My memory is cruel
I'm queen of attention to details
Defending intentions if he fails
Until now, he told me her name
It sounded familiar in a way
I could have sworn I'd heard him say it ten thousand times
If only I had been listening
-Sara Bareilles, "Between the Lines"
It all started with a text message.
It was October. I was standing next to him while he was looking at his phone, and saw a text that said "I miss you." I wasn't snooping- had no reason to. Just happened to be there. I asked him about it, and he said some of the women he worked with were out that night, and they were just messing with him. What a horrible cover. Anyway, I took that story for the truth for the moment, but the hairs on the back of neck sure didn't believe it. They were standing at attention from that moment forward.
Things weren't even weird between us at the time. Everything seemed perfectly normal to me. We were still sleeping in the same bed (and would be, throughout the forthcoming year-and-a-half long debacle, until just before it was over). We were still laughing and cuddling and talking. I had no reason to suspect otherwise, or to doubt his lie. But those hairs on the back of my neck? They were smarter than I.
The next few weeks passed without incident, relationship-wise. I lost my job, he was very supportive and sweet about it. You can read about those fun times in my posts from November 2006. But then.
It was a Sunday afternoon, and he went for a run. This was entirely normal, we lived across the street from a major Memphis park and he ran there almost every day. I would later learn that a lot more than running was going down in Overton Park, but whatever. Anyway. That day, he was gone for a really long time. He didn't have his phone with him, and I was worried that he had gotten hurt on a trail inside the park and couldn't call for help.
Well, that's what I say I was thinking. And that's what I was consciously thinking. But those hairs on the back of my neck? They were thinking something else.
And something else is exactly what I found when I went to the park to look for him, and saw him kiss her goodbye.
I immediately knew who the woman was. When he had started his job three months before, he told me about the people he worked with, and one woman who told him a story about how she fooled around with a girl once. Come on. I told him that day, there's only one reason a straight woman tells a straight man a story like that. Whether it's true or not, the telling of that story has one purpose and one purpose alone. I told him to be careful with her. He said they were just friends, she was married. He had told her about my blog, she thought I was funny. Her friends read it too. I knew exactly who she was even though I'd never seen her before. And I was right.
He said he had ended it, that's why he was at the park. He said they had only kissed. He said it was over. He said he wouldn't see her again (except every day at work, where he was her boss, of course). Every bit of it? A lie.
And that was only the beginning.