I wasn't at all that happy about it, but it was one of those things you get conned into doing even thought you don't want to. It was one of those things you are supposed to do simply because you are 'family.' My niece Shelly was getting married and my entire family were after me to attend. It didn't seem to matter to them that I hadn't seen Shelly in over ten years and I wouldn't know her if she walked up to me on the street. They wanted me there because the rest of the family would be there and they all wanted to see me. The rest of the family would all be there because they all lived within thirty miles of the church while I was fifteen hundred miles away, but the bottom line was that I wasn't at all sure that I wanted to see them.
I did not want to go and it had nothing to do with the distance I would have to travel. It had to do with 'family.' There was a reason I hadn't seen my niece in ten years. I hadn't seen any of my family in ten years and that suited me just fine. There were fifteen hundred miles between them and me on purpose. I had deliberately put those miles between us and I was happy with that distance and if my company would have had a place I could transfer to that was even farther away I would have gone there. I loved that distance and I wanted to keep it.
Why, you ask? Because I hold a grudge like no one you ever met before. They say an elephant never forgets, but I put elephants to shame when it comes to remembering people who have wronged me. I don't forget and I very rarely forgive.
Eleven years ago I caught my wife fucking her boss and I threw her ass out. She ran, not to her family, but to mine and they took her side. Mother, sisters, my brother and his wife and my dad — yes — even my father, all put the pressure on me to take the cheating whore back. Phone call after phone call; visit after visit the litany was always the same:
"She loves, she made a mistake, you are both young and you can survive this, she knows she was wrong and she regrets it. Forgive her, give her a chance" and on and on and on.
I didn't buy it and things became strained between my family and me. I stopped getting invitations to family gatherings, things like my Cousin Jane's wedding. Jane liked Helen (my whore wife) and in fact she was the one who had introduced us. They stayed good friends even after I had kicked Helen out, so Helen was invited to the wedding and I wasn't because I might have caused a 'disruption.'
My oldest sister stayed good friends with Helen and when my niece was christened I wasn't invited because Helen was there as Shelly's godmother.
The family let me know that I was a pariah and would remain so until I stopped being an asshole to Helen and took her back. Finally I'd had enough and I called a family meeting. Mom, dad, both sisters and their husbands and my brother and his wife were there and I laid it for them as clearly as I could.
"I caught Helen screwing her boss on my bed and in my house. Before I stormed into the room and broke his nose and cracked two of his ribs I'd heard enough to know that their affair had been going on since she went to work for him six months previous. Since Helen and I had only been married nine months that meant that she had been cheerfully hanging horns on me for two thirds of our marriage."
I looked around the room to see if any one was doing the math and it didn't appear that they were.
"Three months after we were married, still newlyweds and supposed to be madly in love with each other and still, for all intents and purposes honeymooning — while the bloom was still supposed to be on the rose — she is cheating on me, what was she going to do when we got used to each other and settled down? I don't know and I'm not hanging around to find out. She's gone; she's out, we are through and that is that. The cheating whore is history."
The words were not even out of my mouth when my mother said:
"I raised you as a Christian Rob and it is Christian to forgive. The poor girl made a bad mistake but she is young. She loves you and she wants your forgiveness so you can get back together."
Marlene, my oldest sister chimed in with, "She does love you Rob, we can all see that and I know that you know it too. You can work through this if you will just meet her halfway."
Then my father said, "She's young and confused Rob. She made a mistake and she knows it and she wants to make it up to you if you will just let her."
Then the rest of them all started telling me what a dick head I was being by treating poor Helen the way I was. Finally I'd had enough and I said:
"I am not taking the cheating whore back so it is decision time for all of you. You are either for me or against me. What's your choice, Helen or me?"
"That is no way to be Rob," my mother said, "Helen is always going to be welcome in my house. You made her family when you married her."
I looked at everybody there and asked them if they all felt the same way and they said they did.
"Fine. You made the choice and I don't want any of you to ever forget that — it was your choice."
I walked out of the house and one week later I was fifteen hundred miles away.
For the next nine years I ignored them. I didn't send them Christmas cards. I didn't call them and if they called me I hung up on them. My dad flew into town one day and called me and asked me for directions to my place and I told him he had just caught me as I was leaving on an extended business trip and I hung up on him.
It was in the tenth year of my voluntary exile that I started getting strong feelers from the family wanting to find some way to heal the rift between us. Basically what it amounted to was that they were all swallowing their pride and admitting that I had been right — that I had known what I was doing all along.
In those ten years Helen had been married twice (not counting me) and each of those marriages had ended when she had been caught cheating. My family finally had to accept the fact that Helen was the unfaithful whore that I'd told them that she was. They finally accepted it, but it didn't change a thing as far as I was concerned. They had made their choice and their choice had not been me and I was never going to forget that.
Over the course of the next year everyone in the family made an attempt to bring me back into the fold but I wasn't having any of it. My brother and his wife flew out to Aspen to go skiing and he detoured to spend a day with me and used it to try and talk me into going back for a visit. Sorry, not going to do it. My younger sister and her husband stopped to see me on their way home from a vacation in California to work on me. Nope — way to busy to leave, don't have the time.
Then I got the call from my sister Marlene telling me that mom's health was failing and that she was doing poorly and that I should come back.
"She misses you Rob and it is breaking her heart that you won't see her or talk to her. Come home Rob; she isn't in the best of health and seeing you would do her a world of good. Shelly is getting married next month and that gives you an excuse to come. Please Rob, come back for Shelly's wedding."
In the end I gave up the fight and drove back to Ohio for the wedding, the wedding that might — only might mind you — heal the break between my family and me, but which definitely led to the most bizarre experience of my life.
.... There is more of this story ...