Here I am – a vulnerable idiot.
It happened in 2013. Christmas was just around the corner. And so was my doom. I didn’t know.
Because Andrew, my sometimes lazy son, forgot to bring us a Christmas tree, I stole his sweetheart daughter, my granddaughter, to go tree-hunting with me.
Let me cut it short:
While buying her some hot chocolate to thaw the frost that was swathing her face, we met a man. His name was Helmut – a German tourist who had lost his wallet and (with the wallet he also lost his money, documents, and hotel key), asked if we had a telephone he could use.
Now, being the old-school man that I am – I didn’t have a cell phone. Never had one. Nor do I plan on having one anytime soon…
I pitied Helmut. He seemed anxious. Like his life could end without that phone call.
We asked him to help us carry the tree to the car and took him home with us. Make as many phone calls as you wish, I said.
Done. But the snow was mad. It turned into a winter bath. It would have been callous to let him leave in that weather. He had no money to pay for his hotel. He had no one to go to. He had no documents. He should stay, said Thelma. Okay, I said.
He picked up his clothes from the hotel and spent Christmas with my big family. (They all loved Helmut, and thought it was a good idea to let him stay – it felt like we had a 37-year-old exchange student over).
Christmas was over. Helmut’s plan was not to return to Germany, but to stay in America. He wanted to find a job, an apartment, and his brother was going to send him some money soon.
We made a deal. Stay until you find a place. He did. He helped around the house (repairs, even some domestic work – which I truly appreciated at the time).
Two months later, he found a studio apartment just down the road.
16 MONTHS LATER:
March 05, 2015:
I was reading a book when Thelma, my wife of over thirty years and Helmut decide to crush my heart in my very own home.
Which started a good month after I brought Helmut in.
They are in love. Thelma is tired of being chained, she says – of being married to the same person for so long, of raising “my” kids, of not being able to enjoy life.
She did enjoy it. She was an unknown girl when we met. She had nothing. I gave her everything.
They are to move to Germany together, because Thelma wants to start all over – with Helmut. She wants to live. Live her life.
She was my life.
Apparently I have been nothing but a leech in hers.
Thank you for the panic attacks. For destroying me. For making me the one to break our children by telling them, “Your mother is leaving. With Helmut.”
Perhaps I should write a book, I might, pour it all out until my mind decides to accept reality.
What else can one do?
I just cannot believe she fucked him in my house.
I have nothing left to say.