Lou was invited to present at a couple manufacturing conferences in Mexico, all expenses paid for two. On the flight down, Lou basically avoided all eye contact or discussion as if I were an annoying stranger randomly wedged next to him in the middle seat. I asked what was wrong, and he answered, “Nothing, why?” I explained that I’d been feeling he’s been mentally distant for a while and didn’t know if I’d pissed him off somehow. He hadn’t been physically intimate with me lately either, and ignoring the icy chill I felt sitting so close on the airplane was unbearable. He calmly pulled me all the way into the freezer of his thoughts toward me by stating that he was constantly thinking about another woman. And he confirmed that he simply was not feeling attracted to me, and really only wanted to be with her. I didn’t know what to say, and wanted to escape, but was trapped at his side in a tube hurdling through the thin air at 30,000 feet. Tears welled and dripped down my cheeks, defying my best efforts to stay dry. I cupped my lowered forehead in my palm to hide my face. Lou was irritated that people would notice and questioned how he could tell me things if I was going to get upset like that. I raised my head to meet his squinted pitch-black gaze and asked if he wanted to leave me; his shoulders ever so slightly shrugged as his face relaxed as he explained that he wasn’t saying that but was just being honest about how he felt. He soon went to sleep, an ultimate cold act of dismissal that induced a numbing hypothermia to my very existence. Was my heart beating anymore? Was I still breathing? Tears froze into puddles to keep from spilling from my eyes as I leaned back in the seat and fixated on the cabin air vents just above my head for hours. He woke before the plane landed, leafed through the airline magazine, and carried forward as if everything was perfectly normal. Not fine. Normal.

He continued to be distant and disinterested in any intimacy, but he was otherwise apparently unbothered throughout the trip. I tried to put on a good face during the day, but silently cried myself to sleep every night, and still do.  He says I should just forget about it all, but I don’t know how to do that. I just feel empty, and always on the verge of tears. My chest feels heavy, making it hard to breathe, and my heart literally aches. We had sex eventually after we returned home, but I was self-conscious and nervous with my own husband.

I’ve been working out at Gold’s gym, where Lou goes all the time; I haven’t been diligent about it until now.