29 Years Gone in an Instant–My Husband Had a Suitcase Nuke

He Gave A New Meaning To Rock My World

You never know what will happen when you wake up in the morning. You may discover something simple — like your dog made a mess on the carpet — or you may learn that your husband is a terrorist about to unleash a thermonuclear weapon in your living room.

I discovered the latter.



It was 10 AM on Sunday. My husband stood combing his hair in front of the bathroom mirror. He called to me from an adjacent room, “Hey, you wanna go poke around?”

“Sure!” I replied with a grin.

The two of us made up the term ‘poke around’. It meant going out with no plan and not being on anyone’s schedule. Whenever we spent the day ‘poking around,’ we’d be hanging out as sweethearts, running our errands, and visiting our favorite date place: Lowe’s. We knew how mundane it might seem to others, but we looked forward to our trips to Lowe’s together.

We browsed the aisles and got inspired to do various renovations and upgrades; we were forever adding to our ‘someday I’ll’ list. It was relaxing to price new cabinets, pick out blinds, debate light fixtures, and vote on the selection of doors, decking materials, etc. — for projects we knew we’d never start.

It was a relaxing diversion for two people who worked more hours than they should.

An Unexpected Turn Of Events

Our trip to Lowe’s that Sunday was like any other — until.

Until the love of my life pulled the car over into a grocery store parking lot, turned the engine off, and went into hysterics. I didn’t know what was causing what looked like a complete mental breakdown. He’d been fine until that point.

I wanted to show my respect and allow him time to collect himself, so I sat there and said nothing.

I reached over and placed my hand on the back of his neck and patted him lovingly between his shoulder blades. An explanation was not forthcoming, so I sweetly asked what was troubling him.

He wailed some more and admitted, “I just don’t know if anything will ever make me happy.”

My first reaction was that he might have slipped into a depression; his employer was closing their brick-and-mortar operations, moving to an online presence. This meant he would soon be part of the downsizing. But to scream and cry like that? I proceeded with caution.

Again, I caressed him, telling him, “Honey, whatever it is, we’ll get through it together. You know that I’m always here for you.”

All Aboard The Crazy Train

All my life experiences had not prepared me for what happened next. Rather than my words comforting him as I expected, it triggered him, sending him off the reservation, or so it seemed.

He cried even louder, as if a loved one had died. He finally calmed himself enough to muster a response. He was snubbing like a baby left to cry until exhausted. Through his snubbing, he dramatically enunciated his short, angry message — one word at a time — through gritted teeth. “Your. Love. For. Me. Is. Not. ENOUGH!”

Wait? What did he just say?!

Flabbergasted, I stopped patting his back and folded my hands in my lap. I’d seen a lot of stressful situations in my life, but I didn’t know what to make of that out-of-the-blue display of hysteria and angst.

Doctor Jekyll, Meet Mr. Hyde

Then — as if lightning had struck him — he twittered his head and batted his eyes as a person does when snapped out of a hypnotic trance.

He looked stunned — even surprised — like he didn’t know what happened. Then, as if someone pushed The Happy Button, he cocked his head to the side, looked at me, smiled, and in a giddy, playful tone said: “I’m hungry. Are you hungry? Cause I’m thinking salmon!”

I knew that he’d asked me a question, and I knew he expected an answer, but I was still trying to comprehend what was going down here. I nodded my head and mustered a short “Yes, that sounds good.”

He responded in a jovial tone of voice, “Okay. You stay here. I’ll run in and get it.”

Alternate Reality or a Parallel Universe?

With that, he pushed open the car door, got out, and walked with a bounce in his step into the grocery store. As I watched the automatic doors closing behind him, I asked myself, “What in the world was that about?!”

Soon, he returned to the car with fresh salmon and a package of romaine lettuce for our Caesar salad. He handed me the items and started the car.

We drove home — in silence.

Back To Normal?

Back at the house, I placed the items on the kitchen table, and he began rummaging through the cabinets to find the broiler pan.

As was our custom, he preheated the oven and started preparing the salmon with garlic butter seasonings. As usual, I washed and cut the lettuce and prepared the salad.

We sat at the kitchen table together and ate (still in silence) when we completed the meal prep.

My husband finished his meal first. He walked to the sink, rinsed his plate and utensils, and placed them in the empty dishwasher. He then turned and walked upstairs to his man-cave without a word.

Just Ask The Question!

After I finished eating, I straightened up the kitchen, deep in thought. I bent over and put my plate in the dishwasher and asked myself, “What is going on here?!”

I found no answer, so I closed the dishwasher door, dried my hands, hung the towel on the stove handle, and set out to do more investigating. As I ascended the stairs, I could see him watching football with the door not quite closed. He was sitting with his computer on his lap.

“Honey, would you like for me to sit and watch the game with you?” I asked.

