It came at me out of the blue. We had just finished dinner and Becky was washing the dishes and I was drying them and putting them away when Becky said:
"Have you ever had an affair or thought of having one?"
How in the hell do you honestly answer a question like that? Had I ever had one? No. Had I ever thought of having one? Many, many times. There was only one answer that I could safely give and so I gave it:
"Of course not. Why in the world would you even ask me a question like that?"
"No reason, just idle curiosity."
"Oh no you don't Rebecca Anne. I know you better than that. You would never ask a question like that without a reason."
"That's all it was, just curiosity. Marge Holbrook told me that she just found out that George had an affair two years ago. Two weeks ago Nancy Neubert told me Tom was having an affair and a month ago one of the girls I work with told me she found out her husband was having an affair. All three of them are in marriages that have lasted over twenty years and I wondered if it was some form of late life seven year itch."
Nothing more was said about the subject and we finished the dishes, watched NCIS, Commander-In-Chief and Boston Legal and then went to bed.
I didn't buy it. Becky and I had been married a little over twenty years and I knew her. I knew her a whole lot better than she thought I did and I could tell that there was more behind her question than she was letting on. But I also knew that since she hadn't been forthcoming during our talk in the kitchen she wouldn't say any more on the subject.
I spent a day or two wondering about it and gradually I forgot about it. For about a week. And then I noticed a subtle change in Becky. It might have been there all along, but I was just noticing it. She dressed just a tad better for work. Not necessarily more sexy or more revealing, but just a little more upscale. She wore her high heels more often, spent a little time on her hair and makeup.
She had always stopped one night a week with the girls from work and she was usually home by eight, but she started coming home later; first nine and then nine-thirty and then ten. And there was a difference when she came home - she was always horny and wanted to make love. I started coming home to find messages on the answering machine telling me she was running a little late.
Then I remembered her question about affairs and the penny dropped. She had asked that question to gauge my response to it. She was trying to get a feel for how I might react and I concluded that Becky was either thinking of having an affair or was already having one. I know that some would call that jumping to a conclusion, but again, I knew Becky a lot better than she thought I did. Plus, I had the benefit of an excellent memory.
Way back when Becky and I first met I'd already had some sexual experience with several different girls while Becky was still a virgin. I made a big mistake one night after we had become engaged in letting Becky talk me into telling her of my past experiences and she got all bent out of shape. She even went so far as to suggest that maybe we shouldn't rush into things, that we should take some time off from each other and see other people and make sure that we were really right for each other.
I may have been dumb enough to tell her of my sexual past, but I wasn't so dumb that I couldn't see what was going on in her head. I wasn't going into our marriage a virgin so why should she? I had no problem with that as long as I was the one she did the deed with, but even back then I knew her better than she thought I did. I'd had sex with five girls before meeting her so she should have sex with five guys so we would go into our marriage even.
I didn't fall for it.
I flat out told her that if she wanted to date other guys then give me back my ring. I told her that once she said yes to my proposal and put on my ring anything she did with another guy I would consider as cheating. She backed down, but I know she always felt like she was short-changed on the deal.
I had no doubt in my mind that she had spent some time during our marriage wondering what another man or two would be like and I don't doubt that she had even wondered what certain specific individuals would be like. Hell, that was just human nature. I'd looked at a lot of ladies during our marriage and wondered what they would have been like, but look and wonder is all I did. I wasn't sure that I could say the same any more about Becky.
I'm a one woman guy and I expect that my significant other will be a one man woman. I'm not the type to share. As much as I loved Becky I would end our marriage in a heartbeat if she stepped out on me. I was not the type to sit and wait for things to happen either. There wasn't an ounce of 'wait and see' in me and not even a smidgen of 'what I don't know won't hurt me.' If Becky was considering an affair I would try to head it off at the pass. If she was already having one we were done.
There were no kids to be hurt if Becky and I divorced. Joan had joined the Army right out of high school and Ryan was in his second year of college (back in my day it would have been just the opposite). They wouldn't be happy about it, but they wouldn't be hurt the way they would have been had they been seven or eight.
The first thing I had to do was find out what was going on. The obvious place to start was with the night she stopped with the girls from work. They always (at least according to Becky) stopped at the Top Hat and it was usually on a Thursday because the Top Hat had a live band Thursday through Saturday. I drove to the place on a Monday and checked it out.
There were several dark corners where you could park yourself and not really be noticed unless someone was looking for you. I never wear a hat and my vision is 20/20 so a ball cap and a pair of reading glasses with the lenses punched out combined with a dark corner should make me unobtrusive. All I had to do was get to the Top Hat early enough on Thursday to see that I got one of the dark corners.
Becky got off work at five-thirty so at five-fifteen I was sitting in a dark corner, the bill of my ball cap pulled down low. Becky and her girlfriends walked in at five thirty-five and pushed three tables together next to the dance floor. When the women sat down they didn't sit together, but were spread out with empty chairs between them and I wondered about that. I got the answer about three minutes later when a bunch of guys came in and took the empty seats. I noticed that after the guys all sat down there was a vacant chair on either side of Becky.
The band came in, set up, and then started playing their first set of the evening. Everyone but Becky got up and moved out onto the dance floor. Becky sat there sipping her drink and watching her co-workers dance. About five minutes after the music started I saw Becky get a huge smile on her face and I looked in the direction she was looking and I saw a man heading for her with a smile on his face as big as the one on hers. When he reached the table he bent down and kissed her and then sat down next to her. There was some animated conversation, some touching, and a lot of smiling and then they got up to dance to a slow number.
He pulled her close to him and they dance so close that you could not have slid a piece of paper between the two of them. When his hands slid down her back and came to rest on Becky's ass and she buried her head in his shoulder the only question I had left was, "Has the affair already been consummated?"
Becky and the man danced several times together and when she excused herself to go to the bathroom I got up and left the bar. I walked through the parking lot until I found Becky's car and then I went and got mine and moved it to where I could sit and watch Becky's. I reached into the back seat and pulled my date for the evening into the front seat with me. I had stopped at an adult bookstore a couple of days previous and had purchased a blow up doll. I'd found a blond wig at the Salvation Army Thrift Store and one of my old sweatshirts completed the costume. I pulled my 'date' close to me and settled in to wait.
At nine-fifteen Becky and the man came out of the bar hand in hand and they walked right past Becky's car and came straight towards me. I pulled my date into a clinch, made like we were necking and hoped that Becky wouldn't recognize my car. If she did it would force a confrontation and I didn't want that yet. I needed more information before I confronted her.
Either she didn't recognize the car or she was too wrapped in the guy to notice, but she walked right by me and the two of them got in the car right next to me. The two of them talked for about five minutes and then they slid together and started to make out. After about ten minutes they broke apart, talked for another few minutes and then Becky got out of his car, walked over to her car and drove away. The man started up and pulled out of the parking lot and I started up and followed him.
Twenty minutes later he pulled into the driveway of a four-bedroom ranch, got out and locked his car and went into the house. I wrote down the address so I could use the library's reverse directories to find out who he was and then I headed home.
When I got there and went in the house I found a worried Becky. "Where were you? I got home and you weren't here and there was no note or message on the answering machine."
I had an unkind thought - was she really worried about me or was she worried about where I might have been and what I might have seen or been trying to find out? I decided to take my first shot at her and see how she responded.
.... There is more of this story ...