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Chapter Six – Can Helena Stand Strong?

Gabby’s back in the picture standing behind her, but Helena still seems to be having second thoughts. Can she stay strong? With Jim out of the house and an impending divorce will her children still have faith in her as a woman and mother? Will they blame her for this? She intended to try to keep Jim’s shenanigans under cover – not for his benefit but for herself and the children’s. She felt all used up and did not want people to judge her and say she couldn’t keep her man. People talk whether they have all the facts or not.  Over thirty years of her life had been spent married to Jim and now she saw it going right down the drain fast. She had warned him more than once and finally stood her ground.

 

Chapter Six

Helena heard the phone ring and seeing on ID  it was Jim, she let the machine pick up not wanting to talk to him. It was still too soon. He had only left her life yesterday. She knew how easy it would be for her to let him slip back into their old routine. She had to stay strong.

She would see a lawyer today about a divorce and plans had been made to meet Wayne, her contractor, for lunch. She was taking the morning off and planned to make some progress on publishing her book – the book she had written to keep busy while Jim had played around with Lori Walters. Maybe it had been one of three issues –  therapy, boredom, or vindictiveness –  but she enjoyed writing and had added and deleted parts of their lives as she saw fit, tailoring the subject of infidelity and narcissism to fit the situation.

She had called Wayne yesterday to ask him to join her business as a partner. They worked well together, their ideas meshing as one. He had seemed surprised, but jumping at the chance said he was up to the challenge. Today they planned on going over the details of what it would involve.

Helena knew that Jim would not like this idea at all. However, it was none of his business anymore what she did. He made this decision when he turned his back on their marriage. She had done everything she could think of to keep the relationship alive, although he seemed to think she would always be there no matter what. She had finally had enough of his lies and deception and confronting him with all the evidence, told him it was over – she could take no more.

The thought of having to tell their three grown children of the impending divorce scared her to death. She shook when she thought about it. They had been such a close family growing up and thought the world of their father. What would it do to them? All she had read on the subject said that divorce was harder on older children. How would this affect their two grandchildren? Lizzie was old enough at five to remember the good times. However, Chip, less than a month old, would never have those memories of his grandparents together.

So many questions and so many details to take care of – would the children blame her for not hanging in the relationship by wanting to make the rest of her life enjoyable or would they side with her and blame their father? She didn’t want blame laid on either of them. Yes, Jim was at fault but it would do no good to air their dirty laundry in front of the kids. She knew she would have to talk to Jim soon so they could collaborate on a story to convince the children that they had just fallen out of love.

Had she though? Had she fallen out of love with Jim or was she so mad at him that she was willing to give up their marriage to prove her point. Her point being – Jim had played around with another woman, told her numerous lies, spent their hard-earned money foolishly, and disrespected the love they had built with each other.

Her mind was whirling with all these questions with no answers as she dressed for her meeting with a lawyer and her meeting with Wayne later in the afternoon. She called her best friend, Gabby in Oregon to let her know the decision that she had finally made about her life. Gabby was always so supportive and understood how miserable she had been for the past few years trying to keep her marriage together.

Gabby answered the phone cheerfully, “Hey Old Grandma! I saw the pictures of Chip on Facebook last night. He is adorable and Lizzie is getting so big. I can’t wait to see them next month. I even forgive you for not calling me or posting pictures sooner. I know you have been busy with those babies. You will have to forgive me in a few months when Sara has the twins.”

Helena’s voice quivered as she tried to tell Gabby what had happened since she had last talked to her.

“Wait!” said Gabby. “You mean you actually threw him out?”

“Yes, but it wasn’t as easy to do as I thought it would be. We have been together for so long and he is still in my heart.”

“Don’t back down Helena. You have to stay strong. You’re the boss now if I’m guessing right and he needs to play the game by your rules. If you want him to come back you will have to make him understand that.”

“I don’t know what I want anymore, Gabby.” Helena then proceeded to fill Gabby in about the book she had written and was in the process of self-publishing under a pen name. She knew Gabby would keep her secret.  She also let her know that she had asked Wayne to become a partner in her furniture restoring and decorating business and that he was eager to join her.

“My-my-my – you have been a busy little beaver haven’t you? I can’t believe you wrote a whole book and didn’t say a thing to me about it! That is so exciting. But, when did you have the time?”

“When you are sitting around the house waiting for your clandestine husband to come home most nights there is a lot of available time and I decided to take advantage of it. You remember I always said I was going to write a book someday. I just didn’t know this was the tale I would write. I will send you a copy soon. I’m hoping to have it in print this week.”

“You better,” Gabby said. I want to be the first one to read it. Does Jim know you wrote a book?”

“No one knows but you Gabby. Not even the kids. There is a lot of fiction in it. I had to make it exciting. Who knows – maybe it will take off and I’ll be famous. I actually have a few chapters of the sequel written already. I intend to have some fun with this. I feel like it has been quite a while since I had any fun!”

“Well you deserve to have some fun after all you’ve been through. I won’t say a word about it to anyone until you tell me I can. You have my word.”

“Thanks Gabby. You always make me feel better. This call has lifted my spirits a little. I need to get off this phone. I have a meeting with my lawyer this morning and then one with Wayne this afternoon. I’ll call you tomorrow and let you know how it went.”

Jim had called her cell a couple of times while she had been talking to Gabby. Helena looked at the calls to check to see if he had left a message. He hadn’t so she deleted the calls and then called Carrie to check on her and see if she needed anything while she was out.

After a pleasant conversation with Carrie she left the house to go to the meeting she had scheduled with her lawyer. It was time she stopped second-guessing her decisions and follow through with her plans. More than two years was long enough for anyone to stay in a relationship where only one person cared whether it survived.

 

 

Elle

 

 

 

 

 

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About Elle Knowles

Elle Knowles lives in the Florida Panhandle with her husband and off-at-college-most-of-the-time son. She has four daughters, one son, and eleven beautiful grandchildren. 'Crossing the Line' is her first novel. The sequel 'What Line' is a work in progress. Recently published is Coffee-Drunk Or Blind - a nonfiction story of homesteading in the Alaska wilderness with her parents and four siblings, told through letters by her mother and remembered accounts from the family.

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