The homecoming

by lisafaz, Hendersonville, NC

I met Wayne when I was 19 and he was 21, way back in the ’80’s. We dated, lived together, fought, but loved each other for nine years. On his thirtieth birthday, I looked at him and thought, “He will never marry me.” I gave up.

After breaking up, I dated a few guys through personals ads and found one I could bear to spend time with. See, I wanted children and my clock was definitely ticking. Steve and I had the same basic values and he said he wanted children someday. After dating for two years, we married. I knew it was wrong. Before the wedding, I drank a whole bottle of wine because I just couldn’t face walking down the aisle to him, knowing that my soul mate was Wayne. But I caved in to convention and went through with the wedding. Almost immediately, we had problems. Throughout our relationship, Steve encouraged me to keep in contact with Wayne, knowing that Wayne had been my best friend for years. When things got rough, I talked to Wayne.

My last Thanksgiving with Steve, we visited his family in Kansas. Because we stayed at a hotel with a pool, Steve had to buy a bathing suit. While he searched a store in Kansas in November for swim trunks, I sat out in the car. Every family has its traditions, and Wayne’s family used to always listen to “Alice’s Restaurant” on Thanksgiving, and as I sat there in the rental car waiting for the wrong husband to come out and announce there are no swim trunks in Kansas in November, “Alice’s Restaurant” came on the radio.

I just cried. It was at that moment that I knew in my heart and soul I had married the wrong man. I would rather be childless and with Wayne.

The marriage died over the course of the next few months, mostly because I was cruel to Steve. I couldn’t stop comparing him to Wayne. I tried to leave in December, but he begged me to return. I shouldn’t have. I was very cold and disdainful of poor Steve, driving him away in the most calculated manner because, if he divorced me, he would have to bear the brunt of the financial burden.

As soon as I was able, I visited Wayne and told him everything. It was late that night and I lived at least 45 minutes away, so Wayne suggested I stay. I never left, and now we’ve been married more than five years. We don’t have children, but as a teacher, I feel as though I have 30 kids every year. I’m so glad I came home to Wayne.