Are we “soul mates”, or something more? I never heard of the term “soul mate” or knew what it meant until about five years ago, but I knew that my relationship with my wife was more than just a marriage. I had always felt it was destiny. There seemed to be a supreme force that brought us together. I will tell my story and let you, the readers, decide for yourselves.
I was married to my first wife in 1975. It wasn’t much of a marriage to say the least, but raised in an environment where most of my relatives (including my parents) had rocky relationships, I felt that this was the norm. For the next two years or so, things did not get any better, but being raised with strong religious morals, I was committed to making it work and made the best of it. I never told anyone about the difficulties of my marriage or how trying it was to make it work.
At the time, I was working at an automotive dealership and in November of 1977, a new girl was hired as a cashier in the office. She was three years older than me, was married and had a son. Her name was Mary Alice. I found her to be cute with a great personality, somewhat of a sister figure. Over the next few months, we became friends that would converse on occasions and had even double dated with our spouses. There was no physical attraction, I just enjoyed her friendship.
Every so often, the manufacture would have a meeting for the dealerships in the area at a local hotel in the evening. These meetings were meant for the managers, but when they had prior commitments, they would ask me if I wanted to go. I usually accepted…after all it was a free meal, free drinks and a night out without the wife. The afternoon before the meeting, Mary Alice approached me. She told me that she was also going that evening and asked me if I would mind driving her there. We made arrangements for her to meet me at my house and then proceed from there. It was in early March and just after the big blizzard of January 78. The snow was still on the ground and the temperatures were hovering around the low 30’s. We arrived at the hotel and gathered in the lounge with people from the other dealerships.
After a few drinks and some mingling, we were called for dinner. Mary and I went our separate ways before and during dinner only to meet up again in the lounge after dinner. As the night lingered on into the late hours, people began leaving one by one. We soon found ourselves to be the only two left from the original meeting. The time was now approaching midnight and we decided it was time to leave. By now, the temperatures of the night had reached an awful bitter coldness of 5 0. We hurried to the car only to find it caked in a heavy frosty coating that need some elbow grease to clean off. With it being so cold, I just didn’t feel like going outside of the car to scrape off the windshield. So with the car running, we both sat there shaking like two jumping beans with our teeth clicking so loud, it sounded like jack hammers.
As I was complaining about the coldness, Mary slowly scooted over towards me for no other reason but to warm each other up. Slowly the car began to warm up as well as us. As our shaking ceased, we found ourselves in each other’s warm embrace. Slowly we tuned our faces towards each other until we were nose to nose. Then it happened…a kiss…the kiss that started our new lives. We were both married, but it felt so natural, how could this be? This was way out of line for either one of us, we knew better; we weren’t the type of people that had the capability of doing this. Mary also had strong moral convictions. But… IT FELT NATURAL!! For one night we weren’t married, we were two lost ships that bumped in middle of the night. We kissed again and again and then even more.
As the car finally became completely warmed up, I started to head home with my arm around Mary Alice. We told each other about our marriages and how terrible they had become. This was a surprise to both of us. Neither one of us never suspected that each other had a terrible life with their spouse. As I dropped Mary off at her car, I realized that this was probably nothing more than an indication that I had to get out of my marriage. I went to bed that night trying to make some sense of what happened that night.
The next day at work, I didn’t approach Mary until lunch, and that was only to get some change for a soda. As she handed me the money, she looked at me and said “last night never happened, just forget about it, I have a husband and a son to think about.” For one of the few times in my life, I resisted someone’s request and answered, “I can’t just forget about it. Something happened last night. When can I see you again?” Without any hesitation on her part, she replied “Friday night. I’m working my second job and will get off around 10:00 or so.”
Friday night came, and I told my wife that I was going out with some of the guys from work. I met Mary at the theater that she worked at and took her to a small Italian restaurant. We talked for hours about our lives, our families and our marriages. It wasn’t until this night that I realized what a wonderful person Mary truly was. We parted once again and I finally realized that I had to get out of my marriage. I wasn’t leaving my wife for Mary Alice…there was no commitment on either of our parts that we would be together, but rather I’m leaving my wife BECAUSE of Mary Alice. She showed me that there is a better way to live and I was determined to be with (if not her), someone like her.
