Saturday, September 17, 2005

stories worth a thousand words #39



Written : December 7th, 2004

We went on an expedition that day, along a trail that led up the side of a large hill that was beside our family resort.

Once we rounded the corner to the area which we could not see from our apartment, there was a clearing that afforded a breathtaking view out into the vast Mediterranean. Since up to that day the sun had always emerged from here from our perspective, it wasn’t hard to deduce that this was a perfect spot to witness the sun rise, something I was yet to experience. I decided to set my alarm for about 5am the following morning in order to witness the daily spectacle.

Heaven only knows I needed something to perk up my spirits, for up to then this had been The Holiday From Hell in every respect. On the surface it looked like the idyllic family vacation; me, my wife and my two beautiful children off to Ibiza for two weeks in May, with her mother and sister arriving the second week to provide some baby-sitting time for us to do some of the traditional couply stuff. The reality could not have been further away.

It had been St Patrick’s Day, March 17th, 2000, when MyX finally had the guts to tell me she had been having an affair with BikerBoy, and that she loved him. For some reason, despite all of this, I was convinced that once we went away together on the holiday that had been booked since before Christmas, we could somehow work it out. It was only in the airport lounge when I realized the two love birds were sending text messages back and forth to each other that it was clear that I would not be sending any “Wish You Were Here” postcards for the duration of the fortnight!

I did try one of the nights during the first week to sit her down and talk things through, after the kids had fallen asleep in the next room. There was no need for pleading my case, there was no need for bended knee; all it took was one question: “Will we at least give it a go for the sake of the kids?”

I could see her flinch for a brief moment, but then her resolve was clear in her face for all to see. “No, because I know that once I see BikerBoy again when we get back I will want to be with him.” So that was that.

Well, not quite. We had agreed to take turns sleeping in with the kids, and that night was mine. Shortly after I closed the door behind me she knocked and had a look of absolutely paralyzing terror all over her face. I can’t remember her exact words, but they were something along the lines of “Jeff PLEASE tell me you won’t do any harm to the kids tonight? PLEASE????”

She could have told me BikerBoy was there with us and that they were going to make love right in front of me and it could not have hurt me more. It was at that moment I realized how much power she had. All she had to do was run screaming down the corridor that her husband was a madman and I’d be thrown into a cell by a bunch of cops with poor English before I could say asta mañana.

With that I let her sleep in with the kids, and I set up the camper bed in the sitting room to get through what had to be the loneliest, most miserable sleepless night I have ever endured. Part of me actually felt guilty for being capable to do something drastic, even though I had never so much as hurt a fly in my life before.

Of course I know I wasn’t the innocent party in all of this. Of course I know I did many things to cause the failure of the marriage. To read this chapter up to now you may think this wasn’t the case. In fact, at that time in the Balearic paradise, all I could do was to lament my own part in the whole scenario. According to me I had driven her to this, what with getting fired from the sports store, the Airport Incident, and not changing job like MyX had demanded.

It wasn’t until I had plucked up the courage to relate the whole story to my fiancée Sandra that I was able to see that there were two people involved in this particular tango. Before I could get to this stage, however, I somehow needed closure from my twelve year association with MyX.

Being disposed to penning poetry and lyrics as I am, the potential symbolic nature of witnessing the sun rising over a clear blue sea was not lost on me as I set off into the darkness shortly after 5 that morning. When I reached my chosen vantage point, I was surprised how bright the area was without the aid of any artificial light. Upon turning my back to the watery stage, I realized the source of the illumination.

It was a perfect full moon which was well into its descent, and it was headed straight for a v-shaped gap between two distant hills. For a good half hour I pivoted back and forth in both directions, as the beaming satellite drew nearer to its destination on one side, and the blackness above the calm waters gradually turned to bright orange on the other.

I kid you not; the very moment the moon disappeared from view, I was spared the milli-second necessary to turn my head to witness the tiny bright halo appear over the distant horizon. It was as beautiful as anything I could imagine nature to show me, and as I sat down to take in the splendour of the giant radiant rugby ball coming into view I realized I had been treated to all the symbolic closure I had sought, and then some.

© JL Pagano 2004