Positive trends

I saw my wife yesterday, on the one day per week that I get to have that visitation. The way it works these days is as follows: She comes into town on Wednesdays, spends the night somewhere (not at home, of course), and then goes back to Camp You-Kn0w-What on Thursday afternoon. The reason for her trips into town is twofold: she has a rehearsal on Wednesday nights, and it’s one of her few sources of income. She then has a couple of private students to teach on Thursday. On occasion, she’ll also have another student on Wednesday. That is the extent of her earning potential. It’s not much, maybe a couple hundred per week, that’s it. When she comes into town, we swap custody of the dog: I get a week, then she gets a week. Actually, I get 8 days, and she gets 6: she’ll take the dog on Thursday and bring her back the following Wednesday, which means that I have the dog from Wednesday to the following Thursday. So I actually get the better end of that deal.

This week was a tiny bit different. She came into town on Wednesday morning as per usual, but I was busy all day. I tried to arrange an evening pick up of the dog, but that didn’t work out, so I picked her up yesterday (Thursday) morning. She called me, and I asked her out for coffee. She accepted. Hmmmm.

I drove over to pick her up, and this time she was at a different house: she was with the colleague with whom I’d thought she’d moved in back in April, an older Japanese lady. She told me at that time she was staying in her basement, so I had assumed she moved in there. In reality, she had moved in with the adulterer. She stayed there just one day, and then went to staying with this other acquaintance for the past month. Maybe the old adage about guests being like fish (they start to smell after a couple of days) is true after all.

The first thing she suggested we do was to drop the dog off at home. So we dropped by the house to leave the dog there. Then we set off to look for coffee. Now, we live in what arguably is a coffee Mecca, so it shouldn’t be so hard. But we drove and drove and drove. Finally we ended up in a neighborhood she hadn’t been to in about 8 months. My wife never learned how to drive, and since she has taken to living 40 miles out of town, she can’t exactly get there. It’s a neighborhood we both like a lot, and I get to go there pretty much whenever I want. But then, I can drive, and I never committed adultery nor moved out. I’m not that crazy, you know.

Once we arrived, she suggested we get a bite to eat, so we stopped by a Caribbean restaurant we like quite a lot, but which we’ve visited all to seldom. We shared a sandwich they make there, one that was rated by Esquire magazine to be one of the best sandwiches in the country. It was quite messy, and actually we had a lot of fun eating together. We then went up the street to check out a new shop, thinking they might serve coffee there. No luck, but my wife did get to check it out. She loves checking out new places, and I’ve got a pretty long mental list of places to take her that she’s never been. I’ve discovered a lot of new finds in the past 7 months or so. There was also a coffee shop across the street, but it was packed, so we hopped in the car to set off to find another place.

En route she told me she wanted to buy some sweets for her host of the previous night, and I suggested we check out a new chocolate shop that was on the way. She loved the place (of course — I know her taste!) and bought a bunch of goodies there. We also got to try a “Ka-pow” coffee bar, which the shop owner sells. My wife loves trying new things like this. I’d bet she has had very few such opportunities over the past few months.

After that, we set off to another neighborhood for coffee. There was yet another new shop that had opened, so I took her there. We had a nice time, and I shared with her the I Ching book I had bought. I offered to do a reading for her, to show her how it works; she accepted, but would not tell me her question. I suspected that she was holding a question about the viability of her affair; I held a question about our reconciliation prospects in mind, since I couldn’t exactly provide a meaningful reading without knowing what her question was. The reading ended up being fairly positive. She offered to do one for me, and I wrote my question down; it was just an open question about my prospects for the week. The reading was very auspicious.

Afterwards, she brought up a post she saw on Facebook from either an ice cream or gelato shop about a new flavor they had. She couldn’t remember which shop it was, but our favorite gelato shop was just a few blocks away, so we headed over there. I know for a fact that she hadn’t been there since August of last year. Again, her life “path” has led her away from things like that — things she really likes a lot. We shared a gelato, yogurt and macadamia nut flavors, double scoop. She remarked on how well the flavors matched. (Of course they do! I know what’s going to work, and have seldom gone wrong when we’ve gone there in the past.) Now, picture this: my wife and me, sitting at the counter by the window, looking out at the street, sharing gelato from the same cup. What do you think the adulterer would have said if he’d seen that? You have to imagine that I’m sitting right next to her, inches away, my body turned toward her and totally open, and engaging her as thoroughly as possible: talking, listening, joking around, touching, etc. We had a good time.

Then it was time to go. I had to get to work, and needed to drop her off at the shopping center that has become her customary place to kill time before she teaches students on Thursdays. I took the long route there, driving along the waterfront and through the university. As we entered campus, I told her that I had brought for her some banana bread that I’d baked. It was gluten-free, made with almond flour, and I described the ingredients to her. She told me that she wasn’t much in to eating sweets, and that she rather preferred potato chips. I bursted out laughing when she said this. First of all, I had given her some potato chips as a gift the previous week, and secondly because I know her better that this: she has a major sweet tooth.

We pulled into the shopping center and I gave her the little bag with the banana bread. I’d packed it in a stainless steel bento box, along with a bottle of herbal liver support tonic and a small box with a rubber stamp in it. The box was actually from a chocolate shop, but I repurposed it for this; the rubber stamp had the image of a rather antique-looking rabbit on it. I knew she’d love that. I wrapped the bento box up in a napkin. She took it out of the bag and shook the box, and could hear the bottle rattling around, and remarked that it sounded like something could break. I told her that it was the liver tonic, so she should be careful. She got out of the car and we parted ways; she looked back at my car as I drove off.

Today I was at work and she sent me an email thanking me for the latest gift. She said it was the “best banana bread ever”, loved the rubber stamp, and would be trying the liver tonic just then. Here’s the thing: she emailed me at about 3:30 p.m. Why is this significant? Well, the adulterer is out working on gardens in the city, and probably does not get home until 5:30 or 6:00, I’d think. I don’t really know anything for sure, but this sort of tells me that she hid the bento box from him until today, when she was able to open it when he wasn’t around. I’m pretty certain she wouldn’t share any of this with him, and I’m all but certain that she has hidden other things from me in the recent past. The more her mind turns to me, the better.

So, things do seem to be trending positively. I am optimistic and remain guardedly hopeful at this point. I’m still waiting for the affair to end, and I think that end is going to be in sight pretty soon.