My Story – An Affair of the Heart

This is a continuation of my story about my affair with my boss, a well-known attorney in a small town, married with children, nineteen years my senior.   I am sharing with you the stories of my life, from growing up, to college years, all happening more than twenty years ago.  But all of these things that happened in my life, have made my life what it is today, and made me who I am today.  I have learned a great deal by posting these stories from the point of view of others in my family and from my friends.  Sharing these stories has been a learning experience for me, and I am thankful and grateful for that opportunity to learn more.

July 1992.  I broke up with Tony in order to not have any complications in my affair/relationship with Gary.  I still went home on some weekends, to play organ for church on Sunday, and sometimes I would stay and play softball on Sunday evenings. At one softball game, the pitch came in, I slammed the ball so hard that I broke the bat.  That was my favorite bat.  That was the last time I played softball.

Gary had given me a bag phone for my car, my first of such technology.  I didn’t quite understand why, other than he wanted me to be safe. Momma Marilyn didn’t understand why either when she asked where the phone came from and why I had it.  When I was driving back to Green Bay on a Sunday night, Gary would call me and we would talk while I was driving. I never thought about where he was calling me from, whether he was home in another room away from his wife and family, or at the office.

August, 1992.  Dennis Mleziva was sworn in as judge, and Dennis Abts moved to his new office in Luxemburg. As I mentioned before, it was a separation of hard feelings between Gary and Dennis Abts.  I was sad when Jody, another legal secretary left with Dennis, as she had trained me, and she had been my go-to for questions.

My first apartment – 1533 Leo Street, Green Bay, Wisconsin

Gary came to my apartment one early afternoon, bringing Kentucky Fried Chicken for lunch.  We ate and he continued our almost-daily conversation about fate and how we should be together.  We laid on a blanket on the living room floor and had sex.

I didn’t understand what his excuses could be for being away from the office so much, and I didn’t think about it.  All I thought about was that I had someone who liked being with me.  Gary did the same again a week later, bringing lunch to my apartment.  This time we opened the sleeper sofa and spent the afternoon in bed.  The phone rang, and it was Papa Thor.

“I tried calling you at work, and they said you aren’t at work.  Why aren’t you at work?”, he asked.  I responded, “I took the afternoon off, I had to register for fall classes and get my books.” He didn’t seem convinced, “Are you sure that’s what you were doing?” I tried to sound confident with my “Of course!”. I was totally feeling guilty about lying to Papa Thor.  And still feeling like I could get caught by Momma Marilyn and Papa Thor at any moment, even being twenty-one years old and living on my own, in Green Bay.

These clandestine meetings continued through the month of August and into the month of September when I started back to school for my fifth year of college.  My major was still Public Administration, and I still would have rather worked than go to school.  Sometimes Gary would meet me at school for lunch, which was somewhat a challenge, because his wife was also attending school at UW-Green Bay.  Sometimes he would come to my apartment after work.  I had no idea what he was telling his wife as to where he was, and I didn’t really even think about it.

Every time we talked about our relationship or fate, we always talked about keeping our relationship the way it was, as an affair, and waiting five years to be together, which would land when Kim was done with high school.  I didn’t know how that would work, but I readily agreed.  I enjoyed the attention, as well as the company.  Did I love him?  At that point, I don’t believe that I did love him.  I craved the attention.  And someone was in love……with ME.

Tuesday, September 22nd, 1992.  I would drive down Military Avenue to Velp Avenue, turn onto Atkinson Drive, and drive up onto Tower Drive Bridge on my way to work in the dark.  I went to work at five in the morning at the law office in Casco.  I normally worked until I had to leave for my class at nine.  I then would come back to work in the mid-afternoon after classes were done for the day.

That morning, I was transcribing Gary’s dictation, and I reached the end of the tape.  “I love you.”

Did I hear that right?  Rewind.

“I love you.”

My face turned ten shades of red.  It is close to the time I needed to leave to go to class, but I needed to let him know that I got his message.  I opened a new email, addressed it to Gary, and type slowly “I love you too.”  No, I can’t type it out like that, what if someone saw it?  I erased that message, and typed again.

“Got your message.  I l – – e you too.”

It could be read as love.  Or, it could be read as like….

I left the office and headed for class.

