Thank God for girlfriends.

At the time of my separation from my husband I had two groups of women in my life.  One was my Tuesday night book club.  The other, five women whom I’ve known for more than thirty years.  The common denominator in the second group is teaching.

I didn’t tell either group about my marital problems for several weeks.  Nor did I tell my family.  D was still living at home and sleeping in the same bed with me.  I was probably in denial.  If I didn’t talk about it, it wasn’t happening.  I wanted very much to save our marriage.  I still didn’t acknowledge that there was another woman even though I was becoming more and more suspicious about the possibility.  Because of my suspicion I started to snoop–checking D’s pockets and desk and briefcase.  Aha!  A receipt for a sapphire ring for about $1200 right on time for Valentine’s Day.  I made myself a copy and put the original back in his briefcase.  I didn’t want him to know that I knew.

That discovery precipitated a series of events that resembled a snowball rolling down hill.  There was no going back.  I asked D to move to a bedroom downstairs.  I sent an e-mail to my group of five.  First one and then another came to the mountains to spend some time with me.  By the time the second one arrived I had accessed and made copies of all VISA and MasterCard statements for the past year and she helped me to go through them item by item and mark the ones that looked shady.  Lots and lots of evidence–roses sent to someone, jewelry stores, expensive building supplies (I found out later that the girlfriend was renovating her house.) and on and on.

I knew I had a lot to take to the lawyer’s office but I wasn’t through yet.  While my friend was still with me and I was angry enough to spit nails I called a private investigator in the state where the evil deeds were taking place.  I just wanted a photo of them together.  And I got that, too.  I was operating on pure I’ll show you! energy.  I was in horrible emotional pain.  I couldn’t sleep.  I couldn’t eat.  I lost twenty pounds which I didn’t need to lose.  But it was the anger that kept me from falling apart.  That and my incredible girlfriends.

Later in February I had a birthday.  D was out of town of course.  He didn’t call.  He did send me an e-mail:  “P, Hope you have a good birthday.  D”  But my amazing book club friends surprised me by taking me to the nicest restaurant in town.  And they brought me wonderful soaps and lotions and candles and all manner of  take-care-of-yourself items.  One even crocheted a prayer shawl for me.  And they bought me dinner and wine and we cried and laughed together.  Recently, I went back up to the mountains to see them.  They’re still as great as I remember.  Always will be.

And so the arduous journey is full steam ahead.

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