39. Kill the Messenger

One of these days, I will decapitate John, hollow out his head and use the skull to hold paper-clips.  He called me into the boardroom, locked the door looking very somber and said he had to talk to me about the future of my marriage.  Having been apprised of the facts of the lawsuit against my husband, he wanted to discuss the implications.

Then he fell into a chair and fairly pissed himself laughing.  Said that, while he, personally, is a parlous failure at communication with one’s spouse, I should try talking to my husband sometime.  The woman suing is sixty and schizophrenic. She had come in for a consultation, my husband talked to her for fifteen minutes, turned her away and forgot all about it.  During the past two years, she has tried to sue the US President, Canadian and British Prime Ministers and the Mayor. The one against my husband fell through the cracks because she got some deranged lawyer to do it.  

We could at least report the lawyer to the LSUC and the Bar Association, but everybody has better things to do.  The poor lady has been evaluated, will be closed for treatment, and her daughter is coming to take over. Still, as I wrote out a cheque for John, something kept bugging me.  Now I know what it is. The terror lurking in my husband’s eyes when he was mumbling about the lawsuit. Like he thought it could be true.

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38. Those Who Trespass Against Us

Great.  Absolutely great.  My husband informed me Friday night he was being sued.  He’s been doing pretty well so far, so the colossal litigation insurance premiums we’ve been paying have been, happily, a waste, but it is the subject of the lawsuit at which I am taking umbrage.  It is not your average garden-variety “I did not come out looking like Angelina Jolie, so it must be the doctor’s fault.” Oh, no. As if in answer to my musings on the subject of what I would do if my husband got caught with his pants down, it is a paternity suit.  And the way he delivered the news. Right when I was putting Lily to bed.

I just could not stand the sight of him after I had heard it.  Thank god for my trial in Kingston that started today. I slept in Lily’s room and got out at five a.m. Saturday, leaving a note for him.  Then I hid down the block in my car, phone turned off, and when I saw him leave with the kids (we were planning to take them to a petting zoo together), rushed back, packed and was off to my trial two days early.  How dare he do that to me?! Who does he think he is married to, Abby?!

Anyway, I figured I might as well go over the opening arguments, and wanted to time myself, so turned on the phone and it rang immediately.  I picked up. I don’t know what I was hoping to hear. That it was a terrible mistake, and the only good thing about it was that it had re-united him with his long-lost twin brother?  

But, actually, it was Erik.  Basically, the asshole I am married to did not even spend the day frantically dialing my number, but callously enjoyed himself with the kids at the petting zoo.  I hope he got spat on by that nasty llama they’ve got. I was so livid, I made a point of being extra nice to Erik. One thing led to another, and, by 8 pm, he had joined me in the hotel room.  After driving to Kingston from Ottawa. All right, it’s only a two-hour drive, but my husband hadn’t even called.

Exactly what I needed.  To be swinging from the chandelier when I had the trial first thing Monday.

Still, I’ve got to hand it to the man.  He fucks better than Paco de Lucía plays guitar.  

37. And She Be Fair!

Abby makes me wonder.  How do girls like that get raised?  It probably starts with the Barbie. They are not allowed Barbies.  I am not a big fan of the Barbie myself, but that’s mainly because I disagree with the lurid pink aesthetic.  No, these girls are denied Barbies because, in spite of all her career accomplishments (how many women do we know who are simultaneously an engineer, a doctor, a singer and an astronaut), Barbie is pretty and surrounded by a bevy of Kens.  To these girls’ mothers, there is something inherently offensive about prettiness. Maybe it’s their ancestral memories of hating Hester Prynne, I don’t know, but they encourage their daughters to dress like slobs, keep the number of boyfriends to below two at all times, and think Dangerous Liaisons is about careless knitting.  Lola seems to have taken to Abby, at least. Said she was going to take Abby shopping.

36. The French Lieutenant’s Other Woman

Now that I have decided that the path of righteousness is what my Manolos were meant to tread, I have planned a very special girls’ night out.  It will be my annual “I am a good and charitable person who tries to compensate, in a small way, for all the terrible road-to-perdition things I do the rest of the year” gesture.  The motley crew will be the happily-divorced Devika, as well as Lola, me and (here comes the charitable part) Abby.

The program will feature a jazz club, drinks and explaining to Abby the facts of life.  You know, birds do it, bees do it, and your husband does everybody, including the uneducated fleas.  All right, am not naming the uneducated fleas.  John is a friend.  

