Funny thing happened on the way to the wedding…Part 3

Image: The Gifted Way
Image: The Gifted Way

Abby woke up with a terrible taste in her mouth, awful smell in her nose, and a headache that could have been deemed an eight on the Richter scale. She still hadn’t opened her eyes. And with what was going on with her other senses, she wasn’t sure she wanted to. But she had to take a peek – at least find out what that retched smell was.

Abby couldn’t believe her eyes. She was lying on a hard bench in a jail cell with five other women she did not know. She could have sworn she was in her apartment. She tried to reach into her hurting head to determine what was real and what had to be a dream. She was hoping her present situation was the latter, but unfortunately it wasn’t.

“Ahhh. Sleeping Beauty finally woke up.”

Abby looked over to see that the person addressing her was a tall, heavy-set woman who seemed mad at the world. Instead of responding Abby turned away.

“What?! You too good to speak?”

Abby still said nothing. Finally the woman walked over to her, and stood in the line of her vision. Abby tried to stare at the wall beside her out of fear and hope that the woman would go away.

“Abby Marlowe!” Abby jumped up from the bench and hurried to the front of the cell. “Let’s go! You’re being released.”

Abby was so thankful for the timing. She didn’t know what was about to happen, and with her luck thus far, it wouldn’t have been good.

After grabbing her belongings and heading towards the precinct exit, she caught sight of a man in a tuxedo and a woman in a wedding gown sitting in the waiting area. It was Agustin and his bride.

“Oh my goodness! What are you doing here?”

“Someone from the bar left a voicemail that you were being taken to jail. We thought we’d help since you were in trouble.”

“I don’t need your help.”

In the most southern of accents, “Well hun, seemed like you did.” Then with an attempt to soften the exchange, “Excuse Agustin’s manners, I’m his new wife, Madelyn. Why don’t we leave and discuss the matter elsewhere.”

“Good idea! I’ll leave, and you two can go elsewhere.” Abby moved swiftly past them and out the door.

Agustin followed with Madelyn closely behind. “C’mon, Abby! I, uh, we just want to make sure you get home safe.” Madelyn shot Agustin a barbed look, but said nothing. Finally he jogged to catch up with Abby, leaving his new wife behind out of earshot. “Abby, please. I still care about you. I couldn’t let you sit in there.”

“You could have sent someone else. Instead, I’m greeted with a man and woman that look like they belong on the top of a cake. I knew it was over Agustin, but I didn’t need the visuals. Besides, how did you convince her to come?”

“It wasn’t easy. And you’re right. I should have sent someone else. But Abby when I heard that message, old feelings kicked in. I knew you needed me and any other reasoning left my brain. It’s wrong, I know.” Agustin paused, looking up at the sky, then back at Abby. “I love my wife and I know I hurt her on the most important day of her life. Madelyn was willing to support me even when she wasn’t happy about it. Can’t you tell?”

“Actually, she seems like she’s trying out for a pageant. Too poised and polite. If the tables were turned, she would have had to just sit in jail. And if you chose to come anyway, we’d be heading to divorce court. Madelyn hasn’t really done anything.”

“I’m not surprised. She’s a patient woman. But I don’t want to put her in a position like this again.”

“You won’t.” Abby started walking back towards Madelyn with Agustin following suit. “Madelyn, thank you for coming to bail me out. I’m so sorry I ruined your special day. You don’t have to worry about me anymore.” Abby gave a heartfelt smile as she began to walk off.

Madelyn nodded. Agustin took her hand and led her towards the car, “I’m sorry.”

The married couple sat in silence with the only sound coming from the clang of the cans tied to the car bumper hitting against the street. “Just Married” painted on the back glass. Agustin hoped that in the years to come that this moment would be one of those things they could look back and laugh about.

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Funny thing happened on the way to the wedding…

It’s Saturday morning. The sky is blue, birds are chirping, and everything in the world seems right. As I roll over in the bed there’s an empty spot. Loneliness sets in. Doesn’t seem like that long ago that he was here.

Abby stewed in her funk until she couldn’t take the depressing road it was leading her down. She rose from bed, trying to figure out something positive to do with herself today – and to help drive out the thoughts of him.

After putting on her workout assemble, Abby headed out of the apartment and began jogging through the neighborhood. As each foot pounded the pavement, it seemed to echo her heartbeat which only intensified because her head was still on him – Agustin. She used to think that name was funny, but in the throes of passion it was rhythmic and romantic to the ears.