Someone in the office was reading my emails.  She found my email to Gary, and showed it to his wife who working in the office that day.  Gary was out of the office for a meeting at GreenStone Farm Credit Services on the east side of Green Bay.  Sue, his wife, went to where he was that meeting, and confronted him with the email.

We were busted.

But I didn’t know that we were busted.

Gary called me that night from his home, to tell me what had happened that day.  He told me that he was lying in bed upstairs, and his wife, Sue, was downstairs.  While I was on the phone, I could hear the doorbell ring, and Gary told me that it was his mom and dad coming to talk to him.  News traveled fast.  He told his wife he didn’t want to talk to his parents.

Wednesday, September 23rd, 1992.  I went to work the next day as usual, at five in the morning.  I was apprehensive, not knowing what would or could happen.  The office phone rang.  I answered, and immediately was met with a female voice yelling at me about breaking up a twenty-one year marriage, why would I do such a thing, what was wrong with me.  I don’t remember what I said, if anything.  She hung up on me.

A few minutes later, the phone rang again.  I hesitated to answer it, but I did – this was a business after all, and no matter what time the phone rang, if it was a client, it should be answered.  It wasn’t a client.  This time it was a male voice.  I could hear cows mooing in the background.  Again, the voice was yelling at me.  And then the threat came.  “If you ever step foot on my property, I will shoot you.”  He hung up.

I sat at my desk in shock.  Then I cried.  I’m not one to cry, never have been.  This wasn’t worth it.  I was the cause of ruining lives.  I had to figure out how I was going to get a different job, I should move back to Janesville where my family and friends were, go back to working at the law office where I last worked, and start over.

The back door to the office creaked open and slammed shut.  I grabbed a kleenex, I didn’t want one of the other legal secretaries seeing me crying, even though it was too early for one of them to show up.  It was Gary.  He immediately asked me what was wrong, and I told him of the phone calls.  He informed me that the callers were his parents, they were extremely upset at the entire situation.

I told him I would have to find another job, I would move back home, that I couldn’t do this and ruin lives.  He convinced me that he would protect me, that I had nothing to worry about, that he would take care of it and take the brunt of everything; none of it was my fault.  Of course it was my fault.  I was the one who was breaking up his marriage, breaking up his family.  It seemed I was the one getting all of the blame, so I took all of the blame onto myself, as I was the outsider.

Gary called his parents back and told them they shouldn’t have called me.  He told them that he loved me, and that he wasn’t going to change his mind.  The marriage was over, and his relationship was now with me.  I don’t know what was said on the other end of the line, but I’m sure it wasn’t pleasant to hear.  Gary told me that another person had threatened that he would lose clients because of the impending divorce and our affair.

We went downstairs into the conference room where I had my original interview with the three attorneys a year and a half before.  This was a place where we couldn’t be heard talking, as the rest of the office staff had arrived for the day.  It was at that time that Gary cried.  He cried that he didn’t want to lose me, that he loved me.  That was the only time I ever saw him cry in all of our years together.  I was scared.  My brain was telling me the opposite of what my heart was saying at the time.  I was silent as I listened to him repeat the almost never ending tale of the fate of us being together; his justification for throwing his life into the current uproar.  I told him that I wouldn’t leave him, that I loved him as well.

Thursday, September 24th, 1992.  My 22nd birthday that wasn’t much of a birthday.  I went to work as usual, and Gary came into work early as usual.  He told me that he would be renting an apartment in Green Bay for the two of us, as he was going to be the one moving out of the house so the kids could remain in the house until they were done with school.  He informed me that the threats had continued from his parents the previous evening, they had come over to his house from their home next door, to confront him again about the situation.  Gary said that even some of his siblings had come over to talk to him about the situation, to try and talk him out of ending his twenty-one year marriage for a “young bimbo”.

Gary said because of the threats, and his promise to protect me, we were going to meet with the Family Court Commissioner in Kewaunee that day.  He told me of his intentions as we drove to Kewaunee.  He told the Family Court Commissioner of the threats, and for the protection of both of us, we were each getting restraining orders against his parents.  Gary said he hated to do it, and it was an unfortunate situation, but he had to do this for our protection. The restraining orders were granted.

