Do I see I crack forming right down the middle of this poor beast? Oh dear! How do we fix a problem like that without making a mess of this fine party?

Has someone pushed this marriage too hard? If so, whom?

Maybe I seemed too content. Chuck must have figured I was up to no good because life seemed too good. Knowing that HC was in the background reminded me that I was desirable to someone, and that lifted my spirits. I used my new-found ego-boost to improve my looks and try to get my husband to notice me with new eyes. But all he noticed was that I was happier and he hadn’t changed anything about our relationship. He probably hadn’t given any thought to my Divine Journal-writing/Book-reading therapy. HC aside, I was slowly discovering my Divine Self and she was lovely.

Don't laugh. It worked. Well, go ahead and laugh. It still worked.

I noticed a change in him, too. He surprised me with a Caribbean cruise for our family. We bought me fancy jewelry. I thought our relationship was experiencing a Renaissance of sorts and I wrote hopeful Divine Journal entries.

One summer day, before lunch, he asked me if I wanted to go for a ride. This was highly unusual because he was always extremely busy having business lunches. Although a bit leery just because the offer was so bizarre unexpected, I hopped in the car and we headed, literally, for the hills. Along the way we chit-chatted about “stuff” until we got to our destination, which was a dirt road in the middle of nowhere. He parked the car.

All the private nature and deep breathing could have been a sign of romance, but that wasn’t the vibe I got. He finally asked me, point-blank, was I “seeing” HC? Chuck knew from 10+ years of marriage that I was not a person who appreciated being surprised. My heart races, head spins, and I generally go into a mild form of shock. He took my hesitation as a “yes” and not my brain shutting down. I sat dumbly staring at a tree as if it were the most fascinating thing since the invention of the Fisher-Price View-Master.

Gee wiz! I feel like I'm in another world when I look in there. This is awesome!

He carried the conversation with rhetorical questions starting with “Why?” and ending with me hurting him. When I tried to explain the truth of the situation, he cut me off with his next question. I eventually figured out that this was less of a “Q & A” and more of a “Q” session. He already knew the answers, or thought he did. I was there to witness the pain I caused him. Again.

Not once did it occur to me to ask what gave him this idea in the first place. My brain never worked well in shock-mode. I just took my lumps like the hussy he portrayed me as, even though I knew I fought so hard with myself to not be that person. “Ironic” should’ve been my middle name.

Men were powerless around me, Lusty Lorna. Well, all men except for my husband who seemed immune to my hussifed charms.

Chuck would “keep me”  if I arranged for marriage counseling on the grounds that I was an infidel who needed dehussification and I stopped “seeing” HC. I had to think about his ultimatum, which shocked the shorts off him something upon which he didn’t count. First, I had to straighten up the whole “seeing” HC thing. I saw him once a few years ago and had been in email contact with him infrequently. If Chuck counted the number of times I “saw” HC” in my mind, well, then, he may have had a case, but he made it sound like HC and I were regulars at the Red Roof Inn.

Second, I had to decide who I loved more: my husband (real) or HC (fantasy). Chuck talked me into choosing him. He argued that I didn’t know what a “real” loving relationship like since I grew up without a father. He said “real” couples struggled through the hard times and were, fundamentally friends. Romantic love was for honeymoons and movies. He had a point about growing up with no father, so I chose to accept his ultimatum, with the caveat that he understand that I wasn’t “seeing” HC. The new arrangement was that I had to break off all communication with him. I agreed on the condition that I meet with HC in person to tell him. I needed to do that. The deal was struck.

Meeting with HC just to break things off was abysmal horrible miserable sad for both of us. He asked me how Chuck knew about our communications. I told him about my journal. That’s when it dawned on me that Chuck  read my Divine Journal. But he must have read selectively. There were plenty of entries about how I wanted Chuck to notice me like HC did.

We started marriage counseling and I stopped Divine Writing and Reading. I donated a ton of self-actualization books to my local library

It's not about me. It's about The Family.

We can’t reveal what transpired during the counseling session (privacy issues, you know), but we can stay tuned to see if counseling helped our “Pushmi-Pullyu” walk any easier through life.