Well, it’s been a while. We returned a couple days ago from an 11-day trip to New York, New Jersey, and Atlanta, mostly for business. If not for the fact that Blue Eyes caught a bad cold and was sick as a dog the entire trip, and I mean he came down with it ON the plane heading east, things would have been great. Unfortunately his cold includes (yep, he still has it) the most horrible case of a wheezing, choking, sputtering, basically what sounds like he is going to hack up a lung, cough, OMG. Just thinking about it makes me want to scream. I know, I know. He is the one suffering with the darn thing, but being the bystander ain’t pretty either. When one of us is sick at home, there are many rooms to which we can escape. In a small mid-town Manhattan hotel room, not so much. Somehow, miraculously, I managed to not get sick, and he managed to make it to all his business meetings, all 12 or so of them spread out over three different cities and six working days.
Thinking back to travel since d-day, there have been some horrendous displays of anxiety and trauma on my part. First, for many many months, I was paranoid we would run into the OW in the airport, or on a plane. Even leaving the town where we live, and where she lives, didn’t calm my rattled insides. Remember, she really was stalking me and they took 11 trips together, she wasn’t ready to give up on her relationship with him, she thought driving me insane was the way to his heart (delusional much?), and we travel A LOT. Upon entering our airport, my eyes would quickly scan the surroundings over and over and over again. I felt like some kind of sick, methodical security robot. My body was tense and I couldn’t get the mind movies to stop playing. I had full blown anxiety attacks on planes all over the world. Once the doors to the plane closed, my mind quickly moved from paranoia about her being on the plane, to thoughts of them together or the betrayal or the fact that I couldn’t make sense of my life and what he had done to it. As it turns out, my fears were not unfounded as she did show up on that plane with us coming home from Hawaii about 15 months ago. Crazy bitch!
The more planes we traveled on, however, the more times we entered and exited the airport, the more time spent with my husband in his recovery, the more time that passed… the more I healed and the less I thought about his bad acts. I stopped thinking about her and I refused to give her any power in my life. Oh, as documented here on this blog, it took months, but I did it. I mastered the lion’s share of the trauma. Now when I enter the airport, I don’t think about her at all. When I get on a plane, I don’t anxiously watch every single person who enters, just to make sure she isn’t one of the passengers. I know now, that she won’t be… and if she is, who gives a fuck. There are no mind movies anymore. There are no tears. Plane flights are smooth now. There is no anxiety or pain associated with our travel, per se. Time does heal some wounds.
And just when I think I have mastered it all, this happens.
We had spent the weekend in Manhattan acclimating and spending time with our older son. We had Sunday brunch with him at the adorable Buvette Restaurant in the West Village.
Their French small plates are divine.
We then walked from Buvette in the West Village to the Whitney Museum of American Art in The Meatpacking District. When we are walking, our son is always up front, on a mission, walking with purpose at a pretty decent clip. Next would be Blue Eyes, trying to keep up with our son, not wanting to be left behind, and bringing up the rear would be me, Kat. I have no fear of being left behind. Generally I know where I am going anyway and I like to take in my surroundings. I like to see shit. So at one point, there is a woman with her back to me, and her dog, blocking the sidewalk. Up front are The Pragmatist and Blue Eyes, on their mission, totally oblivious. The dog is sniffing everything and in case I haven’t mentioned before, I LOVE DOGS, so I notice them. All of them. This one happened to be a chow chow breed. My parents actually had a chow chow at one point… and that was what they were always called. Maybe now people just call them chow? Anyhoo… as I stop short, my path blocked by the dog leash, I blurt out, “well look at that beautifully groomed chow chow, Martha Stewart must be nearby.” Because, you know, Martha loves her chow chows. And wouldn’t you know it, the lady with her back to me turns around and guess who it is, Martha. I adore everything about Martha Stewart. So Martha says, “yes, I am” (nearby that is) and she sort of chuckled. Now, I am not one to be smitten with a celebrity, they are just regular people after all, but come on, Martha fucking Stewart. I smiled. She smiled. I remember it is NYC and you don’t bother celebrities in NYC, it’s an unwritten law I think. I continue walking and The Pragmatist says, “was that really Martha Stewart? I cannot believe you didn’t take a photo.” I told him I was trying to be polite and respect her privacy. He kind of just shrugged. So… I turned around and went back to that corner and as I was fiddling with my phone, expecting her to be half a block away by then, I stick my phone up to take a photo of her backside walking away, but there she is, right in front of me. Her snoopy little sniffing chow hasn’t moved but maybe three feet and she is patiently waiting for him to sniff every crack of that damn sidewalk. I stick my phone up to take a photo, and, she doesn’t turn away. She kind of poses, giving me this ‘I’m looking a bit wistful on this beautiful Sunday afternoon’ look.
Thank you, Martha! You made my day! We did make it to The Whitney, reopened in May, 2015 in a pretty amazing building designed by Renzo Piano. I grabbed this shot off their website as I just didn’t get a decent photo. You can see The High Line (a park built on the disused southern portion of the West Side Rail Line on the Lower West Side of Manhattan inspired by a similar project in Paris call Promenade plantee) actually starts right here outside the museum at Gansevoort Street and Washington.
