My husband was very pleased that his ex-work invited him (and me) to their Christmas party, a full 12 months after he left last year. Although, he has not missed the work itself, being very happy and occupied with all his projects at home, he has missed the people, some of whom have worked for him for twenty years or more. HIs right-hand lady of about 12 years - sort of Secretary/Customer Liaison/PA, is a super capable, attractive person, aged now about 41, happily married with two young teenagers. They all worked a 12-hour day, and in the trucking industry, these days were often fraught and difficult. I suggested that we sleep over at the venue so that he could enjoy a few drinks. My mistake. Although he never became 'ugly' drunk at all, he did become very relaxed, beaming and hugging everyone and generally being the centre of attraction. I did cringe a few times when he did/said things which are uncharacteristic. e.g. telling one young mechanic (while sitting next to the new boss - his II -i -C of many years): "The worst day of your life was when I retired" (implication? - 'your new boss will not be as good as I was'). The bad thing though happened at the end of the evening: I was sitting quite far away as everyone went up to him to bid him goodbye. When the PA lady's turn came, he put his arm round her shoulders and announced for all the world to hear: "M has been a big part of my life for a long time. If I ever had an affair, it would have been with M!" Then he slid his hand down her body and squeezed her behind. I sat, frozen, embarassed and devastated. In one fell blow, I felt all my love and devotion over 39 years had been an illusion. For the longest time he had been lusting after his secretary !!!!!! Needless to say, I was totally miserable for the rest of the night. It wasn't much use berating him as we went to bed, he wasn't listening properly and couldn't understand what the fuss was about. I spent a sleepless night on the couch. The next morning I tried to explain what had upset me, but guess what - he couldn't remember a thing, had no idea what I was talking about. Do you know how frustrating that was? Actually, he looked so puzzled and shocked, I wanted to laugh, as cross as I was. Very chagrined, he immediately took up my suggestion and telephone M (and several other people) to apologise because his wife said he had made an ass of himself, although he didn't know what he had said to offend. Most of them were still half asleep as this was only 8 am.
Of course, no-one but myself had taken any offence. I just hope that M had been suitably repulsed by the very suggestion that an old, overweight man like my husband should think of her in that way. I am very fond of her but I am now so sad to think that she has indeed been a bigger part of his life than I have for so many years. I guess that's the way it is in the world of work. Certainly, on a daily basis she spent a lot more hours with him than I did. (I'm not counting sleep).
I just wanted some verbal reassurance, which he tried to give, but my husband is in any case a man of few words, they come very hard to him - unless he is one-over-the-eight. Ironically, in the past, I enjoyed these occasions because then he would declare to the whole world how much he loved me. How could his brain now be so disconnected from his mouth? How could he not think that these remarks would hurt? He has forgotten about the whole thing but It seethes in my mind and I struggle to be normal and nice to him at the moment. This woman is 25 years his junior and I am 65. I don't know how I can gloss over it. Blogging helps. Another thing has helped this week: hubby experienced a painful rectal tear one morning after a visit to the bathroom. He had to hobble around as it was the Sunday after Christmas, saw the doc on Monday and is still hobbling. He can't believe what has happened to him.
Maybe it's the razor blades I fed him.