Friday, September 11, 2015

The Lie I Was Living

As the machines beeped around my wife, working together to keep her alive, I said my goodbyes. As I leaned down to kiss her lips one last time, she slipped a note into my hand, a tear slipping down her illness-worn cheek. I was the last one to say goodbye and, after that moment, she slipped away, leaving this planet looking almost euphoric

I sat in the waiting room, feeling as though a part of my soul was just torn from my body. She was my soulmate, my sweetheart, everything I lived for. Now, I had nothing. Well, I had our son, but my wife.....I can't imagine waking up without her tomorrow.

I unfolded the note she'd written me and read it, my shock mounting with each line I read. This note revealed to me an affair she was having, 45 of our 50 year long marriage. She spoke about how our son, the one thing I had left of our love, was not actually mine, but her lover's. 

Sitting in my chair, openly crying over this additional loss, I close my eyes and go to those far-off places where we were happy. Were they really just fake? For me, the answer is no. Every feeling, every word, every emotion, every beat of my heart was true and honest. I thought the same was for her, but I realize that it wasn't. 

I think back to how we met, in a college Junior correspondence course study group. We were doing a group project and every time she tried to say the name of the writer she was researching, she would mispronounce it in a horrible way. She would scrunch up her nose and giggle, capturing my heart with the pure beauty of her. 

On our first date, we went to a concert and saw the legendary Freddy Mercury perform with his band Queen. I watched as her face held a look of peace and contentment as she sang along to "Save Me", or the smile and pure silliness on her face as she head banged to "Bohemian Rhapsody". 

Three months later, I asked her to marry me. Six more months and we snuck off to a little church in a little farm town and said "I do" before a justice of peace, his wife and their horses. Our honeymoon was simple, a few nights spent on a houseboat, anchored in the middle of a still lake.

Our first house was a shack that we renovated into a home. We built a life, one I thought was secure and well lived, but now, I see that it wasn't.

I look for ways to blame myself. Was I not an attentive husband? Did I ignore her needs or just not see her? Try as I might, I can't think of any serious issue that would cause her to seek comfort outside of our marriage. We had our moment and our marriage wasn't perfect, but I thought that we had a good life. I surprised her often with flowers or small gifts that held big meaning. I worked hard to provide a life of comfort for her and our.....her....son.

Could I really look at the man that I raised since birth and NOT see my son? I really don't think I could. It didn't matter, his birth father was gone, dead as well. As far as I'M concerned, he is MY son. I raised him, he has my last name. That's my boy, his children my grandchildren.

Standing on shaking legs, I left the hospital and drove to my son's house. Knocking on the door, I saw his face through the window and I knew he knew. As he opened the door, my fear became very evident to me.....what if he didn't want me to be his father?

For a single instant, my grown son was child-like again. "Dad......oh dad...." he said, pulling me into a tight hug. "I know...I got a note too. But it doesn't matter. YOU are my Dad." 

Not realizing I was holding my breath, I exhaled and stepped inside his house. 

It was just us now, two people with no shared DNA, but who had a shared history. Father and Son, hurt by secrets of the past. In that very second, I realize something important.

The letter changed nothing.

I still love her and always will. 

And I still look at my son as the best gift I was ever given.

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.


This is the fifth and final installment of a fictional story series I've been doing with this challenge. Click the links below to read the previous installments.


I’m using: renovated ~ far-off places ~ mispronounce ~ legendary ~ correspondence course ~ euphoric
They were submitted by:
Confessions of a part time working mom          
 
Please take a moment and see what my friends got to work with!
 
Baking In A Tornado                             
Spatulas on Parade                          
The Bergham’s Life Chronicles                    
Stacy Sews and Schools                 
Sparkly Poetic Weirdo                                 
Southern Belle Charm                        
Dinosaur Superhero Mommy                                      
The Angrivated Mom                 
Someone Else’s Genius                            
Climaxed                               
Evil Joy Speaks                       
Never Ever Give Up Hope                              
Eileen’s Perpetually Busy                 
Searching for Sanity                       
               

13 comments:

  1. Great job with this month's challenge! I love how you told the story using your words. It's a sad story, but with a happy ending I think.

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  2. OMG...sobs...what a great way to end the story!!!!!

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  3. Great use of your words!!!! You have a lovely writing style. Loved the ending!!!!

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  4. Aww, my heart went pitty pat. What a shock to him, but a great man to let it not make a difference.

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  5. Such a difficult turn of events but I'm glad you took this where you did. We both know that love and family and parenthood are so much more than biology.

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  6. That was a beautiful ending. You did a such great job with those words. It's true though, that it takes more than shared genes to make someone a parent.

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  7. Makes you think why people feel the need to confess after all those years…
    Nice work on this post and "my" words, Sarah :-)

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  8. From the first line each month, I know you are going to touch me in places that may be raw -- and you always do. Thank you - it makes me think and reflect, but it is a good thing.

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  9. LOVE this and the way it ended.
    Can't wait to see what you come up with next.

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  10. Such a compelling piece of writing! Excellent. I wanted to read on, and I wanted to read the backstory!

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  11. Thanks a lot! Not really...made me cry but that's the mark of a great story, you get involved in the characters. Good job

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  12. Looking forward to what you write next! This was wonderful!

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  13. Well done! The final piece. I'm glad the men came to terms and stayed together, as it was meant to be.

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So....what did you think? And are you THAT Sarah Michelle?