January 2, 2019
Mom bought me this diary for Christmas. She said journaling would be a wonderful way to express my innermost thoughts regarding Cormac and our troubles. Mom always thinks anything and everything can be solved with self-therapy, healthy eating and yoga. But I didn’t tell her everything about what I saw in Cormac’s office. And I didn’t tell my dad anything. Dad assumes Mac is in Ireland again- he never liked Cormac anyway and I think he was secretly glad Cormac wasn’t at family Christmas.
I’m writing this in Evie’s living room, next to the couch which is my bed here. When I arrived, distraught and tear-stained, on her doorstep last week, she took me in as I had known she would. She and I have always been there for one another since we were best friends in grade school.
Evie lives in La Jolla in an old converted garage with an add-on room stuck on top of it. The place was a hobo’s dream disaster, but practical Evie bought it with investment in mind, researched renovation tactics on You Tube, rolled up her sleeves and spent three weeks of her hard-earned vacation days painting, laying flooring and completely revamping the one small bathroom until it looked like a frothy pink hideaway. She calls the tiny feminine powder room her Sanctum Sanctorum and when she’s really stressed out she’ll spend an hour or two in there reading in the claw-footed tub surrounded by fragrant, sparkling bath bubbles.
I told Evie everything. I told her I’d seen Cormac making love to one woman while his hands were on another. I told Evie I saw his green eyes filled with lust, his body taught with desire, his accented voice thick with enticement. I told her I hadn’t been able to process exactly what was happening in front of me. That my mind kept telling my heart what was happening but I couldn’t believe it, didn’t want to believe it. The shock and the horror are still gnashing their teeth on my soul- the same soul that had fallen for Cormac all those years ago and almost every day since. Sure he and I have had our share of fights, but they were always the kind of fights that didn’t matter- just over stupid stuff. It’s almost like we fight just to release intense emotion. I would let loose with a string of angry words until his temper matched my own and one minute we would be screaming at each other all fire and fury, and the next we were ripping each others’ clothes off, still yelling, but the passion melting into a slow burn that scorched both of us until we lay in one another’s arms exhausted and impassioned. I’ve never experienced a dull moment with Mac; never known anyone so full of life. Cormac adores newness and he loves the unfamiliar. He’s a stranger to routine, to conformity, to a set schedule. He could never work a nine to five job. He could never have a boss lording over him and squashing his drive, his ideas, his excitement for living. Maybe all of that should have told me the same would be true when it comes to the bedroom. It’s just that… that Mac never seemed dissatisfied with that area of our relationship. Or any area of our relationship for that matter. I love him so much. I’d do anything for him. Be anything for him.
Evie told me, “I wish I could say I’ve always hated Cormac and that I suspected he was a bad guy all along, but I would have never guessed he would do something like this.” Then her chestnut eyes shimmered with vengeful darkness and she muttered something about hiring Whack Whack Rigati to drag Cormac’s two-timing twig and berries through broken glass before shoving them in a meat grinder.
Evie McAllister is always perfectly in control, perfectly composed, perfectly rigid and mostly unemotional. My best friend has the warmest of hearts protected by the iciest of veneers. She’s very slender and nearly six feet tall- the opposite of me. I’m round everywhere- “curvaceously delicious” as Cormac likes to say, and at my full height I come in around 5’3”. Evie walks with decorum and refinement, her movements elegant and serene, her oval face pristinely cool, her long, luxurious russet brown hair beautifully styled. I, on the other hand, am always soft and rumpled, my strawberry blonde hair a tangle of curls down my back or loosely knotted in a messy bun. I’ve never cared about fashion and don’t own anything that needs to be pressed and ironed. I dress for comfort, for ease of movement. Clothes cling to my figure, no matter what I have on and it’s as though whatever I wear is hugging me, happy to be embracing an energetic body full of happiness and laughter. Cormac has always appreciated the way a skirt skims my hips, the way a flowy blouse clings to my breasts, the way a pair of shorts shows off my thick thighs and strong calves.
I miss him so much it hurts. And every time I long for his arms around me, a searing pain of betrayal rips through my heart. Why did he cheat on me? Why??? I don’t understand! We were happy. What wasn’t I aware of? Am I somehow culpable for my own demise? Were there red flags I should have seen long before walking down the aisle? I thought Cormac was my soulmate. I thought I would never taste the loneliness of my youth with him by my side. But soulmates don’t have affairs! Or do they? Everything has backfired and now I feel lonelier than I did in my childhood.
I’m going to start crying again. I wish I could be more like Evie- completely phlegmatic. No one would ever have the brass to cheat on Evie. Not that she’s with anyone right now. Dating comes last on her priority list. Staid, steadfast, responsible Evie would excel at life whether a man was by her side or not. She’s a GIS Manager for the county of San Diego and she’s up for a promotion next month. Between that and working out and keeping track of all her investments, she has little time to devote to a romantic relationship. I think she’s secretly hooking up with one of her co-workers, but I’m terrified to tease her about it. Evie tells you what she wants to, when she wants to, and even I am not fool enough to try to breach her walls of privacy.
I’m still undecided what to do about my marriage. Do I stay married to a man who has cheated on me? How long until I forgive him? If I can? And what about trust… how would I ever trust him again?
But the thought of being without Mac sucks the wind from my lungs and yanks my delicate psyche through the mud of heartache. I love him. I’ll always love him. And I’ll always want him.
