The divorce is finalized at last, but I don’t feel that freedom that I was longing for. Sure, my husband lied to me, bought his secretary diamond earrings when our kids were starving—I was glad I got rid of him … but there’s something missing.
The divorce papers were signed a week ago, but I am still not sure how I’m supposed to feel about it.
On the bright side, Tom, now my ex-husband, has to pay for child support. Yet on the other hand, I will have to raise the kids all by myself. They will grow up only seeing their father once in a while.
As much as I hate that bastard, I do feel sorry for my kids. My youngest, Delphine, is only six this year. How am I supposed to explain to her what happened? The kids don’t deserve this, but I didn’t have a choice. I had to.
It wasn’t a pleasant divorce—but let me start with our marriage.
I married Tom when I was 24. Kind of young by today’s standard, but it wasn’t really that big of a deal—one of my friends from high school was married when she was 19—divorced now, of course.
There’s a pattern here, isn’t it? I guess we were all too young to understand what everything’s about. We were too young to differentiate lust and romance, and even romance fades away after a while.
Anyway, the marriage started out pretty well—within three years we already had two kids, Jack and Delphine. Absolute darlings.
Things weren’t all that great as Tom had to work overtime just to provide for the family, but we were happy. We’d go to the local diner every weekend, and Tom would make sure he got the kids’ favorite dessert. Every holiday he and Jack would sit down on the couch and watch “Star Wars” together.
To be honest, I’d give up everything just to live through those times again.
But then things changed over the years. Everything does, eventually. The big turning point came when Tom finally got a promotion, and it was smooth sailing for him from then on.
We were ecstatic when we first heard the news—Jack kept talking about getting a new bike, and Delphine kept talking about a trip to Disneyland. We were unable to afford such things—imagine paying $2,000 for rent among other expenses, with Tom being the only one working in the family.
We thought that things were about to change, but they never did.
With his new promotion, Tom was away from home more often—fine, I get it, business trips and stuff. Back then, he’d always make time for our kids. But not long after the promotion, he began to spend less and less time at home.
He even missed Delphine’s first school musical—can you believe that? Sure, work can get busy, but at least one would make time for his daughter, right? It was then when I realized something was wrong. Call it a gut feeling if you may, but something was not right, and I knew that.
When it comes to money, it didn’t get any better either. With his promotion, we were supposed to have more money for other things, but he never told me how much he was making. Every week he’d just wire me $150 and have me figure something out.
Every time I asked him about it, he would always avoid the topic. And things truly went downhill from there.Then one day it happened.
I can still remember that day like it was yesterday—it was fall, and it was chilly at night. I remember hearing Jack moaning the entire night, and I could hear it even from across the corridor. I decided to check on him, but when I laid my hands on his forehead, it was boiling hot.
He had a bad case of flu.
America is great for a lot of things, but not when it comes to healthcare. I remember driving Jack to the hospital that night—Tom had a meeting in DC, supposedly—and I could hear him gasping throughout the drive.
When we got the bill from the hospital, that was all I had for the week. We hadn’t even bought groceries for the week yet.
Of course I called Tom, but guess what he said?
“Hey. We got a mortgage and insurance to pay for. I really cannot spare anything right now. Can’t you ask your mom or something?”
That was all he said
Since I wasn’t on good terms with my own family due to some drama that involved my stepfather, I didn’t ask my mother for help. Call that pride if you may.
We had hot pockets for the entire week. An entire week of hot pockets—can you imagine that? I might not be a great mother, but at least I tried to make sure my kids eat healthily.
It was then when I thought that maybe I should find a job as well. You know, just something to get by. But then Delphine was still young, and someone needed to take care of her. My mother was working all the time when I was a kid, and I barely saw her when I grew up. I didn’t want that for Jack and Delphine. They deserve better.
At the end of the week, that bastard Tom finally came back
I was still angry at first, but then he was trying to be nice for a day or two. He took us out for dinner and even bought Jack and Delphine some toys. Things were looking better somehow.
Of course, things weren’t all that great in reality.
Okay, now it sounds like one of those clickbaity stories on the internet. One day when I got back home I noticed a fancy-looking box. Tiffany’s. Perhaps Tom finally tried to do something to fix our relationship. Perhaps things weren’t so bad.
It was a pair of diamond earrings from Tiffany’s. It was absolutely stunning. Maybe Tom was going to surprise me—how naive I was—so I kept quiet about it, and didn’t say anything at all.
Fast forward a week or so when Tom went for a conference in Boston. I was just scrolling through Facebook and saw his pictures from his corporate event.
Everyone was dressed up for the event—in a way, I wished I was there as well. To show that I was more than just a housewife, that I had pride and life as well, to be able to socialize with people from different backgrounds, to be able to think that I was happily married.
But then that picture popped up. It was his secretary, leaning towards him for a group photo. At first, I was like “Fine, they worked together for the last two years.” But then I took a closer look at the picture. By God, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Those earrings. She was wearing those earrings.
I was trying to be logical about it at first—maybe they were her own earrings? But no, for sure they were the ones I saw in the box. Okay, let’s say it was the pair of earrings that I saw, maybe Tom gave it to her as a token of gratitude?
But come on, a pair of earrings that cost more than a thousand bucks, when he couldn’t even wire me the money for food so that our kids—his very own kids—won’t have to eat hot pockets for the entire week?
That was where I drew the line. That was when enough was enough. When he came back a few days later, I decided to confront him.
I decided I would cut to the chase right away, right when he stepped through that door. “Are you having an affair with your secretary?” I asked straightaway, not flinching a bit.
“W—what even gave you that idea? You’re out of your mind,” he responded, but with some stuttering here and there. That was all I needed, to be honest.
But then I persisted—I was determined to get to the bottom of the barrel. I pretty much made up my mind at the time that I would leave, but I wouldn’t leave without a proper answer.
“Huh? So a pair of earrings that cost a thousand bucks when your kid had to go to the hospital and eat hot pockets for the whole week?”
“Tiffany’s? The one you left on the nightstand last week?”
“Were you going through my stuff? You are out of your mind!”
“It was on the nightstand, Tom. I didn’t even have to go through your stuff, you careless prick.”
He then turned silent. That was all I needed to know
Now here I am, looking for a new place for my kids. Since Tom cheated on me I got sole custody of the kids. He could visit over the weekends, but not without supervision—that was the best I could do. He took away my youth, but I will not let him take away my kids.
As I am writing this, Jack and Delphine are sitting on the couch, watching “Adventure Time” on TV. I could see that in their eyes they are yet to comprehend what just happened over the last few months. In a way, it isn’t much of a difference for them when it comes to Tom since he was barely at home anyway.
But still … I am not sure why I am writing this. I guess it just helps that I vent it out. Now I will have to find a job to provide for the family, for Jack and Delphine, so that they would have a decent future. But would they grow up like me, without their mother by their side, and simply grow distant as they get older and older?