This is part thirteen of the Homey and Me Love Story. It is when my marriage to Rusty was ending – long before I met Homey, but an important part of the story, nonetheless.
It was February 11, around noon, when I sat down at the computer, mechanically, trying to hack my way into Rusty’s email. I wasn’t sure why I was doing it. I prayed to make sure that it wasn’t a mistake for me to get in his email without his consent. I knew that it could be a major betrayal of trust, but the Spirit reminded me, He is not to be trusted, and you know this. So…I found myself at the computer, trying a few passwords.
None of them were working.
I noticed the prompt forget your password? Even though I hadn’t forgotten it, I knew it was my best chance of figuring out how to get into the account. I was asked a security question: What is your favorite sports team? I knew Rusty well enough to attempt to answer this question. I also knew that Rusty loved sports. There were so many options. I tried them. Jazz, Utah Jazz, The Utah Jazz, St. Louis Cardinals, Cardinals, The Cardinals, Saint Louis Cardinals, Chicago Bears, The Bears, The Chicago Bears, The Eagles, and on, and on, and on. I wasn’t coming up with anything. After a few minutes of unsuccessfully guessing, Panda came into the room begging for lunch. I decided to give up the email quest. I figured, It isn’t meant to be. I was both disappointed and relieved. However, as I left, I didn’t turn off the computer. I figured I’d do that after feeding the kids.
After making sandwiches, eating, and cleaning up, I felt myself drawn, again, to the office room where the computer sat. I knew it was on and waiting for me. I told myself I’d just go up, turn it off, and then pray again for comfort and strength. I knew that everything would be okay.
When I went up to the computer, it was as if I was on “auto-pilot.” I sat down at the computer and just started typing: F-l-y-e-r-s. And BAM! Just like that – I was in.
I was so relieved to find the email inbox empty – except for a note from an guy in Utah – that Rusty had a landscaping business with. Yet, my “auto-pilot” was still on, and instead of logging off of the computer, I was checking the sent mail.
Then my heart began to sink. There were dozens. No hundreds of emails from Rusty to other women. I only saw subject lines…but they were bad enough. I clicked on one that said Thinking of You.
And I read that filthy, vile email.
The email was a note reminiscing on a time when he had been back to Utah, for His grandfather’s funeral, and he had met with a woman at a hotel. They had various sexual exploits. I was disgusted. I knew it was true. It was all over. I read the email once, then I called my dear friend, Blythe, and read her every word of the ex-ex-ex rated email. I think she choked. Then I said to her, I have to let you go.
I called Rusty. He was working with my step-dad. Again, I asked him, “What’s going on with you and Jezebel?”
“Nothing, Catania. I promise.”
“No, really. What’s going on with you and Jezebel?”
“Catania, is this because of the p*rnography you found the other day?”
“Rusty. I know. I have read your emails. I know that you cheated on me with Jezebel.”
Barely audible, Rusty stated, “It’s true.”
I hung up the phone and felt like I would vomit. Instead, I just collapsed. As I fell down to the ground, I kind of…cackled/choked. It wasn’t just a cry. It was despair. Even though my life had been hanging heavy for weeks, it finally took that last crash. I was finally beginning to jolt into awareness.
I remember that moment – lying on the ground, truly pounding it with my fists like a two year old having a tantrum. It was also nearly an out-of-body experience. Another part of me seemed to hover above myself – very aware of how crazy this was. Catania, you are crying, I thought to myself.
My mom came upstairs, and I don’t remember what I told her, but she now knew. I was still feeling like two people. Catania 1 was lying on the ground, crying in the ugliest way. Catania 2 was hovering above, shocked and embarrassed for Catania 1 – telling her hey, you’re crying! This is weird! This is exactly how it would happen in a movie! You’re acting like a two-year old! Catania 1 kept crying on the floor, shaking, holding back vomit while Catania 2 hovered and thought, this seems a little over-the-top…faker and then replayed the fall that Catania 1 had done upon reading the email over and over and over again.
I looked up at my mom and saw Tiger and Panda standing beneath her, anxious.
“Why are you crying, Mama?” Tiger asked, worried.
“It’s okay, let’s go and watch a movie, okay?” I knew that I wasn’t convincing, but I also knew that she would happily watch a movie.
My mom took the girls downstairs and started a video.
Instead of going downstairs, I called my Bishop on his cell phone.
“Hi. This is Catania from your ward.”
“Um. I’m calling because I know that you have an appointment to meet with my husband tomorrow, but I’m beginning to think that you’ll have to meet with me, too.”
