I got an email not long ago from somebody I had met many years ago. I immediately recognized his name and I remembered him. We never spoke but when we saw each other once a year, we would nod and smile.
Apparently, he heard that I had divorced Loser and felt compelled to write to me.
Being a journalist, and “note taker” he outlined what he remembered over the years. This account, he said, was something he would never forget.
His lines were “bulleted” so I fashioned them into a story.
He submitted his regrets but qualified them with “not because you got divorced but because you were married to such an arrogant asshole.”
This was his story. He called me the “Invisible woman.”
There’s a woman sitting all alone at a table. I’ve met her before and I see her once a year. It’s always the same scenario. She’s sits there alone.
She’s a pretty woman with unusually long blonde hair and a trim, fit body. She’s always dressed like a Paris runway model and her make-up is meticulously applied.
Why then, is she always alone?
I don’t understand. I don’t understand why she’s always alone.
Tonight we’re at another awards banquet, which recognizes outstanding achievement in the newspaper industry. The awards have been handed out and everybody is walking around, drinking, talking and shaking hands.
I am a newspaper man. Her husband works for a rival paper and although we have formally met, we have never really been communicative. This year, his paper won several awards and he is strutting around like he is the king.
She sits alone at the table, fumbling with her napkin and looking around the room.
I see a glimmer of hope in her eyes as a man comes walking across the floor. He bends down and gives her a kiss on the cheek but then walks away.
Another man comes up and sits down. He asks “are you ****s’ wife?” She says “yes, I am.” I watch as she smiles and tries to have a conversation with somebody who is looking over and around her, as if trying to find somebody who is more interesting. After a minute, he gets up and walks away.
She is watching her husband. He is working the room…working the other women, who have a drink in one hand and his arm in the other. He doesn’t notice her looking at him. He doesn’t notice her at all.
About an hour later, a man comes “dancing” toward her, throws his car keys to her and says “I’m going to need a ride home in a few minutes.” He’s one of “their friends” and knows that through the years, she has become nothing more than the designated driver.
I start asking about her…this woman who is married to this man who ignores her. One man says “I don’t know how she can stand to be married to him. He’s an asshole and he treats her like shit.”
I say “well, he sure doesn’t pay much attention to her.”
I ask other people about her. “She doesn’t drink,” they say “and **** has a problem with it.” In my mind, I imagine that she doesn’t drink because it seems he drinks enough for them both. They say “nobody really knows her.”
I’m thinking “does anybody try to get to know her?”
I keep watching her. She looks miserable and I want to go talk to her. I watch her husband and his arrogance is undeniable. It’s as if he’s holding court in front of his adoring subjects. He keeps them mesmerized with his bold, brash countenance. He is a braggart and takes credit for the awards in an overt way, while diminishing the talents of others. He toasts himself over and over, without so much as a glance toward her.
She eventually gets up and walks over to him. He finishes his conversation with another woman before he acknowledges that she is standing there. She says “I want to go home.” He impatiently says “in a minute” waves her off and then turns his attention back to the other woman.
She walks away and sits back down at the table. A young reporter her husband has just hired comes and sits down. He is most likely trying to earn “brownie points” as he pretends to be interested in what the big mans’ wife has to say.
He asks her where she went to school. She says “I didn’t go to school.” He apologetically says “oh. Well, what do you do?” She begins by telling him that she is raising their four children but he quickly loses interest, excuses himself and leaves.
I decide to go sit down at the table with her. She looks at me and says “I don’t drink. I’m not educated. I have no profession. I have no value.” Her hands are shaking as she reaches for her keys and purse.
She gets up from the table and heads toward the door. As she reaches the door, she casts one last backward glance toward her husband. She wants to see if he notices that she is leaving but he doesn’t.
Later that night, her husband is a little beyond being able to stand on his own and starts looking for her. He stumbles over to the table where he left her….where he always left her….but she isn’t there.
He doesn’t panic. He just starts asking the few people who are still around, if they have seen her.
He says “Goddamnit! I’m ready to go home.”
One of the men say they know a policeman and will call him. “Nah. She’ll turn up” he says. He sends a woman into the bathroom but she isn’t there. He says “I wonder where the fuck she is.”
It never occurs to him to go out to the parking lot to see if the car was gone. I stand there, watching, listening and thinking “I agree. How in the world can she stand to be married to this asshole.”
The man calls his police officer friend and in a few minutes, the officer arrives. He walks over to **** and starts talking to him. I move closer so that I can hear.
Your wife is missing? “I don’t know.”
How long has she been missing? “I don’t know if she is missing. I just don’t know where she is.”
Have you been drinking, sir? “Yeah, I’ve been drinking. What’s that got to do with it?”
She has to be missing for twenty-four hours before you can file a report. “I don’t want to file a fucking report. I didn’t call you.”
Okay. Why don’t you give me some information in case we need it.
How tall is she? “I don’t know….about five and a half feet tall, maybe.”
What color hair does she have? “Blonde.”
What color eyes? “Uh….green?”
What was she wearing? “Uh…..uh……hell, man. I don’t remember. Some kind of dress, I think.”
What kind of car do you have? “Uh….we brought her car.”
Okay, what kind of car? “Uh….a Mercedes.”
What color? “Uh….some kind of light color.”
Do you know the license number? “Hell no.”
Did you check the parking lot? “No.”
Did you have an argument? “No.”
Do you know of any reason she might have just left? “No.”
I’m listening to him stumbling and fumbling with his words as the officer tries to get information.
I finally decide to step in.
I said “she was wearing a strapless, full length, royal blue evening dress. She was wearing royal blue shoes and had on diamond earrings, a diamond necklace and a diamond bracelet.”
Her husband turns around and looks at me like he’s thinking “who the fuck are you?” He finally said “she probably got pissed and went home.”
I almost said “what do you expect? You were so busy paying attention to everybody else, you never even noticed her. You have never noticed her. You use her like a chauffeur. Why don’t you buy her a uniform, some white gloves and a hat? You’re ready to go home and suddenly you miss her?”
The officer went to the parking lot to look for the car. It was gone. When he came back into the room, he said “do you think maybe you should try to call her?”
Her husband said with a contemptible sneer “yeah, thanks. I would have never thought of that.”
The officer didn’t appreciate his sarcasm and said “call us back if you need to.”
Her husband managed to get a ride home but not before screaming “I can’t believe she fucking did this to me. This is un-fucking-believable!”
He couldn’t believe what SHE had done to HIM.