Tag Archives: Gifts

Close Encounters of the Philanderous Kind

Once again, Wednesday arrives, and with it, so does my wife. She floats into town once a week, every Wednesday, does a bit of work, spends the night at a colleague’s place, and then leaves sometime (I think) the following afternoon. I use these opportunities to chip away at the stone wall she has erected these past five months, a wall that has included her shunning virtually any contact with me for over three months now. To think about that latter detail is, for me at least, to reflect on how insane this whole situation is.

Here’s how I chip away at that wall: I bring a small, thoughtful gift. The colleague tipped me off a couple of months ago, saying she leaves for work at 8:30, and that my wife arrives around 9:00. I usually drop the gift for her around 8:45 so it is the first thing she sees when she arrives.

Now, I realize there may be some people who will be reading this blog for the first time, and who might find this idea odd. Well, I am looking out the window at a full moon as I’m writing this. However, my wife has — recently even — expressed to me that she appreciates these gestures. But, she is trapped behind the twin walls of her ego and pride, and at this point likely does not know how to get herself out of that morass. So, my gift today was a home-cooked meal, and a hand made mala (rosary beads). These are sure to go straight to her heart.

At any rate, I had a bit of a late start, and didn’t leave the house until 8:45 this morning. I arrived at the colleague’s house just shy of 9:00. The colleague had, for some reason, put a chair out on her porch, so I left the gift there, in a nice, visible place. I then left to make my next stop on my morning errands: the bank, which was a couple of blocks away. After that, I had to do a bit of grocery shopping.

Okay, okay, I know this sounds rather mundane, but there is a point here. To get to the grocery store, I had to loop back around past the street where the colleague lives. I did not need to drive past her house, but I had to drive past the street on which it is located. There aren’t a whole lot of ways in and out of this particular neighborhood, and so I guess it should not have been much a surprise when, lo and behold, I see the adulterer coming down the hill in his truck with my wife in the passenger seat. Now, they were maybe 40 feet away from me as I turned up the arterial street (they were coming down what in effect is a side street), but I could not help but think it must be them.

Being the ever curious type, I turned up another side street and turned around, looping back to where I had just come from. Indeed, it was the adulterer’s truck, parked just across the street from the colleague’s house. Now, this was a good couple hundred feet down the road. I turned down a nearby street that would allow me to loop back to my original route, and, well I’ll be darned — there was the adulterer, in his truck, right there in front of me, preparing to make a right turn onto the street I was on. I ended up at a red light just in front of him.

Now, as past history suggests, this man is an outright coward. Basically, once he realized it was me — and believe me, he knew it was: he knows what my car looks like, and it is a car that is pretty hard to miss — he high-tailed it out of there. Heh. I’ve seen this particular behavior a couple of times before.

What’s the upshot of all this? I don’t know. It’s too early to tell. I’m nearly 100% certain that the adulterer knew it was me, and even if he wasn’t totally certain it was me, seeing my car would have reminded him of everything he has done for the past 17 months. He is a moral criminal who has managed to hide from his conscience, mainly because of the relative isolation the town he lives in and the virtual non-overlap of social circles with me. While he has gone quite public with the affair, as has my wife (and this is normal, of course), I am sure that he realizes that, even though he might come into this fairly large city, there really isn’t any place that is “safe,” so to speak. That is, there isn’t any part of this city in which it would be totally unlikely to bump into me.

That, my friends, is the risk of his moral crime. It only takes a chance run-in like the one today to send a rush of feelings — anxiety, guilt, anger, fear, you name it — coursing through his limbic system. Maybe it will be a wake-up call for him. Maybe it will take something more. I don’t know. Somehow, though, there was something almost palpable about his expression as he saw my car approaching that I just cannot explain. Perhaps it’s just me or my overactive imagination, but there was really something palpable about that experience.

I’ve written many times about “how this might be the end (of the affair),” or  that “maybe the fog is lifting.” I haven’t been right on any of those occasions, but then again, the affair wasn’t 17 months old at those points in time, either. 17 months is the geriatric zone for extramarital affairs. They are already over the hill and headed toward decrepitude. Like aging, the process cannot be reversed, and the affair continues to march inexorably toward its own demise.

Maybe I’m right this time. Maybe there was something to that close encounter. Maybe this will spell the end of that sordid chapter. Maybe, just maybe.

