Now Who is the Smart One?
Roberta would tell you Keith had dazzled her.
He was young and handsome, charming and lively and seemed on a rocket ride to
success. Happy, confident, with not a drop of uncertainty. That he was interested in her boosted her ego, and had her half way in love with him at first sight.
When the relationship became serious she was almost amazed, for Keith was all that... so hey! She must be all that too!
They married and everything was story book.
When you live with someone
When you live with someone you are exposed to their faults.
Living with Keith, who had a sense of superiority and never listened to a word she said, was more than a fault..
Keith had this belief in his own brilliance that had not disturbed her at first.
He was all that... or so she had thought. But living with him, she found his judgment flawed on many occasions. His assumptions based on nothing but his belief in himself.
He didn't listen, slapped away her opinions and ideas as if she was too stupid to tie her own shoelaces.
He would give her chapter and verse why she was misguided. And when he was proven wrong did not even give her a nod.
The longer Roberta lived with him, the more she saw how everyone around him found him repellent and how he was unaware how his audience was unimpressed with his monologues. But he was too blind to see it.
If she tried to stop him, he’d fling away her attempts and berate her.
Although just an Accountant he considered himself the CEO.
How could he not see that if he behaved too presumptuously, if his co-workers saw through him as she did, his contract would not be renewed?
She could see it from her distance, he could not see beyond his nose.
If his sense of superiority or rightness happened once and awhile it would be ‘normal’. But it did not happen once and a while, it happened all the time.
Keith made plans, organized activities and never consulted her. He never asked her opinion. When he told her, it would be too late to cancel. To express her desires would set him off on a diatribe in which he ridiculed and insulted her.
It was this attitude that she was inferior and virtually comic relief which hurt her the most. So she stopped saying anything.
When each of their two children were born he set rules and schedules, which he demanded she follow.
The rules and regulations and schedules were worthless and because he went to work on week days, she could do what she knew was right.
On weekends, she would turn the children over to him, and go on forever shopping expeditions or visits to her mother. leaving him to enforce his rules and regulations and schedules which didn’t work.
It was on one of her Shopping Expeditions, while sitting in a coffee shop, she overheard a married couple speaking. The husband expressed an idea, the wife disputed.
Roberta thought...'here it comes!' expecting a Keith kind of slap down. But that is not what happened. The husband asked his wife to explain. Asked her with deference in his voice.
Roberta was shocked by the respect the husband paid the wife. How he listened to her. And that was when she realised her marriage to Keith should end.
He had never treated her with respect or deference as that husband did to that wife.
As she sat there, she choked back tears, for she would never have what those strangers did.
Not with Keith.
Roberta began falling out of love. It didn't take long. He soon became more of a clumsy dog than her husband.
Roberta considered divorce. But, divorce on what grounds? Misrepresentation?
She looked back at her marriage noting she had stopped listening, expressing herself. She felt more contempt for Keith than any other emotion.
With the older child in Kindergarten, and the little one attending Play School, Roberta had time to think.
Keith's contract was not been renewed, as she expected. This shocked him. He was unable to comprehend how the company could possibly exist without him.
Roberta took this as her opening. She consulted a divorce lawyer, learning how much it would cost, and having no real grounds, hit upon the idea of having him divorce her.
Divorce her for what?
Learning from History
Roberta had read a book about an English Queen whose husband wanted to get rid of her.
The Queen decided to have him charge her for ‘treason’; for in those days, adultery, for a Queen was treason.
The Queen, aware her ladies in waiting were spies, emitted fabricated information, which ‘proved’ she had committed adultery with a number of Lords.
Some of the Lords she purportedly had affairs with were dead, some were abroad and had been so for decades. One was old and infirm, another lived hundreds of miles away.
So anxious to get that divorce, that ruling of treason, the King did not investigate. He raced ahead.
When the case came to trial and the impossibility of the Queen’s adultery with these named persons came to light, the King was totally humiliated, and could not put her asunder.
If it worked for a Queen, it can work for her.
Sitting in public with her husband at one of the places he frequented, Roberta did not remain silent.
She provoked Keith, and he told her that she knew nothing about anything. She retaliated that he knew nothing. And right there ‘revealed’ she had affairs with his boss and one of his friends.
This stunned him, and suddenly he was screaming. Everyone turned, and watched Keith make an idiot of himself.
Security was called, and Keith was removed.
Roberta went home, got the kids, and took them to her mother's house. She was almost amazed that she, Roberta, the appendage of the Great Keith, had so read him, so played him, that he behaved exactly as she wanted.
Aware that Keith or his folks would be pounding on the door early in the morning, Roberta left at nearly the crack of dawn to find a job. Her mother would keep the children.
Keith called Roberta speaking loud and insulting. Roberta taped the call. Keith used the worse language to describe her, from parasite to whore, and she had to do all she could not to burst into laughter.
Little Roberta, the dumb one, had written a script, and Keith was following it as an automaton.
In a short time, Roberta received the a divorce petition, citing adultery.
Now she would have her revenge, just like that Queen.
For Roberta had never committed adultery and beyond those fiery words, there was no proof at all whatsoever that Roberta had ever touched another man’s hand during the years of her marriage.
Falling into the Trap
Knowing Keith, he would race out to prove himself, and get a girlfriend he could parade about. This, of course, would prove he was the adulterer not her. To add to his boastings, he posted many photos of he and his gal on Facebook.
