Putting On/In Appearances

I saw my wife over the weekend. Not because she wanted to, but rather because I choose to set the agenda, rather than to simply comply with hers. She had a concert on Sunday—a big, public event—so I went. I had no plan other than to be there and to support her, and maybe to say hello.

I arrived a bit early, and went for a walk in a nearby park. I have lived in this city for nearly 20 years, yet I never even knew that this park existed, right in the middle of the city, and right next to, and also atop, a busy freeway. It was an odd sort of urban oasis, so I just strolled around there for a bit, and then went back toward the concert venue.

As I was arriving at the venue, I could see the adulterer walking down the street perpendicular to mine. He was with his brother, whom you may remember from this post was the one who served me those horrid papers. Yes, they are quite the pair, the adulterer and his brother. They did not see me.

I arrived at the venue about a minute after they did, and as I entered, I saw them talking to my wife. Their backs were facing the door, so they did not see me; my wife was facing the door, so she could not avoid being seen by me. But she tried! Seriously. I smiled and waved to her, and she moved to her left in an attempt to “hide” behind the adulterer’s brother. He did not know what was going on, just that my wife shifted position. I headed down toward the restrooms to wash up a bit (I had to put air in my tires at the gas station, so my hands were rather dirty), and, as I passed by, I smiled and waved again. And, once again, she shifted her position to try to “hide,” but this time both the adulterer and his brother saw me.

As I came back up into the lobby a couple of minutes later, I had to walk right past them to get to the ticket booth. There was no avoiding them, but I did not engage them at all. I just went up to buy my ticket. Then, as I turned around, my wife was still with them, so I gave them wide berth and looked around the lobby. I turned back around to find my wife leaving to go backstage, and the adulterer and his brother were entering the hall. The adulterer and his brother were pretending as though they had not been seen.

I entered the hall about ten minute later; the hall itself is a converted church with very uncomfortable seats, so I simply did not feel like sitting in there any longer than necessary. I took a decent seat toward the middle of the hall, and discovered that the adulterer and his brother were about ten rows away; the hall has semi-circular seating, and they were nearly perpendicular to me, meaning that they could see me very easily the whole time they were in the hall. I basically ignored their presence.

Well, mostly. When my wife came out on stage, I just noticed the expression on the adulterer’s face, which was this smarmy kind of look of infatuation, as if the fog still lingers for him. My wife did not look so fogged out, then or earlier in the lobby. Actually, she looked kind of sick, in an odd sort of way. Her eyes seemed to be ringed in black somehow; although she was wearing eye makeup, there was something else about her eyes that gave them this appearance. It was the same look about her eyes that I had seen in a couple of photos, a look that is difficult to describe, sort of present but sick, disconnected from reality but appearing nonetheless. They are not the eyes that I know, but rather the eyes of a deeply unhappy and very tormented soul.

After the concert wrapped up, I went to the reception area to see if I could at least say hello to my wife. I expected she would not appear there, but would rather wait in the hall for a while and then exit from the hall itself. I was right: she did not show up at the reception at all, but did emerge a few minutes later from the staircase to the hall, which was located upstairs. She was flanked by the adulterer and his brother, and was carrying a bouquet of flowers someone (not the adulterer, as he had none) had given her. She looked troubled, preoccupied, and unhappy. I caught her eye briefly; the adulterer averted his, and the brother peeked around surreptitiously with a rather guilty visage as they tried to slip out of the building unnoticed.

They were not unnoticed, but I did not attempt to engage them.

I left shortly after they did, and saw them at the end of the street. I actually had to go down that same street to get to my car, and considered walking down to the corner to cross the street. There, I could have easily said something to my wife. I was thinking to myself if this would be courageous, or if it would rather just be awkward. I simply did not want to do anything to feed her story (or the adulterer’s), so I left well enough alone, again giving them wide berth by jaywalking to get across the street on my way to the next street where my car was parked. The adulterer did look back, in a somewhat paranoid way, to see if I were behind them somewhere; I was already heading up a different street and clearly had a very different agenda: to get to my car.

So that was that.

I guess I felt a bit disappointed, or that I should have put myself out there a bit more, but really I don’t think there was much more I could have (or should have) done. My mere presence at that event spoke volumes. This is what taking a principled stand is about. The adulterer is and will ultimately be a flash-in-the-pan and, judging from my wife’s expression, could soon get canned out of her life.