If you missed Part I of this stunning series, Shattering the Clay, by Anonymous, please CLICK HERE to catch up.
When I tell people the reason Ford and I are divorcing – the true reason – I can see the question in their eyes. The discreet ones don’t give it voice. From the others it gushes in a flood of words and confusion.
“How could you not know he was gay?”
Life would be so much simpler, I suppose, if people were all neatly labeled and categorized.
This man likes show tunes and drinks oolong tea with his pinky up. He’s small and delicate and is more interested in fashion than football. His house is tidy and clean. He is gay.
This man likes football and beer. His idea of a good time involves poker and eating nachos. He goes to strip clubs on bachelor parties and says he wants to add Katy Perry to his “list”. He’s large and masculine and thinks a 49-er trashcan is decorating. He is straight.
But life isn’t that simple. The first man, I would have made my friend and called for advice on which shoes to wear. The second man, I married, never imagining the height of his facade, the depth of his secret.
On the Day of Disclosure, Ford and I had just returned from yet another therapy session. I was frustrated with the lack of progress. After five years, we’d more than paid for our therapist’s trips to Hawaii. Our marriage, however, was crumbling and I couldn’t figure out why or how to fix it.
I stood in the doorway of our house, tears in my eyes, angry words of frustration passing over my lips. I wanted him to hug me, to kiss me, to show me some sort of affection. He repeated the same phrase, “I can’t.” To which I replied, “You won’t.”
Then he held up his hand. The look on his face made my stomach knot as some inner part of me recognized the seriousness of the words forming in his mind. He took a deep breath. Then another. He clutched the frame of the door and said, “I have to tell you something. Something that will stop all this.”
In that moment, I knew we were on the edge of a precipice. A part of me wanted to quiet his words, keep him from speaking what I understood, deep in my heart, was the beginning of the end of us. We walked to the couch. We sat down. He took my hands in his.
He continued, the words pouring out in a torrent of relief. He told me he’d always known. He told me he thought he could make it work. He told me he married me because I was so kind and loving. He told me he wanted normalcy, not the life of controversy being gay would involve. He told me he wanted the wife, the house, the kids, the dog. He told me he loved me, but wanted to be in a relationship with a man. He confessed to seeing two men holding hands in IKEA over the weekend, the sight nearly bringing him to his knees with longing.
Each word struck my numb body like shards of ice. I stared at my hands in his. I could hear the tick of the clock, the sound strangely loud. I could feel my chest moving, assuring me I was still breathing. I saw the wide wet circles on my skirt and wondered distantly what they were from. Ford released my hands and tried to wrap his arms around my stiff body. He pulled me to him, the smell of him so familiar and comforting, yet suddenly so alien.
Who was this man I’d married? Who was this man who had fathered my two children? Who was this man who lived and laughed and fought with me for nine years?
When people ask that question, the question I dread, I reply, very simply, “I just didn’t.”
I never suspected. You see what you expect to see. A gay man would never ask me out on a date. A gay man would never pursue me. A gay man would never marry me. A gay man would never father my children. A gay man would never work through marriage counseling for years.
And yet, he did.
And he is.