It was after Thanksgiving, which Russell thankfully blew off because he was too busy, so I got to spend the day with Jess. The divorce papers were ready to go. It was a matter of me deciding when. I was petrified. Russell was his usual self, distant, even more so since all the fights we had been having about seeing parents and other disagreements we seemed to have more and more frequently. He was angry and didn’t speak to me for a week after I refused to go with him on the last time he went to see his parents. He was suspecting something was going on with me and he was right. I couldn’t believe it, but I was having an extra-marital affair. I had seen movies and T.V. shows about such things and here I was acting out my own indiscretions.
I hadn’t been to my parents in a long time and decided I needed to go to tell them in person about my impending divorce, rather than by a phone call or email. Jess said she’d go with me. We flew out on a Friday afternoon after a fierce fight with Russell about me going. It was nothing new, it seemed we fought over everything these days.
Once in the air, I took a deep breath and ordered a glass of wine. My mother would pick us up at the airport. She was already wondering why I was bringing a friend instead of my husband. As they say, the shit was going to hit the fan and I wasn’t looking forward to it. Thank god Jess was with me for moral support.
We got into Des Moines at 9:15 s0 we grabbed some fast food on the way back to the house, and after saying hi to my dad, we crawled into bed. I was stressed out and wanted to talk to Jess but she was in the other guest room and I thought better of it so my folks might not suspect what was going on with us and eventually drifted into sleep.
Saturday we spent doing small talk. I took Jess out for a tour of Des Moines and the newer shopping area by the capitol. Later Saturday afternoon we had had cocktails with mom and dad. Jess was her charming self. I was nervous as a cat on a tin roof. Mom excused herself to prepare some dinner and I joined her in the kitchen. I began making a salad while mom was getting some steaks ready for dad to grill and potatoes to bake in the oven.
“Mom, I need to tell you something, something that isn’t easy for me.”
“Oh-my-god, you’re pregnant?”
I laughed nervously, “No, that’s not it at all. I’m divorcing Russell, Mom. I’m getting a divorce. My marriage is awful and I’m getting a divorce. There, it’s out.”
She paused what she was doing and didn’t say a word for what seemed like hours, grasping for words. Then she blurted out, “This is such a shock! I don’t know what to say! What are you thinking! What do his parents say? Have you tried counseling. Your father . . . I can’t imagine what he’ll say. Why? Isn’t there something to do, work things out somehow? Why?”
“Mom, I’m sorry, but I’ve made up my mind. I am going to leave him and that’s that. Marrying him was a huge mistake from the get go.”
I went on to tell her about how things had been as of late. I did not mention anything about Jess other than we were best friends.
“But, Dana, what do your friends think?”
“Mom, that’s one of the problems with being with Russell, I have no friends, we have no friends, he has no friends . . . that I’m aware of anyway.”
“Oh Dana, this is so disappointing. You seemed so happy. And this Jess person? What about her? Who’s she to you? I see the way looks at you and I think she’s more than just a friend.”
I took a breath and said with maybe too much defensiveness, “She’s just a friend, Mom! She knows what is going on and she’s the only one who I can talk to and who gives me some support.”
“You don’t have to be so defensive! I thought you and Russell were happy together.”
“I was never happy. I just existed, simply existed from day to day. I like my colleagues at work and Russell got angry that I spent time with them after work on Friday nights and we fought. He doesn’t support my career. He doesn’t support anything I like to do. We fight over me not wanting to see his parents, over me coming here . . . over everything anymore. It’s awful being around him. We never talk. We never do anything. We never did anything. I’m tired of it.”
I started to cry. My mother huffed, said no more and continued to prepare for dinner. I felt tense during dinner and didn’t relax until we left on Sunday when my father took us to the airport. I never told my father, leaving it to my mother to figure it out. I was pissed at her for not giving me any support and was happy to have Jess to have a sounding board while I consumed too many glasses of wine on our short flight home and was fairly wasted when I was dropped off at our apartment. Thankfully Russell was out so I showered and went to bed.
But before I went to sleep, a wave of anger came over me and I decided to give Russell present for his birthday on December 13th, divorce papers.