If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, then you might remember that I already have a post called “Someone Reaches Out.” I wrote this six months ago tomorrow, and the context was that an elderly colleague of mine had reached out to tell of his concerns for my situation.
Yesterday, I was working with that colleague when another, much younger collague arrived on the scene, and rather unexpectedly. This colleague is an old friend of my wife and me, and in fact is someone that my wife has likely known for longer than she has known me. I believe she met this colleague (who is also Japanese) soon after arriving in this city just over ten years ago. Everyone was happy to see this colleague, as she used to work regularly with us on weekends, and was well liked and respected. This colleague kept a strong relationship with my wife and me when we moved away from the city some years ago for my work, and this colleague even came to visit us at our home that was over 100 miles away. So this colleague is, in fact, and old friend.
Somehow, I did not feel the least bit awkward seeing her. It’s an energetic thing, you know: sometimes you can get a sense when someone feels nervous or uneasy in your presence, and this has a straining effect upon that interaction. I have had this sense many times with that other colleague I work with on Saturdays — the one who has enabled and covered for my wife’s affair, and who gave my wife a place to stay for three months early on in our crisis situation.
This friend (yes, I have promoted her from “colleague” to “friend” for the rest of this post) chatted with a number of other people, and then came to the table where I was sitting with others, having my lunch. I inviter her to sit with us, and we all talked. Again, there was no awkwardness whatsoever. Talk turned to a benefit concert that she and a mutual friend would be giving later that evening. This is the same concert I mentioned in my last post, incidentally — a concert at which I thought my wife would be likely to attend.
After a bit, this friend got up to leave, as she had a rehearsal to attend for the concert last night. She said to me, “can you walk with me?” and I knew this meant that she wanted to talk. So, I put on my jacket (it has been pretty cold up here of late) and we headed out.
We got to the lobby, and she immediately told me how sorry she was about the situation between my wife and myself. She was visibly affected by all this and was nearly in tears. She said it was so sad to her, because she has so many good memories, and they are memories of her with me and my wife together. It is very hard for her to make this adjustment. She told me that she had not spoken to my wife much at all since she walked out on me — maybe two or three times in the past year; she said they had skyped once, and my wife apparently was very certain about her decision. This likely happened close to a year ago.
There wasn’t a whole lot that I could say, and I explained to her that this was out of the interest of protecting my wife’s privacy. I let her know that I was committed to my marriage (I still wear my wedding band) and that I believed this situation would be temporary. She told me that she would not be seeing my wife while she was in town. Bear in mind that this woman has been a good friend of my wife for about a decade now, and arrived from out of state (and quite a distance at that), and my wife apparently did not want to see her, or perhaps vice versa; perhaps it was mutual. I let her know that I would likely be dropping by the concert, as it was for a good cause; then, we said goodbye.
Thus it was that it began to seem that my wife might not be showing up at this concert after all. I had misjudged the situation entirely, but then again, I did not know that there were some sour grapes in the mix, so to speak. This is the first inkling I’ve had in an entire year that my wife has poisoned some friendships — and perhaps quite a lot of them — with her choices. I do know that my wife curiously shifted some of her friendships around, maintaining the rare one or two that accepted or even encouraged her affair, and that she had promoted one acquaintance to “close” friend (the woman above at whose house she lived for a few months) once it became clear that that woman encouraged her affair as well.
This revelation adds a completely new dynamic to things. There are consequences to actions, and my wife is doubtless feeling them. In normal times, she’d jump at the opportunity to see this friend; now, she has to avoid contact, not just with her, but likely with a number of other people as well. And all for what? A fairy tale relationship that will soon implode.
I did go to that concert last night, and my wife did not show up. I was not surprised, although I was disappointed. The concert itself was quite a moving experience, but that is a topic for another post, or even for another blog.
For now, I remain in that holding pattern, waiting for the affair to end.