In early December, Marco popped the question in our bedroom with our horse of a dog by his side. I was shocked that he didn’t wait too long, but disheartened that he asked me the day before he was to fly out to Toronto. The only thing I could think of was that he wanted this arrangement to stay in place, and that meant his other woman in Toronto, Karen, would continue sleeping with my guy when he was in town. To be clear, I was never OK with this and did not want this to continue.
We were happy for the moment. I decided it was a good morning to cook breakfast and was thinking of a way to bring up the subject of Karen, now that we were officially engaged. I hesitated to tell my family, whom we had just shared Thanksgiving dinner with a week ago, about the proposal and Marco took notice. “Why aren’t you calling your family and friends to break the news?” he asked jokingly.
“I wanted to talk to you about something first,” I shyly responded as I flipped the pancakes over.
“Let me guess, Karen. Right?” he said.
“Yes, actually,” I responded locking eyes with him. Marco rolled his eyes and prepared for yet another foot-in-mouth response.
“Isn’t there a universal rule about different zip codes, states, and countries that makes it alright with you American women? Did you really think that when I asked you to marry me, it was so I would change the way things are in my life? The only thing that changes with our marriage is your last name and a pretty piece of jewelry on your left hand. You have worked very hard to become a woman I am proud to call my wife, but more than anything, this is just to make you happy, not me. I do not need to be married to be happy. I was married once and not happy. I care for you and love you, but let’s be real here. I am who I am and that will never change. You can either accept it or not. ”
As I stood there listening to the garbage running out of my older lover’s mouth, I looked at his graying hairs in his sideburns, the thinning hair on the top of his head, and the beginnings of a potbelly. I thought to myself, “Maybe this is for the best. I don’t need him anymore; I can make it on my own. I’m not sure how yet, but I’m smart and will figure it out.”
Instead of responding to Marco right away, I simply nodded, as I realized that I had forgotten to flip the pancakes and they were burning. He left shortly after.