So for now, let me just close with one request: Please pray for us. Please keep us in your thoughts and aspirations, if you can and you feel so inclined. Pray that my wife’s heart turns back toward me and that her mind becomes clear. Pray that the adulterer has his final awakening and realizes the magnitude of his error. There are many, many lives that have been adversely affected by his debauchery. Pray that their realizations of their transgressions is complete, and that they decide to walk a more virtuous path from now on.

Just pray. I know I sure will.

My Moment of Geek

Not a whole lot to report this week; alas, still getting stonewalled. Hopefully this is the last gasp of the resistance.

Since there isn’t much to report, I’ll be brief.

I have already prepared a gift for my wife for next week. She did already thank me for the bracelet, and I recall a few years back hearing from my sister that my wife had told her that I “never give [her] jewelry,” so I made some more.

Well, sort of. I made a full Buddhist mala (prayer beads), with 108 redwood beads and poppy jasper spacers after each 27th bead, much in the Tibetan manner. The guru bead is also jasper, and it is strung on red cord with a red tassel. I say this is not really jewelry, because that’s not what it’s intended for; however, people do wear these as necklaces, or even as loose bracelets when looped around the forearm 4-5 times. That’s what I’ll encourage her to do, with the aspiration, of course, that she actually does use it for its normally intended purpose. It’s a pretty nice-looking piece of work, I think.

But that’s not really my moment of geek. No, that came when I was looking for web information on tying end knots, e.g. the Chinese endless knot, which I’d learned a couple of weeks ago. This is what I found. Go ahead, click through — it’s not going to try to sell you anything. It’s a website on tying all sorts of decorative knots. The page I linked to is for a Celtic heart knot. I’ve made a couple of these, and they are really beautiful. I also learned how to make a cloud knot; I’m going to use a small piece of knotting cord with this knot on the outside of the box in which I’m giving my wife the mala; inside, the mala will be wrapped in a handkerchief from one of her favorite stores (ahem — she left it here last year) and secured with another piece of knotting cord with the heart knot on it.

If that doesn’t touch her heart, I don’t know what will.

The Stone Wall Cracks, Again

Ninety-three days is a long time.

It had been 93 days since I had seen my wife. It had been 93 days since I had heard her voice. That ninety-three days ended yesterday. I helped bring it to an end.

December 12, 2012 was the last time I had seen my wife, and she was very cold to me. This was came ten days after I had seen her with the adulterer, and I’m pretty certain that experience did not go over well with him. So, it was I suppose no surprise that I would have gotten some drawback from her in the aftermath of that event. I just didn’t expect it to last so long.

I had a few dribs and drabs of communication with her. One exchange came in January, while the adulterer was away for a day or so, and his absence led to a flurry of emails between myself and my wife. The other exchanges I can pretty much count on one hand: She contacted me again in January to complain about my sending her parents a Christmas card; this was soon followed by a letter from my mother-in-law asking me to give up on her daughter. Two more emails came in February; the first carried a request to work on our taxes and a threat to close down all her bank accounts once the taxes were complete. The second came about two weeks later; this time she had changed her mind about taxes, and was deciding to file separately. Again, this carried a threat: she needed my Social Security Number, and said that, if I did not provide it, she’d let the IRS know. She also more or less demanded that I stop leaving things for her at her colleague’s house when she is in town.

I have met quite a few skeptics of Marriage Fitness and even a few nay-sayers about its methods for connecting with an obstinate spouse. I have heard people call it “pursuit,” “stalking,” “pathetic behavior,” and so forth, and have had people advise that “you should just let go,” “walk away and she’ll come back,” or even “file for divorce to wake her up.” I have even received unsolicited emails through this website, either from well-meaning individuals, or from those who felt they just simply knew better, and had thought about writing posts to refute some of these claims, but never got around to it. So here, in part is that post.

In that last email I received from my wife in February, she did in fact say that she felt “stalked” and that I was “obsessed.” Now, let’s think about that for a minute: it makes no sense for a man to “stalk” his spouse, nor does it make much sense to call expressions of caring and love “obsession.” But, to the twisted mind of an obstinate spouse — especially one who is having an affair — anything that does not mesh with their agenda can be construed negatively. This is important to understand. The obstinate spouse wants one thing, and one thing only: compliance. When you don’t give it to them, the begin to resort to whatever tactics they think might be effective in getting their way, and this includes things like the terms my wife wrote to me in that email.

