Angel Sefer's Free Readers Group

Angel Sefer's Free Readers Group

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Excerpt from Portrait of Our Marriage by Martha Emms - A Memoir of Love, Family, the Internet, and Obsession

2005 Back To Reality


Looking up from the photo display device I realized I'd spent most of my day reliving the past through pictures. I still had at least two more hours before Brea would be home, so after some brief stretching I sat back down and continued viewing. I'd just finished seeing some shots of Jessie when some old pictures that I had taken of Beth from high school popped up on the screen. I really had to wonder how Brett had found these particular ones. He must have gone through my old boxes that were stored in the attic. I was astonished that he'd take on such a huge endeavor to impress me when lately he'd showed little regard for my feelings. Recounting our life through pictures made me aware of changes we'd gone through, reaffirming my love and disappointment. As another picture filled the screen I wondered how the stories played out in Brett's memories and what if anything he'd learned from creating this portrait of our marriage.
I spoke to Beth and arranged to meet her at the beach the following morning. With her keen sense of perception and knowing me all these years, she must have known that something was up, especially since I had asked her to go for a walk instead of our usual run. Somewhere between the time that I openly discussed Brett's infatuation with porn magazines and when he became obsessed with online porn, I began to keep things from her. I realize now that I had begun to isolate myself from many of my friends. I thought if I complained to Beth about Brett, she too would look at Brett differently, maybe even say something to him or others. The word would get out and it would become apparent to others, as well as Brett. I couldn't deal with that. Despite my ambivalence and the shame I felt over his actions he was a good man and I still loved him. I can't explain why, after everything, that it was okay for me to be critical of him yet I couldn't bear it if my friends were.
I heard Brea enter the kitchen and was brought back to reality. Brea set her backpack down on the bar stool next to me and leaned on the counter.
I exchanged looks, from her to the clock on the wall, it was only one-thirty in the afternoon and Brea should still be in school. Acknowledging the questioning look on my face she explained.
"Hey, Mom, it's an early out today, I forgot to tell you the teachers have a meeting this afternoon. So I have time if you want to make me something to eat. Hint, hint."
"Ah, you crave sustenance?"
"Where'd you get that from?" Brea asked, pointing to the digital picture frame that at the moment was displaying a picture of Beth doing a cartwheel. I remembered how many months of practice it took for her to finally accomplish that feat in an actual vertical position.
"It's from your dad," I said as I got up, proceeding to fix an omelet for her. "Go ahead press the button."
Brea pressed a button and pictures of Brett and me popped up on the screen. We were dancing. Beth and Zack were in some of the pictures too. "Oh my gosh, Dad's got a mustache and look at that white suit he's in! He looks so funny. I didn't know you guys used to go dancing."
"There's a lot you don't know about your dad and me."……
Some of the displayed pictures had music attached to them and we heard "Stayin' Alive" from Saturday Night Fever. We were much younger, looking all disco. The timer went off, ringing me back to the present. After sliding the omelet easily onto a plate, folding it, and adding cheese, I placed the dish in front of Brea, who already had a fork in hand. I pushed a button to show a different set of pictures while Brea ate heartily. Brett and I were dressed in 50s attire. I wore super tight black pants that looked like they were painted on and spiked high heels, while Brett was wearing a white t-shirt, Levi's and a black leather jacket. Memories flashed before me and I remembered dancing to "You're the One that I Want" from Grease.
"Those, my dear, are pictures from our John Travolta years."
"You mean that guy who dressed up like a woman in '" Hairspray'"?" she asked.
"Well yes, he was in a TV series too, but he's done a lot more than that. Saturday Night Fever, Grease . . ."
"I remember Grease but I don't remember seeing him on TV."
"He used to sing and dance, ride the bull?" Perplexed that there was no excited awareness in her expression, I added, "He was in those movies you kids used to love to watch, the 'Look Who's Talking' movies."
Finally, her expression brightened, "Okay, now I remember, he's the pilot guy."
"Yeah, the pilot guy," I said, and pushed another button so a different set of pictures came up. In these Brett and I were in western attire. There were some more shots of us dancing and then some of Brett.
"Dad was so cool. Oh my God, Mom, you've got blonde hair. Look at how skinny you were and what's with the cowboy hats?"
"Well this was after Urban Cowboy came out, another John Travolta movie." Flashing back in the past was a picture of a much younger Brett riding a mechanical bull. Tom, Allie, Beth, and Zack had all watched and cheered him on. "The Devil Went Down To Georgia" was playing in the background.
Just then, Brett entered the kitchen, went to the refrigerator, and grabbed a can of beer.
"You guys used to be so cool. What happened, Mom ?" Brea said, putting her empty plate in the sink and rinsing it off.
Brett undid his tie and said, "What happened was you kids. Having kids changes everything." He came up behind me, gave me a brief hug and quick peck on the cheek. "So what do you think?" he asked me, indicating the frame.
Brea was looking at a group of pictures of her and her brother when they were much younger. "Nice job with the pictures, Dad. You look funny in a mustache," she snickered.
"You're home early," I said. "You did a nice job putting this all together and that's a nice collection from our John Travolta years. Brea was just enjoying pictures of us in earlier times."
Brett laughed. "Those were some fun times. Your mom could do a mean two-step."
"And your dad could ride a mean bull," I added.
"Still can."
"Dad, it wasn't a real bull," Brea teased.
“No, but the guy at the controls had a mean streak and horns,” he said laughing.
Giggling, Brea responded, “You’re such a liar. He did not have horns.”
“Aw, it used to be so much fun when you were little and believed everything I said,” Brett said.
“Dad, I haven’t bought everything you’ve said for years now.
But it does look like you and Mom used to have a lot of fun”
“We did,” I interjected. “We used to have parties where we’d hire dance instructors to come to the house. Everyone would chip in to pay for lessons and the instructor would work with each of the couples. It was so much fun.”
“Yeah, and everyone would bring a dish for a potluck,” said
Brett. “Your mom would organize these parties, sometimes using movie themes for the menu. Good memories, huh hon?” He stepped forward holding his arms out to embrace me.
Brea reached across the counter and grabbed the envelope she saw laying there, pulled out the card with roses and birds on it, and read what was inside.
“What the heck!” she exclaimed. “What does this mean, don’t give up on us and why does Dad need you, Mom?”
Brett gently tried to take the card from her but she moved away from him waving it in the air. “It’s nothing, hon,” he said.
Standing in front of me she held the card up and asked, “Mom?”
“It’s nothing,” I looked away from her, “it’s like your dad said.”
Doubtful, Brea re-asked, “Mom?”
Brett moved in between us. “So how was your day today,
Princess?” he interjected.
“Dad, trying to change the subject isn’t going to work. I’m not a child,” she said firmly. “Now what does this mean, Mom? Why are you giving up on Dad?”
I was tired of hiding our discord and contemplated if it was time and it was. “You’re right, Brea, you’re not a child and you are old enough to know what’s going on. Parents are . . . we’re just people. And we go through difficult  ……”


