I had such mixed feelings going home. My friends poured my bags and I into a town car and I assured them I would find my plane and make it safely to Kansas. As I sat on the plane I decided should write in my journal, I hadn’t in quite a few days and I had a lot to write about. A kind looking lady sat next down to me, I am one of those people who never talks to strangers on a plane and I wasn’t about to start now but, I kept imagining what that conversation would be like. “No, I am not going on vacation. I am going home to be with my family because my husband has a double life and has been lying to me for over six years.” Yep, that would shut her up for sure!
As I got off the plane my mom, sister, and nieces were all at the airport waiting. I hugged everyone, we got my bags and loaded up in the car. They looked as if they wanted to bust into tears and I felt nothing. We picked up Chinese food (it seemed to be my main food group these days) and went home. My dad and brother-in-law were both there so we all sat and ate and I opened a bottle of wine. We talked about the matter at hand briefly but it wasn’t really registering clearly with me. I could tell none of them wanted to push but they were thirsty for details. I told them about my conversation with Katy but other than that I didn’t have any new news and suddenly I felt utterly exhausted.
The next day my mom gently woke me up and my sister told me we had to go into town for an appointment. I didn’t plan on going anywhere nor did I feel like it was even possible for me to drag myself out of bed, but I was given no choice. I figured they were trying to cheer me up somehow; maybe we were all going for mani/ pedi’s. Half way into town they told me where we were going, the gynecologist. My first thought was “shit, I wish you would have told me because then I would have showered!” and then I thought “ugh, I don’t really care.” But a gynecologist, why? I wasn’t pregnant and always kept on schedule for my yearly exams. “Keylee, your husband has been sleeping with at least one other woman and I am sure there were more, who knows what you could have.” My sister wasn’t known for sugar coating things. As if going to the lady doctor wasn’t bad enough now I was going to a total stranger and I was going as a 34 year-old married woman who needed STD testing. I suddenly wished we were going to the nail salon! The doctors’ waiting room was full of women with round pregnant bellies and smiles on their faces, they were so happy. I wanted to be one of them so badly but instead I was a no makeup, swollen eyes, matted hair girl who looked like she had been drug behind the car. Finally they called my name.
“Undress from the waist down and the doctor will be in soon” the nurse told me.
I sat there, half naked with a disposable paper blanket over my lap, I was reaching a new low, which I didn’t even think was possible. The doctor came into the room and was direct and to the point. “So what brings you in today?” He asked. Tears started to roll down my face. Not just tears this time, sobs. All of a sudden I was unable to even speak I was crying so hard. In between heaving sobs I said, “I, I, I need an STD test.”
“Ok, are you having symptoms? Which test are you looking for?” He asked with a bit more sympathetic look on his face. I just cried.
“All of them” I finally spit out in between sobs. “My husband has a double life and I just found out.” The doctor was the first stranger I had told and with that sentence I fell back onto the table and put my feet in the fuzzy covered stirrups. I closed my eyes to try and pretend none of this was happening but tears just ran down the sides of my face. I couldn’t catch my breath, I just cried… really hard. He worked quickly and when he was done I sat up. Next they would need to do a blood draw for the HIV test. Once he was done he looked at my wet tear stained face and said, “Are you feeling that you might be depressed?” If I hadn’t been crying so hard I would have laughed. Um, you think????
Of course I said, “No, I don’t thinks so. I am just sad.” He thought different and gave me a prescription for anti-depressants. I wasn’t depressed, I just wanted to go home and get in my bed and never get out. We stopped at Target on the way home to fill my prescription and so mom and Daydree could grab a few things. I remember my mom sat me on a bench next to the pharmacy and I waited for my new happy pills, I had no plans of taking them by the way. Even in my comatose state I got bored waiting and started to wonder around the cosmetics. I didn’t even have the desire to try and new lipstick or nail polish, whoa… I knew this was bad.
Soon we were home and I crawled into bed, before I fell asleep I couldn’t stop thinking about what had just happened. It felt so humiliating, almost degrading, and though I was fairly sure I didn’t have a common STD for the first time I thought, what if I had HIV or AIDS.
