Me: Let’s just jump right into this…what the heck did you do to make her leave?
Mads: (clasps his hands, leans forward and stares down at his feet) I screwed up. I was stupid… I just… I thought I was doing the right thing. I thought if I could be more successful, if I could give her everything–the money, the lifestyle she used to have…that we’d never have to worry. And… I wanted to be successful for me too. I didn’t want to feel like I was some kind of failure.
Me: But how could you feel like a failure when things seem to be going so well for you and your partners? You’re making bespoke pieces for a major hotel project, you’ve got a steady flow of orders coming in and write-ups in design magazines. Surely by now you know you’ve made it.
Mads: I don’t know. You know… sometimes when you’re looking at the stacks of invoices that need to be paid and you’re having to remind pretty flush customers that they really do need to pay for the furniture you’ve designed for them, and you’re paying rent on workspace and making sure everyone else gets paid first…you don’t really feel that successful. We had some pretty lean years in the beginning.
Me: But surely you know Laney doesn’t miss her life with Niklas…
Mads: I know she doesn’t want to be with Niklas again. Realistically, I know this. But when I’m standing there watching this distance grow between us…and I know he’s calling her sometimes, asking for advice and acting like the only thing that was ever between them was friendship… It’s like he thinks she still is a part of him. I know she doesn’t think that way, but he does. I know it.
Me: Did you ever tell Laney that his calls bothered you?
Mads: I can’t forbid her from talking to him. And why should I? I trust her. I don’t trust him, but I trust my wife.
Me: There’s a part of you though that is envious of Niklas’s wealth…
Mads: Yeah, of course I am. He could give things to Laney that I couldn’t…I’ll probably never be that well-off. Laney never complains, but I know there are times when she misses what she had. She never had to think about how much something cost, she never had to question if there was enough money to go on holiday. And then she moved here to be with me and that privilege of never having to worry… it disappeared. Those first few years, we sometimes had to scramble to make ends meet with our salaries. I’d stopped working at the clinic, so there was no more extra money coming in unless I managed to get a few evening classes in woodworking from the local design school and community college. And then when Liv came…I pretty much stopped working so I could be at the hospital all the time… I still remember how we had to dig into our savings to pay bills. And Laney’s had just a broken background as me… I knew she needed that security and it was disappearing because we didn’t have enough money…
Me: What about your family? How did it feel–having that family you wanted?
Mads: Everything that’s good in my life is because of them. Before I met Laney, I never pictured myself as the guy who couldn’t wait to go home to be with his wife. I’d stopped believing that I would ever meet someone else I’d want to be married to…and then she came along…I love her… I can’t even imagine my life without her. I don’t want to. And my daughters–do you know how brilliant it feels to be their dad? I come home to them and it feels like whatever was missing–they fill that hole as soon as I see them. Or if I just think about them…Liv is like my little shadow–she follows me everywhere and she’s always full of questions. And Freya…she is my littlest angel and she’s growing up so quickly… Fanden, I miss my girls.
Me: Is this the end of you and Laney?
Mads: No, it can’t be. When you love each other as much we do…it can’t just disappear like that. I want to grow old with her. I’m not giving up on my marriage.
Me: Anton and the gang are worried that if you don’t act soon, Laney may ask you for a divorce.
Mads: I don’t want a divorce. I want my wife. I want my family…that’s all I want–Laney and my girls.