To my dear sweet husband,
This has been a long time coming. I only wish I was able to see you read this letter. My heart was torn into a million pieces by you. I gave you all the love in my heart. I stood by you. I loved you. You may now live peacefully with your receptionist. I held up my end of the vows. I stayed in sickness and in health. I loved you for richer or poorer. I loved you for better or worse, my dear husband. I cherished you, I honored you. I did everything a good and loving wife should do. Now I wonder what I ever did to have to suffer through a marriage with you for so long. I often laid awake at night, staring at the cieling. Wondering if I would get through the next day. I wondered what I could do. I tried to leave so many times before, but I was too scared. Not anymore. Never again. I no longer wonder if I will be ok without you. I no longer worry for you. I don’t care anymore if you fall apart without me. Fall apart, dear. Just don’t ask me home.
You were the most amazing man I ever met. When you stepped into my store all those years ago my heart stopped and I held my breath hoping you would come to me for help. To my joy, you did! Your smile was captivating and your voice was just truly something to behold. You had the most beautiful emerald green eyes, my love. I remember that moment well. You handed me your money and it was like electricity! I was in love. Stupidly, blindly in love.
I remember that you came in to my store every night that week working up the courage to ask me on a date. You smiled the sweetest smile when I finally said yes. You were so nervous and it made me fall even more. That night I was so nervous when my girlfriends and I were getting my hair ready for our first date. We giggled and joked about how I was sure I had found the one I was going to marry. Everyone called you Mr. Dream Man.
I remember so well, the look on your face when I walked down the stairs of the house my friends and I were sharing. You looked so amazed. You made my heart melt that very moment. You smiled at me when I apologized for being so late and you assured me it was fine. When we got to your car you opened the door for me. You were so nervous during that drive. You barely spoke a word until we arrived at the restaurant.
The dinner was fine, the movie was ok. What I remember about that night was the way you kissed me when you walked me back to my door. The way you smiled at me and asked if you could see me again. I remember the pure joy across your face when I agreed. We were inseparable ever since.
That memory is tainted now. Because now I know that you treated your first date with her the same way. A first date that never should have happened. A first date you went on during our marriage. That memory holds only bitter anger and resentment for me now.
I remember the first time you told me you loved me. We just finished our food during a small picnic we were having. It was June and it was so beautiful outside by the beach. You were again shaking, and I knew you had something on your mind. My own mind wandered and I was scared you were going to end what we had. So I started to cry. You held my hand and you looked at me for what seemed an eternity and you tried so hard to say it. Your voice was shaking and you were stuttering and right then I knew what you were trying to tell me. So I stopped you and I said I loved you too. You sighed in relief and you smiled. You relaxed right then and you kissed me. That kiss was everything to me back then. It felt like I was right where I needed to be. With you. With my soul mate.
Now, that memory too, is ruined. You told her you loved her at the same beach. The same way. With a picnic. Complete with the exact same wine we had. What kind of sick psychopath gives his mistress the exact date he gave his wife? Oh. Right. You, my husband.
You will marry her and you will hurt her. I can’t say I feel guilty at all that she will feel this some day. For choosing a married man, for choosing another woman’s husband, in a way she deserves the pain that you will no doubt put her through one day.
I remember when you proposed to me. We were just sitting in our bedroom the night we moved in together. We were watching a movie and you kept staring at me. This time you weren’t nervous or shaking. Just very happy, very calm. I looked over at you and I asked what was wrong, but as happily as you could you said, “Marry me, Joy.” I couldn’t breathe. You really just proposed! I blurted yes out without thinking, because obviously I am going to marry the man of my dreams! So we started planning the wedding. I should have seen the signs leading up to the wedding that you never wanted to get married. You were drunk at the rehearsal. It was so out of character I just thought you were going through a lot. I explained it away as you were hurt because your own mother refused to come. Now I see that I was the problem you were having. The day of the wedding, you seemed fine. A little tired maybe, but fine. Your receptionist was at the wedding. She was in the third row on the left. She wore black. I assumed it was just the nicest dress she had. Now I know. She was grieving the loss of you. The loss of being with you without knowing what she was. A homewrecker. Even so, she didn’t really ruin what we had. You did. You stood before me, before God, before our loved ones and you vowed to love me and only me until death do us part. You knew that day that you did not love me, dear. You married me anyway.
I hope you see one day what you have put me through, but believing you can be redeemed is a little hopeless at this point in my opinion. You are the lowest of the low, Jonathan. You and your beloved Erica.
