Adulterer, Interrupted

Yesterday was a big day. I had a full day of work, and then my wife had a concert in the late afternoon. I had not seen her for a month, so I planned on going. There was only one complication: it was almost a certainty that the adulterer would be there, too. Still, I went.

I arrived about a half an hour late, as it was about a half-hour drive from work, and the concert started right after my work day wrapped up. I sent my wife several messages both on the day of the concert as well as the day preceding, letting her know that I’d be there.

She played very well, and the group she accompanied was first-rate. Not really music to my taste, but very well done. The hall was kind of dark, and I thought I made out the adulterer about halfway toward the stage. I was seated in the back, as I arrived late and did not want to be obtrusive. (Years of concert-going has taught me this protocol.)

The concert wrapped up, and I got up to leave. I hung around the back of the hall for a bit to see if my wife would be coming out from backstage, but that did not seem to be happening. The adulterer got up, and I’m pretty certain he saw me. I pretty much ignored his presence.

Since nothing was happening, I decided to go downstairs to the reception, since I figured the performers would all end up there. Some did, but my wife never showed. So, I went back upstairs to see where she was at, and that was when I saw her with the adulterer, still in the hall, getting ready to leave. They did not see me. I figured I had a choice: I could either enter the hall and walk right up to them, or I could wait for her in the lobby. I chose the latter.

The lobby was quite crowded, so I ended up going halfway down the stairs, and then turned around to come back up.  It was just as I was coming back up that my wife emerged from the hall with the adulterer. She was closer to me, and he was on her left. She saw me, and as she did, the most bizarre expression passed over her face. The adulterer saw me and quickly averted his eyes. I walked up the stairs toward them, and my wife hung back to see me. She looked sick, physically sick, as if she were about to vomit. It was a very unpleasant expression on her face, an expression of someone who was forced to go instant cold turkey off a highly addictive drug, and to be showered with the reality of what that feels like. She was a couple of feet behind the adulterer now as I approached.

The adulterer turned his back and walked away, pretending not to be seen. He went and hid out by the coat racks. Pay attention, dear reader, as this is a very significant detail.

My wife said, “what are you doing here?” I responded that I had come to hear her play. She said, “this is not good.” I asked her what the problem is, and her response was that she had not invited me. I gave her no reply, and as we stood there, a member of the group she had accompanied came up to congratulate her and give her a hug. This person also introduced herself to me, and I cordially introduced myself by my first name, and did not say anything about being the husband. The colleague then walked away.

My wife reiterated that I should not have come, and I reiterated that I wanted to hear her play, as it had been a long time since I’d had the chance. I told her she sounded great.

The adulterer was still nowhere to be seen, ostensibly hiding out at the coat racks, looking for his coat. Now, he was already wearing a coat, so that action would have been absurd on its face.

My wife said to me, “I’ll talk to you later about this.” But, this was not said in a threatening tone. In fact, the whole conversation was said in a rather muted, hushed tone, even though the lobby was fairly cramped and quite loud. I asked her if she was okay, and she said she was. I asked her if she needed anything, and she said she did not. I asked her if she needed a ride anywhere, and she declined. I then told her I’d be going, and put my hand on her back so I could give her a kiss. She pulled away. I looked at her with a “what-am-I,-poison?” look on my face, and moved in to give her a kiss on the cheek. She pulled away two or three times, but eventually let me land one. Hey, I’m the husband, you know? But, at the same time, I was not going over the top, and was not about to make a scene.

Where was the adulterer during all this? I don’t know; probably he was still hiding out by the coat racks. I’m pretty certain he saw the whole exchange. And, I’m pretty certain that he was pretty miffed by it all, too.

That, however, is not my problem. He is the one who made the choice to have an affair with a married woman. He is the one who apparently thinks nothing of tearing another person’s family apart. He’s the one without any reliably functioning moral standards. He’s the one who claims to be a “spiritual” person, yet does all this.

So, I walked away, buttoning my coat to ready myself for the blustery, rainy December night. I turned back and looked at my wife, and she just stood there with a look of confusion on her face. In fact, as I remember it, there was a subdued sense of diffused panic about her expression as well.

This is how the walls come crashing down in the house of adultery. Sooner or later reality intrudes. In this case, and at this time, it happened to be the husband who showed up. In other cases, and at other times, other things happen, but sooner or later, reality always does intrude, and it delivers a nasty wakeup all each and every time.

Now, don’t get me wrong, dear reader. I did not go there to interrupt the affair or to humiliate anyone. I went there to see my wife and to support her. I went there to send her the clear message that I still care about her and love her, and that I still believe in her and us and our relationship. If this negatively impacts the adulterous relationship, well, that’s just how it’s going to work out. It’s a relationship that shouldn’t even be there in the first place.

How did I feel afterwards? Elated. Truly elated. I was thrilled. I got to see my wife, and it felt good. Something about that whole encounter seemed, in all its bizarre oddness and complete wrongness of circumstances, really right. It felt like the real beginning of the end of that affair.

Remember that significant detail I asked you to remember? (It’s okay, you can go back and take a peek if need be.) The adulterer turned his back and walked away. This means one thing and one thing only: the affair is dead. Dead, dead, dead. A man who truly believes in his partner does not walk away from her under any circumstances. Instead, he’ll take a stand for what he believes to be right, which in his case should be her, right?

Wrong. His actions spoke volumes. The aversion of the eyes, and then the walkaway, followed by the cowering among jackets that were not his. This is the action of a child, not a grown man, and especially not a grown man who is nearing fifty. One would think a man of his age — a man with a grown, married daughter, no less — would know better. He does not.

I walked out into that blustery December night and drove home. My trip home took about twenty minutes. Sometime later, they stepped out into that same blustery December night and drove “home”: he to his house, and she to the place he calls home, a “home” that was never and will never be hers. That drive would have taken them about an hour. I have no idea what transpired during that journey, but I imagine it was not very pleasant.

I’ve heard nothing since, and I guess part of me is waiting for the other shoe to drop. A lot of things could happen, but one out come is certain: the affair is dead. It might not be over yet, but it’s dead. Dead, dead, dead.

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