Something We Have To Talk About
- Why do life-changing events happen when we least expect them, when we feel comfortable, when we feel relaxed, and when we feel most secure? Why do our plans never workout, as they should? Maybe successfully, but never exactly as we planned. Why does that which does happen always happen differently, against our expectations? Have you ever noticed this?-
Jonathan Freemont had just got home from working his eight-hour shift plus an overtime of another four hours. Jonathan worked as a diesel mechanic for the Caterpillar dealership in town. Jonathan wasn't a foreman, but Jonathan was one of their top mechanics. Jonathan was happy not being a foreman. He didn't want to be a foreman. He wanted to be doing exactly the job he did.
Things had been running hot and heavy with fire crews out on 4 different and major forest fires, plus who knew how many smaller burns popping up all over the place. Equipment had been breaking down everywhere, and Jonathan was needed almost day and night.
Ever since mid-July he had been working overtime and it was now getting near time for the children to start back to school, also, the end of August. He was getting up early, and getting home late, been doing so the whole summer, weekdays, and weekends.
Not that he was complaining. He was happy with all the overtime he was receiving. He was always happy working overtime. Overtime meant money and they needed money because of the expensive four bedroom two and a half bath, two-car garage ranch house, located in a very good neighborhood, and on a large plot, that Jonathan and Susan had bought two years ago. Cindy, Joey and Nancy weren't little any more. They needed their own rooms and their own space.
With all the fires burning out of control Jonathan was bringing home some very nice paychecks. Jonathan was tired, bone tired, but happy. The money was needed.
Jonathan was happy, no proud, about being able to buy the expensive house. Jonathan felt good knowing he was a good provider for his family. He loved his family and was proud of all of them. If anyone had asked, he would have told them, he had the best wife and best children that anyone could have.
Not that they didn't have their problems too. They had them. No different than other couples. Nothing serious though. Only little things like Susan carrying a little too much weight after having the three little ones, Jonathan getting too much of a beer gut on him, she complaining about him never wanting to go to those couple's parties friends and neighbors had planned, but rather stay at home or go fishing. Neither would have said that their sex life was great. He would have wanted more fucking, maybe a little wilder sex with less lovemaking. She would have said she wanted more lovemaking, foreplay and attention from him. Well, those kinds of problems, just little problems that got on one's nerves, but never were big enough to fight about. Jonathan was content, and so did Susan seem to be.
When he walked into the house everything seemed too quite. Normally he would have at least been greeted by the sound of three children playing. They shouldn't have been in bed yet, still too early. They couldn't be over at the neighbors playing, for that it was, even for summer, too late. He wondered for a moment if he had forgotten something. Had Susan told him they were going to be staying overnight with someone, like their grandparents? Obviously, they weren't in the house.
Susan was though. She was sitting off in the far corner of the dining room table, hands folded together on the table top staring at him with a pensive, nervous, sad and contemplative, studious look on her face. For a moment he thought she looked like she had been crying. Her eyes seemed red.
"Jonathan, there's something we have to talk about," were her first words as she dropped her gaze from Jonathan down to her hands.
He felt his stomach lurch and flutter. The look on her face was one he had only seen but once before. She had sat there on that very same spot and said those very same words, the day she told him that his father had died suddenly of a heart attack.
Remembering, he felt his knees go weak. He pulled one of the oak chairs out and sat down across the table from her, not able to say anything. He could only look questioningly at her, but her eyes were avoiding his. She was contemplating, thinking, a far away look in her eyes. He could feel her desire not to say, not to speak. He could feel that she wanted to be anywhere but where she was. She wanted, but did not want, this conversation. Butterflies were battling in his stomach.
Studying her still folded hands, not looking at him, She spoke, her tone sad almost mournful, "Jonathan, you know I love you. You know I love you more than any man in the world. You know you mean the world to me, don't you? "
He swallowed hard, his mouth dry, too dry to speak, "Yes."
She raised her eyes to him, studying, searching his face for more of an answer than just that one simple word, "You need to believe that now more than ever before Jonathan. I need to tell you about some things that make this very important. You need to know how much I truly do love you. How important you are to me. How important we are for each other. You have to believe in us. You just have to, no matter how you feel afterwards. No matter how much you feel hurt. This is important now, more than ever before. I truly do love you." Her voice was quaking, those last words spoken, each as if they were single sentences.
