A noun. A noun that is defined as “1) an act or instance of placing close together or side by side, especially for comparison or contrast.”
Two years ago today, I began to find out that my life was a juxtaposition. Two years ago today, I got an anonymous email from someone I consider a hero who began to pull the edges off the covering that would reveal that side-by-side to my life as I knew it there was another life.
Two years ago today, I began to have a glimpse of the (current) woman who had been placed together, side-by-side to my life and my marriage that I had no idea existed. A woman that HUSBAND used for comparison or contrast and she knew it but I didn’t.
I can remember that life before knowing, but the memory is fading. I can remember that my marriage wasn’t perfect, but that it was not bad either, and that I thought it was for the long run despite challenges and dark moments along the way – actually believing we had weathered the worst. I can remember that I thought there were lots of good things about HUSBAND – fabulous cook. Even keeled (okay, at that point he was completely detached and unemotional but I rationalized that it was even keeled). Hard worker. Always returns things in better condition than he found them. Adventurous and would always take care of the cars and cheer for the same college team that I did and was gracious to my family and friends. And we had 27 years of marriage history, four amazing children, a beautiful home, a life together. Yes, we were together for the long run and any yearnings my heart had I just stuffed away because obviously they were just the things of fairy tales and youth and dreams. We had life, together, and it was good.
I can remember walking up that specific morning…my daughter was in town and she took me off to a barre class first thing in the morning – my first one…so that day already held special meaning for me, and is memorialized with an instagram post. Then a few simple hours later, I got another first when I read the email. I will never forget where I was standing or what I was wearing or what I was thinking when I handed HUSBAND the printed out copy of the absurd anonymous email from ‘Sid Breeze’ and he told me it was true. That split second, that instant began to reveal that my life was a juxtaposition and that there was someone close together that I knew nothing about.
These two years have been the journey of me extricating the two lives and looking at both of them with brutal honesty. Of dusting off memories and ideas and thoughts and understanding the comparison of what I thought and what also was. But there is also what he thought and what was. And I can see that our life together was a juxtaposition in itself…that we lived a life together, married, yet saw things differently and just assumed the other saw it the same. Our healing journey has required that we face these things individually, and then intentionally, together, write the story of our new marriage. The story in which there is no juxtaposition because we are one.
A challenge in the process is the other juxtaposition. The one of the wife and the Other Woman, who off and on during my marriage, also lived side-by-side. The juxtaposition of the wife and the other woman. Living side-by-side but oh, so different in nature and method. That one is moving slowly…and in fits and spurts…and is a story for another post.