My response to that email was just to ask her to call  me, which she predictably did not. I also did not bend to her requests to stop. This would have been consistent, of course, with the unsolicited advice of the well-meanings and know-betters out there, but it also would have been disastrous. Instead, I exercised a bit of sensitivity, and simply dropped off some mail that had arrived for my wife the following week when she was in town. I emailed the colleague to let her know, and this small packet was duly passed along. I also included a small gift in that packet. This detail is highly significant, and I would encourage the potential “well-meanings” and “know-betters” out there (along with all the otherwise curious folks) to read on. 

Last month, I decided to repair a mala that I had, which had broken some months previous. It was quite expensive, and the repair costs were anywhere from $30 to $150. I dropped by a local bead store to find a bead that had gone missing from that mala, and one of the workers there advised me that it was very easy to fix myself, and showed me how to do it. I bought some cheap beads with which to practice, and then made a mala. In fact, I ended up making two of them, since I wanted to practice some other techniques, like making tassels and such. I found it to be an excellent mindfulness practice, and it’s one I shall continue.

I not only ended up with two completed malas, but I also had a bunch of extra beads. So, I made a few bracelets, stringing them on red beading cord, finishing them with adjustable knots. I gave one of these — a lapis lazuli bracelet — to my wife with that packet of mail. I did not receive any pushback at all. Well, actually I received no feedback whatsoever.

I finally felt skillful enough to repair my broken mala, and did so a couple of weeks ago. Again, I had some left-over beads — higher-quality lapis lazuli beads this time — and made my wife a hand mala (i.e. a quarter mala with 27 beads), finishing it with a white tassel. I left this for her as a gift that week. Again, no response whatsoever — until yesterday, that is.

I finally got my wife on the phone yesterday. I had contacted her via email at the beginning of the week to say that we needed to talk, but got no response. So, I contacted her again mid-week, forwarding my earlier email as a reminder, and she did then respond. She claimed to be “busy” the following day (Thursday), but could call me on Friday. We set a time, and she did, in fact, call.

We spoke for nearly an hour. It was as if the past five months had not happened. The connection I have had with my wife is alive and well, and all the goodwill I have bestowed upon our relationship is still there. She told me things were “great,” and that she was “happy,” but the tone of her voice clearly indicated this not to be the case. It’s hard to describe, but her voice sounded cramped and constricted when she said these things; a person who really feels this way is open and spacious when they talk about them.

Now, I did get a bit of pushback, but if you can imagine what pro-forma pushback would be like, that would be it: she told me she wanted to file her taxes separately, and to deal with some financial issues, but really it was weak sauce. I informed her that we live in a community property state, and that we would each have to file coordinated statements of income with our tax returns, and that this would mean that she would be liable for taxes on my income. She did not believe this, and I reinforced the point by letting her know that, by filing separately, she would lose most of the benefits of filing jointly. She said she wanted to do more research about this, so I let it go. This discussion is also significant, but for a different reason: a wayward spouse does everything he or she can do to live in the fantasy bubble of the affair; having discussions about real-world issues, such as taxes, brings them out of that bubble and helps them to awaken, if only just a bit.

We then went on just to chat. I told her about the work I’d been doing around the house. She said the landscaping I had done in the back yard looked great (I gave her a couple of pictures with the last batch of stuff I left for her this week). I told her I would appreciate her advice, and particularly her feng shui counsel. We talked about our dog, and quite surprisingly she made no effort to assert any desire to take her away. It’s as if she has left the dog here as a “placeholder,” so that she’ll have a reason to come back in due course.

That “due course” could happen a lot sooner that I had imagined. Honestly, I had been feeling quite frustrated with this wall of silence, and had even begun to feel that perhaps my efforts were just being poured down some invisible drain. I suspect the nay-sayers and know-betters out there would assert that this was exactly the case.

Well, all of you nay-saying know-betters, listen up: you’re wrong, each and every one of you.

About twenty minutes into our conversation, right as things shifted to the personal, my wife said, “thank you for the bracelet.” She said she thought it was very beautiful, and particularly liked the choice of colors — a vibrant red and a dark blue. She said that she had put it on the wall, so that she could look at it. Not at Camp You-Know-What, of course, but rather in the basement apartment at the colleague’s house. She also thanked me for the hand mala and said she was keeping it in her purse. These are not the actions of an obstinate spouse who is 100% committed to her agenda of marital destruction. No, these are the acts of an wayward spouse who is beginning to awaken from her fog, bit by bit.

