I want to thank Techsan for his editing skills that were used on this story.
I was now divorced and alone. I'd caught my wife, Jenny, in an affair with a neighbor just before our twenty fifth anniversary and I'd turned our anniversary party into an exposure of of her affair in a most humiliating way. You can read all about it in The Portrait: Retribution.
After several years our kids wanted to get us back together since neither Jenny or I had formed any other lasting relationships after the divorce. They'd hinted and plotted to reunite us but I still had reservations and hang-ups on the trust issue. I still miss her though.
When I received the call from my daughter, Alice, I'd just finished putting the dishes in the washer after eating alone again and was getting ready to work the sudoku puzzle in the paper.
"Hi dad. Are you alone?"
She liked to rub it in a bit that I was alone now.
"Yes Alice, I'm alone. How are you honey?"
"I'm fine but I have something to tell you."
I was immediately concerned. She lived and worked in a city in another state about two hours drive away and even though she shared an apartment with another girl her age I still worried about her.
"What's up honey?"
"Guess what? I'm engaged to be married."
I was stunned for a minute because I wasn't even aware she was going with anyone special.
"This is sudden isn't it? Do I know your husband to be?"
There was a moments silence.
"Its not a man dad."
"What are you telling me honey?"
"Its my room mate, Gail, dad. We're getting married in a civil ceremony and I want you to give me away."
"You're telling me you're a lesbian? When did this start?"
"I discovered my true sexual identity when I was in college dad. One of my professors and I had an affair."
I was stunned for a moment. My mind went immediately to Jenny.
"Does your mother know?"
"I'm calling her up next because I want you both there. I'll tell her when I call. So, will you be there?"
"When is the wedding?"
"In two weeks. It'll be on Friday the 16th at two pm. There'll be a small reception at a local restaurant later."
"Yes, I'll be there."
What was I to do, refuse my daughter on such an important day in her life? I can't believe it. She's a lesbian and I never caught on. She had the normal boy crazy times in her teens. Was that all a farce? I guess you never know, I thought.
."Does this mean you won't be providing me with any grandchildren?"
"Oh no, we plan to have two kids using someone's sperm."
How wonderful, I thought, I was going to be a grandfather of a child who wouldn't even know who her/his father was. But she was my daughter so I had to go along with it. After all, she was 25 and old enough to make her own decisions. I needed to talk with Jenny; this was too much for me to handle alone. She should share my concern for this revelation too.
"OK honey, I'll see you in two weeks."
"Thanks dad, I knew you'd be understanding about this and I know you'll love Gail as a daughter-in-law. I hope mom is just as understanding. I love you. Bye."
Great, I thought, after I hung up. I hope Ben doesn't call someday and tell me he's suddenly decided he's gay. But wait, he does have a girl friend, so hopefully we're OK there.
Picking up the phone I placed a call to Jenny on her cell. I didn't know her hard-line telephone number, if she had one, and I hoped she had retained her old cell phone number. It rang three times before I heard her connect.
"Frank? I saw it was you. Is something wrong?"
"Have you heard from Alice?"
"Not lately. Is there something wrong with her? I talked with her last week and everything was okay then."
"Did you know she was a lesbian?"
I knew I hit her cold with that one because there was a long silence.
"A lesbian?" she finally croaked out.
"I just got done talking to her and she wants me to stand up with her at her wedding in two weeks. She says she's marrying her room-mate, Gail, and she's going to call and ask you to be there too."
"My god, I didn't know she was a lesbian. How did it happen? I never saw any hint about that, she liked boys I thought. Did she say how she knows she's suddenly into homosexuality?"
"She says she had an affair with a professor in college. Did you know about that?"
"I knew she had made friends with one of her professors but she never indicated there was anything sexual about it. She had boyfriends in college like any normal girl. I can't believe this. I'm going to call her and get back with you." she exploded with some anger in her voice.
"Okay, let me know what you can find out but you've got to remember, she's 25 and not our little girl anymore ... She says that they're being married on the 16th in a civil ceremony and I've promised to be there."
"All right, talk with you later. Bye."
Suddenly, I realized I'm back talking with my exwife but somehow I feel more comfortable that I can share this problem about our daughter and without rancor. It was almost like old times when we faced our family problems together.
She called back later to tell me she'd talked to Alice and would also be attending the ceremony. She still sounded a little mad.
So, two weeks later I'm in the living room of a local Justice of the Peace with my daughter, Gail her mother and father and Ben. Ben looked like he was trying to avoid laughing when we all met. He shook my hand and gave Jenny a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Both Jenny and I hugged our new daughter-in-law to-be and welcomed her to our family. I guess with time we'd get used to the idea; she and Alice were married. Gail was a sweet girl and next to Alice I couldn't think of another person I'd like to have for a daughter so I was willing to accept the "marriage".
We stood behind the two girls with the other parents as the JP went through his thing and I was more nervous than the time Jenny and I'd gotten married. She looked a little nervous too but I guess I could understand why. This was the first time we'd been together since the anniversary party. Boy, she looked good and I realized how much I'd missed her. Whoa there, I thought, watch yourself, she burned you once and you don't want to get burned by her again.
