#5 So I Bought Him a Humidifier

An early 70’s friendship with a married man shifted from working together, commuting together and playing tennis, to a stupid affair: one with all the classic sappy heart breaking loneliness and guilt. So heart gets pulverized and in my brilliance I eventually live with the single guy. Now we move up to about 1979-81. And a few years later the heart breaker returned. I wasn’t exactly easy, but over time was a sucker for the attention. By now I had my house in Connecticut and the best radio sales job in the country. I either spent weekends alone or friends came to my house. We were in the same business, and friends were caught up in this illusive, supposedly secret romance. If only they had just slapped me.

This was the second affair with the same man, and after a year of on again off again longing and depriving myself of any other male company he legally separated and lived with me. If you define love as great sex, we must have been happy a lot of the time.

He had just joined a small advertising firm making much less money and all of that went to support his family. I made good money and had built a house as an investment in the Hamptons. So I took us to St. Martin, bought him much needed clothes, expensive luggage, housed and fed us. Wasn’t I finally living my dream? Wasn’t he the love of my life?

I knew that he had history with college drugs and he had me try pot. I hated drugs (if you don’t count wine, scotch, coffee or cigarettes) but that was in his past and nobody’s perfect, right? We had his children with us on weekends. The first year was tricky since the eldest resented my not being Jewish. Well, not so much tricky as pure torture. We got past that.

He had a vasectomy because we felt the boys would need all our attention. So I wouldn’t be a mother. We met with his financial guy to plan for their educations which meant inspecting my finances. Luckily my business continued to thrive, though my savings did not. One day he gave me a check for half a month’s mortgage, but he had to ask for that back. I knew it must have been humiliating for him. Surely one day he’d be able to help

And that did change. He bought a stereo and a couple of TV’s. He took me on weekend trips and we went to meet his divorced parents in Florida. My mother and her husband visited us. I taught the boys to ski. Then there was an extravagant trip to Europe, starting in Amsterdam. We caught a cruise up the Rhine sipping champagne cocktails and stayed in an astonishingly grand hotel in Zurich. He even had expensive crystal shipped back so it seemed he’d finally be able to contribute to the household.

When it was time to return from Geneva, he was miserably sick at the airport. He was shaky, perspiring, and constantly running to the men’s room. We made it to JFK our daily commute to Manhattan. He never had full blown flu but began having trouble with nose bleeds. So I bought him a humidifier for the bedroom.

Next he contracted a pool for the kids to enjoy on weekends. It was about this time, with the giant mud hole in my yard, that he called my office saying he’d have to work late and I should take the train and a cab home.

He didn’t come home that night or ever. Throwing myself into work, I went on a health regime of coffee, cigarettes and no sleep, losing 20 pounds. He went immediately to live with a woman from his office, who got a kick from making crank phone calls. I had to change my number. We worked in the small world of broadcasting and advertising so this was a very public story. I also learned about his astonishingly expensive cocaine habit which was apparently more profitable than advertising. And I never saw it.

The following year I was contacted by the IRS. He tried to claim my house on his taxes basing this on the one check he’d given me, but asked for back. Good thing the guy at the IRS was a lot smarter than I. And that other woman? He married her about two months after he disappeared, and he bought them a house.

One Comment on “#5 So I Bought Him a Humidifier”

  1. Bev Bosak says:

    Elizabeth…what a wonderful writer you are but then I should know that. Thanks for sharing from your heart. We really need to do lunch.

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