Clearly, the nay-saying know-betters would have me believe that my efforts were futile, that it all was just dumping precious time and energy down some invisible drain. That it all is, in fact, “stalker-ish, obsessive” behavior, or something along those lines. So how would they explain these expressions of gratitude? How would they explain the fact that, at the end of our conversation, my wife  said  “let’s talk again,” leaving the door open, so to speak? How would they explain any of this? I mean, if they’re right, none of the things I have been doing for the past year plus should have worked.

Well, I can explain it. I know my wife; they do not. I know her tastes and fancies. I know what tickles her soul. Demonstrating the fact that I know these things through small but frequent acts of giving is not obsession. It is not “stalker”-like behavior, nor is it any sort of odd form of “pursuit.” No, these are instead one very simple type of thing: these are acts of love.

I know the path to my wife’s heart; I found it ten years ago, and it really has not changed since. I know the heartstrings and how to tug on them. I know how to light the gentle fires to melt the ice that had built up there. The adulterer knows none of this stuff, and this is why he’ll soon be history. He knows only narcissism, egocentrism, and selfishness. He gives my wife cheesy stuff she secretly despises — believe me, I’m sure of it. There is more power in the tiniest act of genuine generosity from my side — just the slightest thing that says, “I know you,” than there is in a thousand different things the adulterer might try to do for her. He simply does not know her soul, and never will. He doesn’t really care to know, for adultery is not fundamentally about such knowledge.

Is this the tipping point, at which things might begin finally to change? I do not know. But suddenly things are looking a whole lot different than they were just a few days ago.

Necessity, the Mother of Invention

Tomorrow is my wife’s birthday.

Since her most recent bout of stonewalling began last month, it has been very hard to get through any kind of communication with her. I feel that this withdrawal is deliberate: an attempt to try to make it through the holidays with her inappropriate relationship unscathed. It’s quite likely, for a lot of reasons, actually, that things have already begun to unravel, and it’s now just a matter of time. Not that it hasn’t always been, but it seems to me to be now more so than ever.

Her withdrawal has made giving very difficult. At this point, she seems to have positioned herself to avoid me through the new year. So, I had to wrangle up a gift that would be deliverable from anywhere, to anywhere. Here’s what I did.

I poked around fiverr.com a bit, and found a seller in Italy who would place a padlock (a “love lock”) on a pier at Lake Como, in northern Italy. I contacted the seller, and she agreed to also provide a video with a short message. I pretty much bought all the bells and whistles on this “gig,” and the seller was an absolute pleasure to work with. I even asked if she could send me a Google Map link to the location of the lock, and she furnished this as well; I hope to take my wife there some time in the not-too-distant future, so she can see it in person.

The photo came in first, and the the video. At nearly 80MB, most email servers would probably choke on it, so I made a quick website on which I placed all of these goodies. She’ll get the link tomorrow.

Things keep trending, with a twist

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.

Positive trends

I saw my wife yesterday, on the one day per week that I get to have that visitation. The way it works these days is as follows: She comes into town on Wednesdays, spends the night somewhere (not at home, of course), and then goes back to Camp You-Kn0w-What on Thursday afternoon. The reason for her trips into town is twofold: she has a rehearsal on Wednesday nights, and it’s one of her few sources of income. She then has a couple of private students to teach on Thursday. On occasion, she’ll also have another student on Wednesday. That is the extent of her earning potential. It’s not much, maybe a couple hundred per week, that’s it. When she comes into town, we swap custody of the dog: I get a week, then she gets a week. Actually, I get 8 days, and she gets 6: she’ll take the dog on Thursday and bring her back the following Wednesday, which means that I have the dog from Wednesday to the following Thursday. So I actually get the better end of that deal.

This week was a tiny bit different. She came into town on Wednesday morning as per usual, but I was busy all day. I tried to arrange an evening pick up of the dog, but that didn’t work out, so I picked her up yesterday (Thursday) morning. She called me, and I asked her out for coffee. She accepted. Hmmmm.

I drove over to pick her up, and this time she was at a different house: she was with the colleague with whom I’d thought she’d moved in back in April, an older Japanese lady. She told me at that time she was staying in her basement, so I had assumed she moved in there. In reality, she had moved in with the adulterer. She stayed there just one day, and then went to staying with this other acquaintance for the past month. Maybe the old adage about guests being like fish (they start to smell after a couple of days) is true after all.