We didn’t get much time as just a couple, as after the honeymoon I found out I was pregnant. We were going to have a child together and I was thrilled! I hoped you would have been too. That, though, was the beginning of the end for us in my eyes. When I told you the news, you were angry at me. You said I needed to be taking birth control. You said this better be the only “slip up” I had. What a way to refer to our son. Our beautiful baby boy. Our sweet little angel…
When we lost him, you were out drinking. I assumed you were just heartbroken and coping in your own way. I broke more and more knowing I was not able to help you. I had to burry our three month old son myself. I visit him weekly even now. He was our child, and you have never visited him. Not once.
I won’t wish that grief on Erica. I just wish you both hurt one another in immeasurable ways. I hope that one day you find out she was cheating on you too. I hope that just like I had to, you sit at home one Valentine’s Day alone with a romantic dinner getting cold. Only to have your spouse stumble in drunk at four in the morning. I hope that your first anniversary, you forget and spend it drunkenly hooking up with someone from work. I hope that she has to help you clean yourself up after your weekly binge drinking. I hope you walk into the office one day and see her with a different doctor. Oh yes, sweetheart. I was in your office today. I saw you two. I saw her kiss you. I heard you call her baby. So I did some digging. See, our phones connect to the iPad at home. I can and have seen every message you two exchange. I know she is pregnant. I know you two laugh at how stupid I am, or, was. I know everything. Let this letter serve as my final goodbye. I have separated my income from yours. I have secured my own residence. I am gone. The papers are in your office, honey.
The first time you raised your hand to me, was a shock. I never thought my own husband would be that kind of man. You were. It got worse. You were different from other abusers, though, dear. I never got the flowers. I never got the apologies and the tears. I was always told that it was my fault. I was always told that if I were prettier, thinner…
I hope that after I am gone, you realize just what you’ve done. I hope that one day she sees you for who you are. A drunk. An abusive, lying, cheating drunk. You lied. You had me convinced you were my Prince Charming. My knight in shining armor. I believed you were sent by God himself and now I see that not even Lucifer wants you.
Erica does though. She thinks you’re perfect. You two are perfect for each other. You can have the house. You can have the cars. I don’t even want alimony, my dear husband. I just want you to stay out of my life and leave me alone. Sign the papers and send them through to my attorney. You will see that on those papers it just asks that you not try to claim any of my income and I won’t enforce the prenuptual agreement you insisted on.
Do you remember the night you told me you had to go out of town? You told me you had to go to Tulsa on business. You lied. You were stupid enough to leave the hotel reservation for two up on your home computer, my love. It mentioned a room for you and Erica, the honeymoon suite to be exact, my dear.
How did you ever win her over like this? Does she enjoy being with a man that drinks constantly? Did she see your bank account? No, no. That can’t be it, because you, my husband. have no money left after the lawsuit last year.
Do you remember that? You made a mistake during surgery and lost your patient. Her husband sued you for malpractice, and while he lost, you used up every bit of our savings we had left on attorneys and appeals. So, the only money we really had was what I made from royalties for my novels. My money. I loved you though, so I told you to consider it our money, my darling.
What was I saying? Right. Erica. When did she decide you were the love of her life? Maybe it was when you chose to be with her when your son was in the hospital. Or does she not know that you chose her over your son on the night he stopped breathing? While I am still on the subject of Erica, I’m not sure you know dear, but your beautiful love is in fact wanted by the State of New York right now. Yes, she is wanted for embezzlement. From her last doctor’s office employer, dear. She stole more than four hundred thousand dollars. I’m sure you knew that, though. As you hired her anyway.
Don’t worry though! Her husband is filing too, for a divorce. You can be with her! Her husband will keep her other children, so you won’t have too many “slip ups” to feed. I did all of this with you in mind my dear. I did all of this in an effort to make your life easier. The wine made it a little easier. Your prized wine was not as good as everyone claimed either. It was too dry for my liking, but I finished it anyway. I may have spilled some of it on your favorite white sofa, I may not have. Let’s find out!
Here I am rambling on, like the drunk middle aged woman I am. Oh dear. I have just said so much tonight. This letter really will be quite something to read, won’t it? Don’t worry darling. I know you will have the free time. You only have Erica now. Erica and your new baby. I wish you a long marriage. Notice I didn’t say a long and happy one, dear. I just hope she spends the rest of your miserable existance showing you exactly what you have put me through these past years.
Don’t worry about me. I am living in a sunny place away from you. I am happy now that I am free. All of my anger was lest behind with you and this letter, my dear husband. I am free to smile again. I only wish our son were able to see the sun here. He would have loved it, I like to tell myself. I hope you and Erica like living in that house now that the market is too terrible for someone of your income to purchase anything new. Not that Erica will be living in it, though. Right? Oh. I do hope you learn how to be a father. That poor baby needs one, and you never wanted to be one to our boy. Good luck, you will most definitely need luck in your position.
The One That Got Away