The Marriage Essay

Here. This was the bad turn. This was where the engine cracked open.

Denise Clemen

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Photo by Ani Kolleshi on Unsplash

On a July afternoon with the scent of rosemary drifting into the dining room, my husband told me our marriage was over and that he was planning to marry someone else. “And we’d like the house,” he said, “so we can raise our new family here.”

I wish I could explain how it was that I had known for months that he was cheating on me. I knew where and when and with whom, and yet, periodically, an odd amnesia of unknowing would come over me. He wouldn’t. He couldn’t.

Thirty years earlier I was the cheater. While we were engaged, I fell in love with someone else, and by some psychological sleight of hand, I continued to plan a wedding. It wasn’t that I was wildly impetuous, or stumbling through my days stoned or drunk. It wasn’t that I had a history of darting between beds. If anything, I was risk averse, careful, a planner. Even during my wild high school days, I’d never really been wild, just naïve. But that’s a story about teen-age pregnancy, not marriage.

My husband and I met at an audition for a one-act play at the end of our freshman year of college. Five years later, I looked into a set of blue eyes at an audition for a small theatre company in Los Angeles and fell for someone else. Billy was also the director’s…

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Denise Clemen

Birth/first mother, recovering wife, retired caregiver, traveler, collage artist. Advocate of #adopteerights and #reproductiverights and other good things.