In fifth grade, there was a scandal, so big, it rocked the school, community and maybe even the township. I remember hearing the adults gossiping about it, long before it was officially confirmed. I’d catch fragments of sentences being whispered between mothers. “Yeah, he just left her.” “Of course he’s going to have to resign.” “A mess!” Just a week or two later I found out what they meant. Our principal, in an unprecedented move, came on the television system which we used for morning and afternoon announcements, to tell us, the students, that he was resigning. He didn’t go into details, he just said that he’d really enjoyed his tenure as principal and that he would miss us kids and the colleagues he’d worked with over the years. Though, I hadn’t put all of the pieces together, I knew that his announcement had something to do with all the whispers.
When I got back home, I finally just asked my mom what had happened. She told me that our principal was divorcing his wife. Well, that was a bit of a let down. Divorce was nothing new. My grandparents were divorced. People’s parents got divorced everyday. Little did I know, it wouldn’t be long before the complete story unraveled. No more than three months after our principal announced his resignation, rumors and then facts of his upcoming nuptials starting swirling about. This principal wasn’t just marrying anybody. He was marrying one of the teachers at the school. And not just any teacher, he was marrying the teacher who taught his six year old daughter.
Like the adults had said, it was indeed a hot mess. Even us kids knew that in order for him to divorce and remarry so quickly, he would have had to have been at least flirting and most likely screwing his daughter’s teacher. It wasn’t a cutesy, clean love story. It was inappropriate and untidy. I’m sure there were times when it was certainly hurtful to the ex wife and her daughter. And for the rest of us, it was salacious. I remember hearing women talk about how their upcoming marriage would never last. The women were certain that our ex principal was going to do to the teacher just what he’d done to his ex wife. As a kid it sounded plausible and as an adult, it was a sentiment or a phenomena I’d seen and heard reflected over and over again. Eventually, I adopted it as my own.
But today, I don’t know how accurate that saying really is. Today, I know a little bit more about human nature and why marriages fall apart in the first place. Maybe the principal and his first wife got married too young and didn’t know themselves, much less each other. Maybe she, his ex wife, belittled him at home. Maybe their sex life started to suffer and his eyes started to wander. Who knows, it could have been a multitude of things. But what I do know is that over a decade later, my former principal and the teacher are still together. They have five kids now and judging from Facebook, which is admittedly not always the most accurate barometer, they seem to be happy together.
This story came to mind last night as I was on Jozen Cummings’ dating and relationship blog, Until I Get Married. In a video post, a woman who had cheated on her boyfriend with her current fiancé, wondered how she should go about apologizing to her ex. In his response to her, though he acknowledged that she was hella wrong for cheating, he also stated that her infidelity eventually brought the type of love she wanted into her life.
Hmm. Interesting. I guess it’s kind of like Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz or Olivia Pope and Fitzgerald Grant. By now we know that sometimes love doesn’t come in a nice, neat prepackaged box. Sometimes you get the box that’s already been ripped open by another, banged up by the postage man and pissed on my a stray dog or two. But it’s still love, the most universal, the most powerful force in the universe. I mean God Himself defines Himself as love. Now, I’m not arguing anybody run out here and take someone’ else’s husband; in fact I’d argue that when the initial stages of flirting start, you run like hell in the other direction. What I’m asking is if your beginnings are a little rough, arguably immoral, does that mean your relationship or your karma is doomed to fail? Will it be a “sins of the father” type situation where the offspring produced from the union end up suffering because of their parents’ indiscretions? Or can a not so good thing be turned into something great, with no lingering consequences. I’m not sure, so I’m asking you.
What do you think? When you fall in love in the midst of shady circumstances, can your union still work?