One . . .
I began keeping a journal after a night of heavy partying with my newly divorced friends and waking up on a red and black dragon float in some stranger’s pool, out in East Hampton, New York. As I came out of my drunken coma, wondering where the hell I was, a young Steven Tyler-looking guy was trying to reel me in with a pool skimmer. It was then when I made a note to myself to never, under any circumstance, drink to the point where I didn’t know what I was doing. It turns out that this incident was the beginning of my many ‘notes to self’.
My chaotic, and juvenile, endeavor began when I made the decision to leave my unfaithful husband of fifteen years. Watching him go out at night and not come home was not only a twice a week occurrence, it had become his mission in life. After years of ignoring my suspicions, his infidelity was brought front and center through an anonymous phone call telling me where I’d find him.
As I raced through my house looking for my car keys, hopping to the front door as I hurried to put on my sneakers, I prayed that the tip-off was a prank. But a deeper part of me knew that it wasn’t. I was about to face a truth; one that I had suppressed for years. The caller said that I’d find him at the Skyview Motor Lodge by JFK Airport. And sure enough, I did.
After days of hearing him beg for my forgiveness, I came to grips with the fact that this breakup was long overdue. The signs had been there all along, only like most people, I chose to ignore them. I looked away when he said he had to go out of town for meetings. I shrugged it off when he called to say that he was working late. I gave him the okay to go on little fishing trips. Because, by golly, I was determined to keep my happy little nest, happy. Looking back, I’ll admit that I was in denial. I’m supposed to be the smart one; so clever, and yet, I let the truth elude me just to keep things in their proper and tidy place. But after catching him with her, denial was no longer an option. I kicked him out, got a lawyer, and threatened him that if he didn’t pay for the divorce, I’d take him for every dollar he had. And if it’s one thing about men with money, it’s that they don’t want to part with it. I proceeded with the divorce, went back to using my maiden name, and changed all the locks. It was the end of an era spent in delusions and the beginning of a new regime where putting me first was at the top of the list. As scared as I was, I was ready to face my demons head on. Jessie Baldwin was back in the dating game.