It's hard to believe that five years ago I sat in front of a TV and watched an interview and heard about her. The next morning I pulled up the internet at work and searched and found her. She was inviting. She promised much and what she promised was a sin and yet with smiling enabling faces, concerned with my plight, it did not seem so bad. After all, if you are both married and don't want to change anyone's life is it really all that bad? In a given state it is, of course, so easy to say no.
The fact was that while life at the time was tranquil I had come through toil. Five years earlier I had failed miserably at work and my career seemingly had come to a screeching halt. An opportunity back East fell on my lap at the exact moment I was about to go over the cliff and in a moment I escaped. But I couldn't escape the wrath of a fallen marriage. As we moved East Shannon's interests stayed in the Mid-West with her new found affair. The first years here were more a rebirth and then a slow "awakening" into what I would say was a very family-centric part of my life. Of course family-centric had nothing to do with marriage. Marriage at this point had come to be a convenient "parenting-partnership." She went her way, I went mine. I delighted in being a part of my daughter's upbringing. Ballet lessons and family night at Chick-fil-A were what filled my life with meaning. The odd paradox is that the missing part was Shannon when she was on the road and rarely did I miss her. For it was those times when I was at peace and life was no longer toil and blood. And there I stayed treading water and feeling happy that I had found shelter from the storm.
I came in from the wilderness, a creature void of form
Years move on though and one day family night at Chic-fil-A with daddy is not the high point of the week for a little girl. As I began to look at myself I saw that I was "a creature void of form." I was ******'s-dad and not much more. Sure work was great. But the peacefulness of five years before was now becoming a bit boring. I had accomplished much. I could stay here forever and peddle at a comfortable speed. But unfortunately I was never made of that stuff. I'm not one to tread water and be satisfied. I started to seek more.
At first it was just the gym. Soon something that I didn't realize was empty I found joy in refilling, myself. I took it slow but in those early months at the gym that "creature void of form" started to feel like it wanted to be wanted not as the home-room dad but as a man. I knew what it was like to be out in the storm and didn't want to go back and yet I wondered if there were other shelters from the storm.
She walked up to me so gracefully and took my crown of thorns
Shannon would smile with scorn at the line above, she always chastises me for playing the victim and martyr. And yet on the that morning staring at the computer screen she did walk up to me so gracefully and in that moment I did feel as if I needed to be more than ******'s-dad, more than the home-room dad. Maybe wanting something for myself was not such an awful thing. Maybe I had paid the price. Maybe now it should be my time. Maybe it was not so much the shelter from the storm I sought as much as it was a voice simply and sweetly stating "come in (she said), I'll give you...."
Just to think that it all began on a long-forgotten morn
Now its five year later and there are so many messages I can't nearly remember them all. She's introduced me to several ladies and in the oddest paradox allowed me to meet perhaps the most special person I've ever known. I have written before that I enjoy a good paradox. A favorite line in one of my favorite movies, the Shawshank Redemption, is when Andy Dufresne states "it took coming to prison for me to learn how to be a crook." It is certainly true that it took coming to her for me to learn how to be a cheater. But more than that it took coming to her to learn that I am monogamous. Sure I enjoy looking and I love to feel appreciated. But honestly if I could just be happy and connected to one person I'd call it quits. She has driven me to try even harder with Shannon and she has also allowed me to be at peace with that continued failure. I suspect she will help me live with that failure or be at peace if and when I walk out the door. Yes, there have been many storms over the past decade but in the past five she has very much been a "shelter from the storm."
And if I pass this way again, you can rest assured; I'll always do my best for her, on that I give my word.
This has been a great learning experience. In meeting women, winning them over, losing them, sometimes meeting them again I truly believe I've become a better person. I'm better at work, I'm a better father, I'm happier, I'm more outgoing, I'm more joyful, I've got more to say and yet I say it with more brevity and humility. The last five years have been big for me, a lot of accomplishment. Now I sit in front of my work computer in a new office and with a new title I would never have dared to dream I would possess five year before the day I met her.
A lot has been said of her good and bad. I don't spend much time with her anymore and one day soon I'm sure I'll see her for the last time. But I have no qualms with her, she has done right by me, giving me that temporary shelter from the storms of my life.
"if I could only turn back the clock to when God and her were born.."
I have never been a turn back the clock type of person. As our therapist (with Shannon) said of me I am comfortable in my skin. So if you are reading this and are thinking about walking along the same path I have just know this: she is shelter from the storm but in all of her beauty that is all she is. You can come out of the rain a bit and find warmth, get dry, and regain your strength. But in time you must leave her. Let's hope that her "shelter from the storm" will have reinvigorated you to embrace and persevere through the next storm and onto the tranquil shore we all hope to find some day.
"do I understand your question man is it hopeless and forlorn?"
The answer is no, it is not hopeless but just understand that while she can be good to you in the end she is in fact just and only "shelter from the storm."
"And the one eyed undertaker, he blows a futile horn..."
Well that just doesn't mean anything! You know Dylan admitted long ago his lyrics really just don't make any sense, they are just words that made lyrical beauty on some type of audio impressionistic tapestry . So really I guess you can make any sense you want out of them and certainly you can make any sense you want out of Ashley Madison.
But if you are interested it all did in fact start on a Saturday morning just 5 years ago.