Before.

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before (adverb or adjective) – \bi-ˈfȯr, bē-\ – at an earlier time

He was a doctor, a “family man”. He liked to grill and ride his motorcycle. He drank beer and bourbon, smoked the occasional cigar. He watched football and hockey and porn. He was pretty much an average man, nothing particularly special or different about him. This was him before the affair. If I had to wager, this is him now.

Me? I was pretty average myself… to a degree. I had a very solid professional life. I was a wife and mother. My then husband was starting a business, which about to become very successful. We had just bought a new house. We were talking about having another child. I was on the brink of a grand new chapter. Then, everything went to shit… fast.

In July of 2008, my husband went through a mental health crisis. He had an affair and began drinking, using drugs. He left me for his secretary. I was devastated. I made poor choices to fill in the voids engulfing my life. One of those choices led to date rape. I became ill, physically and emoitionally from the trauma. I lost my job because I was a wreck. By the same time the next year, everything had spiraled and spiraled and spiraled…

And that’s when we arrived at the same spot on our crossed paths, July of 2009… We’d actually met several months before, although I didn’t realize it at the time. He was of no consequence to me before the spiral. He was just some dorky guy in a Hawaiian shirt at a party we both attended. I made a joke about him to a friend, maybe he smiled at me as we both grabbed beers. Our paths brushed against each other. But once they crossed, everything changed again.

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