“I just found out that Rusty has been having an affair.”
I heard him pause and take a gulp.
“Look. I’m at a conference for work right now, but I’ll call you back. I’ll pray for you. And you pray, too.” He then paused and said, “Catania, pray — Right now you are in your own personal gethsemane.”
I nodded my head, unable to say anything because of the sobs and tears steraming down my face.
“k.” I finally muttered.
I hung up the phone, and collapsed again – this time on the bed – internalizing what the Bishop had said. I knew it was true. I was going to experience my own kind of “gethsemane” – I knew that I was about to live through more pain than I ever thought possible.
I sat on the bed, crying for a while, but a nervous energy began to consume me. I called Blythe, I called Freckles, I called Spunky. I called Red. I called the Princess Club. I called friends from Utah. I called friends in PA. I wrote an email to Jezebel and read through all of Rusty’s emails. I wrote emails to a few other women that I suspected Rusty had slept with.
Rusty came home, and we went upstairs to talk things through. I called his parents, his siblings, and his best friend. No matter how hard I tried to embarrass him, he didn’t flinch. Repeating the story – even in the most shocking way to other people – didn’t make me feel Rusty and worse or me any better. I was still sobbing. And Rusty stared at me as if he was wondering when this episode would end.
I asked Rusty all of the evidentiary questions…who(too many to tell, really), what (sex, in any and every way you can think), where (in my home, in Moab, in cars, in their homes, in tents, and…well you get the idea), why (he didn’t know…maybe he had a tough time acclimating to married life), when (september 1998, two months after we were married, after work, that day in the canyon, at the depeche mode concert, while I was at Young Women’s, while he was studying, when he went to the “library”, etc), and how (easy- he lied to me, to himself, and to everyone again, again, and again.)
After a few hours of questioning, we came downstairs. I was disgusted. Some of my mom’s friends (Vito and Gigi) were at my house. They were apprised of the situation. Vito acted like a father to me. He said that he wanted to break Rusty’s neck. (Which made me smile). When my mom said that Rusty was not welcome in our house, Vito offered to take care of him. Vito took Rusty to a parking lot behind McDonald’s and kicked him out of his car. When Rusty asked Vito where he was going to sleep, Vito replied, “That’s not my concern.” Rusty, still confused at this sudden turn of events protested, “But I can’t just sleep in this parking lot.”
Vito responded, “Listen, buddy. You’ll be better off in this parking lot than anywhere near me.”
For the rest of the evening, I cried, cried, and cried some more. My friends cried with me. They were appalled and sick for me. I felt the strength of so many people who cared.
Before I tried to sleep, I had the thought to email a few old friends. I emailed my dear friend Garet and told him what was going on. I felt like I needed to talk to people who knew me. I also emailed Snoopy. I didn’t tell him what had happened right away. Instead, I just told him that I had run into his parents a few weeks before (I had – at a church function). They told me that he was at Law School. I asked him how life was, and I told him I was back in PA. I wished him the best. In doing so, I wished that I’d hear back from him, without knowing what he’d say or what I’d say – if I’d tell him about me and Rusty. Writing my friends kept me busy for a little while. Then it was back to the reality of the moment.
Throughout the night, I sat on the guest bed, expecting a phone call from Rusty. I expected a phone call of sorrow and remorse. I wanted a phone call where he told me that he loved me, why he loved me, and that I was beautiful. I wanted him to tell me that this wasn’t true – it was a mistake. Even though so many people rallied around me; even though I felt the love, strength, and support of my ecclesiastical leaders; even though I knew that God was aware of me and had me cradled in His hands, I just wanted to curl up and cry in the arms of my husband.
Instead of a phone call from Rusty, I got a phone call from Red who listened as I gave her every painful detail. Whiles speaking to Red, I came to understand exactly the Spirit was trying to teach me about Galatians 5:1 (at that time). I needed to stand fast in the Liberty wherewith Christ had made me free. As long as I was yoked to Rusty, through marriage, I would be yoked to the mire of his sins. I wasn’t completely ready to call it quits on my marriage, but I had a strong feeling that I needed to use all of the energy I had left to get as far away from it as I possibly could. I was getting the idea that if I didn’t, I’d find myself stuck in the mud, miserable, forever.
After my conversation with Red, I stopped calling friends (it was the middle of the night!). Catania 2, my rational side, hovered above me and watched as Catania 1 took off her wedding ring, took some Ibuprofen, wrote in her journal, and cried some more. Morning could not come soon enough.