Fifteen minutes after that the contractions came on so fierce I was afraid I was going to have her in the living room. We rushed to the hospital and I got there at 4:05 and she was born at 4:20. I thought it clever of me to spell her middle name with ten letters in it. Little did I know once she was in grade school that would prove to be very frustrating for both of us. We ended up moving and once we were settled in, it was grossly apparent that we were no longer on the same page. Life became busy with kids, work and school. We never had any money and he was out all the time. He’d come home smelling of cigarette smoke and beer. It permeated out of his skin and filled the room and it made me sick. I was sick to be around him, sick to talk to him and just plain sick of him. I became THAT woman who most of us pretend we will never be. I don’t blame him for not wanting to come home to me, I wouldn’t want to have come home to me, but he had choices. By the time my second daughter’s first birthday rolled around he was sleeping on the couch and we were in counseling. We did exercises and role-playing and all kinds of things to open up to one another, but the truth was; we didn’t really even know each other. We were still kids and all our friends were graduating college and traveling the world and living in Hoboken and we were parents, tied to the house and schedules and work and money issues. We had diapers to change and mouths to feed and it was tough. One day I was doing laundry and I found a red rose stud earring in the washing machine. I still have that earring and it lies in my jewelry box along with all the other scars, next to the college ring that I never returned. I’m not even sure he knows now that I still have it or that I had found it. It’s that moment when your face gets hot and your arms go weak and not in a good way. The realization that you are not the only one, that someone else is somehow a part of your life that you don’t know. Has she seen me, does she know about me, has she seen my kids, has she been in my house, does he say the same things to her as he used to say to me, does he, god forbid, love her? So many questions go through your head and yet you keep going through your day as if nothing is wrong. I used to hear him late at night on the phone. His hushed tone and burst of excitement, the way he used to sound when he spoke to me. Now he barely speaks and when he does it’s yelling about how I’m not enough this or too much of that and why can’t I be more of this and less of that. Screaming about why do you always and how come you never. Words that cut like knives through you until you’re totally exposed and bleeding and there’s no one there to help you. Now he only giggled on the phone with her and I could hear him smiling, isn’t that weird? You can’t hear a smile, but I could. I would make up the things she was saying and if she thought it was fun and mysterious that I was right in the next room as they thought they were getting one over on me. What a fool they must have thought I was. Patting themselves on the back as they assured each other that they weren’t hurting anyone. I kept that secret for quite some time. But it only made me more miserable towards him. It made me push him away from me and closer to her. Secrets. Everyone has them. Some call them skeletons….they are secrets. And secrets hurt more than help. How does the saying go? “What they don’t know won’t hurt them” The problem with that statement is YOU know. And you know you are hurting someone, you know you are hurting yourself. How does it make it any less bad when the other person doesn’t know. It doesn’t. Cause when they find out. Trust me, hurt is not what they are going to feel. And the wrath that comes with keeping secrets will certainly not make you fee good. What secrets are you keeping from others that may hurt them? More importantly, what secret are you keeping yourself? Isn’t it time to tell yourself the truth?