The marriage wasn't perfect but then whose marriage is? Two children, jobs and obligations of paying for the support and maintenance of the family kept the couple busy. The years passed and the children grew up while the couple grew apart. Outwardly to family and friends they appeared the perfect couple; when the split happened it was a shock to one and all.
It started or maybe it ended this way. Nights out with the ladies became a weekly thing for her as his weekly night out with his buddies and eventually notice was taken of that guy in the corner for her and the female sitting alone on the bar stool for him. The children though growing were a long way from adulthood. The eventual split was devastating for both of them. The son went to live with his father while the daughter stayed with her mother; the son was bitter and blamed his mother for the divorce.
The father had a new woman in his life which the son, as often happens, refused to accept. Meanwhile the mother with her new man, becomes pregnant and times grow more difficult for her. Money is scarce and as so many times happens, her standard of living took a quick decline with the divorce. Struggling to support her daughter and coping with the pregnancy drained her of all her strength. Days went by when with her pre teen daughter, they grazed the vegetable aisle at the grocery stores. Barely enough money to pay for the apartment and even less for groceries, living was a daily struggle for both of them. Her new man was around though I don't know why, with his help, she still had to struggle. Maybe he had lost his job? I am vague on this part of her life. Her ex husband eventually drifted away from his ex family and developed a life with his new wife. We lost track of him.
For her, the child was born, a baby girl and eventually the son moved back with his mother and now he had two sisters. Her new husband now filled the spot in the extended family that her ex husband had vacated. She worked full time but found that her new partner, didn't have the same work ethics she had been raised with so times were good and then times were tough; the tough times were when he would quit his job that often times he managed to keep for only a few months. She continued to support her family through these times on only her paycheck.
She loved her man and turned away from his faults. He blamed much of his problems on the months he had spent in Viet Nam. His stories of the battles he fought, the friend that died in his arms, the medals he acquired, she listened to and when the Viet Nam memorial passed close to her town, they visited. He stooped low to the ground in front of the monument and with a piece of paper and a pencil, he transferred the name of his dead friend for his keepsake. He wept profusely and openly in front of this monument; tears for his buddy. Time passed.
The son and daughter moved on with their lives and the child they shared between them grew to be a fine young woman.
As young people do, the daughter joined Facebook. Her friends searched, found her and befriended and her list of friends grew. One day she received a message from someone inquiring about her last name. They shared the same name. Questions were asked; information was shared. They were sisters. There is more. One more. She had two sisters of which she knew nothing about. She is 19; the sisters are in their mid 30's and haven't seen their father since they were infants. He never contacted them; staying hidden and avoiding child support was his goal.
She shared this information with her mother who questioned her husband. The lies began to unfold. He had never voluntarily paid child support. He would work 6 months then quit before his social security number showed up and child support deducted. He also didn't want to work weekends as that was when all the family get togethers were and he didn't want to miss the party. He would quit his jobs without consulting her and tell her he had been laid off; job had terminated; cutback in staffing, etc. The last job was in a prison cafeteria overseeing the prisoners. He told her they had attacked him and showed her the lump on his head. Fearing that he might be hurt, she told him he had to quit. He was never attacked, this we now know, though we don't know how he acquired the lump on his head. Was it self inflicted?
More years, more lies, lost jobs, house repossessed, savings used up, retirement fund depleted and the relationship continues to falter. The excuses he gave for losing his jobs were lies. There were no layoffs or cutbacks. He quit them. She continued to support the family though the money she made was stretched to meet all the obligations and with only one paycheck, health insurance was unaffordable. Occasionally her lung ailments would cause her to miss days from her job; the paycheck wouldn't cover all the bills that month. The health bills escalated.
Again unemployed, he stayed home. The economy had taken a nose dive. He was to be a house husband now. He could take care of the house and yard. He didn't. Television occupied much of his time. Three months pass and each time she looked at him, the anger grew. The lies, the lack of affection and his refusal to contribute took it's toll on her feelings. She asked him to move out for a while; she needed time apart to assess the situation.
Their daughter had been waiting on him to contact the V.A(Veteran's Admin.) in the hopes of assistance with advanced schooling. He always had an excuse for not contacting V.A. After he left, mom took the initiative; she acquired the V.A form online, completed and mailed it. When the papers were received by the V.A, the information was mailed back to her.
She was devastated. He had never been in Viet Nam. More lies. There had never been a soldier that died in his arms, he had never jumped out of a helicopter, trampled through jungles and rice paddies and there was never a bronze metal nor a purple heart medal(he said he couldn't bear to look at the metals so he had pitched them in a river). Those tears he shed were worthy of an acting award.
Today she called him. He asked if he could come back home. He wanted one of the cars she was making payments on; he must have known more lies were close to being revealed; she asked him if she knew all his lies. He said "yes" and then she asked about Viet Nam. Caught. He stuttered and became quiet. She told him it was over and she could hear him yawn. She asked if she was boring him to which he didn't reply; she began looking for boxes to pack his clothes.
20 years. Yes, there were clues. She chose to ignore them. I quietly listen and let her vent. I'm saddened for this woman. Kind hearted and generous, she was victimised. She just wanted her marriage to work. She wanted to believe in him. He was the father of her child. Today she faced the truth and painful as it was, she said goodbye.
I don't believe this is over yet. To be continued....maybe.
I don't believe this is over yet. To be continued....maybe.