It was my older Brother Leif that told on me to Papa Thor and Momma Marilyn.  He was aware of what was going on, as he and I have the closest relationship of all of our siblings, even to this day.

I didn’t know that he had told on me.  I got a phone call, and Papa Thor and Momma Marilyn decided to make a visit that weekend since it had been my birthday and they wanted to know what was going on.  I was SCARED, to say the least.  I wasn’t raised this way, to have an affair with a married man and break up a marriage.  I was most certainly going to hell.

Gary came to my apartment early that Saturday morning, and we ended up taking a walk to try and calm the nerves of both of us.  He wasn’t exactly meeting my parents on good terms, and I, well, I was disappointing my parents, one of the worst sins that could ever be committed.

Papa Thor and Momma Marilyn arrived to my Leo Street apartment, and I quietly introduced them to Gary.  While Papa Thor spoke with Gary, Momma Marilyn took me into my bedroom.  I don’t know to this day how she garnered the courage to ask, or why she even brought the subject up at the time, but she came right out and asked me if I had been sexually abused by my brother-in-law. The question surprised me, but I thought since it was a day of truth, I told her that yes, I had been sexually abused by my brother-in-law.  She hugged me, and proceeded to tell me that I could and should do something about the abuse.

We went out into the living room, where Gary was on his knees before Papa Thor, and they were praying.  I was more than shocked and completely taken by surprise, as it was at that time that Gary gave his heart to the Lord.  I honestly don’t know if he really, truly did give his heart to the Lord, or did it just to appease Papa Thor.

Gary rented a one bedroom apartment on the third floor at River’s Edge Apartments in Green Bay, with plans that he would move in and live there.  The day that my brother-in-law was made aware of the charges against him, Momma Marilyn drove to Green Bay to stay with me that night, as I was scared of any repercussions from filing charges.  We slept on the floor in the new apartment so no one would be able to find me.

At the end of October, after the thirty day requirement of living in the county in which you file, Gary filed for divorce from his wife.

Gary had gotten very little furniture from his home, but he had gotten a set of bunk beds.  We pushed the bunk beds together, and this was where we slept.  All of my furniture was still in my apartment, and I was still paying monthly rent on my apartment, as we hadn’t told Papa Thor and Momma Marilyn that we were living together.  That would be another sin to be marked on the wall along the escalator that was taking me to hell.

With all of this going on, I had had enough with school.  I withdrew from my classes, and I withdrew from school.  I started working full-time at the law office, and became the office manager.  I started to focus on real estate and title insurance, and I handled all of the real estate transactions for our clients.

At Christmastime, he gave me my first gift of jewelry, a stunning diamond heart necklace on a gold chain. That necklace now belongs to our granddaughter, Norah.

We had the kids over to our apartment for Christmas, along with his uncle who lived in the same building. We drove to Janesville to spend Christmas with my family. Gary didn’t spend Christmas with his parents and siblings that year.

February, 1993.  We were still living at River’s Edge Apartments, but now in a two bedroom apartment.  I was still paying rent on my apartment on Leo Street. The divorce was still going on, but Gary proposed to me on Valentine’s Day, and we were engaged.

We were using a card table as our dining room table.  We had gone to WG&R Furniture and purchased a living room set, but we were still sleeping on the two bunk beds pushed together.  This was also the time during which I was answering questions with the investigator from the Rock County Sheriff’s Department regarding the sexual abuse.

Gary had a thing for chocolate, and I had stayed away from sweets and chocolate for a long time, and I was proud I had maintained my weight of 135 pounds for over a year.  I always thought I was fat, no matter what I weighed.  No one ever told me I was a fat, but when you are a victim of sexual abuse, you are never good enough.  Your self-esteem is very low, and you don’t believe in yourself in any way, shape or form.  He brought a king-size Hershey milk chocolate with almonds bar into the apartment.  I was stressed with it being tax season and with answering the investigator’s questions.  My weight downfall began.

March, 1993.  We took our first vacation together to Marco Island, Florida.  Before we left, we went to Janesville and visited with Papa Thor and Momma Marilyn.  Since Gary and I weren’t married, Papa Thor and Momma Marilyn told Gary he had to stay at a nearby hotel, as there weren’t enough bedrooms for him to stay in the house with us.  He obliged, and for a small and old hotel, he was surprised the bathroom floor was heated.

