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The Lie
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Maybe that’s what wore me down—the lies. The big lie, just the one, overshadowing them all. That lie was that I was married to a man who was fighting against being gay.
“Why didn’t you know?” is the question asked later, when I tell that story, mention that episode. “Episode.” It was hardly that. It—that lie—lasted years. He must have been aware of it: how could he not be?
How could I have gotten myself into it?
I was naïve. Frightened, too, really. And insecure. I try to explain myself to me.
This is what I remember: The night before the wedding I stood at my dresser with my hand on the phone debating calling it off. Who would I call first? Call him. Then my mother, traveling across the state. Maybe she was already there, in my house. My sister had to travel too. I have a dim memory of her and maybe her husband arriving late, but that’s it – a really dim feeling about that. In any case, I did not call. I did not cancel. I put on the pink knit suit with the jeweled color that he had paid for; I dressed my kids, six and seven, in good clothes—or as good as Sears would allow me to buy, since he said I could use his charge there to outfit them. I personally cringed that my children had to wear clothing from Sears.
I probably drove us and my mother to the church. How else would I have gotten there? A church wedding. My mother was so very pleased. I had disgraced her the first time, being pregnant when I married – and she hadn’t been there anyway—and now she was pleased with me. My hair was long. We stood together, he and I, for a photo in my pink suit. There are no other photos.
That night we went to a Holiday Inn and I stared at the new ring on my finger (something inexpensive there, too), my hand clutching the sheet, in a sort of panic, thinking, well, maybe he’s nervous, but I don’t think so. I didn’t think so then. All I could think staring at that band on that sexless first night was What have I gotten myself into?
A few months later I remember driving myself one evening to a park, pulling into a parking lot with a tablet and pen writing it all down, What have I gotten myself into? I cannot get out of this. I am 29 years old, and this is my second marriage, and I cannot get out of this one. This is it. It is a lie and I am living it and this is it.
Why didn’t I know it? I think I did. I thought maybe I was wrong. He’d been married for ten years to another woman. Ten years! He’d claimed he was in despair when that marriage broke up. He was good to me, to the children. He was responsible. I needed responsibility in my shattered life , my life of struggling, with a car that would break down, with the two children, with a man—the first husband—always following me, embarrassing me. This man would get mildly amorous after several martinis. I understand now why. I don’t know how many martinis it would take me to even consider making love , to someone so averse to my inclinations.
He loved me, or the idea of me, of being what was then considered “normal.” It was a lie. It took me almost five years of living that lie before I had the courage to say, that’s enough. I don’t care what the world thinks of me—I am escaping and hereafter living the truth.

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