In the midst of my affair I still did my dutiful husbandly duty of driving my (then) wife’s Lexus SUV to the gas station very early on cool weekend mornings and filling up the gas tank. Actually, I don’t know if this happened many times, but when recollecting sentimentality, there is the tendency of our brain to extrapolate mass occasions which usually dwarf underwhelming reality. For all I know, I may have taken her car to the gas station just a couple of times in the context of this tale, but in spinning this remembrance, I perceive this to have happened at least 300 times. Anyways, in the middle of my affair, which was hidden (otherwise what good is an affair), I still did my best to be a good husband/slave. I would fill her gas tank very early in the morning since she and our son were still in bed. She loved ABBA, and she had a “best of” compilation CD in her changer. She liked the band so much, the CD became a permanent car fixture, and I would drive her car a couple of miles away while the other love of my life also slept soundly at her house many miles away, in another city. She was my mistress, my love, the home wrecker, all that wonderful stuff. I was the unfaithful husband putting gas in his wife’s car and each time I drove alone to he gas station, I switched the ABBA CD to the same track and listened to what I’ve always believed was their saddest song. And it really seemed sad those moments I drove my wife’s car alone to the gas station while my cheating heart was split in a chasm of two cliffs, a state of constant heinous duality, like an emotional tightrope. I would listen to this song and the lyrics’ searing pain always made me cry for my wife who I was wronging on a daily basis. It was the only time I ever felt guilt throughout the ordeal. I didn’t cry for myself when listening to this song. I imagined that my wife was singing it to my absent form in the dead of a dark night while I wandered unseen. The song very well might have been written by my wife, but its sentiments surely ring true for all spouses caught on the short end of the extramarital stick. The song brought to the surface all the pain I was inflicting without her even knowing it. Hidden infidelity is poison.
As I listen to the song now, the words, as fictionally sung by my ex-wife, still bite. But most preposterous is the idea I ever believed I was anything resembling a “winner.” That was, and is, utter bullshit. I created havoc and pain and any presumption of victory by anybody involved was sure to be swatted down in a horrific explosion of cold reality.
Are there truly any winners or losers in this grand voyage called Life?
I doubt it.
There are victors and losers but they only exist in the span of a tearful blink. Win, lose, continue the cycle, on and on and on for a whole life and you learn eventually that claiming victory is sure to be short-lived and humiliating.
The winner takes it all, but that prize may just as surely slip through his fingers in the flicker of an anguished moment.
The song brings back those vivid memories of leather and foggy windows and the smell of gas and my horrible weekly ten-minute escapes during which I allowed myself to feel that wrenching guilt I denied the rest of the time, killing souls.
The winner never had it so good, and loser, never so bad.