I like to think of my marriage, before and after my husband's affair, a lot
like flying before September 11th and after.
Before September 11th, we all trusted the airlines to get us where we
needed to go. We knew our future was in their hands and we trusted they
would do what they had taken on the responsibility to do. It took years of
flying, and millions of flights, to give us the assurance that the airlines
were deserving of our trust. For the most part, when we flew we knew we
were safe. Safe is a comforting feeling. Sure we knew that there were
dangers lurking out there. But when we boarded the airplane, we were pretty
confident that things were going to be okay.
The same was true in reverse, before September 11th the airlines trusted
the passengers that boarded thousands of planes every day to be upstanding
citizens. We didn't have to take our shoes off to convince the airlines we
were trustworthy. They even let us carry on a pair of scissors or a nail
clipper because they trusted that we weren't dangerous.
Trust between both parties is a great comfort for everyone involved. Then
it happens! The Twin Towers collapse and it's all different.
The Twin Towers of my marriage collapsed on September 25th, 2003. I should
have seen the warnings. But, hey, the FBI ignored their warnings, too.
Nothing had prepared me for the pain and devastation that I would feel when
the first plane hit: The cell phone bills that showed my husband had been
calling another woman for over a year and keeping it secret. The second
plane hit a little while later: I called the number that showed up daily on
his bill and I heard her voice mail message. I stood in my kitchen and felt
the bricks and mortar of my marriage bury me beneath its rubble. Where once
stood the person I was before, now stood a person gasping for breath from
the dust and debris of a shattered trust. Was there a light beneath this
rubble? I was hoping my husband was bringing a flashlight and an oxygen
mask so I could breath again. I couldn't have been more wrong. When he
arrived at the scene of the collapse, his words and actions only led me to
a darker place. Why was I here? Who was this man that I thought could
always save me? How could I escape this pain and terror?
It took weeks for the bricks and stone to be lifted off my beaten body and
spirit. It took days of me screaming for help for him to listen. He was the
pilot of this plane and he had to be held accountable for the destruction.
He wanted me to believe that the plane just lost control and that he didn't
see where it was headed. He clearly marked its course every time he picked
up that phone and made a call. It may take years for my scars to heal and
for the mental pictures of betrayal in my mind to go away. Isn't that what
happens after a horrible trauma?
Should there be a rebuilding on the site of the Twin Towers? I think that
is still in debate. I do, however, remember two bright, shining spotlights
that were lit on that site as a remembrance. Those two spotlights were a
sign of hope for the future. My lights are shining dimly and I am hoping
that someday, somewhere down the road, they will shine brighter and their
beams will lead me to a better place.
I do know, however, that I will never feel safe flying like I did before
and I will be inspecting my husband's shoes whenever it looks like he is
carrying around something suspicious.