Dear John; How the Sagas of People Like John Edwards and John Travolta Affect People Like Me

Annah ElizabethLeave a Comment

I would have voted for you, John Edwards.

The All-American Boy who grew up in Small Town America. The Boy Next Door with good ole’ fashioned values and a warm charm that is part and parcel to Southern-style hospitality.

As it is, I don’t remember the last time I voted for a U.S. President.

Politicians are liars and cheaters and manipulators.

They tell you what you want to hear.

And even if they are sincere to begin with, they end up climbing in to bed with Money, Power, and/or Greed.

In 1995, while Clinton was carrying on in the oval office with an intern, my husband and I were preparing to open our business, and raising two children under the age of three.

We were also coping with two miscarriages and the five-year anniversary of our eldest son’s death.

Warren and Bill, two politicians who would never meet, would each spend the better part of 1996 staving off rumors and concerns about extramarital activities.

But, no matter the scheme, there are usually—though not always—signs of an affair, even subtle as they might be.

Clinton and Monica had political discussions and documentation deliveries to use as their cover up.

Warren and my best friend (who we had hired) also had work as an excuse.

But it is hard to hide the chemistry of two people who are caught up in emotional and sexual energy.

The one event that resurrects itself when I speak of such things, is the time I waddled into the office—my pregnant belly leading the way—to find my friend sucking on an apple, her posture loose and seductive as she and my husband gazed at one another from across the room. And then a rigidity that locked their spines when they noticed my presence.

A blip, a flash in time, really, yet a warning as blaring as the horn on a sinking ship.

Ugh. How do you think I could get involved with her? Her face is nothing but big, scary wrinkles.” Warren visibly shuddered when he responded to my question about their level of involvement. “She’s a dog. Ugh.” He shuddered, again.

I wonder if Hillary had similar discussions with Bill before a stained, little blue dress unraveled the Clinton-Lewinsky affair.
I wonder if Hillary heard similar protests prior to Bill’s infamous, “I never had sexual relations with that woman, Monica Lewinsky.”

I wonder if Elizabeth had any suspicions in 2006, or if she was as blindsided by John Edwards’ affair with one of his staff members, as I was of my husband’s dalliances with yet another woman.

“No! Not John Edwards!” I lamented.

I wonder if she knew, when she stripped her shirt from her chest in an airport and hollered at John, “You don’t see me anymore!,” that across the miles another woman was gyrating her hips at her husband and shouting, “What does she have that I don’t have?!”

I wonder how many women (and men affected by adultery) look, initially, to some physical element as a potential cause for the affair.

For a time after Warren’s first affair, I thought about my wrinkly-faced friend, and could only imagine how repulsive my husband must have found me to be, if he could say such a thing about the woman he was screwing right under my nose.

Of course, I did come to understand that adultery doesn’t have anything to do with sex, really. There is always some underlying insecurity or fear or frustration that drives a person to commit infidelity.

And though it may appear that it has something to do with the spouse, it is entirely about the person stepping out on the marriage.

“Have you heard anything about what’s going on with John Travolta?” Warren asked me the other day. “I’m not sure, but his name is all over the radio the past few days, something about involvement with other men.”

I rarely pick up magazines because the news is stale before I actually have time to read whatever article caught my eye.

My husband isn’t prone to gossip, nor does he buy into Hollywood hype.

Two days prior to the article, a lens of Warren’s fishing glasses had fallen out while we were on the boat, and I told him he looked like one of the guys in Wild Hogs.

“It wasn’t Travolta,” I said, “It was that guy they call an actor’s actor… Macy…William H. Macy.” Maybe it was the ensuing movie conversation that made Warren mention the Travolta news.

Regardless of why he told me what he’d heard, I couldn’t resist the People cover staring at me in the grocery aisle, “Travolta Under Fire. Inside the Scandal. Shocking Sex Charges.”

Once home, I opened the magazine to discover the piece on John Edwards, one detailing Elizabeth’s public outburst.

And I was right there with her, in the airport, ripping off my shirt, hurling my pain at the person who had hurt me so badly, for had I endured breast cancer, I would likely have done the very same thing…

The article’s quote, “No one is going to deny that Mr. Edwards lied and lied and lied and lied,” brought up bile from the pit of my stomach.

“Deny. DENY. DENY!!!” That’s what I raged at my husband on many occasions. “How will I ever be able to trust you, again?!”

The feelings I had while reading the piece are no surprise, given my recent discovery that I still have healing to do. I still have unresolved conflict and feelings of mistrust.

 As I read the Travolta piece, I couldn’t help but wonder about Kelly Preston.

Does she trust John implicitly or does she have any doubts about the validity of the accusations?

If she is questioning, does she know that she isn’t alone in her fears?

Either way, does she know that others are thinking, wailing really, “Not John Travolta!”

Our paths have never crossed, and yet, there is a unique bond between Elizabeth, Kelly, me, and the countless others who have endured child loss and infidelity.

The road to healing from either one of these is an arduous journey, a voyage dotted with many twists and turns. Combining them makes the way a little messier.

A few days ago, I felt invalidated when Warren ignored a suggestion I made, only to later heed the same advice from a male friend.

Reading these two articles highlighted my current conflict and fed my fury.

“I wish you’d have given thought to how much damage you were going to do to your family,” I shouted at my husband, “how much pain you were going to thrust upon us, before you decided to unzip your pants for another woman,” I shouted at my husband all those years ago.

And as I read these stories, I couldn’t help but think about the Edwards and Travolta children.

I couldn’t help but think about the piece I wrote for Maria Shriver, one year ago, almost to the day, after news broke of Arnold’s affair.

An affair, like John Edwards’, that produced a child.

The People story reminded me about the vasectomy Warren convinced me he should have, when I was pregnant with our youngest child.

My doctor had suggested I have my tubes tied after my daughter was born, due to the complicated pregnancies and the two miscarriages I’d experienced, but I’d chosen to use birth control until such time I could make a rested decision.

“Your body has been through so much, both physically and emotionally,” my obstetrician had said.

And though Warren was, ultimately, the voice of reason, I couldn’t help but believe, after I learned the truth about him and my friend, that the real motive behind his operation was the affair; that he didn’t want to risk impregnating his mistress…

For that, I am thankful. And yet, I don’t know what I would do if I found out he had fathered a child with another woman.

When it comes to infidelity, most of us have strong opinions.

“u stayed married to a man who wanted to leave u 4 ur best friend & then had a second affair after u forgave that?” one Twitter follower wrote. “I couldn’t/wouldn’t do that,” countless others have said.

Huffingpost picked up Pauline Gaines’ post Should Maria Take Arnold Back?

And though it really isn’t any of our concern, many would offer a resounding ‘NO.’

“It takes two to make a marriage work,” my therapist once said, “but only one to screw it up.”

That is true before and after an affair. There are more people who do try to make the marriage work after adultery than you can imagine.

My children were one of the multitude of reasons I chose to make a go ot it. I would surmise the same is true for Hillary, and that the children played a role in Elizabeth’s attempt to stay in the marriage, and (if the rumors are true) Maria’s reconsiderations.

“Never say never,” I have said for years, “for you never know what you’ll do in a situation until you are faced with it…”

I’d cast my vote for that truth every day of the week, and twice on Sundays…


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