Week 1 – Life after Separation
Sometimes life doesn’t turn out as you want it too. No matter how much you dream of that happy ending; Marriage, Children, Dog or in my case a crazy Cat, your dream can go tumbling down in an instant.
Married for over 5 years, together for 10 (I’d like to say ‘happily married’ but let’s be honest, how can two different species be happy spending a century together in complete bliss) I was taking my routine shower after a routine Monday workout and thanks to modern technology a party in my night robe pocket was under way. That late in the evening this was an unusual sound, so as I leant over to my nightgown shaking off the water from my hands, I intriguingly read the message as my husband came in to use the loo, routinely, of course.
Three sentences was all it took to shatter all that I had worked for and towards for the past 10 years.
As he sat there in his birthday suit, I grabbed the shampoo bottle, took a deep breath, and turned to face the only ever constant in my life. I asked him who Sarah was. I saw his life pass across his face and that is where my life becomes one hell of a roller coaster ride Mr. Alton Towers would be proud of. I kept asking him for the next name and the next…I had played him like a fool, I only knew about Sarah…Seven names. It used to be my lucky number.
I have always rebelled against the cliché of Married women who become comfortable once settled, conform to our genetics and start nest building. And thank god for that or maybe my mother who taught me that no one looks after number one, but you. Besides, a holiday of a lifetime was planned in 3 days’ time. And I was now planning to travel by myself to a third world country plagued with stories of kidnapping, violence and rape. Suddenly I realised that not only am I in my 30s having to start again, but I am for the first time in a long time- feeling vulnerable. A feeling I do not take lightly.
Finding a travel partner was harder than you think. The offer of a free 2 week holiday sounds attractive, but my 30 something friends are still living their dream, and could not leave their families behind. My concerned older sister took it upon herself to speak to my younger sister to see if she could escort me. A sister I had not spoken to for many years. A sister who is more of a liability than an emotional crutch that was needed in the looming dangerous situation.
Aboard the plane, sitting next to my sister already drinking her way through the free bar. I stared out the window thinking how did it come to this? How did I not see the signs? They were all so obvious…were they not? Shaking it off the best I could, eyes inflamed from 3 days of tears, I decided to join my sister at the bar. Almost instantly my body language changed, I seemed to be getting attention from guys already and we hadn’t even taken off. It’s as if a hormone is realised or maybe my eyes were finally open.
The Air Steward, Pierre had clearly taken an interest, as soon as we mentioned we were not Brazilian and not visiting family. He was quite concerned. Two attractive siblings on holiday in Brazil sounded crazy! He quickly gave me his number and said we should meet up with the crew for dinner that evening for some local knowledge. Another passenger overheard the conversation; the bar seemed to be filling up fast…with guys. The air steward had told us some vital information; if a Brazilian speaks excellent English and is travelling it means they come from a privileged background and is therefore safe to socialise with should we want to. So I took his number also.
We met up with Pierre and the ten or so Airline crew that evening. After the rest of the crew had drifted off to bed, Pierre and his friend stayed out with my sister and I and we decided to go onto a club. Since I hit 30, I have started to have memory loss that comes and goes through the night. With a lethal dose of the local Caipirinha’s in my system the next thing I knew I was rolling around naked on 800Thread Egyptian cotton sheets with a guy mumbling words in French in which ‘Oui’ was the only one recognisable! I had become sober quite quickly after the shock of not only where I am or what I’ve just done, the sheer size of a certain part of the anatomy for such a small guy; I asked to call Jeans room to see where my sister was. She was in the next room; I could recognise her giggles anywhere.
The next day I received a message from Fernando, the passenger from the plane. He said that he would love to show us around a local bar area in Ipanema. It sounded like fun, and he said we could meet up at his friend’s apartment down the road. Okay, so I am the sensible sister of the family usually, but something was telling me to go for it, what’s the worst that could happen? He seemed like he came from a wealthy family, and his friend’s apartment was in Ipanema – one of the wealthiest areas of Rio. My usual reckless sister was not so sure but I convinced her none the less that this was my time to be a bit wild and she should support me.
It was very much of a bachelor pad filled with gadgets and wall to wall graffiti art. As we got chatting we were ploughed with very strong Caipirinha’s and not long after Fernando himself arrived in the 1940s style, caged private lift. Suddenly I was being pulled up off my feet and taken into one of the bedrooms with Fernando. Bewildered at what has just happened, it was over quite quickly. I got dressed and moved back into the front room, took a large gulp of my drink as my sister came out of the other bedroom with his friend. She too came back to the sofa, sat next to me and raised her brows at me that told me a million things, amongst them ‘what the hell just happened’. Only a moment later, shockingly I was being pulled up to his friend’s bedroom, I knew exactly what was going on….but for the first time in my life, I went with the flow. Revenge filled my head, if he could do it; I can certainly play this game better than he has ever done.
This was only the beginning of the new me. I was now and independent, strong and confident 30something woman who had been faithful to every guy I chose to spend my time with. I had been let out of the cage.
To be continued…