This is a piece of autobiographical fiction. Space and time have been rearranged to suit the convenience of the book, and with the exception of public figures, any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental. The opinions expressed are those of the characters and should not be confused with the author’s.
This story is written as an example to anyone who wants to believe that we are more than the patriarchy deems us to be, more than our limitations, and more than our fears.
“Omg Jane, have you seen??” I woke up to messages after messages, screenshots after screenshots.
Groggily and completely jetlagged, I open up the photographs they’re sending me.
Through my sleepy eyes, I see a glittery ring on a hand……
They’re engaged. She’s posted a photograph of them on Instagram. The time stamp is in December 2019. They’re engaged. My husband is engaged to another woman.
I can’t do this. I’m suddenly wide awake and I start looking through his Instagram and Facebook. He’s deleted all of the photographs of us. All of it. They’re all gone.
I’m still here. In a hotel room with him while he sleeps next to me. I’m still physically here.
When we crossed one of the immigration checkpoints, he still told the officer that I’m his wife. On paper, in life – I’m still Gideon’s wife.
But in the digital world, in the minds of Gideon and Marianne, I’ve been completely erased. My existence means nothing to them.
I’m suddenly thankful that my parents are not on socials – it would have broken their hearts even more.
I look at Gideon and as usual – he’s fast asleep. His phone is sitting right next to him. I know that it would be futile but I try unlocking it anyway.
He’s changed the password.
I lay back down to sleep, but sleep evades me. The image of her clasping his face in her hands, him in his Dior white shirt….”Sometimes, if you’re lucky enough, you meet someone so pure and good….” So pure……So good……
Flashes of Gideon and I are thrown into my mind uninvited.
Him lovebombing me for a whole month when we first met. Him asking my friend to get my ring size when I visited her in Hong kong, him singing ‘Can’t help falling in love with you’ to me over video calls whenever I couldn’t sleep and he was overseas for work, us taking Maverick out for walks, us laughing together whenever Coco wanted to jump out of the kitchen window. These flashbacks make no sense but they just kept coming and all I could do was to keep batting them away. Stop it Jane. He’s someone else’s fiance now. You have to let him go.
We’re at Walmart and in the 20 minutes that we’ve been here, she’s called him twice. He’s had to walk away twice. “She saw that you were in Walmart so she’s asking how you could come here without me driving you here,” he tells me.
“Sure no worries, go ahead and settle it. I’m gonna get my mint oreos.”
MINT OREOS!!! World’s greatest invention. I loved the thin ones. If anything, this could be the best reason I lugged myself to Mountain Home, Idaho. The trick is to put them in the freezer and then dunk them in warm milk after. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh, I can’t wait to eat them – I think to myself.
We’re in the car driving from the liquor store, I had posted an ig story of the store and didn’t realize that he was in it. It was just half a frame but she saw it. “Sorry, had to settle her down again. I told her that your story was an old one.”
???? Doesn’t make any sense
We’re in the car driving back home to his apartment, when she calls again. This time, he picks up the call with the phone system in the car. I start panicking. I catch myself breathing softer for some reason.
“Babbyyyyyeeeee, I had a nightmare last night.”
“What was it?”
“You know what it was about…I dreamt of it again.”
Oh My Fucking Universe.
“I dreamt that you told me you don’t love me anymore, and that you went back with her.”
“Baby…it’s just a dream, it’s not going to happen. Anyway, she doesn’t want that too – “
Really??? I don’t want it? I didn’t know that. I hadn’t decided that yet. Didn’t he decide for me when he told me he was leaving???
“….okay. Have fun with the girls tonight baby, don’t drink so much okay? I love you”
“Hahahahahhahahahaha” The minute he puts down the phone, I start laughing uncontrollably.
I couldn’t help but laugh at how ridiculous this entire situation was. WHO THE HELL IS THIS MAN??? WHO???
Either way, I compose myself and I bring up the topic.
“So…I saw that you’re engaged Gideon?”
“And you deleted all of our photographs already?”
“Oh….yeah. It was just easier that way. Fresh start, you know?”
Hmmmmm. It was just easier…………………..for who?
“But….we’re still married. And you just met her a month ago. Also, where did you even get the money to buy her a ring? I can’t believe you bought her a ring when I had just pawned mine a few months ago – “
“I sold our car to buy her the ring. Don’t worry, your ring was more expensive.”
He conveniently picked the easy questions to answer.
It was just a few months ago that we sat down in our living room and spread out papers to sort out his debts.
I had asked that he brought out all of the credit card statements. One by one, I wrote the figures down and I calculated for us, the amount we owed the bank. He had already apologized for letting the bills pile up – “I thought I could handle it….I’m sorry”
“It’s okay b, let’s just try to solve this now.” Inside, I was furious. He had told me that he could handle it. I never knew that he had raked up so many late payments. I never would have quit my job if I had known he would get us into such big debts. Then again, I should have known better than to trust his money management skills.
When I first met him, he didn’t even have a hospital insurance plan. I had to ensure that both him and his brother at least had decent insurance plans. His brother later “thanked” me because he had gotten bitten badly by a dog and needed to be hospitalized for 3 days. “Thanked” because he never really did thank me. He said “Wah lucky got insurance to cover”
I borrowed a sum of my money from my friend, liquidated some of our investments, and we each pawned something – he pawned his emerald Rolex watch and I pawned my engagement ring. My beautiful engagement ring.
I remember looking at it and wearing it for the last time before we went to the pawn shop.
When we were at the pawn shop, I stopped for a moment and looked at it again once more. I never wanted a beautiful ring like that, but at least for a while it was mine. It symbolized his love for me. He knew that I was hesitant and he said “I promise i will buy your ring back for you b, I promise.”
And now…….she has a ring. Now, he’s bought a ring for her.