I slept through dinner and the next morning I felt too exhausted to get out of bed. I had been home two days and I couldn’t convince myself to shower or eat. On the third day I finally go up and moved to the couch, this was a huge victory. I was angry at myself for not being mad but being numb and not having any feelings about what had just happened, everyone around me had more feelings about it than I did. My family was angry and sad; the few people who knew were in shock and disbelief and I felt nothing. Being a bit of a control freak, and not having control over most of my life at the moment, I decided I needed to start having feelings- totally rational thinking. So I started taking the anti-depressants the doctor prescribed, my thought was that at least I would feel something even if it weren’t authentic. Of course in my mind I was going to wake up the next day blissful and happy. Wrong. In fact over the next week the pills did nothing but make me more tired and more numb. I quickly discontinued using them, but to this day I keep them in my nightstand as a reminder that I should let myself have more feelings. I spent the forth day in my fathers’ office obsessed with all of the photos Katy has posted of her and my husband, printing each one out, staring at them and putting together a time line. My husband and I traveled so much that I kept both of our calendars, I tried to travel with him as often as I could. I thought if I could put a timeline together I could see where I went wrong, when he picked her over me, when I started being not enough…. I now realize it wasn’t me but in the moment it was the only thing I could focus on.
In all of my obsessing I did figure a few things out, none of which made me feel better. For example: In February of the prior year his company had opened an office in NY, I had been there for work myself and was excited to stay for a few dinners and the opening party- supporting him was important to me. It had been a great weekend; the event was fun, I was on his arm the entire time meeting new people and seeing old friends, he was introducing me to clients, and it was all pretty perfect. We made a great couple and he had told me over and over what an asset I was in his business relationships, it made me feel proud. The day before I was set to fly back to California he had suggested I take an earlier flight, a friend’s plane would be flying back and I could jump on that instead of taking my commercial flight. It was an easy decision plus I could get home to Jet sooner, it seemed like a great plan and I was thankful to my husband for thinking of it and arranging it. The next morning I kissed him goodbye and headed for the private airport. Man, was I a lucky girl or what? I now know it had nothing to do with me, only that he needed to get me out of town because Katy was flying in that afternoon, which I learned from the photo she posted of them smiling and snuggling on a carriage ride around Central Park on the same day I flew out.
Putting together a timeline and lining up all the photos helped, helped me become totally obsessed with figuring out every detail. After my successful day I decided to reward myself by taking a shower and my family, seeing I was clean and standing upright, convinced me to go out to dinner. We headed to our favorite steak and seafood place, which I loved. After several martinis I decided to excuse myself to the ladies room, I found the waitress and gave her my bankcard. My family had put up with a lot and I decided my cheating husband should buy them dinner! Of course, it would never make up for his betrayal, he had lied to them as well, but in the moment it made me feel a tiny bit better.
After my display of having some human life the next day when I woke, around noon, my family was all eating lunch. When I came into the kitchen they finally said it. My dad prepared me that he was going to say it and he would only say it once. “We told you so.” Ouch! That hurt, but they were right. They had told me over and over.
While I was home I had no communication with the outside world, well outside of my girlfriends. When it came time to actually go out into the world with my family (about a week after I arrived home), my mother said. “Don’t worry, we haven’t told anyone what happened.” Huh? She was so loving and so sincere but this statement confused me to no end. I didn’t understand, what were we hiding? Were they ashamed? Should I be ashamed, embarrassed, and apologetic? I kept thinking that I didn’t do anything but fall in love with the wrong man. I made a bad choice, we all make bad choices, isn’t that how life works? I finally realized that she thought I was embarrassed; it was very thoughtful of her but once I thought about it it pissed me off big time. Maybe it is generational but I wasn’t ashamed, I wasn’t ready to share my story with the world but I wasn’t ashamed. What I did worry about was people feeling sorry for me. Pity is the worst! The look on someone’s face when they hear the story is awful, to this day it is awful!
I often get asked, or people assume, that I have trust issues. So let’s just talk about it now; my biggest trust issue in the weeks, months, and even year after leaving my husband was not trusting other people, though that has been shaky at times, but trusting myself. In my mind I thought; how could I make any decisions in my life? If my intuition was that far off on my husband how could I be trusted to figure anything out on my own? I didn’t trust myself to pick out an outfit and I am stylist for goodness sake. When I sat in a quite place and thought about it, was my intuition that far off? I had to face reality; did I really have no red flags, no clues at all that something was wrong? If I am honest then I can say, of course I did. I chose to ignore it. I had failed at marriage once and I wasn’t going to fail at this relationship too, I had changed my whole life for this man. My career had taken a serious dive due to our move, it had strained the relationship with my family (on some level), not to mention the dive in my self-esteem and I was determined to make it work and so I am embarrassed to admit that I ignored the signs. I take responsibility for that but I must admit he was genius at explaining away discrepancies, it was almost impressive now that I know the truth, and he always showed up with an expensive fancy gift to distract me. Sadly it usually worked. I remember my mother once telling me; “Look, no man is perfect and they are all going to screw up sometimes. Just be happy that you are with a man thoughtful enough to buy you gifts when he does.” Never in a million years could either one of us known just how bad he was screwing up or what he was screwing.