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Poison and Lies

You fed me.
You fed my soul.
You turned my head.
You twisted my heart.

You spoke such honeyed words
of futures and dreams and forever
with all the sincerity of a true love.
And yet it was all a ruse.
You had cultivated your ability to deceive
For years
and years
and years.

Your artistry is superb.

You use the same words
To the next woman.

“Ain’t gonna happen.”
“If we can make it through this, we can make it through anything.”
“Never before, never again.”
“I’ll never hurt you again.”

By now, you are lying to the next woman –

The one after me –

About the current one –

The one after her –

Only she doesn’t know it yet.
Just like I didn’t.

“We’re only friends.”
“I’m not a man women want.”
“She needs someone to listen.”
“I’m not good at cheating.”
“I’m hanging with the boys tonight.”

You did some things well.
But lying and cheating  –
Those were your specialities.

You spoke the truth only once that I can be sure of.
That last night,
When you said:
I know how to make people love me so they will give me what I want.

What kind of a man lives like that?
A man who blames everyone else for his own failings
While bemoaning the loss of his honor.

Not a man I want in my life.

I do not wish you happiness.
No.
I wish you the poison
And lies that you fed me.

I don’t follow sports. I don’t have any connections at Penn State. I don’t even know how I became aware  in the last several days of the atrocious acts that former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky committed on who knows how many young boys over the past 20 years.  My heart aches for the victims. I know a little about how they feel. I remember being a victim myself.

But in all this publicity, the perpetrator hasn’t spoken. He’s free on a reasonable amount of bail. What’s he doing? Spending a lot of time with lawyers, obviously, and supporters, certainly.  Note that I did not make the totally inappropriate remark about athletic supporters – oh wait, I just did. He can’t be strolling around Happy Valley with his head held high.  Can he?  Or can he truly be secluding himself in his home, with his wife of heaven knows how many years?  Can he really? Which brings us to the point of my post.

As my heart aches for Sandusky’s young victims, it aches for his wife. What must this woman be feeling?  Shame, anger, disbelief, rage, humiliation, shock, nausea, betrayal, bewilderment, devastation are just a few of the emotions that come to mind. What do you do when suddenly you discover that the man you married and loved and helped all these years is a person you don’t even know? And someone you would consider a monster if you did not know them?

It must be impossible for her to believe it, despite the evidence. And I know that, at this point, she is looking at every moment of their life together and wondering. Did she really know and just turn a blind eye? Did she miss all the signs? Does this fact make x,y, and z make sense now?  How could she have been so gullible? Such a fool?

These are the things she is thinking privately. She may not voice these kinds of thoughts to anyone. And barely even to herself. To friends and family, I imagine she is still displaying the stong, supportive wife-face she has worn for years. The face that says, “I don’t believe a word of this, and I am standing by my man.” She has perhaps raged at her husband – or perhaps not. She’s not of an era when women did that, for any cause.

People have asked, “How could she have not known? It had to have been obvious, or at least suspicious.” But no, it is entirely possible that she did not know, did not see, did not believe. Sociopaths – which is what child molesters are – are extremely charming and excellent at the art of deception. And when you love someone and have built your life around them, you are predisposed to believe what they tell you. When you know someone as a man who has looked after kids in various capacities for years – and raised the ones you adopted together – then the trips, the phone calls, the bedtime companionship in the basement room, seem like pure fatherly activities. And pedophiles can – and do – raise families without victimizing their own children – sometimes.

The one thing I know is that this woman is a victim in a whole different way.  And for that, my heart goes out to her.

The wine tonight is
   an ironic little red
called Il Bastardo.
It complements
   the raw meat of my heart
So well.

That same heart
you once held
beating in your hands
one night.

Do you remember?

I said
what are you doing to me
You said
what does it feel like
I said
it feels like you are holding my heart
You said
i am.

Tonight
On a night that is
What neither of us
Would have expected

I
cook chicken
want for a splatter screen
listen to a forgotten thunderstorm
watch the headlights of cars in the dimness of sunset

And remember you.

Last night was the second anniversary of my Mother’s death.  As with her death itself, the days leading up to it were filled with a welter of emotions.  I feel as if I relived those ten days second by second in some shadow realm where my body stores its’ physical memories.  The moment of her passing two years ago, I was stroking her hair, with my hand on her heart.  Tender, painful, beautiful, a pure Southern death.

Yesterday, tears spilled over from time to time.  Last night, Russ called to tell me he would try to stay awake to send his spiritual self 90 miles north to comfort me, since he could not be there with me.  And comfort me he did. Pat did not even call me.  So I went home, lay on the floor in the little hallway and sobbed for about 15 minutes (that seems to be the spot for me to do my sobbing), then got up, drank some bubbly water, snuggled in on the couch (highly recommend the fuzzy blankets from Bed Bath and Beyond), and watched The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, which spoke to me in new ways upon this viewing. 

In the course of the evening, I spoke with Drew, who told me that Pat has been gambling and hiding winnings, squirrelling household monies away, at least 3 days a week for over 5 years, since Kelsea has been in school.  Could this be true?  Pat denies it, of course, but what reason would Drew have to lie to me?  At any rate, contemplating this final betrayal as I crawled into bed last night, I felt a mixture of sadness, anger, disappointment and that I was at a turning point.  Waking this morning, I feel stronger than I have felt in weeks, certain of my course.  The iron has perhaps entered my heart and soul – not a good thing, but perhaps needed.  I see the road ahead being bumpy, but I am choosing to be thankful for this strength today, even if tomorrow it has faded with today’s sun.

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