One of these days, I'd like to write about how my marriage almost ended. I may not be ready yet, but I'm going to try.
I thought I'd begin by writing about the basics. I'd better start by giving people some names.
My husband, first...let's call him Frank. Plain, simple, unfashionable, but rock steady. That's him, all right. Unless it isn't. There are two Franks, actually, although he won't admit it...the one I married, and the one that shows up when he's Not Right. It's been about six months since he was Not Right.
I also have to name my daughter, so let's call her Rachel. She is now eleven. When things started getting bad, she was about nine.
What happened was, I got sick of listening to Frank talk about how someday he wants to own a bar, so when my grandmother passed away and I inherited a hefty sum of money, and he begged me to let him quit his job and start one, I finally gave in. Grandma is rolling over in her grave now, but I'm not worried about it. We would have lost the money one way or another.
The long version of the story could fill a thousand pages. The short version is that while the outside world saw Frank successfully build a business from nothing with the support of his loving wife, the reality is that for a year I was a single mother struggling to work and pay the mortgage, with an alcoholic roommate who came home every night and slept in my bed. Our only communication during this time was when he would fly into a rage when I made a mistake, or when he pretended to be affectionate when Rachel and I visited him at the bar.
Rachel, during this time, asked me if we could get rid of daddy and get another one.
Let's give the bar a name as well. Let's call it "Rascals". Good 'nuff.
Rascals stayed open for a year and three days before it ran out of money and the landlord locked the door. The manager of the bank drove past that morning, saw the notice, and called in the loan. The bank seized all assets and resold them to another restauranteur for $5000. We were sued for the balance and declared bankruptcy in order to avoid losing our house. Frank got a job in his original field. That was a little over a year ago.
It took another year or so for the original Frank to come back. Every day during that year, I tried to find the courage to sit down with the stranger I was living with and tell him that Rachel and I were leaving, but in the end I never did get the nerve.
Oddly enough, things ended up working out in the end. The bad Frank left and the old one came back, and I no longer felt the need to leave. Rachel is cautious but forgiving. I feel their relationship was damaged much more than ours; she may never feel as close to her father as she once did.