Monday, March 14, 2005

An Open Letter to my Former Mother in Law

Dear Cathy,

Surprise. I hope you don’t mind me writing to you, I promise I won’t make a habit of it. I recently discovered that Liz has remarried. The news, though a bit of a shock, was not entirely surprising. Of course there was a part of me that was sad, but it was smaller part than I would have expected. Really there was but one word that popped into my mind; “why?” Not “why did she marry him,” it’s obvious that they are in love. Not, “why did we get divorced,” the reasons for that are plain as well. Rather, it was “why did she marry me in the first place?”

Even though Liz and I were in love during those years in LA she insisted that she never wanted to get married. It wasn’t until our move to DC was in the works that she decided to propose. It was here that things really began to unravel. I’m sure she’s told you horrible things about me which are only slightly exaggerated. I don’t want to get into mud slinging but I will say this, we weren’t good to each other here. We tried to solve our fears and our anxieties by being increasingly insensitive to each other’s needs. One of the issues I handled particularly poorly was her relationship with Luis. I saw him as a threat as soon as I knew of his existence. This was helped along by the fact that Liz told that he had expressed his love for her almost as soon as he had met her, that he had lamented at what a shame it was that she was getting married, that they were soul mates. As you can imagine I had strong reservations about their friendship. Though I trusted her, I never trusted him. I couldn’t understand why Liz would continue to be friends with him when he continued to say these things over the year leading up to our wedding. The obvious reason is that she was falling in love with him. Before the wedding I found emails between them that indicated a more intimate relationship than I thought was proper. Nothing physical mind you, just a much deeper level of friendship than I thought was safe for my relationship with Liz.

Things between Liz and I were deteriorating leading up to the wedding. I was filled with the feeling that Liz did not respect me, that she didn’t believe in what I was doing with my life. I felt that her heart wasn’t in it any more. So now I come back to my question, why? Why did she go through with it? Surely she knew that she had fallen out of love with me. Surely she knew that her feelings for Luis were stronger than mere friendship. The thing is that our problems were pretty much the same in the months leading up to the ceremony as they were a few weeks or a few days before. They were the same problems we had in the months that followed. Why did she lie about her relationship with him? She continued to lie even after I’d found the pictures of them together. When I first confronted her with the evidence she was contrite, so much so that I thought that this horrible discovery could lead to our reconciliation. After that one night, when she kissed me like my wife and we both wept and held each other, after that one night she denied her relationship with him. She denied that anything was going on, or had gone on, or would go on. So why did she do it? How much pain could we all have been spared if she’d never stood up there and made those vows? I don’t fault Liz for leaving me. These things happen. Maybe Luis really is her soul mate. I fault her for not leaving me sooner. I fault her for leaving me with this hole in my life, this void that was created not because she left, but because she stayed too long.

So why am writing you? I’m writing to ask you what you think. I am writing to ask if you know why, if she ever told you why. You must have asked. Of course I don’t expect you to betray your daughter’s confidence; particularly not to me. But I am hoping that you still harbor some compassion for me. I am hoping that you can find words that do not betray your familial responsibility. I would ask her these things, but she wouldn’t answer me. Or if she did, she would answer me with spite rather than with honesty. I’m writing because you’re her mother. You’re also the one person in her family most likely to respond. Of course I’ll understand if you don’t reply.

As far as other formalities, I am currently living in Maryland, I’m working in my field for an agency that contracts primarily with the government. The pay is decent and the work is interesting, though I recently requested that I not be placed on any more assignments for the military. I can no longer interpret for the military even peripherally without feeling like I’m contributing to the war effort. I’m still writing, both online and magazine articles and research. My goal is to submit my first research paper for peer review some time in the next couple months. I’ve been playing rugby for a team in DC and my name was mentioned in Rugby Magazine as part of an article on a tournament we played in New York this past December.

I hope things are well with you and your family. I don’t know if it’s proper for me to send them my regards, but if anyone ever wonders I wish them all the best. Thank you for everything you’ve done.


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