After surviving a high-conflict divorce, chances are you can still find yourself battling the raging seas from time to time even years after the judge signs the final paperwork. It’s just one of those inevitable things when you’re divorcing someone who manipulates, lies and twists things.
Over the years, I’ve grown accustomed to threats, dirty looks, letters from lawyers and rude texts. But the one thing I haven’t quite escaped as of yet is the triggers in my life that take me back to one of the darkest times in my life.
Yesterday I sat at a stoplight and stared blankly at the car in front of me while running my to-do list through my mind–spacing off into check boxes and schedules as I usually do. Track meet at 3. Soccer at 6:45. Need to call the satellite company and order the Mayweather and Pacquiao fight. You know how it goes.
After I came out of my cloud of to-dos, I noticed, really noticed, the type of car in front of me. It was a navy blue Nissan Murrano loaded up with things in the back, and they were visible through the back window. I could see through the window and I could make out almost everything in the car.
In that moment I was transported to 2010 in an instant…
In the summer of 2010, after I kicked my then-husband out of our home on the west side of town, he immediately moved in with his mother. She had an extra room he could stay in (which meant free–bonus for him and his penny-pinching ways), and she would take over caring for him as I had for the last 19 years. In my mind, it was a no brainier that he would run to her home after he packed up his things and left. Plus, that way he could drive her blue Murrano and not “put the miles on his car.”
My then-husband would often come by our house for a “visit” to see the kids, hold my hand, and chat with all of us; often times he would profess his love for me and tell me he wanted us to work things out. And then he would be on his way. He would play this yo-yo game for the next 3 months of our lives, dragging out the hurt and pain and running me and my kids up and down the roller coaster until we were all exhausted.
One night in early-fall, he showed up unannounced to
our my home for a quick visit. I was just getting the kids settled in for the night, and I asked my then-husband if he wanted to join us for family prayer. He obliged. We all knelt as a family together and prayed for “daddy to try hard to fix some things in his life so he could return to our family” among other heartfelt things. He seemed happy with our little prayer, and he and I walked each of our 4 kids to their bedrooms to tuck the children in. We kissed them lovingly on the foreheads and he said good bye to them. It was a very difficult thing for everyone, because we knew he’d be returning to his mom’s house once he left.
After the kids were in bed, he asked me to give him the insurance bill to pay grabbed some warmer clothes from his closet and said he was taking his pillows to his mother’s house because hers weren’t comfortable. I was fine with that, and after he grabbed everything I walked him to the door. I opened the door and he looked into my eyes and said, “I really do want everything to work out between us, Lori.” (and at that time I believed him) and kissed me goodbye.
I felt happy for his words and kiss and told him to text me when he got to his mother’s house. He said he would.
After I climbed alone into bed, my sweet friend Erin called to check on me. We were chatting away I realized I hadn’t heard a word from my then-husband. It had been almost an hour, and his mother’s home was only 30 minutes away. He should have texted me by now. I immediately went into a panic, because my thoughts went to him and her together.
I couldn’t tell if what I felt was fear, instinct, or complete sickness in the pit of my stomach. I told Erin my intuition was telling me he was with her. She flatly said, “Your intuition is always right. Go drive by her house and see.” I NEVER had driven by her home before, so why would I do it now? (Of course I knew where she lived; our girls played together for years.)
I quickly hung up the nearly-dead cell phone, grabbed my car keys, and ran outside–barefoot and in my pajamas, sans bra. Her home was only 2 blocks from
ours mine, and her street was a dead end. I was mortified to be doing a drive-by as a 39-and-a-half year old woman, but it was something I felt I had to do.
My stomach churned and twisted as I entered her street. It was nearly 11:00 at night and my mind raced, thinking I would get caught outside her home. I slowly drove towards her rambler, eyes scanning the curb sides for my then-husband’s white Nissan truck. I passed her home without incident and a huge wave of relief drown all the self-doubt and worry that was in my head. I thought to myself: Whew! Thank you, God, he’s not here.
I continued down her street so I could flip a U-turn and return home to my 4 sleeping kids–and that’s where I saw it–my mother-in-law’s navy blue Nissan Murrano. It was parked 7 or 8 houses down, behind a huge trailer, almost purposely “hidden” so no one would see. Tears burst from my eyes and panic took over. I began to shake and sweat and I was nauseous immediately. What do I do? What could I do? Should I go knock on her door? Should I walk in her house?
I immediately called my friend Erin whose voice calmed me and talked me through my open wounds and pain. Again, my intuition kicked in. I wanted to call my Bishop and neighbor. I knew he was a steady rock in the storm I found myself in those few months, and I knew he would listen and offer wise words.
Sobbing through tears, I dialed his number, apologized for the lateness of my call and asked his wonderful wife if he was home. He picked up the receiver and listened to me spew out the awful story, calmly asking if I was sure if the Nissan was in-fact my husband’s mother’s. I wasn’t sure–I walked barefoot up to the doorway of the car, my body numb with pain. As I peered in I saw the Allstate bill on the dash and his pillow in the front seat. Tears streamed down my face. I walked to the back of the car and saw the turtlenecks and sweaters in the back of the car from
our my closet. Yes, it was her car.
As I had expected, my neighbor talked me out of walking to the door (besides, I had no bra on and I clearly wasn’t presentable enough to kick her ass in an appropriate way). He calmly said to me, “Lori, go home to your children. They need you now. There is nothing you can do tonight.”
I wiped my tears away, and with my hands shaking I put the car in drive and drove to
our my home to be with my kids.
How can someone outright lie and twist the truth? Normal people cannot. Liars are good at what they do. They persuade people to believing their truth. They spin their webs and cast them far and wide. Cheaters command the art of the lie and they use it often. And they oftentimes keep cheating because they’ve gotten good at it.
That night was one of the hardest I’ve ever had to face. I’ve all but forgotten it and I’ve moved on. Until the day I sat at a stoplight…and it all comes rushing back.