Vignette 15: Betrayal

From Heartbreak, Mourning, Loss. Volume One, Detach or Die

A healing conversation with my ancestors

Last month, I discovered a love letter my husband wrote to another woman, confirming my suspicion. That day, I roamed the house, circling through the rooms as if to prevent death from entering the house, but death was already in the house, in my heart, in my soul, erupting as a skin rash.

I felt a strange need to polish all the silverware in my house. It was my way of calling my female ancestors. My great-great grandmother Elvira was a wealthy hotel owner and when she sold her hotel she kept the collection of silverware that was used in the hotel’s dining room. I inherited it, after a long line of women, and it now fills the six glass cabinets that line the walls of my dining room.

It is my inheritance, my only luxury. As my hands were polishing those silver masterpieces, I was having an imaginary conversation with mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and Elvira. Later, I wrote it down.

– Have I lost my husband? Will he come back to me?   Maybe he is gone forever, answered the choir of female ancestors, or maybe the affair with the other woman is just a retaliation against your busyness.

–What do you mean, busyness? I work hard, but so does he, all day.

–Polishing the silver, hey! Always the good housekeeper. What about sexual passion? We, your female ancestors know all about your kind of busyness . . . we, too, were polishing the silver and cleaning the house and taking care of the kids while forgetting the husband. We were mothers and housekeepers, while our husbands cavorted with less busy women.

That evening, I took a long relaxing bath, I dyed and curled my hair (he likes curly blonde hair), sprayed on my best perfume, put on a sexy nightgown, and lighted scented candles all over the bedroom.

We got in bed early and I got in beside him, naked. He remained indifferent to my nudity, indifferent to my caresses, distracted, silent. He quickly fell asleep. The next day my female ancestors were saying:

–Rita, we think your marriage is over! For years, you created famine by giving him too little sex. We think that your husband found another fountain of joy; why would he come back to you? Too little too late! We don’t believe you can rekindle this fire.

— But wait! Nobody ever taught me how to be a lover. Somehow, sex annoys me, it interferes with the other things I need to do. I think I don’t even know what it means to be a sexual being.

–Right. Now you know where you stand: you are somebody who does not know how to be sexual.