VII: The Ex-Wife

In Keith’s Fairy Tale, which he loved to tell, the greatest villain was his ex-wife, Stacey. Cruel, vindictive, calculating, and unkind to children and animals, she was the love child of The Bros. Grimm and Cruella DeVille.

Of course in real life she’s wasn’t quite the storybook character he described, but she was a fucking terrible person.

However, if you start to feel sorry for Keith at any point in the next few minutes, remember that no matter how much he legitimately got shit on as a husband and father, when his kids were being mistreated by his ex, he gleefully profited off their pain by selling their sad story and his “tortured dad” schtick to women in exchange for sex. As they say: when life gives your kids lemons, cry until some barely legal girls comfort-fuck you.

This was before we met, of course, and I introduced reason, accountability and other previously-unpracticed healthy behaviors into his life. He played along for a while, bless his heart.

But back to Stacey.

Their 13 year marriage came to an abrupt end a year before we met.

Stacey–a woman incompatible with animals, people, and good style–had nonetheless been cheating on Keith for years, with multiple men. Prizes, all, no doubt.

She finally told him the truth one night, not to clear her conscience, but because she’d decided that Keith needed to move out immediately so her current boyfriend could move in with her and the kids.

It was non-negotiable and she wasn’t going to answer any questions or offer any further explanation. Just: bye, boy!

(It’s my assumption that she wears frumpy clothes all the time to hide her huge fucking balls.

In their dynamic, she was in charge and he was submissive, so instead of getting mad or telling her that if her boyfriend needed a place to live, surely he could rent a spacious room in the by-the-hour motel that she calls a vagina, he took a bunch of pills and ended up 302’d in the hospital.

Not surprisingly, Stacey did not fuck around with this golden opportunity: before Keith was discharged 72 hours later, she’d filed for divorce, petitioned for sole custody and had her Slam Piece living in the house with Keith’s four very confused kids.

Stone. Fucking. Cold.

Fast forward a year and I met Keith who then immediately introduced me to Stacey via horror stories, phone calls he took from her while sitting beside me, and text exchanges I read.

I saw her in person for the first time on Thanksgiving– the same day I first met the kids–when I peeked out a window to catch a glimpse of her and was pleased to see that she was very fat. I didn’t encounter her face-to-face for another two months, maybe, but I was in no rush.

Keith was still a raw nerve when we started dating. Little practical and nothing emotional had been resolved in the time they’d been apart and any interaction with Stacey still intimidated and paralyzed him.

Immediately after his hospitalization, she’d succeeded in winning temporary sole custody and she’d won every subsequent fight since, so he was convinced that she was too powerful to compete against, so he’d mostly stopped trying.

It was sad and frustrating to watch him act helpless against her, plus I loved the fucking asshole and I didn’t have the emotional or legal system fatigue he did, so I worked to rebuild his shattered confidence, helped him sort through legal stuff and encouraged him to be proactive and relentless in fighting for his kids.

He did get more assertive, but ultimately wasn’t up to the task, so he outsourced his backbone to me. He relied on me to choreograph everything: what should he say, what should he do, how should he approach a situation?

I’m good at being in control, but I didn’t relish the role.

Still, Keith became an effective proxy of my communication style and when the tenor of their interactions changed, Stacey knew that I was behind him taking less shit and SHE DID NOT APPRECIATE IT.

At first, I irritated her just by existing, but the longer I was around, the more I confounded her because she could never quite figure me out and never provoke me. Provoking people was her main talent, so it pained her, but she gave it a shot.

I’m tall, short-haired and wear flashy makeup, so once we met, she cleverly started referring to me as the tranny.

It was meant to upset me enough that I’d finally engage with her to defend myself and she could (lol) verbally eviscerate me and learn who was in charge.

But not only did I not give a fuck what she called me, I also delighted in never indulging her. So I’d say nothing, smile and remain pleasant.

The best thing to come from that specific embarrassing behavior was that it gave me the fantastic opportunity to own the “teaching moment” with the kids when they asked me what “tranny” meant. Thanks, bitch, now your kids are culturally competent and sad that you’re mean.

It also frustrated her that she could never figure out how I had a respected, professional job in health care because I’m fairly heavily tattooed. To She-Trump, tattoos meant that I should be unemployable. She even told the kids that I was lying about my job, hoping that they’d think less of me.

Her primary motivation in wanting me to be a “loser” was the assumption that I would then be a detriment to Keith’s custody case.

The most satisfying irony, ultimately, was that despite her haughty anticipation of how poorly I’d be received in custody court because of my appearance–and months of keeping my mouth shut and letting her say what she wanted while I silently pictured her bursting into flames– I was the mastermind behind the asskicking she took when there finally was a custody hearing. Even better, when she fussed about my active role in the kids lives, the Mediator told her that I was specifically advantageous to Keith’s case because of my career and demeanor. She cried.

I was court-appropriate on the outside, but on the inside I was the being the worst, most smug asshole ever. Suck it, Stacey!

The rest of the story about her is really as a mother, not an ex, because as awful as she was as a partner, it was in motherhood that she truly found her niche as a monster. By the time I came into the picture, she was on her third live-in boyfriend (Slam Piece #1 was long gone and #3 was about to knock her up) and her 6th CYF investigation for neglect or abuse in the year since Keith had been gone.

I’ll tell the whole story of the kids next time. My angels. Prepare the Kleenex.

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