I sat in my car, anxiously waiting for the truck to leave. He would be going to work, and she would be still home.
I knew enough about their schedules to know that she left for work earlier than him on days when she worked. Sometimes she had night shifts at the hospital and wouldn't be home until 9 am. Perhaps it was the hospital. Clinic? It was something medical.
This is all very carefully deduced speculation from over a year of sporadic internet sleuthing. It was hard to nail down facts about a woman who was hidden from you for four years. She had no social media, except for a Pinterest account that was extremely easy to find, that held cute boards with titles like "Party Time, Excellent!" It was the "Honey Do" board that clued me in that he wasn't leaving her. A wife that is getting left doesn't pin 10 woodworking projects to a board for her "honey."
He asked me what I was having for dinner one night as we spoke on the phone. "My husband is making barbacoa," I said. "You should have it sometime. In fact, we will make it for you!" "Yeah, that sounds delicious."
Four hours later, a recipe for barbacoa pork was pinned to her "Food Ideas" board.
That was his second mistake: telling me her name. If he had never uttered her name, I would have no idea who she was. But he sheepishly admitted it during that week that he laid next to me almost every day. The week I cried to him and asked why he didn't tell me he had a wife. The week I had three pages of legal paper filled with why, what, who, and a billion other questions for him to finally answer truthfully. He said her name. Sheepishly.
From there, it was easy. Less than a minute to find their anniversary date. Less than three to find their address. His truck is in the driveway on google maps. Less than 10 minutes and I had her entire family tree mapped out. I knew kids, parents, rough ages of all. It is surprising what social media does for quick stalking. God bless the Internet.
People think it's hard. Or they think a lot of effort goes into it. But think of the information that gets gathered by the Internet. Look at what is public record. Think of everything that you've talked about with your friends and loved ones. What do you think they remember? Do you know how I found their address? I knew when he bought his house. I knew the town where he lived. It was very quick after that. Name + town. I double-checked the email he sent me from years before that told about about the renovations, with pictures. Pictures that were sans wife, I'll have you know. I had years of information on this man.
Why did I even bother once I knew about the wife? Because I was his girlfriend (he asked me to be, mind you), because he said he was leaving her, because I thought the love would overcome that, because I was a fucking idiot.
Years of emails, pictures, Skype calls, dreams, discussions with my husband about having a polyamorous relationship with this man. Years of this relationship that was tumultuous but we were always there for each other. Five years, in fact. He was with her for four of them.
I knew he had sex with other women. I expected it. We didn't live close to each other, and I was clearly having sex with my husband because he watched us. But in hindsight, the stories of other women stopped. He got cancer and I just assumed he was busy with work and life and not dying. In fact, I asked him about other women. "Do you want there to be other women?" He was always so good at not answering the question. Manipulators are.
My entire life had changed for this man. I put my husband through the ringer to be with someone who I thought loved me. We discussed kids. He was willing to change diapers. That is probably what hurt the most: mourning children who I had already planned a future for who would never exist.
And he had the audacity to talk to my husband and discuss sharing me, all while he was probably laying next to his wife. Discussing a future with my husband while lying to us both. Screw with me all you want, but don't screw with my husband.
After I discovered she existed, I lined up the two separate lives that he was leading and compared results. He was dating her when he told me to put my underwear in his pocket on my last day of working for him. He was buying that house with her. The new dog? She was the wife's. Why did he turn down my offer to nurse him through cancer recovery? Because she was the one nursing him back to health. Can't have the wife and secret mistress in the same house.
It didn't make sense. I wasn't a secret. I knew his friends. I was paraded around his work as his. He was openly with me with people we mutually knew. Why would I have suspected that there was a wife? Any secrecy I thought was out of respect for my marriage and that I hadn't "come out" as poly. Any secrecy was actually for him.
I'm such an idiot. Years of trusting someone with everything only to realize that it was a lie. All of it. He never loved me.
But I'm also an idiot that knows how to contact her. It should be easy to stride up to her doorstep and knock. It should be easy to tell her that I loved her husband and was with him for years but I didn't know about her. Would I be strong enough to admit that I continued with him after I knew about her? Until I discovered, via Pinterest, that he wasn't leaving her? Would that even matter? Would transferring my pain to her make me feel better?
No, it wouldn't. That's why I am not sitting outside their house. That's why I've spent the last year debating this moral dilemma. That's why I have letters drafted to her in my journal that are unsent to the address that I know.
But things change.
He sent a text to me two days ago. It was a sexy pic then "Shit. Sorry." This was 18 hours after I wrote Fire and Hate. Of course he reads the blog. He was livid after I posted my hypocritical rant and went radio silent. Months of silence and I get that? My name is nowhere near his wife's name. It was either "accidentally on purpose" sent to test the waters or it was sent to his next whore.
So that's it. Things change. I hope she receives my message soon.