It was then that I made Gary tell Papa Thor and Momma Marilyn that we were living together, as I sat in the back bedroom petting Isaac, their black lab.  I was scared to tell them, another disappointment to them, I’m sure.  Surprise, surprise, they had suspected.  Parents do know everything!

Marco Island was beautiful.  Sunny days, warm nights, swimming in the pool, walking on the beach, collecting shells, going out to eat.  It was a totally new experience for me, and I enjoyed every minute of it!

With that secret off my shoulders, I could finally stop paying rent on my apartment on Leo Street in Green Bay.  I moved my furniture and other items into storage until Gary and I could find a house to buy and make our own.

Memorial Day weekend, May, 1993.  Sue and the kids moved out of the house in Thiry Daems.  Gary and I had been looking at houses around in the area to purchase.  I don’t remember what prompted or forced her to move out.  Gary and Sue had built the A-frame house together, had lived there since they had been married, and added on to the house when the kids were born.  After they moved out, he took to me to the house for the first time.  It was a mess.  The master bedroom had clothes and things lying all over, thrown out of the closet.  He opened the mudroom closet, and I sat down and cried.  I was overwhelmed with the mess of everything.  Looking back now, I think I understand better what Sue’s feelings were when she had to move out of the home she had lived in for twenty-one years.  Gary and I moved into the house early in June.

Father’s Day, June, 1993.  Gary and I were sitting at the kitchen table, and the phone rang.  It was his father, telling us to come over for Father’s Day dinner.  They lived next door, so it wasn’t far to go.  I was shocked, extremely hesitant, and totally scared out of my mind, but we went, despite the restraining orders.  We got our food and sat at the table, where I met his family.  A little piece of the wall crumbled down that day.  I knew I would have to prove myself to his family, and that it would take a long time.  In their eyes, I was the young hussy, the one to blame for breaking up the marriage.

My Story - The Sexual AbuseAugust 4, 1993.  A date that will always remain in my mind.  This is the day my brother-in-law was sentenced to five years in prison for sexually abusing me and my brothers.

We settled into life in the house in Thiry Daems and working at the law office in Casco.  I learned about farming, as Gary cash cropped six hundred acres of corn and soybeans, and later winter wheat and soybeans.  I even helped on the farm, hauling gravity boxes to Casco and Brussels for weight and sale.  I learned to drive tractor and use the disc to work up the land after the crops were off.   We made it through family birthdays and anniversaries, with the wall crumbling slowly piece by piece between me and his family.

Finally, the divorce from Sue was finalized in October of that year, so we could set a date for our wedding.  We counted out the required six month waiting period, which took us to April.  Tax season is done April 15th, so we set the date for April 16th, 1994.

March, 1994.  I ordered and received our wedding invitations.  I got a list of all of the relatives and addresses from Gary’s mom, and set about addressing invitations.  The reply cards started coming back and I was crushed.  Gary’s relatives were saying no to coming to our wedding, and I took it as they hated me.  It took Gary to remind me that they are farmers, have cows to milk, and couldn’t necessarily leave the farm for a weekend to attend a wedding in Janesville.  I still think they hated me though.

April, 1994.  I went to NWTC early Saturday morning of April 9th, to take the exam for my title agent license.  It made sense for me to get my license so I could handle issuing title insurance without having to bother Gary for signatures or have him take time from meeting with clients to handle real estate closings with banks and borrowers.  I passed the exam, and the next day I drove to Janesville to get ready for our wedding on April 16th.

April 16, 1994.  It was a cool, but sunny, April day.  We were married at Trinity Free Lutheran Church in Janesville, Wisconsin by Papa Thor, and Pastor Bottjen, the pastor who had baptized me as a baby.  Gary’s parents came, as did some of the office staff, his sisters, and Troy and Kim.  It meant the most to me to have Gary’s kids and his parents there.

The next day we opened gifts at my parent’s house, and that evening left for Milwaukee to catch our flight on Monday to Miami.  We took a cruise to Key West and Cozumel for our honeymoon.

It was on that cruise that Gary had the first affair of our marriage.

The End

Love to you all! ~Erika~.

You may not publish or reprint this article without the written permission of Erika Balza. Thank you.