I told my wife that Sunday night that our marriage was over and by Monday afternoon I left her. I called my parent’s Monday from work and told them I was moving back home. I walked into the office and thanked Mary for what she did to me, left to gather some personal items and went to my parent’s home. That evening, around 8:00, the phone rang. My mother answered the phone, gave the phone to me, and said it’s Mary. I was quite frustrated and really did not want to talk to my wife so soon. Oh, I forgot to tell you. My wife’s name was Mary…Mary Ellen. I reluctantly answered the phone and much to my surprise, it was Mary Alice. It seemed that she was just checking up to see how everything went. I told her that my whole family welcomed me home with open arms and that they all knew that my wife was a bitch. I guess I wasn’t hiding anything from them. I could hear a lot of background noise during our conversation and knew that she was not at her home. I questioned as to where she was and she told me that she was at her parent’s house. Then the bomb dropped. She left her husband. I told her that I didn’t want her leaving her husband for me and she assured me that she didn’t. But in reality we both knew that she did… and that I did for the same reasons. In less than a week, we found what we were looking for, that which we tried to find for over 20 years. Each other.
This began a 6-month affair of secret rendezvous, dinners at out of the way places and long afternoon drives. Our love grew deeper as the days went on. We had many teary eyed departures knowing that it could be days before we could be with each other. The hardest was at work, passing each other in the office or in the garage and not being able to touch, to hold, or comfort each other.
We did make a compromise early on, and that was if there ever came a time that either one of us want out of this relationship, that the other would let them go freely… no questions, no arguments. You see, we both came from a terrible situation and we didn’t want to make the same mistake again. As much as it may have hurt either one of us, we wanted the best for the other. AND IT DID. There came a time when Mary was asked out for a few after work drinks by a very wealthy customer. She was quite flattered and accepted.
As we were leaving work, she told me about the date she had and assured me that it was strictly a social and platonic type of a get together. I wasn’t happy about it and she could sense it, but I knew that if our relationship was meant to be, that no better way to prove it than to test it. I won’t go into great detail because to this day it is still painful, but by the time I got home (about a 35 minute drive) the phone was ringing and it was Mary Alice. At first I thought she had second thoughts and was calling me to let me know that she never went over to his house. Was I wrong? Something happened…something that she never fully revealed to me at that time. She just didn’t want to talk about it. She let me know just enough for me to realize that a sexual encounter had happened that afternoon.
This was something that would eat at me for years with emotional pain. It wasn’t until the mid-1990’s, when I was going through a very powerful emotional recall of this event that I was able to bring out the deep hidden truth that Mary had buried so deep in her mind. It took about three days of searching the past, prying memories out of her. SHE COULDN’T REMEMBER. Finally, I made a cutting comment that brought her to crying… crying as she never did before…and then she stopped. Dead silence. I looked up at her face and I saw the horror and pain in her eyes. With her lip quivering, she quietly said, “I was raped. He raped me.” She wasn’t at his house for more than 15 minutes. I remember her telling me in our phone conversation that all she could think of was me … “what was I doing over there, I had you.” She also mentioned that it was the closest that she came to ever being raped.
She couldn’t tell me at the time what exactly had happened to her. Mary was fearful that I would do something so drastically, that it would have jeopardized not only our relationship, but also cause criminal actions against me. She was right; I would have killed the bastard. Instead, she took the blame for what happened and selectively told me what had happened. She took a gamble… I could have left her, but she has always had that Irish luck. Looking back at it now, I truly believe that this was the hand of that supreme force, God if you will, slapping her in the face as if to say, “What the hell are you doing. I gave you all that you need. You need to look no further.”
We have been together for over 24 years now, more in love than ever, with eternity still to come.
Two more items of interest. About a week before that cold March night, I had a dream that woke me up from a deep sleep. A dream like no other dream that I ever had before, or ever since. It was short, with no dialogue.
I was sitting at an outdoor café; it was late, maybe nighttime, with a heavy fog in the air. The silhouettes of two people were walking towards me. I looked down to read the paper and felt the presence of one of the persons sitting down at my table. I looked up and it was Mary Alice.
It was if this dream was a harbinger, a sign of things to come.
The other item, well there has only been three females that I have ever had a serious relationship with. My wife, my ex-wife, and a girl in college. They all have one thing in common. Their names were all MARY
My wife, Mary Alice was only serious with one other person, her ex-husband. His name was Jon, my name is John. It seems to appear that we looking for the right name, just the wrong person.