Now he had cold sweat dripping down his back. His hands were beginning to shake; he could not believe his own thoughts. Anticipation and Susan words, mood and facial expression, the whole atmosphere had his mind racing to a thousand different conclusions. He could not force the memories of his father's death out of his mind, out of his awareness and feelings. They pervaded his entire being. Intuitively, he knew that this was one of those moments that change everything. Whatever she wanted to tell him; life would never be the same, afterwards.
For moments, time standing still, she sat contemplating him, but still her eyes would not meet his questioning, puzzled stares. Only in thought did they stare blankly at him. Only the clock ticking on the wall broke the silence in the room. You could almost hear the house creaking in the quiet stillness.
Then her words rambling and rolling, some times soft and barely audible, some times hard, loud, almost violent with passion, her voice quaky, her lips quivering neither less. "I'm not only afraid of you hearing this from someone else and not understanding, I need to tell you this for myself. For my own peace of mind, I can't go on like this anymore. I've carried this with me too long. For over a year now I've wanted to tell you. I can't, I just can't hold it in any longer, keeping it from you. It's not right. It hurts hiding it, and is making it feel all wrong. It shouldn't be that way. This is too important, too precious a time for me. We've discussed this over and over now, too long. We've decided to tell you. There's no other way."
"If I don't tell you, and don't explain, there's no way that you would or could understand. If you would find out, hear this from someone else. You could only think badly. You would react foolishly and only hurt yourself and me, hurt us, you and I. I don't want you misunderstanding. You need to understand."
"We need to discuss this openly and honestly so that you can understand. I can only hope, no pray, that you will love me enough to be able to understand. If you don't I don't know. I just don't know. I guess I just need to trust and have faith in you and in your love for me. I have to be consequential. There is no other way." She sighed and her shoulders drop in resignation of whatever would come.
Yet, for moments only the ticking of the clock could be heard. she did not continue, but only stared contemplatively her hands. Her shoulders still bowed in resignation.
Once, twice, three times she raised her head, opening her mouth to speak, but then dropped her head and spoke no words.
Finally, painstakingly, as if each word had to be torn from her, "Jonathan, this last year I've been seeing someone... a man."
Her eyes were now staring, boring into his, not only awaiting his reaction, but also daring, challenging, combative and defensive. She was now ready to defend her adultery, openly and honestly before him. Her first baby steps had been taken, now she could no longer hide.
"Jonathan, he's a very nice, kind, caring, understanding, man that has been hurt very badly and needs my love, attention and care. The year before I met him, he lost his wife in an accident. She died when their car overturned on the highway. He was driving and even though it wasn't his fault, he blamed himself terribly. He was suffering from heavy suicidal depressions. Even now, after all this time, and all my love and care, he still is depressed at times."
Jonathan felt dizzy. Had he heard her correctly? She was cheating on him? She had cuckolded and made a fool of him? He felt like he had just been knocked numb by a single punch and was so out of it that he couldn't even feel the pain.
The saliva in his mouth now turned into gummy sludge; still not fathoming the full depth of Susan's words completely, "You're telling me that for the last year you have been cheating on me? You have been running around fucking some other guy? You're telling me that you've thrown away our marriage and our marriage vows just to get some strange? You're telling me that you don't care enough about the kids or me; you just want to have your thrills, your fun and excitement? "
Her eyes flared burning, her face hard and harsh, and her voice rising, shaking in anger, "Jonathan! Shame on you! Do you think so little of me? Do you love me so little that you think I am some slut, a nymphomaniac, a harlot and whore walking the streets? Right now I'm so ashamed of you, to think that you could care and love me so little. Right now I am so disappointed. I don't think I've ever been more disappointed in you before. How could you ever think something like that of me, you own wife and mother of your children? You're supposed to love, honor and cherish me. Those were our wedding vows Jonathan!" She snapped those last two sentences out. Intending each word as a slap in his face.
Then she stopped, her face turning to one side, attempting to calm herself and matters. Nothing was said for a while.
After that, in her eyes were the emotions of love and consideration to be seen. A small sigh of remembered joy and passion pasted her lips, "Believe me, he's not a bad man Jonathan. This isn't something like you're thinking, like you're worried about. This isn't about just sex. This isn't about cheating or lying, running around uncaringly fucking. This isn't about being immoral or amoral. This is about love and caring for someone deeply. This is about me helping and giving someone something of myself that that someone needs very badly, something that he can't do without. This is about receiving something in return that is very precious to me, something that I can hold in my heart and memories when I'm old, ugly and gray. Something for when no one cares, loves, wants or needs me anymore."