Abby shook her head to try to rid herself of the reminders of the great sex they had. But it really didn’t matter because the path she was traveling contained many memories of the love they once shared. There was the park where they’d picnic and listen to the live concerts. The bakery where they’d get up early on the weekends to have coffee and bagels. And the bridge where…

She didn’t want to think about it. It was her mistake to let him slip through her fingers. She sat on a grass-laden knoll looking out to the bridge. Inside her soul was filled with guilt, anger, and regret.  She loved Agustin and she knew without a doubt that he loved her, but they were too young for the type of commitment he wanted.   But time’s past. She felt more mature, experienced even, aware of what she really wanted in life, but would he still want her?

Abby hurriedly grabbed her phone from the fanny pack and dialed a number that she prayed was still in service.

“Hello?!”

“Hhhii. Agustin?”

“Abby! It’s great to hear from you. How have you been?”

“I’ve been doing well. Hope you have been too.”

“Well, um, yeah I’ve been doing well too.  Finally moved up in the company, heading projects and all.”

“That’s great! Congratulations.”

“Thanks. So what have you been up to these days?”

“Still working and volunteering. Almost finished with the master’s. One semester left.”

“I’m happy for you Abby, but I’m a little caught off guard for why you called. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad you did, but…”

“I was thinking about you this morning and, well, I was hoping we could, I don’t know, meet for a drink and talk?” Abby hoped she didn’t sound as awkward as she felt.

“Um, sure. How about that little restaurant on Sycamore in a half hour?”

Abby was surprised that he wanted to meet so quickly, but she took it as a good sign. “Ok. Make it about forty-five.“

Abby hurried home and scrambled around in her closet for something to wear. She didn’t want to look too sexy for fear of being obvious and desperate, but she didn’t want to be too casual or plain Jane either. She opted for a simple olive summer dress. It was one of Agustin’s favorites. Abby put the finishing touches on her hair and make-up and heading out the door.

***

Abby arrived to the restaurant early and grabbed a table close enough to the entrance where she could see Agustin come in, but still intimate enough where they could have some privacy. When he did show up, Abby’s mouth dropped. He was dressed in a black tuxedo complete with pink boutonniere and baby’s breath. Abby knew he hated dressing up, so there had to be something significant for him to be dressed this way.

“Wow Agustin! I didn’t know that this was such a special occasion,” she tried to joke to break the ice.

“Hey, why not have drinks and appetizers in style.” The two shared a giggle as he sat down.

Then there was silence. Abby’s curiosity was killing her about why he was dressed up, and Agustin was wondering how he could break the news. Almost simultaneously they began to speak, but it was Agustin’s voice that won out.

“Abby I’m getting married today. In fact, in a couple of hours.” Agustin’s face looked pained at having to tell her, but how could he continue to hide it considering his attire.

At the other end of the table, Abby looked shocked, hurt, and then near tears. She tried to recover quickly, “Oh, well congratulations!” After a moment of silence, “So why did you agree to meet me?”

“Abby, I’ve thought about you a lot over the last couple years and thought maybe we’d get back together, but you were pretty adamant about getting through school and a career. And if you remember, I did propose that day on the bridge. You turned me down.”

Abby felt the stab of guilt to her heart. She turned her eyes away from him because she knew he was right. “I’m sorry about that. I just….wasn’t ready.” She turned back to look at him directly.

“And I’m assuming, now you are and you thought that somehow we’d get back together and live happily ever after.”

“I didn’t really know what would happen, but I at least hoped for a chance.” The sound of disappointment and heartbreak resonated in her voice. She held her head down trying to fight away the tears that were trying to break through.

Agustin wasn’t sure what to say. Since he’d seen her he felt confused. He knew he loved the woman he planned to marry, but he couldn’t ignore that he was still in love with Abby too.

Abby finally found strength and raised her head with confidence. “Agustin, you found the woman who you’re really supposed to be with. I’m happy for you. I admit that it hurts knowing that we’ll never be together, but maybe it’s all for the best.”

He felt the resemblance of the heartbreak like years before at the bridge. “Maybe you’re right.” He stood and stared at her as if taking a picture to hold forever in his heart. Then he turned to walk away.

Abby sat. There was numbness at first. Then a myriad of emotions ran through her body. Finally one settled – heartache. The flood gates opened and she cried.

Mental Infidelity – Does it Really Exist???

Photo: DNA Plus
Photo: DNA Plus

When one thinks about infidelity, often the first thought is something sexual, occurring between two people with one or both being in a relationship with someone else.  There are scars that may come from this – feelings of betrayal, distrust, hurt, and a plethora more depending on the person.  The result of these affairs can split relationships, marriages, families, and even cause a ripple in the bonds with friends, co-workers, and others who once held a high esteem for the individual involved.

