“But she reaches for me,
uses words when we speak
like I was her man…”
“I was so convinced, Vic… ” she lamented into the phone. “Convinced about what?” I asked, already knowing the answer. “That he loved me,” she almost whispered. My girl caught herself in a very strange polygon of love. She, in a committed relationship, tacked herself onto a mistress-ship with a married man who already had one other (known) woman on the side. How does a situation like that allow such a successful, determined, powerful woman like herself get the idea that she was any more than a passing fancy to this guy? Then she said those familiar words that I and so many other women that I know utter in this or similar situations when answers escape them – “The whole world disappeared when we were alone…” it’s so hard to offer the truth and good advice to anyone in that state of mind. Every syllable: a wrecking ball to the fantasy they created for themselves. So much so that YOU become the bad guy for pointing right at the elephant in the room that they’d become so adept at ignoring.
I already knew the scenarios under which said world disappeared. Once doors of short-stay hotels would clink shut. On “business” trips to towns where no one knew them or the company they keep above ground. In secret email convos she’d have to delete and hope he was doing the same – but she’d read them a million times to commit the words to memory before even moving to click that button.
He would sing to her. “Did I tell you that he sings?” she asked me for the millionth time. She never waits for an answer. “He has the most heavenly voice,” she’d continue, “and knows the most wonderful love songs…” The harsh skeptic in me would scream to her – “NONE of those songs were FOR you, Cee.” But the words never actually make it out of my mouth this time. She’s heard me say it before – or maybe she hadn’t ever, really. This conversation had her speaking to me through the haze of a serious delusion hangover. It was as if she was talking to herself. My heart felt for her and then it didn’t. “You knew the rules when you got into this,” I heard the movie I’d lowered in the background. Not the exact same scenario – but applicable.
Dare I ask her what brought her to this point? No. Because it would make perfect sense to me. He canceled a rendezvous with her to be with his family (or so he said). But what could she possibly say in response to that? Nothing that would work out to reason. Or maybe she saw him at a familiar hangout with his arm lovingly draped around the other woman’s waist. How can you argue being the other-other woman? When do the facts pile up enough to sober you up? Or was the ignorance THAT blissful – however brief?
Maybe a series of questions will give her the answers she needed:
Me: What were you hoping would happen?
Her: I dunno…
Me: Did he tell you he loved you?
Her: Not in so many words… but I know he does.
Me: Were you hoping to be with him only?
Me: If he left all that behind for you – would you be ready to part ways with B?
Her: No… I mean… I dunno – I guess it depends…
I didn’t want to be harsh. I stopped my inquisition. I listened to the silence on the line hoping for the slightest glimmer of epiphany. Some hope for my friend’s mental recovery. I opened my mouth ready to release my wrecking ball… “Cee…” I began. “Wait, Vic,” she interrupted, “I have another call, hold on…” *click*
I waited, hoping it was a telemarketer or the wrong number. I held for what felt like an eternity. Just as I contemplated hanging up and calling back, I heard the line open up, “Vic?” she asked almost jumping out of her skin and speaking faster than her mouth would allow, “It’s Him! I gotta run. Smooches!!” *click*
My mouth hung open with the words “…This isn’t real” waiting at the doorway of my lips. I closed my mouth and pressed the red icon on my phone before placing it on the nightstand.
What was there to say?
A prayer, for now.
And that’s all.