"Yes, there is sex and the sex is good." A smile crossed her lips, her eyes grew distant, "And something the sex is even great. But, it's not about sex. It's about love. It's about being loving and attentive to the needs and desires of those you love. That is why the sex is so good, so great."
Jonathan's body buckled in his seat, his stomach cramping from the massive blow. His awareness only centered on that one thought. She loved this man. She was going to leave him for this man. He was losing her to him. That was the reasoning behind this whole talk. Had she already packed her bags? Or maybe she had packed his?
With tears forming in his eyes, bent forwards in pain so far he could barely look into her eyes, "You love him?" That was all his body, his voice, allowed his mind expression.
Seeing the pain articulated in his body actions, the thoughts in his eyes, she understood. This was the very reason she had taken this agonizing course of action upon herself. Thinking, knowing that him would, no could only misunderstand, and think wrongly, respond wrongly.
Yet still, she answered honestly and proudly, "Yes, I do love him. I love him very much. He is very important to me. He means a lot to me."
Then in the most tender, gentle and caring voice she could muster, "But I love you too. I've never stopped loving you, and I never want or will stop loving you. I just love you both. Each one of you differently, for different reasons."
Looking forcefully and deeply into his eyes, wanting, needing him to understand, she continued, "I'm never going to leave you for him, or anyone else, Jonathan. Please never think that. You are my husband, the father of my children and the love of my life, my soul mate."
Then with a sorrowful sigh, looking out the window into the nameless infinite beyond, "Some day I know that it will be over between him and I. He is too young for me ever to consider as a partner. In time he will grow past his need for me and find someone who will become his soul mate and partner. Then I will step aside, only cherishing our memories."
Gasping for breath, now finally rage forming, building up within him, "Who is he? Where is this son of a bitch?" He stood up out of his chair, pacing the open area between the kitchen and the dining room.
Her eyes and face cold, ever so cold, severe and insensitive, "Jonathan, who he is, is none of your concern or business. What we two do, how we make love or when we make love, what we do together, is none of your business. That is between only him and me. You are not a part of what happens between us. What happens between us is only about him and I. You are not a part of that, just the same as he is not a part of our life together. Never again ask me such questions. I will not answer you."
Jonathan slammed his fist against the wall, the plasterboard cracking underneath his fist. "How in the fucking hell could you ever think that I would accept such as situation? Are you fucking crazy? Do you seriously expect me to willingly share you with this asshole?"
On her cold, severe and insensitive facial expression now grew a mocking smile, "What are you going to do Jonathan? Divorce me? I don't think so Jonathan. Do you know what a divorce would mean for you Jonathan?"
"Maybe you should check out your options with a lawyer before you go spouting off any more stupidity. This is a no fault divorce state Jonathan. He is a divorce lawyer, so we know very well the outcome. We've talked this part out completely. If you divorce me now Jonathan, I will be taking you to the cleaners. I will protect my children and me, first and foremost. Your welfare will not be a concern of mine. You would be paying me not only child support; you would be paying me alimony, the court costs, my car payment and this house. Not even with the amount of overtime you have been making lately would you be able to afford anything but a cardboard box to live in. You'd be sleeping in your car or at work and eating spam and macaroni and cheese for at least the next ten to twelve years."
Her expression than softening some, yet still remaining formidable, her body leaning aggressively forward off of the back of her chair and over the table, "Have you given the children any thought? How do they fit into your plans? Do you know how our divorce would affect them? Have you considered what effect your relationship with them would have, you not being here for them?"
Leaning back into her chair, crossing her arms and laying her hands onto her upper arms, the mocking smile returning to her lips, "No Jonathan, divorce is not an option."
Taken back and realizing how bitterly she had stacked the deck against him, he needed, felt completely the need to at least gain point against her, "What if I were to cheat on you? How would you feel about that? That would be fair wouldn't it?" With an angry smirk on his face, "You know, what's good for the goose is good for the gander."
Angry flames glaring at Jonathan she answered quickly, too quickly to have not already thought that option through. "Don't be so stupid Jonathan. Take a long look at yourself. You're not eighteen and young any more. You're balding on top. Your belly is starting to hang over your belt. You're a middle aged married man with three children and a wife to support. Who would even consider having an affair, or even a one-night-stand with a man like you? Women our age want sincerity, comfort, compassion and security or they want erotic, sensuality, interesting men who can seduce them towards passions they have never known before. None of these can you provide. No again Jonathan. If you go out chasing skirts in bars and embarrass and shame me for being your wife, I will divorce you."