But still, this night will be (I hope) a way of letting Abby know – for when she does find out, and she will, as her mental defogger is obviously kicking into operation – that, if there are women who survive the Nazis (Lola) and husband’s near impotence (Devika), she can certainly live through one jerk’s infidelity.  Incidentally, I wonder how I would react if I caught my husband cheating. What with the steady stream of willowy first-year residents and the availability of hospital closets to the staff, he could probably find an opportunity. Doubt it would bother me much, somehow. Probably I am just not particularly possessive.    

35. Priviledge

I was told today “to check my privilege.”  As a matter of fact, I do. And I don’t just “check it.” I also take it in my arms, stroke it gently, gaze at it lovingly and whisper,  “Darling, thank you for being there for me.” Can one do fairer than that?

34. The French Lieutenant’s Woman

Erik asked me to dinner.  Showed up at my office (I really must tell him to stop springing himself on me.  On the other hand, if he didn’t spring himself on me, I’d just say “no” to everything and never see him again, so, perhaps, he has a point).  

First, I said yes.  Then, I said no.  Then I told him I was married.  Not that me being married had anything to do with dinner.  I mean, dinner is fine, but not when one is married.  Finally, I marshalled my errant thoughts enough to tell him my husband was very much insistent on all my free time being reserved for the family, and so Erik promptly invited us both (husband included) to dinner.  Said that, surely, my husband could not object to catching up with an old law school acquaintance and, besides, seeing that he – Erik – was leaving for Ottawa, what could be the harm?  

I agreed that there was no harm, when he put it like that, and told my husband that an old law school acquaintance asked us both to dinner.  Deep inside, all plastic surgeons must hate all women, and my husband is no exception.  In spite of his professed dislike of formal dining, he accepted the invitation, when I told him; and added that he could not understand why I wanted to waste my time on ghosts of law schools past, but was willing to humour me, being such a good husband and all.  

We had a lovely evening.  The boys found plenty to talk about and charmed the pants off one another (I wish).  I had to stick to drinking nothing but water, certain that, if I permitted myself any alcohol, the words “So, fellows, what are your views on threesomes?  Like, right now,” would have leapt off my tongue.  And that would have been wrong.  Quite wrong.  

So, I had nothing to worry about, after all.  Erik had gone to Ottawa and that is that.  I’m not even that disappointed.  After I watched Abby deluge my hand-embroidered tablecloth and listened to Devika hiccup her way through the conversation, I am kind of off the whole adultery thing.  Nor am I sure I’m happy about Erik being here after all.   

Turns out, I was perfectly content to let him stay an erotic memory I could peruse on an as-needed basis.  Besides, if things were ever to get serious with Erik, I am not certain I would enjoy my husband getting hurt.  If I concentrate really hard, I can still remember how in love with my husband I had been.  At some point.  

Come to think of it, my husband is not that different from Erik; Erik’s two huge advantages being that, with him, I am not sharing a mortgage and two children with the social graces of Darth Sith.

So as far as men are concerned, my options are about as varied as Lily’s breakfast choices.  Yogurt muesli or oatmeal, that’s it.  Although, unlike me, she always knows which one she wants.  

33. “The house of every one is to him as his castle and fortress …”

Devika phoned me at two in the morning.  She was first bawling, then hiccuping, then sniffing, then, at last, coherent.  She went out on a date with a hot guy she really liked, from one of those dating websites.  They were having a lovely night.  He took her to a restaurant – and informed her, over their coffee, that, while Devika was charming in every particular, her charming particulars did not interest him.  

As an aside – so interesting, how men choose to dump unpleasant things on you after dinner.  Using themselves as a point of reference, they assume that a woman would be mollified by a good meal.  Waiting until desert also makes sense, as the knives and forks will have been cleared.  From a woman’s perspective, of course, it is a height of perfidy.  Because now the excuse of forthcoming sex no longer applies, and the criminal number of calories she had just ingested becomes unjustifiable.  Ditto for the effort and cost of waxing and any new outfits acquired specifically for the date.

So Devika was upset.  Not about the website guy per se – although, she felt, he could have at least waited until they had slept together.  She was more dismayed about dating in her thirties, when the pool of eligible men had gotten so shallow, it could be crossed without ever getting wet.  

She is right, of course.  There are happy starts and unhappy endings; there are miserable beginnings and lovely conclusions, but wading through chaos is never pleasant.  

After listening to her for an hour, I crawled into bed with my adorable warm very present husband and swore to myself to never, ever do anything that could possibly toss me out into the cold world of divorced dating.