Again, it’s been quite a while since my last post. I’ve been very busy, and this is the first day I’ve had in a while to just decompress a bit.
I did in fact see my wife this past Wednesday. It was a really good “date” experience, moreso than any others in recent memory. She called me in the morning and told me she was going downtown to hang out at the market since it was a beautiful, sunny day. I was actually headed off to work when she called, so we arranged to meet once I was done with work for the morning.
After I had wrapped up my morning stint, I dropped some materials off at home and headed downtown to meet her. I called to let her know I was in range, but got no response. I did finally get a voice mail from her (the signal apparently had dropped) telling me where she was, and I got a parking space nearby. I found her in a coffee shop, checking her email, and went up to give her a kiss on the forehead. She did not pull away or reject this gesture at all.
We decided to head into the market so that I could look for this new artisanal pasta place that had opened recently. I didn’t know exactly where it was, so we just started looking around. I was a bit hungry, and she gave me a piroshky she had bought. (Yes, I do know this is the plural form! I should have said “pirozhok.”) She apparently had bought two, and gave the extra one for me. I don’t know if that was her original plan or not, but heck, I’d take it.
After searching around the market for a while, I decided to ask someone who might now. I stopped by an artisanal cheese stall, and the guy said he’d heard of the place but didn’t know where it was. He suggested asking at the info booth. So, we fought the tourists off (the market is a huge tourist draw) and asked the woman manning that booth; she had also heard of it but didn’t know where it was either. But, she did have a computer, and so she looked it up for us, and gave us an idea of where we could find it. So, off we went.
It turned out that this place is inside a gelato shop, of all locations. It’s also a couple doors up from one of the great cocktail bars in town. One could easily walk right past it without noticing; there was just one sandwich-board sign outside announcing its presence. We went inside. I was hoping to find some pasta to take away and cook at home, but they didn’t have anything like that. Instead, it was all for in-house consumption. We noticed a guy eating some pappardelle (this is a great cut of pasta, by the way, if you’ve never tried it) and suddenly my wife tells me that she wants to try it — even though she had already had lunch. She wanted to try the pappardelle, but I convinced her to share a plate of the maccheroni with my. My reasoning being that, while anyone can cut pappardelle with a knife (the noodles are quite broad), you need some sort of extruder for maccheroni, and this, coupled with their ability to cook them, would tell me a lot about their pasta. Plus, the sauce was made from a braise of pork shoulder, so it would be hard to go wrong. We put in an order and had a seat at a cozy, corner table.
The order came out: a nice bowl of fairly thick maccheroni, a bit ridged, with a very narrow hole down the middle. This would make the cooking a bit tricky, but it was perfectly al dente. The sauce was excellent as well. My wife was pretty much over the moon about this. We ate, and I told her all about my new job, as well as about the program I’d volunteered for over the weekend. It was a very good date.
We then decided to go check out a ginger beer shop I’d discovered. It was a couple of miles away, so we hopped in the car and headed there. As it turned out, the shop was not a retail storefront, but rather the location where they produce the ginger beer (basically ginger ale), whereas the product is sold at a few limited locations around town. It was now getting a bit close to the time that she would need to start teaching, so we headed over to the house she was staying at to pick up the dog. (Ugh — she was staying in the utterly dismal basement of that house!) I dropped her off at a coffee shop, and then headed back to that house to leave a surprise gift for her: a cookbook called Aroma, which is all about using essential oils in cooking. My wife loves essential oils and aromatherapy, and I’ve had this book around for some time, waiting for the prime opportunity to give it. This was it. I left it on the doorstep and went home.
She texted me later to thank me for the book. I had told her that I’d gotten a piece of mail for her that looked to be pretty urgent, and I had intended to drop it off with a friend she’d be hanging out with the following day. I did end up dropping off the mail, along with a card that I’d gotten for her in which I stuffed a photo I’d taken a couple of years ago of her with her dog.
So that was the “active” part of the week, where it came to reconciliation matters. Now for the “passive” discoveries.
The day after she left town, I logged on to Facebook for some reason, and instantly saw some pictures from the shrine — you know (if you’ve been reading this blog for a while), the shrine that my wife feels represents her “spiritual path.” The shrine that precipitated the affair, owing to the fact that the adulterer is a senior member of that shrine. The shrine that drew her to move in with the adulterer, since he lives a mile or so from it, and there is really no other draw in that little podunk town. The shrine which is the only of its kind in North America, and one of the few of its kind outside Japan. That shrine. The priest of the shrine is on my “friend” list, and whenever there is an event or ceremony at the shrine, he posts pictures.
So there were pictures, this time of a ceremony that had taken place over the weekend. I didn’t even know it was happening, but that ceremony is one of the 3 or 4 major events that occurs there during the year. My wife and I had been to that same ceremony both last year and the year before. It’s a big deal, and they apparently had been expecting a large number of people. Whenever the shrine would have an event like this in the past, one could count on the adulterer being there. Since he is such a senior member of the shrine, and a confidant of the priest, he would typically be there to help with logistics, and often to assist with the flow of the ceremony. One could pretty much count on his presence no matter what.
This time, however, he was not there. Nor was my wife. About the latter, I was not surprised. The shrine posts pictures of all its events on its website, and I had not seen any evidence of her having been there in months. In fact, I have no knowledge of her having been at the shrine since New Year’s Day. The fact that neither of them was at this event, however, was anomalous. So, that got me a bit curious. I logged into my alternate Facebook account — the one that just lies dormant most of the time but is not blocked by my wife — and looked at the shrine’s page. I also looked at the priest’s page as well; both it and the shrine’s page are publicly visible. I made a couple of interesting discoveries. First, both my wife and the adulterer appeared to have stopped “liking” or commenting on anything posted on either page. This cessation seems to have happened in sometime in the past two weeks. Second, my wife appeared to have “defriended” the priest, as he is no longer on her “friend” list. This latter is very telling. My wife defriended and blocked me, as well as my mother, sister, and sister’s sister-in-law soon after her affair became public knowledge. It seemed to have been a response to the need to protect herself from scandal.
So what’s the scandal now? That’s a good question. I cannot see any reason for her to have taken this action if there were not some sort of pressure brewing. I suspect that the two of them are experiencing pressure from the shrine to either end their affair, or to shove it further underground. That institution almost certainly wants no blowback, and I do know that some months ago the priest’s wife had publicly been very vocal about her disapproval of the affair. I imagine that she again has been asserting some pressure, and that now my wife and the adulterer are beginning to feel the heat.
It will be interesting to see how this develops. The response could temporarily be that the adulterer cuts his ties with the shrine and its priest, even though he has been a student of the latter for well over 15 years. None of this makes sense, though. I cannot imagine why anyone would sever those kinds of ties for the sake of a married woman one has known for less than nine months. I also cannot imagine why my wife would voluntarily give up one of her chief rationales for conducting her affair. It just makes no sense.
I know I’ve said it over and over: the affair’s going to end, and it will end soon. Something about this latest turn of events makes me think that there just might be enough real-world pressure to blow down that house of cards once and for all.