For long moments both of them stayed only angrily staring at each other. It was then Susan's eyes that first broke their battle stance. Her eyes then breaking from his, as her head turned again towards the window, and out into contemplative infinity. Time slowly ebbed away in silence. Only the ticking of the clock and Jonathan's heavy erratic breathing could be heard.
Quietly, slowly her attention turned back to him, her eyes no longer cold and harsh, but rather soft, tender and loving. He for a moment was taken back. His eyes, his emotions forced to change because of hers. "Jonathan, this doesn't have to be this way. My love for you hasn't changed any. I am still your loving wife, just like I always was. He hasn't taken anything from you. Not a single thing. I'm still here for you, and I always will be."
She continued on, "If you love me enough. What is between him and me should not change our love for each other. Maybe even with time our love can grow stronger and better because of all this. Everything that happens now between us is up to you. I am still open to you. I'm still here for you. I'm trying not to burn any bridges between us. I'm even trying to open new and old ones back up."
With a deep sorrowful sigh she dropped her eyes from him back to her hands that were once again clasped resting on the table. "I would hope that if you loved me enough you would understand what this means to me and be happy for me.'
Tears starting to form in her eyes, she looked back to his eyes, her eyes, her expression almost questioning, begging. "I don't know what else I can say or tell you. I only thought that your love for me would be strong enough for you to look past your male ego and selfish desires and want the best for me. I'm sorry if you can't do that. I'm very sorry."
She sobbed, putting a hand in front of her mouth, she jumped from her chair, running from the dining room and down the hall towards the bedroom. The door behind her, closed with a slam.
Jonathan stiffly walked over into the kitchen and pulled a bottle of Jim Beam from out of one of the cabinets. Before moving back into the dining room he tipped the full bottle up and drank letting the liqueur flow down his throat in three than a final four heavy gulps.
Sitting back on that same chair he had before, he stared for a moment back at the corner and the chair she had been sitting in. Lifting the open bottle once again he toasted, "Here's to my loving wife, here's to my fucking, loving, adulterous slut-wife." Then with the bottle pressed to his lips, he allowed another 3 heavy gulps of whiskey to slide down his throat.
Jonathan normally never got angry drunk, but this night wasn't normal was it? The more he drank, the angrier and more depressed he seemed to be getting. Normal quiet he was also getting to be very verbal. Angry depressive thoughts and alcohol was allowing Jonathan to not only become very verbal, he was also becoming very abusive in his language.
At one point he got up and staggered bouncing off the walls walking towards the closed bedroom door. Finding it locked he slammed his fist against it, "God damn it Susan! You're not only fucking others. You're locking me out of my own goddamn bedroom. I can't even be a man in my own house anymore. You fucking turned me into a cuckold and wimp that isn't allowed to sleep in his own goddamn fucking bedroom anymore. What's next? Are you going to fuck him in my own bed? Is he going to be sleeping now in my bedroom, in my place instead of me? Is that your next move? Or has that already happened?"
He staggered back into the dinning room, but not before calling out once more to her, "You're a goddamn fucking slut Susan. I hope you know that. I never should have married your whore ass."
About a half an hour later she walked back out of the bedroom. She was dressed and had a small overnight case of clothing in one hand. Intending first not to stop, she did though. For moments she looked staring in pity at him now completely inebriated, his head on the table, the bottle of Jim Beam mostly empty and tipped over in front of him.
Just before she turned to leave, he saw her and raised his head for a moment. "Going to your lover slut?"
Susan did not answer him at first, but turned and walked away, opening the door. "Yes, Jonathan I am going to him tonight. You're so angry and drunk I'm afraid of what you could do. You've said enough cruel things to last me a lifetime. If I hear anymore I'll only learn to hate you. I only pray that tomorrow you'll think differently and that we can talk."
Jonathan slept for a time to than awake, pulling the bottle once more to his lips. Then he fell back asleep.
Once during the night he did though wake and felt even halfway sober. He stumbled then into the bedroom. Sitting on the bed, feeling so alone, the full volume and consequences of last evening swept over him. He cried in deep hysterical sobs that did not seem to end.