The first thing she suggested we do was to drop the dog off at home. So we dropped by the house to leave the dog there. Then we set off to look for coffee. Now, we live in what arguably is a coffee Mecca, so it shouldn’t be so hard. But we drove and drove and drove. Finally we ended up in a neighborhood she hadn’t been to in about 8 months. My wife never learned how to drive, and since she has taken to living 40 miles out of town, she can’t exactly get there. It’s a neighborhood we both like a lot, and I get to go there pretty much whenever I want. But then, I can drive, and I never committed adultery nor moved out. I’m not that crazy, you know.

Once we arrived, she suggested we get a bite to eat, so we stopped by a Caribbean restaurant we like quite a lot, but which we’ve visited all to seldom. We shared a sandwich they make there, one that was rated by Esquire magazine to be one of the best sandwiches in the country. It was quite messy, and actually we had a lot of fun eating together. We then went up the street to check out a new shop, thinking they might serve coffee there. No luck, but my wife did get to check it out. She loves checking out new places, and I’ve got a pretty long mental list of places to take her that she’s never been. I’ve discovered a lot of new finds in the past 7 months or so. There was also a coffee shop across the street, but it was packed, so we hopped in the car to set off to find another place.

En route she told me she wanted to buy some sweets for her host of the previous night, and I suggested we check out a new chocolate shop that was on the way. She loved the place (of course — I know her taste!) and bought a bunch of goodies there. We also got to try a “Ka-pow” coffee bar, which the shop owner sells. My wife loves trying new things like this. I’d bet she has had very few such opportunities over the past few months.

After that, we set off to another neighborhood for coffee. There was yet another new shop that had opened, so I took her there. We had a nice time, and I shared with her the I Ching book I had bought. I offered to do a reading for her, to show her how it works; she accepted, but would not tell me her question. I suspected that she was holding a question about the viability of her affair; I held a question about our reconciliation prospects in mind, since I couldn’t exactly provide a meaningful reading without knowing what her question was. The reading ended up being fairly positive. She offered to do one for me, and I wrote my question down; it was just an open question about my prospects for the week. The reading was very auspicious.

Afterwards, she brought up a post she saw on Facebook from either an ice cream or gelato shop about a new flavor they had. She couldn’t remember which shop it was, but our favorite gelato shop was just a few blocks away, so we headed over there. I know for a fact that she hadn’t been there since August of last year. Again, her life “path” has led her away from things like that — things she really likes a lot. We shared a gelato, yogurt and macadamia nut flavors, double scoop. She remarked on how well the flavors matched. (Of course they do! I know what’s going to work, and have seldom gone wrong when we’ve gone there in the past.) Now, picture this: my wife and me, sitting at the counter by the window, looking out at the street, sharing gelato from the same cup. What do you think the adulterer would have said if he’d seen that? You have to imagine that I’m sitting right next to her, inches away, my body turned toward her and totally open, and engaging her as thoroughly as possible: talking, listening, joking around, touching, etc. We had a good time.

Then it was time to go. I had to get to work, and needed to drop her off at the shopping center that has become her customary place to kill time before she teaches students on Thursdays. I took the long route there, driving along the waterfront and through the university. As we entered campus, I told her that I had brought for her some banana bread that I’d baked. It was gluten-free, made with almond flour, and I described the ingredients to her. She told me that she wasn’t much in to eating sweets, and that she rather preferred potato chips. I bursted out laughing when she said this. First of all, I had given her some potato chips as a gift the previous week, and secondly because I know her better that this: she has a major sweet tooth.

We pulled into the shopping center and I gave her the little bag with the banana bread. I’d packed it in a stainless steel bento box, along with a bottle of herbal liver support tonic and a small box with a rubber stamp in it. The box was actually from a chocolate shop, but I repurposed it for this; the rubber stamp had the image of a rather antique-looking rabbit on it. I knew she’d love that. I wrapped the bento box up in a napkin. She took it out of the bag and shook the box, and could hear the bottle rattling around, and remarked that it sounded like something could break. I told her that it was the liver tonic, so she should be careful. She got out of the car and we parted ways; she looked back at my car as I drove off.

