The Sidelined Wife(8)

By: Jennifer Peel

I stared up at the ceiling fan spinning in a circle in the dark. It wasn’t far from how I felt. I needed to get off that track and start to live again. I needed to do more than go through the motions like the fan above me. Cody needed to see that his mom was thriving, not just putting one foot in front of the other. So I had been sidelined, benched really. That sparked an idea.

I sat up and reached for my laptop on the nightstand. I was declaring my independence. Not like the divorce decree hadn’t made that clear already, but it’s different when it’s by choice. I did choose the divorce, but there was no other choice. Neil’s one-night stand turned into a full-blown relationship. He blamed it all on Roxie; she wouldn’t let him be. She threatened and bribed him. He couldn’t say no. Those were all excuses. I had believed his lies of it being a one-night stand. I even tried to work it out, and we sought counseling. The whole time he was still seeing her. I only found out about the pregnancy because I took his car one night. Over the car’s Bluetooth I heard her on his mobile phone when I pulled into the garage. Their conversation came through loud and clear. I heard the distinct words, “I’m pregnant, Neil.”

All the hurt and anger I already felt about his betrayal compounded and left me shattered. The man I had given my all to had decided I wasn’t enough. That was the last night he ever spent in this house. Now he lived in an apartment near downtown Chicago. Roxie lived there too, though he still wouldn’t admit it to me. I’m not sure why he bothered lying. I wondered if he was going to marry her. I asked him once out of masochistic stupidity. I had learned it was better to know the painful truth than live a lie. And I had a right to know because of Cody. He shook his head no, but he wouldn’t look me in the eye.

I turned on my laptop and logged into the blog I had started several years ago chronicling the Higgins Family. When the blog came up, our last family photo taken a year ago on the shores of Lake Michigan stared back at me. I almost lost it, but I was done losing myself. I was going to rediscover Samantha Decker. Tonight, I was more than starting a new chapter. I was ending one book and starting another. I began to type as fast as my fingers and mind would allow.

I don’t think people read family blogs anymore, but for those that do and that don’t already know, there is a family here no more. At least, not the one that was portrayed in the pictures and posts. I didn’t know I was lying when I wrote all those sappy lines about how amazing my life was and how blessed I was to have a husband that loved me even if he at times drove me mad. But it was all a lie, except for my entries about Cody. He’s still the perfect kid and no one is changing my mind on that, not even him.

From now on it will only be the Cody and Samantha Show. It kind of has ring to it. I mean, who needs a husband, anyway? There’s a lot less laundry and dishes now. And I can even blare my music in the morning when I get ready. So maybe I cuddle up to chocolate mousse pie at night, but there is no one to remind me how it causes heart disease or a few extra pounds. I always wanted dimples; I might as well get a few on my butt. It’s not like anyone will see them, except maybe me. Maybe it wasn’t the best idea, but wow, was it delicious. More delicious than stale morning breath, I’ll tell you that. I don’t miss that one bit.

You know what else I don’t miss? I don’t miss feeling alone in a relationship that was so one-sided. You ladies know what I’m talking about. We are the ones who scrimp and save to get by in those early years. We do all we can to make sure their dreams are realized. That the careers they longed for become realities. We bear the burdens of day-to-day life, from taking care of the children, to grocery shopping, cleaning, and making sure a nice meal awaits them. We don’t get days off or even recognized for what a luxury it is for them to have a spouse at home holding down the fort. Some of us even have to work outside the home just to make ends meet at times, yet we still carry the weight of what makes a family function.

We are still the ones to get up all hours of the night with fussy infants or sick toddlers. We help with homework and shuttle children to and from school and a million activities. Somewhere in the middle of that we are running the errands our husbands never have the time for. Oh, and we’re still supposed to look sexy while doing it all.