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Part 4: Rob's Letter


To recap: My brother-in-law came over for lunch twice and asked me not to tell my husband or my sister. He then discreetly gave me a letter while we were at a family lunch.

I kept the letter folded in my back pocket throughout lunch and the entire visit at my parent's house. I did not want to know what it said while I was in Rob's presence. Finally I got home -- before Bill did (he had to work that day and wasn't home yet) -- and opened the letter.

This is what it said.


Again, forgive me. I truly understand your feelings of deception. It was really great to be so embroiled in conversation where two hours felt like 15 minutes. I'm sorry we got caught up in my current drama with Caroline which punctuated your stress. That was unfair and I should have anticipated it. I struggle with trusting anyone inside to witness my weakness, my frailties. Lincoln leaned on a very close communicational friend throughout his life and it wasn't Mary Todd. But Lincoln's friendship with Joshua Steed is misguidedly impugned by many today as gay. Anyway, this may be a stretch but I see some similarity here.

In the multiple dramas I play in, I struggle first with inadequacy and then with purpose. Last February, I remember feeling completely alone while we were cruising in the Caribbean. I was certain the company was going bankrupt and there was nothing I could do about it. Over time I was able to work my way through the cold business hostilities and lead an unbelievable turnaround. I should be proud. But instead of feeling ecstatic, I somehow feel unclean and like I'm selling my soul for what I must and continue to say and do. At the end of the day it all seems pointless. I guess I feel a little like George Bailey searching for Clarence.

I know my family and social persona is a bit sophomoric and I know there are times where I have annoyed you. No doubt my outward jocularity and superficiality are defenses against letting others in too close. But let me at least say in this one private note, that from my distance, you do everything right. I love witnessing your coping skills. I love your patience and spirit. You always seem to find your way back to peace.

If you ever want to talk about anything at a different level, I'll be wandering through the desert with my cell phone on.

Warmest regards,

(Side note: I cringe just looking at that again. It's been about nine months since I first looked at it and reading it again has given me a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.)

Soon after I finished reading it, Bill got home from work. I told him that Rob gave me a letter at the restaurant and let Bill read it. Needless to say, Bill was furious. He felt like this was a personal attack on our family, our marriage, our life together.

After talking it over for half an hour or so, we decided Bill would confront Rob with this letter at Rob's house. I stayed home with the kids and waited for Bill to get back.

It turns out Rob was not home when Bill got there. Caroline answered the door and was happily surprised to see Bill. But her happiness soon turned to concern once Bill handed her the letter and quickly explained what had been going on.

This is right when Rob walked in the door, back from working out at the gym. He, too, was pleasantly surprised to see Bill, until he learned what the visit was about. Bill said Rob looked "guilty as hell" as Bill unleashed a controlled tirade on him.

Bill left with the following words hanging in the air: "Do not contact my wife. Do not call my wife. Do not send my wife letters. Do not send my wife e-mail. You are not allowed or welcome in my house. Do I make myself clear? My family needs a break from your family."

With that, he left their house.

Caroline did e-mail me about two weeks later to ask if I was ready to talk to her. I said yes and we spoke briefly about what had transpired. To my surprise, she admitted that what Rob had done was "inappropriate." However, she has explained this behavior away to Rob "getting inside your head in this mental chess game he and I (Caroline) are playing."

Bill and I thought they would get divorced when Caroline heard about this. So when she told me he was getting information about her to basically one-up her, my mouth fell to the floor.

It's been about nine months since this has happened. And no one else in the family knows about it. I haven't seen Rob since that day at the restaurant, and I have no desire to ever see him or talk to him again.

What's most egregious about this is that he actually used the guise of "a spiritual crisis" to get to me. I find that so heinous, I can't even fully elaborate it via words. There are basically no words that can convey my disgust. Clearly, I will never trust him again.

The fact that he was "romantically" interested in his wife's sister is equally heinous. That should go without saying.

All of this has really affected my relationship with Caroline. There's a huge barrier between us that can't be lifted, should she choose to stay married to him.

And since it's been nine months now, I think it's safe to assume she's going to remain married.


2006-11-12 at 4:14 p.m.

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