Today I was at work and she sent me an email thanking me for the latest gift. She said it was the “best banana bread ever”, loved the rubber stamp, and would be trying the liver tonic just then. Here’s the thing: she emailed me at about 3:30 p.m. Why is this significant? Well, the adulterer is out working on gardens in the city, and probably does not get home until 5:30 or 6:00, I’d think. I don’t really know anything for sure, but this sort of tells me that she hid the bento box from him until today, when she was able to open it when he wasn’t around. I’m pretty certain she wouldn’t share any of this with him, and I’m all but certain that she has hidden other things from me in the recent past. The more her mind turns to me, the better.

So, things do seem to be trending positively. I am optimistic and remain guardedly hopeful at this point. I’m still waiting for the affair to end, and I think that end is going to be in sight pretty soon.

That doesn’t make sense; or, some very hopeful signs

Today was my weekly allotted meeting with my wife. It also happened to be the day on which she chose, belatedly, to celebrate my birthday. It was a very good day.

She texted me this morning to tell me that she would be ready to go around 9:30. I had kept the whole morning and early afternoon open, so I was ready to go at any time. I had a gift wrapped and ready for her, too: this time, it was a picture she had left behind, one of her dog as a puppy that one of our former neighbors took and gave to her. It has great sentimental value to her, and for some reason she chose to leave it behind in our bedroom. I thought it fitting to give that to her. I was looking through the closet and came across an envelope with some Austrian coins. My wife first went to Vienna many years ago, probably in the late 1990s, and she kept her leftover currency in that small envelope as a souvenir. I put a little note on it, something to the effect of, “I came across this in the closet” and wrapped it up in the same package as the picture. I put this into a colorful paper bag, along with a card that I had bought. On that card, I wrote a simple note thanking her for wanting to celebrate my birthday with me, and saying that it meant a lot to me. These I took along with me in the car as I went to pick her up. At home, I left behind a small gift of a pack of Japanese potato chips, salt and seaweed flavor, exactly as pictured in this link. I left this along with the dog’s carrier, because she’d be coming to get the dog today, since next week is her “custody” week.

As for the dog, I put her into the car, since I figured my wife would want to see her. We set off to the acquaintance’s house. I called just before arriving there, and when I pulled up I saw the van of the acquaintance’s husband in the driveway. He lives out of state now, and they are in the process of separating, and probably will end up in divorce. As I wrote about yesterday, I would hope that their situation be illustrative to my wife about the horrors of divorce, and also illuminative as to how fundamentally different and better our own situation is. She came out, bags in tow as per usual. She seemed pretty happy to see me. She was also happy to see the dog. She got in the car, and I jokingly tried to give her a kiss, and she backed away. We chatted a bit, and we both agreed that we shouldn’t schlep the dog around, so the first thing we did was to stop by the house to drop off the dog. On the way there, she told me that her acquaintance’s husband had come home to pack up his stuff and move out. This should be illustrative as well for her, I’m hoping. Then we set off for coffee.

On the way out, my wife brings up the uncomfortable things. She wants to reckon our cell phone bill and cancel her phone line. I make no comment. She wants to shift her rental piano to my name. Again, no comment. She asks me to stop by a nearby bank, where she has an account. These are the “secret” accounts that I’ve known about for a while, and she told me she opened them because the branch was nearby during the time she was staying with her friend a couple of blocks from our home. This is true: she could just walk there.

Unpleasantness out of the way, we set out to have coffee. I headed us toward a favorite spot where they make a drink called the “Sevilla,” which is basically a mocha with orange zest in it. She offered to pay. We chatted for a while and had a pretty nice time. So far so good. She brought up lunch, and she offered to take me out for sushi. (Yes, that picture is what I ate.) But it was still a bit early, so I suggested we go off to a favorite neighborhood to do a bit of shopping. She also mentioned that she had a gift in her bag for me.

We got to that neighborhood, and she gave me that gift. It was beautifully wrapped, and I nearly broke into tears. I gave her a kiss on the cheek and she did not back away — in fact, she offered me her cheek. I suggested I open it later. She noticed some new shop — I guess she hasn’t been in that area for some time, since it appears the adulterer doesn’t really get around too much. We stopped in a “natural apothecary” so that I could buy some incense, and she aksed them for some herbal tea that would help her throat. It seems like her health is a bit depressed these days, which is not surprising, considering the stress she is putting herself through. They put together a concoction for her, and she bought some bath salts as well. We then did a bit of window shopping and ended up in a clothing shop. She browsed a bit and I tried on a shirt. It was very much like old times.

