Lost in Textlation?
Where lonely men trolled for something more
He was always misplacing things. Cell phone, wallet, keys. Had I collected the moments spent helping him look for things never truly lost, I could have taken a trip around the world, built a pyramid, maybe even finished law school.
Oftentimes, he would ask me to call his phone so that he could follow the ringtone and find it. If he left the house without it, he would call from a friend's phone and ask me if I'd seen it. Sure as sunrise, I would find it in plain site. I would glance around and there it was, on the kitchen counter, the coffee table in the living room or the dresser in the bedroom.
There was nothing extraordinary about the day in June when he had left the house with one of his buddies and I heard the familiar sound of the incoming text. Was it my phone or his? There it was on the kitchen table. Was he trying to find it? I picked it up and looked at the text.
"Hi hon. Just got home. Where r u?". In ten years, I had never snooped, pried or searched. I never felt the need. But on this day, propelled by the gut punch, I scrolled through the text messages and there they were - each more sickening than the last.
It couldn't be. It was impossible. Doubting my own perception, I began to snoop, pry and search. The drawers. Coat pockets. The computer. There they were: intimate photos and websites where lonely men trolled for something more.
Some things just can not be forgotten. It's two years on and we have not lived together since. On paper still married, hoping to find a portal in time where we could slip through and return to the past. Some place before that click of the mouse that led to the first photo, or the first text.
If it were only the e-cheating, it might have been a reboot of our relationship. An opportunity to adjust and negotiate. Perhaps we could do more of "this" and less of "that".
The road behind was littered with transgressions at once illuminated by infidelity. The gambling, drinking, lying, stealing, and general instability to which I had tried to blind myself lay in stark relief against that for which I had longed.
Looking for that portal, I realized that we were clinging to a past that hadn't existed. The misplaced keys, wallet, and cell phone were more real than the relationship to which I had so desperately clung. I would never find it between the sofa cushions or on the bedside table. I might have searched more intently or done more but it would not have made a difference.
Our relationship was a history rife with drama, chaos and pain veiled by a film of romance and discarded grownup commitments. It was never deep, abiding, sacred love.
So, how did that moment, that text message, change anything other than a living arrangement? It led me to understand that a text message doesn't change the nature of a relationship - it's the other way around.
It took ten years plus...one moment.