Before the ceremony I'd just nodded at Jenny when we met and now I was standing next to her. I could smell her perfume, the stuff that was always my favorite, and sensed her beside me and it was absolute hell. When the ceremony was over, we all adjourned to a small restaurant nearby where we were seated at a table for seven and somehow I ended up sitting next to Jenny. It hadn't been my intention to sit with her but somehow I was maneuvered into it. Jenny didn't look at me and I tried to ignore her, but the others got into a discussion and we suddenly found ourselves isolated while the talk swirled around us.
Suddenly, I realized I wasn't as angry any more about what she did, and besides I'd had my revenge on her for cuckolding me so we should be even the way I looked at it. I turned to look at her.
"How have you been Jenny?"
She looked surprised that I'd said something to her.
"I'm ... doing OK Frank. She smiled at me. "How are things with you?"
"As good as can be expected.
I struggled for a moment; wanting to keep the conversation going without putting my foot in my mouth. I decided to stay on a safe subject.
"How do you like our new daughter -in-law?"
"She seems like a very nice girl. I like her."
"Doesn't it seem strange that what we had envisioned for her is entirely different than the reality of today?"
"Yes, but she seems happy and I guess, as parents, that's what we should be concentrating on."
"I guess you're right. Did she explain to you what triggered this change in her sexual orientation? I thought homosexuality was something that you were born with."
"No, she just said she had a sudden attraction for Gail that blossomed into love. I guess we just have to accept it."
Suddenly, I decided to bring up the thing that had been bothering me for a long time.
"Jenny, do you think we could sit down and talk sometime? You know, about what happened to us."
She looked at me for a few seconds before responding.
"I guess its time we cleared the air as they say. I'd like to do it for the sake of the kids. I know they'd like some closure and so would I."
Can we go out to dinner some time and talk?"
"I'd like that. Are you sure you can handle it? I know how mad you were back then."
"Time is a great healer and I guess its bothered me that in thinking about it, I need to know where I failed you."
"OK, let's talk about it. Its long after the fact and long overdue, I guess."
"How about dinner tomorrow night after we get back to town?"
"That's fine. Here's my business card with my home address and home phone on it."
Glancing at the card I noticed that she was working as a Physical Therapist. I raised my eyebrows and looked at her.
"Its not what you think." she responded. That is what I do now and my clients are all women that I treat in their homes. I went to the community college for two years and I'm certified to do it."
"That's wonderful Jenny. I'd heard from the kids that you'd gone back to school but I didn't know what you were taking."
Suddenly, we realized that the others had stopped talking and were just looking at us. Alice had a big smile on her face. Jenny and I were both blushing at suddenly being the center of attention.
"Well, you two are finally talking." she said. "This makes it a very great day for me."
I grinned sheepishly at her as Jenny just looked down at her lap.
"Alice, your mother and I have decided to tolerate one another, that's all, and if everything works out, may be we can be friends for your and Ben's sake and for the sake of your children."
"OK dad, I 'll be happy with that."
On the drive back home after the dinner I reminisced about my twenty five years of marriage to Jenny and how it had ended. I couldn't see how we could ever regain our marriage because too much had happened and there was the big issue of trust that would be almost impossible to overcome.
When I picked her up the following day she was dressed simply in a conservative dark blue dress that together with the single strand of pearls around her neck gave her a special elegance. I felt proud to be escorting her.
"You look lovely." I told her.
"Thank you, Frank.", and she looked pleased.
When we got to the restaurant the hostess escorted us to a table away from the others. I'd specifically asked for this table when I made the reservations as it gave us the privacy we would need.
After we were seated and our drink orders were placed I looked at her and just said one word.
She didn't flinch so I knew she was expecting the question.
"I saw a psychologist for awhile after the divorce so I could find out for myself 'why' I did it." she responded while looking directly into my eyes.
"I never realized until then just how much I hurt you. I guess I should have known by the amount of hurt and embarrassment you gave to me at our anniversary party. Anyway, it's a very complex reason mostly driven by my fear of getting old and life leaving me behind. After all, I was approaching fifty and I had the idea that my life would end then as silly as it sounds. I knew my little affair wouldn't hurt you if you never found out and I could regain some momentum in my life. You were perfectly good as my lover, but you were gone a lot and I just felt like I needed more and Tom was looking for more. I didn't take into consideration what all the ramifications would be if we were caught. In fact I was planning to end it after the anniversary party."
"It will be three years next week since the party and I still have nightmares about what you did to me and the hard part about it all is that I know now that I deserved it. Losing you and our life and my family was also something I hadn't considered. Now I just struggle from day to day, getting older without you there with me."
"Now I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity to say how sorry I am for what I did and for what I did to our marriage and our family. I'm also sorry for Tom and his marriage and family and I would do anything if I could go back and undo it all. I keep wondering now if what happened to our marriage is what caused Alice to get into lesbianism. I would feel doubly ashamed and regretful if that were true."