Three Glass Bottles, or a Life on a Shelf

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May 15, 2017

Three pieces of glass... tall, and somehow different than the other pieces of glass that they stood among. He knew my favorite colors... blues and greens.

They stood on the shelves, tall, beautiful pieces of blown glass, hand carried from some foreign country. They collected dust; they collected bad feelings. He always knew I loved blown glass. Colored glass was my favorite thing. Beautiful colored glass reflecting the pools of light from the windows…

They had sat for years, untouched, representative of the trip he took. It was that trip, where I knew he would be gone long enough for me to do a little investigating. I had my suspicions, but feared validation.

"My wife and I don’t get along very well", he wrote. Email thread mixed business and attempted pleasure.

"Why don’t you and your husband come over for dinner?She’ll cook. She’s a great cook." Did it strike her as odd, that the man who was flirting with her was attempting a double date?

"Yes, I wanted to kiss you at dinner the other night. I know it was business. Did I mention that my wife and I are sort of disconnected? Oh, yes, I did." I still wonder what she was thinking. when she read that email...

"Sure, I can meet you. My wife just has her radiation treatments today, but I am free." Free as a bird... no one needed to hold your hand.... That chain of emails later printed out as evidence for the Court case that ended up in mediation, where he would neither confirm nor deny any inappropriate relationships...

Look, honey, I brought you a present from the foreign country I visited. Look honey, colored glass…

(Don’t “honey me”, you bastard) So pretty, put them on the shelf with the others… (the other dust collecting pieces that you have bought me over the years... should I wonder if they, too, are collectors of lies as well as the dust? Should I wonder if all the gifts given in love were really given in guilt?)

Tell me about your trip… Did you buy her glass too? Or does she get you and I get the glass vessel?

Did she put up a fight, and feign interest in her marriage? Did she pretend to be more interested in her marriage than you were in yours?

Years later, that glass still stood there, on the shelf, casting suspicion on all the other glass pieces given in love, or in guilt… I may never know.

Cleaning to move from the marital house that finally sold… I have decided that if I don’t love it, it stays. Toss, sell, give away… lots of toss…. Piles here, there and everywhere… time to make decisions. So much dust collecting glass that I want to take into the back yard and smash it. I want to stand at the top of the stairs and drop the glass. Not wanting to clean up the mess is the only thing preventing such destruction.

I remember wanting to hurt him. I remember asking him, while he was thousands of miles away from me, if she was there… silence was all I heard. It wasn’t a bad connection, and she wasn’t there. He just never knew that I knew that there was a she other than me. I asked him while he was away, so he would have many hours alone, at least on the plane to think about what he was coming home to… would I still be there? Who would I have told? Would his perfect reputation be tarnished like the silver? Was our marriage broken like the glass could be?

Years later, he has moved on…he probably won’t remember the glass when I give it to him. It’s too pretty to break, but it has no place with me… I don’t want it. Maybe he will have a fleeting memory of what happened when he came home, carrying the peace offering.

Dusting the shelves, I remove the offending foreign glass objects…skinny and tall, I wonder how they can be so full of my feelings, negative feelings and memories…one-sided memories… Did he purchase the glass before or after I asked him about her? Would it matter to me if I knew that he bought them before, or would it be worse if I knew that he bought them after I accused him of being a liar and a cheater?

How could I have let them sit on the shelves all these years? Every time I looked at them, I welled up with tears. What would I tell my children when they asked where the pretty Spanish glass went? Would anyone tell me to just let it go? Wrapped in paper, I passed them to my son to give back to his father. Nope, I know I love pretty glass pieces, I just don’t love THOSE glass pieces… maybe daddy will want them. I hope he remembers that they aren't just random trinkets offered to the ex-spouse.

Mom, he took them, but I don’t think he remembered them.  I didn’t think he would.  Why are you giving them away, anyway? It’s a long time, my Sweet. I just don’t think they will match my new life. It’s time for a new hobby. It hurt to give them away, but it would hurt more to keep them. I’m going to try to collect something a little less breakable than glass. 

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