Home » A Wasted Life » An Ultimatum Should Sometimes Not Be Given/You Might Regret It Years Later

An Ultimatum Should Sometimes Not Be Given/You Might Regret It Years Later

J*** was gone.  He had been gone before but not like this.  I thought he was mad at me during the trip to O******.  I had no idea what was going on with him.
It should have been a tip-off when he opened a bank account and the checks only had his name on it.  He had thought it through and planned to leave before he came to get us.
When he left, I wasn’t sure what to do so I decided I had better look for a job.  I found one in A*****, the same city where the condo was, but it wasn’t close and it was all I could find.  I found day care for the two young ones and enrolled K**** and B***** in school.  It meant that they would be “latch key kids” for a few hours, but I had no choice.
I would get off of work, get N**** and J***** and then drive the twenty six miles home as fast as I could.
For almost six weeks, every time I came home, one of the girls would be on the telephone with J***.  NEVER in their whole lives, had he ever called them and now it was becoming a daily thing.
It was February and K****s’ birthday was coming up.  There was a knock on the door.  A skateboard was being delivered and it was from J***.  In the ten years that we had children, he had never gotten them a gift.  I used to buy presents and wrap them up and tell them that they were from him.  I used to send them cards, and sign his name so they would think he had actually sent it.
After the skateboard arrived, the phone rang.  It was J***,  playing the good daddy.  I was infuriated.
It was at that moment that I actually grew a vertebrae.  I took the phone away from K**** and said “no.  This is not going to happen.  You are not SUDDENLY going to start playing the caring daddy and you are not going to play it on the telephone.  Pack your bags and be here by Friday, or don’t come back at all.”
He asked me if he could think about it and I told him he had one hour.  He called back and asked me if he could be there on Saturday instead.  I told him he could.
He had gotten his footing at work and had made his first hire.  It was L*****, his “woman” from D*****.  Not only was she the first person he hired, when she got to O******,  he brought her home to live with us.
Things were strained between me and J***.  There was an air of awkwardness but it was tempered with the presence of L*****.  We had fun together and she was great with my children.  She borrowed my clothes and I borrowed some of hers.  We were both small, petite women.  I had straight blonde hair and green eyes and she had kind of kinky dark brown hair and wore turquoise contacts so I never knew what color her eyes really were.  She started bringing her mother to visit and wanted my children to call her grandma B****.
L***** and I talked a lot and from her, I found out a lot.  One of J***s’ boss’ in D***** was R** B***.  R** hated J*** and J*** hated R**.  R** and L***** had been lovers at one time and although he had become  involved with another woman,  he and L***** had remained close.  L***** told me that when J*** was living in her house, he would bring the utility bills to work and hand them to her.  I told her that J*** had told me he was paying the utility bills.  She quickly said “oh, yeah, I know” but she failed to tell R**.  He saw J*** hand her the bills one day and came over and asked her what he had given her.  She simply said “my utility bills.”  She said R** was enraged and said “I’m going to take care of this.”  She said she asked him not to say anything and he said he didn’t have to.  She was successfully playing them against each other.  R** set out to destroy J*** and that’s exactly what he did.  That was the reason for J***s’ downfall in D*****.  Twenty years later, J*** would tell me more about his tenure there and it would be excruciatingly painful to hear.
She also told me that J*** had talked to her about my “ultimatum.”  He called her and said “you know, there could be something to this.” He had discussed our conversation with her and asked for her advice.  That’s why he needed time to “think about it”…..he needed to talk to her.
It was already April and it was time for two events.
The White House Correspondents Dinner was coming up and the in-laws were ready to visit.  J*** and L***** were both going to D. C. and I would stay behind and take care of the house and children, of course.
I walked in the kitchen one day and J*** and L***** were smiling at each other.  When L***** saw me, she abruptly looked away and down.  I thought maybe they had been talking about me, but L***** said it was time for her to find her own place to stay.  I was sorry to see her go but she found a house to rent withing walking distance from the house so at least she was close.  She moved out in a few days and then they were off to D.C.
J***s’ mama and daddy got to our house the same day J*** was coming back.
J*** came in carrying a vase of roses.  R*** said “somebody’s sorry for something.”  When we saw how many roses there were, she said “somebody’s REALLY sorry.”  I thought “he finally understands how their visits affect me.”
It was the usual visit……we played cards and she drank.  J*** and his daddy talked and I counted the days until they left.
J*** was ready to go to work one day and I asked him if he was ever going to touch me again.  He said “it’ll come.  It’ll come.”  I didn’t know what he was waiting for so I waited too.
I had forced him to come back home and I wondered if I had done the right thing.

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