By then it was nearly lunchtime, so we headed over to the sushi place. We got there and were seated promptly. It was a very good date. Lots of chatting about fun, frivolous stuff, and no relationship talk at all. She confessed that her digestive system is giving her some trouble these days, and she couldn’t finish her lunch. All in all, we had a great time. I told her that I had some thing that I’d forgotten at home; this was just a ruse to drop by the house so that I could put her gift inside the house. She excused herself to use the ladies room; I was waffling on about dropping her off later on a bit early so that I could go home and take care of things, and she said something truly unexpected: “let’s just go home.”

Wait… what?!?

She has not said anything like that in a long time. Since about January or February, she has been referring to it as “your house,” and has been clear in saying that she does not live there anymore, assuring me she won’t come back, etc. And here she makes this huge Freudian slip, calling it “home.” I could hardly believe my ears.

She was in the restroom for quite a while, and when she came out, the first thing I’d noticed was her eyes. It looked like she’d been crying. You know the look people get when they’ve cried? Their eyes get sort of glassy and a bit puffy, and sometimes their cheeks are a bit discolored from the tears. Well, there was no sign of running mascara or anything like that (maybe she’d fixed that while she was in the ladies room) but her eyes definitely had that post-cry look about them. I could be wrong, but I don’t think I am. I think she had some tears while she was in there.

We set off for home, and when we got there she just wanted to wait in the car. That was fine by me, no need to push on that one. I took my gift for her into the house, and placed it into a larger bag with the dog’s leash, the bag of potato chips, and a box of throat coat tea that I’d bought for her some months ago. I figured that was a perfect opportunity to give her something she needs. I tied that to the dog carrier with a ribbon, and then left the house. We had just gotten on the highway when I mentioned that she could leave her big, heavy bag behind, since she was going to come by to get the dog later. So, we turned around, and went back to the house so that I could put the bag inside for her. Then we finally left for our last stop. But first, I opened the gift, which was simple, but very thoughtful. The card was right on the money: the cover was absolutely an inside joke, and she wrote a very kind message inside. She told me she had seen that card and thought, “that’s perfect.” Ha! She’s turning into me! That’s what I do when I shop for little things for her. I see something and think, “that’s perfect.”

That last stop was to the same shopping I took her to last week. On the way there, I took a bit of a detour and suggested we stop by a shop I wanted to show her. This was a consignment shop at which I’d gotten a few things for her over the past few months, and I figured she’d like it. The first thing she noticed was the big, friendly dog on the couch as we entered. He came up to greet us. She immediately started browsing and saw a bunch of things she liked. She eventually saw the collection of Fire King glassware that I’d bought a few pieces from. She didn’t buy anything, but I got a lot of ideas about what she does like. I told her I’d been visiting a number of consignment places from time to time to look for unusual little things. That definitely made an impression on her, because she has never known me to be that kind of person (I am now), but she has always been one to go to such places.

We finally did have to leave, so I dropped her off at the shopping center where she’d spend the next hour or so, prior to heading out to teaching some students nearby. I thanked her for everything, and told her I’d see her in a couple of days. (I did not say a week, I just said “a couple of days.”) This time, she offered me her cheek very clearly, and I gave her a kiss. Then she got out of the car and waved goodbye as I drove off.

If I were dating my wife, I’d say that I scored a 9.5 out of 10. (I’m subtracting the 0.5 for the uncomfortable stuff at the beginning.) Well, heck, I am dating my wife at this point. Remember? I’m the other man now, in a way.

I set off for work, and when I arrived I sent her a text to thank her for everything. When I eventually returned home, two things happened. First, I dropped my cell phone on the driveway and smashed the display screen. It’s one of those Android “smart” phones, and I’ve been wanting to ditch it in favor of a plain “dumb” cell phone, so I guess now I have my opportunity. Second, I came inside the house and found that my wife had left me a couple of cookies. I texted to thank her for them, and she just moments ago texted back to say that she had baked them and wanted me to taste them — but she only had two left! Well how about that…

All in all, I’d say it was a good day. I am feeling very hopeful about reconciling quite soon, and am cautiously optimistic about everything. I guess I have to be a bit cautious so that I don’t derail anything good that’s happening right now. We’re not reconciling yet, but it seems like the momentum has shifted somehow in the past 2 weeks, and I just hope it keeps going in that direction from here on out.