Emotional infidelity isn’t far behind.  While there may not be physical contact, there is a deeper bond created by sharing thoughts and feelings with another instead of sharing with the spouse or mate.  When the cat’s out of the bag, there may be similar feelings of betrayal, hurt, and distrust.  Some may try to work through those things to better the relationship with their mate/spouse.  Others may see it as the writing on the wall, now knowing what the mate/spouse is capable of and decide to part ways – not wishing to experience further damage.

So what about mental infidelity?  What is it?  What does it involve?  Are we all guilty of it?

According to Dr. Bill Strom at Power to Change, mental infidelity is the practice of fantasizing about other partners.

Photo: Getty Image
Photo: Getty Image

Reading that definition leads to the assumption that just merely seeing someone and having a thought about how attractive they are is mental infidelity.  On the contrary, Dr. Strom affirms that the line is crossed when the individual in a relationship daydreams about what life would be like with the other person.  It could even be the belief formed that life, sex, time and so on would be better with this person as opposed to the mate/spouse.

When you think about it, mental infidelity could be the precursor to emotional infidelity and that leading on to physical infidelity.  It’s a chain of thoughts that can yield desired feelings leading to actions and behaviors that may feel good, but could have dire consequences.

Reminds me of the tenets of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) that I learned in my counseling classes eons ago. The principle of CBT is that what you think drives the way you feel and we act accordingly.  Please take that information as just that.  I’m not a practicing counselor or therapist nor is this post meant to be therapeutic.

So why the post, then?  Recently, I’ve had discussions with friends about relationships, and one of the topics was infidelity – emotional and physical (or some call it sexual).  When I asked whether they believed in mental infidelity, there were crickets.  They had not heard about it or knew what it was.  But I see that this is a question that others have as well.    It drew my curiosity at how common this may be in action, not theory, and how many people would be willing to admit it.

I will be the first, at least here.  In my first marriage, things weren’t the greatest.  There were financial difficulties,  an interfering family member, and finding out that the goals we discussed before marriage as joint ventures were now lone endeavors.  Trying to talk and work through these issues was like talking in the wind.  I was frustrated.

I remember a man who I had known from years before.  I never dated him, slept with him, or anything other than a cordial greeting.  But the way he carried himself and treated other people made me admire him.  He was motivated and appeared to be balanced.  I wondered at times what life would have been like if he and I were together.  My imagination went wild thinking about how much we’d accomplish – build a house, have kids, travel the world, etc.  But the truth was that I was already in a relationship – no matter how unhappy or unfulfilled.  Besides I was raised that when one marries, it is ’til death. I would learn later that infidelity was an out as well (based on my understanding of Matthew 5:31-32).

All in all, everything came to a head and we divorced.  I did not seek the guy I had fantasized about.  Not really sure why I didn’t.

When I think about that time and what has been described above as mental infidelity, I am afraid to say that I was guilty.  And I’m pretty positive that my thoughts further drove my dissatisfaction with my former marriage.  All a hard pill to swallow, but one that I will take with wisdom.

Photo: Worship House Media
Photo: Worship House Media

So how can we avoid the whole infidelity thing?  Dr. Strom offers a point of sage advice:

Commitment is our intent to stay in relationship with our wives [or husbands]; faithfulness is the practice of doing so.

Makes sense.  What’s the point of holding on knowing that you won’t be faithful?  In like manner, why be faithful and then be lackadaisical in the commitment to the relationship?  Never understood why some are monogamously in relationships without putting forth effort.  Relationships, especially marriages, are already hard work when there is an effort. Why make relationships an unpleasurable struggle by being unfaithful or not committed?

I think I’ve said enough. 🙂  So, what are your thoughts about mental infidelity?  Is it a deal-breaker?

Cold, Hard Kach

Kach Wilfred is the middle child and only son in the Wilfred family.  Growing up he had to battle his sisters for toys, bathroom time, and attention.  Being the only boy, one would think Kach was treated special or even spoiled.  Well, think again.  Life for Kach was quite the opposite – or at least in his eyes.  Whenever his father noticed he was spending a lot of time around his mother and sisters, he’d yell derogatory phrases at Kach like “Get from around there. Do you want to grow up to be a sissy?” and “I guess you’ll be knitting and starting your period too.”  Kach felt self-conscious and only hung around his female relatives when his father was not around, which was often.  Since Pete Wilfred owned his own business, his time with the family was limited.  But he tried to make dinner every night, and have family time after church on Sundays.  He kept his word on most occasions, but there were times when he missed a dinner here or there because of something urgent.  Continue reading “Cold, Hard Kach”