Leah is 82 years old and living in assisted living with her second husband, Herb. After they had been living there for a few months she told me that she had a special secret that was difficult for her to discuss with Herb. Worse, she was afraid that her secret might be disclosed by the newcomer.
The problem: about thirty years ago, when she was still married to Robbie and living with him in New Milford, Connecticut, she found out that he had been unfaithful. He was working as a typesetter for a local newspaper and fell in love with a woman in Accounting. He sneaked around with her for a couple of years until Leah found them out and exploded.
Leah knew nothing about the affair for the first six years that it had been going on and only found out about it in a way that humiliated her further. Her girlfriend, Sunny, said to her one day at lunch, “I saw Robbie with that dolled-up yenta who works with him at the paper. They were in Josie’s boutique. I never go in there myself—it’s too pricey—but I was looking around for something to wear to a wedding so that was my excuse.”
“What do you mean, ‘dolled-up yenta?’ Where does Robbie come to go out with a dolled-up yenta who’s not me?”
“I thought you knew about it.”
“Knew about what?”
“Everybody we know knows about him and Iris so I thought—”
“Oh, God. I never wanted to be the one—”
“How long has this been going on?”
“For this you’ll have to ask Robbie.”
So Leah asked Robbie and then he had the chutzpah to complain about Leah. “If you’re talking about Iris, the woman I love, you’ll have to lower your voice and talk like a lady.”
Well that did it for Leah of course. She could see that Robbie was too far gone to save and so they split.
Time passed and Leah married Herb, a marriage of later years with no high jinks or fireworks to give you a heart attack and they went into assisted living. But along comes Iris, now a widow with mascara and rouge, still looking for romance.
Herb often played darts with Ivor, a tall. thin widower in his eighties who had owned a string of beauty parlors. Iris, the newcomer, became very interested in playing darts.
“Do I have to live my whole life all over again—the aggravation of it?”, Leah wailed to Herb.
“You have nothing to worry about, mammele”, Herb said. “Iris and Ivor have already arranged to move in together.”
“What! Now I’m really insulted!”
“You’re complaining when you should be happy. What’s wrong with you?”
“What’s wrong with me is that Iris person, who doesn’t think my husband is good enough to steal! That’s a real slap in the face from this 85-year-old chippie!”