Sunday, November 17, 2013


You’ve heard plenty about the crazy crap Mark did during the yes-no-yes-no time. A lot of it really hurt. But none of the things I’ve written about are the one thing that felt like the hardest slap. Here it is—

I sold a few thousand prints last year, and a couple hundred of them looked like this:

While words are sort of right up in wheelhouse, I was never good at using them to explain to my husband what it meant when I said that I loved him. Though he wanted me to spell it out, I never could. But one afternoon while making things at my computer I came up with that print.

“Don’t ask me why I love you. The way I know that I do is that I can’t put it into words.”

I was sure I loved him, but I couldn’t explain it. Since I'm the girl who can work out how to wrap words around most everything else I know, I figured that was how I knew that what I felt was love—it was the thing for which words just wouldn’t work. 

Because I suspected that I wasn’t alone in my inability to explain my feelings, I posted the print for sale, and through the numerous flash sales I did last year, other people were able to snap one up and “tell” their significant others what had before been inexplicable.

When Mark left Reno to move in with my parents in effort to make our marriage work, I did what I do and made use of the U.S. Postal Service, mailing him little notes. I also went to my print inventory and pulled out two of the Why I Love You prints, slipped them in cello sleeves and then into reinforced cardboard mailers. One I shipped to Mark, and the other went to Jim’s office with a note that read something like this:
It seems you and I share the affliction of not being able to express to our spouses how we feel about them. I designed this print for Mark a while ago and just mailed him a copy. I thought maybe you might like one to give to Carrie as we try to salvage these marriages.  
We talked a week later and Jim said, “Why did you send me that poem?”

I was confused until I realized that he meant the hyper-minimalist black print.

“Wasn’t there a note in there?” I asked.

“Yes. But I’ve seen that poem before.”


After the affair came to light and we all decided to work on the marriages, Carrie gave Jim the secret cell phone Mark had left her and other little bits of Mark's notes and shit. (Note: Men, it is never acceptable to doorbell ditch a pick-me-up to someone else’s wife. You want to avoid an affair? Avoid doing that.) Among that garbage was a black 11x14 print Mark had given her that Carrie said was the most thoughtful gift she'd ever received.

Turns out that before I had any inkling that he was cheating, my husband had gone into my office at the house, rifled through my print inventory, and gifted his mistress the print that I’d put together to explain how I felt about him. My husband used me to court another man’s wife. 

That blow, that one was the lowest.


Riddle me this, Dear Reader, did Mark, like, think that Carrie would be able to hang the print in the house? What would happen when Jim asked about it? Would she say that she meant those words for him, her husband, lying to hide a perversion? That would be along the same lines as the time that Mark was working for Jim and he got back from lunch and when Jim asked how lunch was, Mark replied, “Great! Had a nooner,” and it later comes out that said nooner was with Jim’s wife.


Jim Elliker said...

Yes, those things really sucked. The thought of my closet friend bragging to me that he just had a "nooner" and to find out it was with my wife really hurt. It also really hurt when I noticed that the wallpaper on her phone that had always been of her favorite pictures of her kids had been replaced with "I love you" art stolen from some website that was texted to her from Mark. Those were very dark days when it became clear that Mark was going to replace her friends, the sealings to her children, pets (BTW- one just died) family, church, eternal husband and extended family.
Sad, Sad, Sad.

Annie said...

Ahhhhhhhh! I cannot believe it!!! What a betrayal on the lowest level. It just makes me seethe. It goes to show you how sick his thinking was--and I have to wonder what went through Carrie's mind when (or if) she found out that those were your words to Mark. Yikes.

Ashley Thalman said...

This is the worst thing I've ever read on this blog. I hate it so much that it makes me want to double over and scream.