A fictional memoir about a couples life and todays addiction.
The main character, Nicky, embarks on a journey to find herself and become her own person despite a strict, domineering father, and often emotionally and physically distant husband.
Reminiscing events from her life, she looks at pictures from her past. Remembering the romance and passion of falling in love, getting married, and having a family.
After years of marriage Nicky finds herself struggling to save her relationship. Questioning her own beliefs against what the media promotes as acceptable, she pushes herself often going overboard, past her comfort zone to keep her man.
Her husband’s escalating interest in pornography has become an obsession that affects both their marriage and family.
This story takes you through a whirlwind of emotions. The struggle and choices made brings Nicky to a point where she must ultimately decide, when is love not enough.
This book was inspired by an episode from The Oprah Show, dreams, research, and intimate information from 8 women.
An adult read about pornography addiction but not pornographic.

About the Author:

Barbie Herrera writes under the pen name, Martha Emms, to honor both her mom and aunt who each suffered from brain tumors. Her mom, Martha, wanted her to be a writer and to write from her heart. While her Aunt Emma wanted her to write and stir the pot. Raised in a military family, she has traveled and lived in different states and countries. A coma survivor she believes in the power of God and prayer. Causes close to her heart include- proper labeling of our food, the safety and care of our military and their families, child/adult literacy volunteer programs, spay/neuter pet projects, pet rescues, and women's issues.

Check out the story behind the story of 
FB Martha Emms Author pg 
Martha Emms Cognitive Dreamer Blog