salts as well. We then did a bit of window shopping and ended up in a clothing shop. She browsed a bit and I tried on a shirt. It was very much like old times.
By then it was nearly lunchtime, so we headed over to the sushi place. We got there and were seated promptly. It was a very good date. Lots of chatting about fun, frivolous stuff, and no relationship talk at all. She confessed that her digestive system is giving her some trouble these days, and she couldn’t finish her lunch. All in all, we had a great time. I told her that I had some thing that I’d forgotten at home; this was just a ruse to drop by the house so that I could put her gift inside the house. She excused herself to use the ladies room; I was waffling on about dropping her off later on a bit early so that I could go home and take care of things, and she said something truly unexpected: “let’s just go home.”
She has not said anything like that in a long time. Since about January or February, she has been referring to it as “your house,” and has been clear in saying that she does not live there anymore, assuring me she won’t come back, etc. And here she makes this huge Freudian slip, calling it “home.” I could hardly believe my ears.
She was in the restroom for quite a while, and when she came out, the first thing I’d noticed was her eyes. It looked like she’d been crying. You know the look people get when they’ve cried? Their eyes get sort of glassy and a bit puffy, and sometimes their cheeks are a bit discolored from the tears. Well, there was no sign of running mascara or anything like that (maybe she’d fixed that while she was in the ladies room) but her eyes definitely had that post-cry look about them. I could be wrong, but I don’t think I am. I think she had some tears while she was in there.
We set off for home, and when we got there she just wanted to wait in the car. That was fine by me, no need to push on that one. I took my gift for her into the house, and placed it into a larger bag with the dog’s leash, the bag of potato chips, and a box of throat coat tea that I’d bought for her some months ago. I figured that was a perfect opportunity to give her something she needs. I tied that to the dog carrier with a ribbon, and then left the house. We had just gotten on the highway when I mentioned that she could leave her big, heavy bag behind, since she was going to come by to get the dog later. So, we turned around, and went back to the house so that I could put the bag inside for her. Then we finally left for our last stop. But first, I opened the gift, which was simple, but very thoughtful. The card was right on the money: the cover was absolutely an inside joke, and she wrote a very kind message inside. She told me she had seen that card and thought, “that’s perfect.” Ha! She’s turning into me! That’s what I do when I shop for little things for her. I see something and think, “that’s perfect.”
That last stop was to the same shopping I took her to last week. On the way there, I took a bit of a detour and suggested we stop by a shop I wanted to show her. This was a consignment shop at which I’d gotten a few things for her over the past few months, and I figured she’d like it. The first thing she noticed was the big, friendly dog on the couch as we entered. He came up to greet us. She immediately started browsing and saw a bunch of things she liked. She eventually saw the collection of Fire King glassware that I’d bought a few pieces from. She didn’t buy anything, but I got a lot of ideas about what she does like. I told her I’d been visiting a number of consignment places from time to time to look for unusual little things. That definitely made an impression on her, because she has never known me to be that kind of person (I am now), but she has always been one to go to such places.
We finally did have to leave, so I dropped her off at the shopping center where she’d spend the next hour or so, prior to heading out to teaching some students nearby. I thanked her for everything, and told her I’d see her in a couple of days. (I did not say a week, I just said “a couple of days.”) This time, she offered me her cheek very clearly, and I gave her a kiss. Then she got out of the car and waved goodbye as I drove off.
If I were dating my wife, I’d say that I scored a 9.5 out of 10. (I’m subtracting the 0.5 for the uncomfortable stuff at the beginning.) Well, heck, I am dating my wife at this point. Remember? I’m the other man now, in a way.
I set off for work, and when I arrived I sent her a text to thank her for everything. When I eventually returned home, two things happened. First, I dropped my cell phone on the driveway and smashed the display screen. It’s one of those Android “smart” phones, and I’ve been wanting to ditch it in favor of a plain “dumb” cell phone, so I guess now I have my opportunity. Second, I came inside the house and found that my wife had left me a couple of cookies. I texted to thank her for them, and she just moments ago texted back to say that she had baked them and wanted me to taste them — but she only had two left! Well how about that…
All in all, I’d say it was a good day. I am feeling very hopeful about reconciling quite soon, and am cautiously optimistic about everything. I guess I have to be a bit cautious so that I don’t derail anything good that’s happening right now. We’re not reconciling yet, but it seems like the momentum has shifted somehow in the past 2 weeks, and I just hope it keeps going in that direction from here on out.