The doctor confirmed Friday that I am pregnant. She said I’m in very early stages and has scheduled me for a nine week ultrasound the first of February. I feel fine other than being extra tired. And I figure that’s from my sleepless nights on Evie’s couch- sometimes I drift off, but most of the time I’m just lying there cursing Cormac and crying.
If I stay with Mac will people think I’m weak? That I’m just inviting another disaster down the line because “once a cheater, always a cheater”? If I leave Cormac will people think I’m mercilessly calloused, a holier-than-thou self-righteous wife who can’t forgive? And what about the baby? Certainly I’ll be judged either way on my choices as a mother- should Mac and I stay together for the sake of our child? Or should I show our child my strength of character right from the start by casting her father out of our day-to-day lives as retribution for his dishonesty and faithlessness? But isn’t staying and trying to work things out strong too?
Something else to think about… if I leave Cormac I will need to support myself and my child and I’ve never really had a “serious” job. I worked odd jobs here and there throughout high school and before Cormac and I married and after that, well, Cormac makes so much money it was never necessary for me to work. I spend most of my time volunteering at the hospital in the visitor’s surgical waiting room. I take phone calls from the operating room nurses and relay their messages to anxious family members. “Mr. Jones is in recovery now and he’s doing just fine. You may see him in forty-five minutes.” Usually stuff like that. I love being at the hospital helping people. I guess that sounds silly, but I feel really good when I can cheer a family member up or extend a sympathetic hug. Sometimes the waiting room is empty and then I pull out my crocheting and watch movies on the big screen TV by the large fish aquarium. I’m always working on a blanket because I adore the feel of the yarn running through my fingers and the monotony of basic stitching is very relaxing. Picking out yarn colors and starting a new project gets my creative juices flowing and when I’m done with a blanket I donate it to the local homeless shelter and start the process all over again.
And none of this sets me up for a career- a regular paycheck with medical benefits and a 401k. The thought of interviewing with some corporate supervisor leaves my knees knocking and I break out in a cold sweat. I don’t have a college degree or work experience. I don’t even know how to dress professionally! Evie said they are hiring a receptionist in one of the county divisions and it’s entry-level. It doesn’t pay much but she said it would be a foot in the door. And, of course, I know Cormac would pay alimony as well as child support so I’d have that income keep me going while I try to build up my non-existent (for now) resume.
I told Evie I hate Mac for putting me in this precarious position. I hate him for hurting me. I hate him for being a crappy father before our child is even born. I hate him for wanting other women when he has me. ME! I have always been eager and willing putty in his capable hands. And now I hate him for turning my perfectly happy life completely upside down.
“You don’t hate him,” Evie had said knowingly.
But, oh yes, I do. Intense love breeds intense hatred. And passion is a two-sided coin, is it not?
Then, as I’d stared at Evie’s long black eyelashes, her slender legs, her graceful hands, a horrible thought crossed my mind. “Evs, can I ask you something? Did Mac ever hit on you? Did he ever… try anything?”
“No,” Evie had said firmly. “No, absolutely not. I would have told you.”
She was so confident and adamant that I believed her. But my mind was still a snake pit of suspicion and wariness. What had Cormac been up to behind my back all of these years?
“Do you think he ever tried with Cosette?” I asked.
There was a pause.
“I don’t think so,” Evie said eventually. “She can’t keep a secret, that one.”
Our friend, Cosette, is blonde, bubbly and completely enamored of men. She dates frequently, breaks hearts on the regular and is never, ever alone on the weekends. Men fell all over themselves when she walks by, her plus-sized hips twitching, her ample bottom bouncing. Cosette’s thickly plump body is usually squished into a dress two sizes too small which makes her chest bulge over the neckline as though desperate to escape confinement.
Cosette says we all settle for a partner. Because one person cannot meet all of our needs. Indeed, the compromise at the alter is what we’ve decided we can and can’t live without. That’s why Cosette is single; why her dating life is filled with a harem of men, all with different personality traits to offer her. If she’s feeling amorous she goes out with Greg. If she wants to travel she takes trips with Tristan. If she wants to stay home and cook and watch movies she calls Pete. And so on and so on. When she gets tired of a guy she says goodbye. There’s no messy divorce, no splitting of assets, no children to emotionally damage. Her needs are constantly met because she doesn’t place all of her hopes, dreams and desires in the hands of one man. Maybe Cosette is the smartest of us all.
But Mac and I are different. I certainly didn’t settle. And I don’t think he did either… or did he? He says he still wants to be with me. He’s apologized on the phone a million times. He says it will never happen again and that he loves me more than any other. In the beginning of our relationship all those years ago we fell madly, deeply, passionately in love. I thought it was forever. Maybe it still can be.
I haven’t told anyone I’m pregnant. Not Mom and Dad. Not my uppity sister Rhonda. Not Evie. Not Corm…
Someone is pounding on Evie’s front door so I have to go. I guess writing out my feelings has sort of helped (Mom knows best, right?). But… it hasn’t solved anything. I’m no closer to knowing what I should do. What’s best for me. What’s, more importantly, best for the baby.
It’s Cormac at the door! He’s yelling and now he’s kicking the doorknob like he’s going to break in and he sounds crazed. He’s saying…
He’s bellowing that Dr. Mazur called the house about my prenatal vitamin prescription.