Last night I saw my wife again. She had another concert with the group she performed with last time I saw her. I half expected the adulterer to be there, and half expected him not to be there.
When I arrived, the hall was full, but as it was not a traditional concert space, the hall lights were turned on, and I could see every face in the room. I did not see the adulterer. I was honestly a bit disappointed, as it would have been one of those rare opportunities to disrupt that rather diseased dynamic.
My wife played well, as usual. I went up to greet her after the concert wrapped up, and she seemed a bit surprised. She was talking with one of the musicians when I caught her attention. I gave her a quick kiss on the head, and she thanked me for coming; there was a lot of hubbub, and before I knew it, she was talking to another of the musicians. This person had never met me, and did not know I was her husband. I let her talk to him, just waiting a couple of feet away. I heard him ask her if “you guys” have any plans for Christmas; clearly he was referring to the adulterer. My wife spoke to him in very hushed tones, in an attempt to keep me out of earshot. But I heard his response, which made it clear that there were no special plans. There was no opportunity for me to introduce myself to this person.
We turned to leave the hall and she asked me why I had come. I told her it was to see her and to support her. I asked my wife what her plans for the following week were. She said she had none. I mentioned that her birthday was coming up, and that I’d like to spend it with her. She said this was not possible, and I said, “oh, really?” She then said she’d be spending it with “friends.” Typically, this is a code word for the adulterer, in my experience. I then said it could be some other day, and she said, “in fact, I’ll be out of town.” Whatever. So, my response was, “before you leave, or when you get back, let’s get together.” She now changed her tune, and said she would not have any time. All the while, her demeanor was rather cold.
I asked her what she was doing right now, and she said she had to go, motioning to the reception. I suggested we have a drink; she replied that she had to go to the green room to change, and then to leave. I told her that I’d see her soon, and went to give her a hug. She tried to shirk that off, but I still managed. She then walked off. The whole experience was one in which she encircled herself in some sort of emotional wall.
This is not the same person who sent me an email with unsolicited apologies and profusions of appreciation not two weeks prior. That email came quite unexpectedly, as if from nowhere, and seemed to indicate that she was in a rather fragile emotional place. Then I saw her two days later, and her face showed the apparent queasy uneasiness of having been found in a public place with the adulterer (who, as you may recall, turned tail and fled the scene). I can’t help but think that her coldness might be attributable to the blowback that likely resulted after this encounter with me — and the adulterer’s humiliating retreat to the coat racks to look for a jacket he was, in fact, wearing.
So there we are. At least the message was clear from my actions: her husband, unlike the adulterer, does not turn tail and run.