“Suit yourself,” he replied, never looking up from his laptop. The curtness of his tone was like a kick in the gut.

Beware When Only One Person Is Talking

Throughout our marriage, he never talked much, and I never pressed him to communicate. I assumed he would share when he felt like it. Today I thought that strategy wasn’t working so well for me.

Perhaps it was arrogant, but I assumed he appreciated this about me. I thought he knew it was my way of showing him respect. In hindsight, I was wrong about this — and many other things.

He’d always been a man of few words — but his lack of communication on this day was different.

The Still Small Voice Has A Name: Intuition

As I walked away, I felt an undeniable knot in my gut. I knew there was more to this story. I had to know what it was.

Disturbed by the remark, “Your love is not enough for me” made in the car — and now the curt “Suit yourself!” here at home — I nixed any further hesitation. Halfway down the stairs, I turned around. I went back up to re-open that door. He heard me make that abrupt u-turn on the stairway and looked up from his laptop.

Don’t ask me how I knew, but I asked the fateful question: “Honey, you’re wanting to leave, aren’t you?”

Re-queue The Crazy

He again flipped on the hysterics. “Yes! Yes! Yes!” he said as he flung his laptop onto the couch and immediately jumped to his feet.

Within seconds, he’d grabbed his duffel bag and was packing.

In a blur of frantic motion, he sped around the house like a frightened animal. He yanked clothing from the closet so hard that hangers flew everywhere. He snatched random things out of dresser drawers, scooped things off shelves, and dragged things out from under our bed.

One of those things was a metal suitcase where he kept his stash of gold coins he’d been accumulating.

More Gaslighting, Act II

His motives were open now, so there was no need to mince words or waste time. He opened his briefcase and activated his series of launch codes. His next order of business was to destabilize my emotions and devalue the life we’d built together.

He was desperate, but not original. He hit me with the age-old, intelligence-insulting cliche, “I love you, but I am not ‘in love’ with you anymore.”

All I heard was, “I don’t love you anymore.”

Those words flipped my vision and perception of movement into slow motion. My thought process was unaffected so my survival instincts took over. At warp speed, I replayed every conversation from recent years — looking for clues I may have missed. I could find none.

I braced myself for what might come next. (The announcement of another woman, perhaps?)

Not Adding Up

How could this be? I wondered. There were no perceptible warning signs, no arguments, no disagreements of any significance. Nothing had signaled his discontent or telegraphed a man unhappy in his marriage.

A week earlier, he was still showering me with anniversary gifts and telling me he loved me!

The Machiavellian element of surprise made everything very surreal. Perhaps this was just a dream, and I’d wake up, I told myself. I opened and closed my eyes several times, hoping to clear my visual field. If I were lucky, I’d see anything other than what was happening. It didn’t work. Had someone dropped me onto the set of a twisted, sick psychodrama in production? If so, no one bothered to provide me with the script. I assured myself that nothing this strange could be happening in real life.

But it was happening — and it was happening to me.

For The Good Old Times

Once my husband concluded his abbreviated packing frenzy, he gaslit me one more time for good measure.

The man who’d slept beside me for 10,592 days — and with whom I’d never had a significant disagreement — walked over, hugged me, and muttered, “Wow. I know I must be crazy. I can’t believe I’m doing this to someone who is the nicest person in the world.”

(Who says that when they’re leaving someone?!)

With that admission, he turned and walked down the sidewalk to his awaiting car — remotely started for ease of getaway.

As he reached the vehicle, he placed his hand on the door-handle, and looked back at me one last time. He forced a smile, nodded like they do in the movies, got into his vehicle, and pulled away.


I was shocked and numb — as if someone had electrocuted me — yet, looking down at my hands, I could see I was still alive. I could think — but I couldn’t verbalize or cry. I couldn’t move, speak, or even take a deep breath.

All I could do was watch in stunned silence as his car made its way out of the subdivision.

It was only when the faintest trail of red tail lights disappeared from my sight that I was able to move again. I then turned and looked around the house in eery silence, hoping to understand what had just happened.

How Could it Be?

My life with my husband for 29 years vaporized in under an hour — yet inanimate objects remained intact. Our once-loving home had been imploded — yet it looked exactly like it did before. Something catastrophic had occurred here — yet ESPN still blared in the adjacent room as before.

Something evil had blown through the space. A powerful, vacuum-like sensation left an uncomfortable chill in all the rooms. All the energy and life force had been instantly sucked out of what had once been a home.

I struggled to comprehend how the physical structure and contents of the house could remain unchanged and intact after such a cataclysm.

Then it hit me: I had just witnessed a detonation of a neutron bomb.


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Author: The Jaded Orator

I am a former chump who was blindsided when my husband ghosted our long term marriage. I have since forgiven my betrayer, the other woman, and moved on with my life. Today, I write to dispel the rumor that I rode off quietly into the sunset. LOL.

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