A continuation from A Book Is All It Took.
I could not believe that my pithy email had been read by a real live person and that they were reaching out to me! I called the woman back who had left the message. She simply said that the author would like to have me on his radio show that evening and I could talk about anything I wanted. I remember her being very kind with a great warmth in her voice. Of course, I agreed with barely suppressed excitement. I know when I hung up that I took a few deep breaths to allow the reality of it to register and then I skipped around the room doing a long forgotten happy dance. I had no idea what to expect but I was so unbelievably desperate for help that this chance, this opportunity, had me jumping out of my skin with hope. Pure hope.
It was time for a change. Something had to change.
I remember telling James and hearing his lack of enthusiasm. We never really agreed on spiritual or religious beliefs and I am pretty sure he thought this author was a whack job. James was a non-practicing-but-for-holidays Jew and I was a church-soured ex-Christian. Although his reaction was not surprising, it did hurt. I am not sure if he was afraid that I would be led to leave him or what. This and the proceeding events were something we were to never really discuss. I did find out years later that he had listened to me on the radio. He never told me that and I wish I knew why. I have often wondered if he felt responsible for my pain and suffering and if it was easier for him to ignore it. I wanted him to be happy for me but thankfully my own enthusiasm was enough not to care what he thought.
I wanted to make my scheduled call in private and uninterrupted, so I made up some lie to get out of the house where I could then call from my car. I did not tell my husband at this point as I did not want him to hear anything; I needed to speak freely and openly. I arrived at my intended destination, a parking lot, and waited. I was so nervous that I began to think this wasn’t really going to happen, that it was all a hoax of some sort. When I finally made the call and it was busy, my fears deepened. This had to happen was all I could think. After the second or third try I made it through.
The author told me that he had two guests in his studio that would be joining us. He then asked me what was on my mind and well, I just blurted it all out without any reservations or fear. I said that I had been having a long-term affair…It was killing me…I hated living a lie…I was having unexplainable pain…I was in constant fear of being horribly sick. I said them as if they were two separate issues. 1. I don’t know how to leave my lover and 2. Somebody heal me because I’m going to kill myself! In my mind, at this point, they were two separate issues. Even though I knew the stress of the affair was taking a toll on me, it did not occur to me to address the issue causing the stress. I only thought to deal with the symptoms. In fact, my health issues were all I had mentioned in my email. I honestly had a mental block with my relationships because I did not know what to do. I was in some sick, twisted state of limbo. I couldn’t leave James no matter how many times I tried and I couldn’t leave my husband, so I did nothing. As hard as it is to believe, even to myself now, neither of my options were remotely fathomable to me at this time.
The author asked the guests to respond first. My first thoughts were that I couldn’t believe how nice and understanding they all were. Internally, I felt like such a low-life for admitting my affair that I suppose I expected to be shamed and judged in some way, but it was quite the opposite. They truly only had love and compassion in their voices. After a brief back and forth, one of the guests asked me to sit quietly and go within. What?!? I slowly began to freak out. I could feel my heart rate skyrocketing. I was so wound up with expectations that there was no way I was going to have some calm, zen-like internal moment with myself. All I could think was that this was not helping me and that my big chance of getting any help was diminishing by the second. She asked me how I was feeling after a few moments and I told her that I wasn’t feeling anything. I think the author sensed the sheer panic arising in my voice. He told me that I needed to deal with these issues before I gave myself a real disease. He said he was having a week long retreat in the next month and asked if I would like to come; he wanted to speak with me further. All I had to do was get myself there and he would take care of the rest.
The author told me off air that he would have someone give me a phone number to call later that evening to make the arrangements. I could not believe my good fortune. I had gone from panic to elation in a matter of minutes. We hung up and I sat in my car and cried. I wept uncontrollably because I could not believe that someone cared enough about me to offer help like that. I didn’t feel deserving. I was the woman who walked around with the big scarlet letter on her chest. I deserved to be stoned at the altar. I deserved all the sideways glances. I deserved the venom of judgement. But not this night. This night I was greeted with love and compassion. I was offered a hand to bring me out of the darkness and I was ready. I was ready for anything.
Up next: The Retreat
You can find my story from the beginning under the category, Divorce.