I always love a museum that houses Edward Hopper and Georgia O’Keeffe, but I was pretty enamored with numerous other paintings and photographs on display. We spent about three hours total including grabbing coffee & tea at the cafe. We had a lovely time that day with our son.
So, a week and a half ago Monday was my first day on my own. Blue Eyes had meetings all day until approximately 6:30pm, then we had dinner planned with our son at a funky Thai restaurant in SoHo called Uncle Boon’s. I had big plans to walk to the American Museum of Natural History on Central Park West, then take a quick stroll over to Levain Bakery for a chocolate chip cookie. Unfortunately, however, it was raining in the morning. I decided to wait it out. By the time the rain stopped and the sun came out and it warmed up, it was too late to do the museum. Instead I decided to grab a late lunch at a French Mediterranean restaurant a couple blocks from our hotel. I ordered a lovely salad. One of the enticements of this restaurant was the promise of beignets for dessert. By the time I was done with my salad, however, I decided I could make due with a nice cup of Steven Smith Red Nectar tea and my Andre Agassi autobiography. In the back of my mind was that big chocolatey Levain Bakery cookie.
I sipped my tea and read a couple chapters of my book and contemplated whether to just head back to the hotel, or set out on that 3-mile round trip walk to the bakery. Thoughts of those delicious cookies won out. By this time it was full on sunny out and 60+ degrees. I slung my purse over my shoulder and briskly headed up West 9th. I knew where I was going, generally speaking, from West 9th & 44th up and over to Amsterdam & 74th. Easy, right?
Wrong. At this point, three days into our trip, I had had absolutely zero triggers or rough spots for days, maybe even weeks, I can’t remember that’s how non-triggered I had been. I am good, really I am. I mean Blue Eyes is still working his program. He is a full on recovering sex addict 2+ years in. I am managing my healing. Life is actually pretty good. I don’t dwell, I don’t ask questions, I don’t cry (well, not too often). I’m a real functioning human being again. That being said, I can still be side swiped. So, I’m power walking my way up town Manhattan dreaming of gooey chocolatey warm on the inside, slightly crunchy on the outside, sweet and rich bakery delights when to my left is, bam, Fordham Law School. I *sigh* now as I am typing this. Right there, tucked in between Church of St. Paul the Apostle and the famous Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, is fucking Fordham Law School. The last trip Blue Eyes took with the OW was to a two-day seminar where Blue Eyes was a speaker, and the whole thing was held at Fordham Law School. The trip he lied about until the other woman sent that infamous card in the mail. The lie that prompted my ER visit. He supposedly didn’t want to tell me about this trip because he didn’t want to “ruin New York City for US.” So in other words, him taking his whore to New York City didn’t ruin it for us… him having to tell the truth about it ruined it for us. Yeah, I know, I know. It doesn’t make any sense to me either. But there it was, Fordham University School of Law if you want to be formal about it.
Seeing it, the building, the campus, transported me back to that time. Me booking his hotel, his airfare, and coordinating with the seminar organizers. It brought back the memories of his whirlwind trip. It was better for me not to go. Too quick of a turn around he said. I wouldn’t have any fun. He wouldn’t be able to spend any time with me. Then, the phone records from that time. Him dropping off those records 10 months post d-day during my therapy appointment. All the phone calls to the OW before and after this NY trip. Phone calls, texts, dozens, hundreds of texts. Texts to the OW, no texts to me. Texts before the trip, during the trip, and after the trip. Texts on the weekend and for three weeks after. Phone calls and texts during the time we were together on a trip with his sister in California. I sat down on a bench across the street from the Law School. I didn’t cry. I simply felt like someone had punched me in the stomach. And then after they had sucker punched me, they kicked me to the ground and then stomped on me. I felt sick, and empty. I breathed deep, looked around at all the students coming and going. I sort of mindlessly looked at the beautiful signage for the Shen Yun Chinese exhibit at Lincoln Center. There is no good to come from dwelling on the past. From dwelling on his bad acts of the past. I have to be able to move forward. I am choosing every day to move forward.
I got up from the bench and made my way to Levain Bakery where I stood in line for 20 minutes for my cookie and milk.
I also purchased two cookies for my son and his roommates (these cookies are HUGE). I walked the two blocks over to Central Park where I sat on a bench and looked up at the crazy blue sky and ate half of a cookie and drank my milk. I kind of just wanted to melt into that gorgeous blue.
I walked back to the hotel and about an hour later Blue Eyes returned and we headed out to dinner with our son. I told Blue Eyes about walking past Fordham. He hung his head, he said he was so ashamed of his behavior, all of his behavior. He said he wished he had been there with me that afternoon, to hold my hand, to comfort me. He said he wished he hadn’t caused me such pain.
This is my new normal. Triggers are still there. They are few and far between. They still affect me, but they don’t affect me in the same way they used to. There is a numbness now like where I broke my ankle in college and it never healed properly. I feel a dull pain when the weather changes. It doesn’t keep me from doing what I need to do, but I feel it. It is definitely there. Everything he did still blows my mind, but it doesn’t disrupt my sanity or my world as much. I can function. I can put it into perspective and move forward. I have gone from oblivious, to devastated, to resolved. Resolved to embrace my new normal and make life truly worth living again. I have the power to do that.