The female looked and dressed as if there was a cash register on her bed. Roberta captured the images, and made sure everyone saw them.
From the moment of his wife’s confession of adultery Keith became so erratic he couldn’t find a job. Forget his non-recommendation from his previous employer, they didn’t want an accountant who looked like a volcano.
When he calmed a bit, he would attend interviews and the better companies did the old Facebook search. They viewed the images of he and his gal and declined to hire him. He, with his ego, did not even look at the smaller positions.
Not at first.
Roberta, however, had quickly found a job and her mother would help her mind the children.
Together they had cleaned out the flat, taking what they wanted, leaving what they didn’t, and gave the keys to a neighbor who phoned Keith and told him to come and take what he wished.
As the rent was due and unpaid, and Keith did not arrive, the landlord cleaned out the flat and put the things in the basement. Had Keith come the first day or the second after the call, he’d not find his property jumbled and broken in a basement.
But for Keith to come when summoned was too far beneath him so, he paid the penalty.
The Plot thickens/sickens
Roberta, home with her mother and children, having a nice job, making new friends, was doing well. In fact, she was doing better than she ever had.
Keith had given her a false sense of inferiority. Being on her own, responsible for her own decisions, elevated her and convinced Roberta of her own abilities.
She looked forward to each day, to each challenge and began to grow this kernel of hatred for Keith and what he had done to her.
Keith, for his part was doing badly. His attorney obtained certain 'interim orders’; Keith would pay a certain amount per week for the maintenance of his children and have bi-monthly visitation.
His children were not ecstatic to see him and he tried to love them as much as he could during the few hours he spent with them, but he was unable to avoid criticizing how they looked, or were dressed or spoke, or thought.
This was standard Keith, the arbiter of all fashion, of all social interaction.
When the Court Date Arrived, nothing prepared him for how humiliated he would be.
He had spent the intervening months bragging how he’d say and do and the Court would condemn Roberta. He had her out as the worst person who ever lived. He couldn’t hold a conversation that he didn’t demean and attack his adulterous wife.
Keith dressed for Court to show off how handsome he was. Roberta dressed to prove how sedate and decent.
When Keith got to blast about his wife’s adultery, her lawyer asked for proof. All he could say was that ‘she said’.
This was not particularly useful.
Roberta’s lawyer played the recording of his angry speech which attacked her with no reference to any evidence at all. No proof that she did or had done what he accused her of.
Roberta’s lawyer put photos taken from Facebook into Keith’s hands to ask him about the woman. The judge saw the images, and drew the expected conclusion as to level of the female’s morality and the fact that the adultery was being committed by Keith, not his wife.
Keith’s Petition was rejected, and Roberta was advised to divorce Keith for adultery.
Further, Keith was condemned for the costs of the Petition, the costs of Roberta’s attorney.
Roberta kept her face straight and left the Courtroom.
The Game continues
It was not that Roberta wanted to remain married to Keith, she did not. However, it had all been his way from the start. It was going to be her way now.
Some of her friends had disagreed with her, why not get it over with? She had a pat answer, which was partially true. She would not have ‘adultery’ on her record as she was not an adulterer.
The fact was, to have Keith at her mercy just this once, proving to him that he was not superior to her, was worth the time and expense.
Living with her mother, being treated with respect and love, having a job where she was liked, spotlighted the years of virtual degradation she had gone through with Keith.
Seeing the photographs of the gal he was involved with, to show the world he was completely over Roberta, had backfired.
Her lawyer said; “We should have filed a Counter-Petition...”
“Yes, when he refiles that is what we do.”
“What if he doesn’t?” her Attorney asked.
“He will...” she smiled.
The Next Gambit
That evening she told her mother how humiliated she felt when he made those adultery attacks, and her mother grabbed her cell phone, called Keith and roundly insulted him, then his family, before hanging up.
Roberta knew he’d be at his lawyer’s first thing in the morning.
As she went to work, she asked herself, what was she proving? That she was ‘better’ than Keith? Yes, sure... but...
She wanted custody of the children, she wanted alimony and maintenance and half of his assets. He might not have much now, but knowing Keith, he would prefer to sit on a sidewalk and beg then get a good job and have to give her and his children half his pay.
When you live with a person, you learn their faults. Some are minor and livable. Others are not minor and not livable.
All his life Keith was the pandered to spoiled brat who always got what he wanted. The superior intellect who knew everything. A man who took no advice, who listened to no other opinion, and went through his days as if he were King of the Earth.
If his parents would have restricted him, shown him limits, not supported him when he was wrong, then maybe he would not have made their lives together so one sided, so ‘his’ way.
If he knew that he had to ‘play well with others’ he would have had his contract renewed, instead of terminated.
But, still thinking he knew it all, Keith proceeded on his path, and she, Roberta, would encourage that path. Encourage him to file another petition. If by some miracle he grew a brain and didn’t in three months she would file her own.
And she would charge him with abuse, adultery, and limit his access to the children, considering his choice of a companion.
Ten years from now she would be at the top, her kids would be wonderful people. And Keith would be even less than he was today.
Perhaps then he might, just might reassess his perceptions; but, knowing Keith, he probably would not. He would devote his life to blaming her for all his failure. Which, to think of it, might actually prove true.