Dear diary,

April 12, 2018

Well, this is a first. Not the first like you imagine as a little girl, like buying that cute sweater with your own money. Not the first like you imagine as a teenager, like getting that first kiss on your porch at eight o’clock. Not the first like you imagine as a young adult, partying the night away and drinking Cosmopolitans and talking about adult stuff.

I suppose I must consider this a last. 

I divorced my husband yesterday. He cheated on me. I am fifty-three. We’ve been married for thirty years. It’s our thirty year anniversary today, which is why I am picking up this diary again. I don’t write in it very often, so this is a very special occasion. I wouldn’t even be writing this if he hadn’t slept with that woman. We would have been in Paris now. I always wanted to go to Paris.

I am trying to drag myself out of my own pity party, but it’s hard. My husband cheated on me. It's hard. Especially because it’s my husband, not my daughter’s husband or my coworker’s husband. Mine! I just can’t believe it. I know I sound like a broken record, but this broken record just can't be fixed.

His mistress wanted to talk to me today over coffee. To spare both of us an emotional roller coaster (fine, only me), I decided not to show up to coffee today. I wouldn't want her to lose any sleep.

I just wish my husband had spared the same courtesy for me.

Not showing up at all, instead of showing up with her.


Dear diary,

September 10, 2018

My mom told me that marriage is like this, some up and a lot of down, except…

It wasn’t.

I was fifty three, but I was in love with him, maybe even more so than my twenties. We eloped, during my lunch break in college. My parents agreed that it would never last because what unorthodox things can last? To them, our relationship was just as impermanent and irrational as a teenager’s goth phase. 

I loved him, though, and every little thing he did for me. Like, he made me coffee (cinnamon, no sugar, a lot of cream) every morning for thirty years, stopping only when I was on a nine-day mission to end my caffeine addiction. Once, when I was pregnant with our second child, I started crying over a dead bird, and he made a funeral for it. Or, when there was a tornado a town over, and he made a pillow fort for me and him and made us hot chocolate.

Damn. He doesn’t make it easy for me to move on.

You don’t really get how painful being cheated on is until you’ve been cheated on. I mean, you can sympathize with the victim, apologize and cry with them, but you will never really understand. I sure didn’t. I think that when he told me, I just stood there. I didn’t even cry. I didn’t cry until after the divorce papers were signed.

It’s been hard, but I am on my own now. I moved north. It’s easier, I get spared the pitiful glances from my local gym and church. I moved somewhere too busy for my parents to follow me, too small for one of my friends to visit. It’s quiet here. Still.

I miss the noise, my husband’s annoying shower singing, the coffee machine humming, the water dripping in our leaky sink. But, I’m okay!

Fine. I’m not okay, but I’m living more than you did yesterday. That’s something, right?


Dear diary, 

October 24, 2018

My daughter called me today. She is twenty-three and already living her life more than I have mine. I try not to be resentful, but then again I was never the perfect mother. If she asked for a souvenir t-shirt, I would find my size first. If she wanted to go to a new restaurant, I would make sure that they had vegetarian accommodations before even considering it, even if this vegetarian diet was just a week-long thing.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my daughter, and she loves me. I am incredibly proud of her. She is twenty-three and has twins, an amazing job, and a husband that makes his own bed in the morning. 

But, I know that she craved an independent life, leaving at eighteen for a college across the country. She wanted her independence so much so that she hasn’t visited for Christmas in three years. Even towards the end of college, she would just shrug (or I would imagine she did, over the phone) and say, I don’t know. Now, she doesn’t call me unless she needs me to babysit her twins or when she is curious about one of my friend’s Facebook posts. I echo her, I don’t know, sweetie. 

Even with the great distance that divided us, the (bi)monthly calls, and the fact that she has blocked me from her Facebook, I called her. I thought she would be at work, and she preferred that I didn’t call her through her personal cell, reserving it for “the immediate family” (which, somehow, didn’t include me). I called her work phone, and her young assistant told me that I could schedule a call on Friday. It was a Monday. So, I reminded her that this was Katherine’s mother- Katherine? Yes, yes, Katherine. You mean, Kate? 

She had never used the nickname Kate before. 

Yes, Kate. I’m sorry, she’s in a very important meeting with the most important stakeholders this could be groundbreaking for her career I wouldn’t want to interrupt because of how all the important bigheads are sucking all of the important out of everything and it’s in THAT ROOM. Fine. Maybe she said something a little different. It’s all semantics anyways.

But she didn’t call.

Not on Tuesday. Or Wednesday. Or Thursday. Not even on Friday, when the assistant said she would call. I waited by the landline nervously, picking at my cuticles, hunched over on a small kitchen stool. She was supposed to call at 10 am on Friday.

But she didn’t call. 

So, I stopped leaving voicemails. She stopped pretending to read my messages. I stopped sending her emails with bad jokes. She stopped asking me to take care of the kids.

And just like that, we had lost touch. It wasn’t that we were intentionally avoiding each other. It was more like we were just on different wavelengths, trying to reach each other in separate directions.

She called me. Wanted to know if I heard about Hurricane Michael. I told her I had. Wanted to know if I had ever bought that couch. I told her I had not. Why? I told her I had not been home for a few months. Why? 

How does one explain to their grown daughter that her parents have divorced? How does one admit that it was not an attractive assistant or next door neighbor that tore their family apart? How does one confess that it was not the big bad wolf, but their own sister?


Dear diary,

December 12, 2018

Last year, I saw an action movie with an actor I liked in it. He died the next year from a drug overdose, and they replaced him with a new actor in the sequel. And while the two actors were just playing as one person, I couldn’t help but see them as two different people.

It feels like that with my sister. Rationally, I know that she and my husband had an affair and that she also rubbed my back and made me soup when I had suffered a break up. Rationally, I know that she made me thoughtful cards and was my closest confidant for years and that she also slept with my husband in our bed. Emotionally, however, they are two different people.

My greatest enemy and insecurity. My husband’s mistress.

My best friend and partner in crime. My sister.

They told me that they had been seeing each other for three months, and I told them to shut the hell up. They told me to think rationally, and I told them to go fuck themselves before realizing that they already had.


I wear black clothes and eat only what is necessary and do not leave the house. I am in mourning for myself. I am in mourning for my daughter, who has lost a stable and safe part of her life. I am in mourning for my husband, who has lost two women he will never forget. I am in mourning for my sister, who has lost her sister.

They tell me to forgive. 

I tell them to taste my poison.


April 03, 2020 22:13

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Gina Murry
11:35 Apr 04, 2020

Wow! In a good way. The emotion and twists you created almost remind me of how I felt watching black swan. It’s kind of dark but too interesting to stop


Natalie Frank
18:08 Aug 17, 2020

Yes, I'm glad that you got that kind of feel out of it. Maybe I should watch Black Swan now! Thank you for reading my story and this comment.


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Katy S.
19:55 Apr 15, 2020

Nice, my only question is, is the poison metaphorical, or real? Also good job!


Natalie Frank
18:07 Aug 17, 2020

The poison, I would imagine, is metaphorical, but I think it's up to interpretation. Thank you for reading my piece!


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