Edited by Angel Love. Thanks as always
Consider: In most major events, it is the little things that can make or break them. In 1986, the Challenger space shuttle was lost due to a cheap O ring that probably cost less than a few dollars. Because of that, seven lives and hundreds of millions of dollars were lost.
Consider: It is often mentioned that a blood clot, sometimes so small that it takes a microscope to see it, can kill someone. Blood flow to a critical part of the brain is blocked and a life is lost due to a microscopic chunk of sticky cells.
Consider: A small patch of black ice on an otherwise dry road can cause the car to go out of control and crash. The wheel twists, control is lost on a sharp curve and death can result.
The list goes on and on. Some small thing, often not even visible, can destroy a major undertaking. But consider: Can we call a marriage a major undertaking?
I do. I consider my marriage a major undertaking. I've been married for a little over eight years to a beautiful woman named April. We have two wonderful boys, Chris and Charles. Chris is my namesake, Chris jr. Charles is named after my father. We live in a nice home, one with room enough for a growing family. I'm not a college graduate, but I have a good job as a master mechanic. My talents and skills have made us a good living. I work long hours but the money makes it worth it. I've always considered my marriage the high point of my life. I worked hard to provide for my family. I considered it a major undertaking and I took it seriously.
What broke my marriage was a small thing. In my case, it was a small blood vessel in my brain that was too close to another vessel and sometimes, when conditions were just right, the vessel would expand and touch the other. The result was a migraine headache. I had one on that fateful day. Mine was classic in its symptoms: light was painful, sounds were magnified and smells were horrible. It came on me suddenly and without warning. Just a blinding pain that took me by surprise. I knew what it was immediately. The problem was that I didn't have my Imitrex inhaler with me so I had no way to stop or mitigate the pain. The pills I carried weren't as effective as the inhaler and it would take time to reduce the pain to a manageable level. Time I couldn't work anyway.
I staggered in to see my boss and gave him the bad news. He was panicked at my distress and called his secretary in. "Take him home. Hell, it's almost quitting time so he doesn't have to worry about hours. Just punch him out and give me his card. And don't let him drive for God's sake. Go, now!" Penny helped me stand up and she and my boss led me carefully out the door and down the hall to the exit. Penny led me outside, helped me lean back against the wall while she went for her car. I couldn't stand the light so I kept my eyes closed and my hands to my temples, pressing as hard as I could to help block the pain.
Once in the car, I leaned back against the seat and tried to block everything out. The pain was intense and getting worse. I was almost blind, the light causing me to squeeze my eyes tightly closed. The sounds were now just a deep booming in my head and the smell was disgusting causing my stomach to rebel. Since Penny knew where I lived, I didn't have to say or do anything while she drove. It seemed to take forever, but eventually, she stopped the car, went around and opened my door and pulled me out. I went, following where she led. It was all I could do.
Penny got me inside, helped me to the kitchen where I told her to open the refrigerator and get the injector out. She found it, put it in my hand and held me up while I placed it in my nose and pushed the plunger. I inhaled at the same time, taking the aerosol into my lungs and quickly into my bloodstream. I had her guide me into the family room off the kitchen and help me to lay down on the couch. I asked her to close all the blinds and turn off any lights. She did so, waited a few minutes until I told her that I felt the relief beginning already and she left. I thanked her for getting me home and welcomed the silence when she was gone.
I must have fallen asleep quickly once the pain started to fade because I woke up sometime later to voices. It was very dark in the room so I knew it was later in the day. As I remembered where I was, I noticed immediately that the pain was gone. I felt like I had taken a beating around my neck and shoulders, but that was just the residue of the migraine. I sat slowly up and waited a heartbeat or two to be sure the pain was not just lurking, waiting to get me. It was gone. Thank God!
I sat there in the dark, recognizing the voice of my wife April and her friend Robin from next door. I guess they didn't know I was there since it was dark and the lights were still out. Maybe April just let me sleep, suspecting I might have come home early? But no, my car wasn't in the drive. She probably didn't even suspect I was here. Maybe I would just surprise both of them. I stood, ready to tip toe over to the doorway and then pop out when I began to pay attention to their words.
"Come on April, how was it? Was it as good as before? Give me the details girl."
"It was fantastic. I felt like I was in heaven. He was even better this time than he was before. I swear, I must have climaxed three times before he came. God, it was almost mind blowing. It was the best sex I've ever had."
"Even better than Chris? Better than your husband?"
"Hell yes. I love Chris to death but he's never made me feel like that. Never. Of course, I never let him do those things to me either. He'd think I was a real slut if I did."
"But Carl must think you're a slut then."
"Of course, but I'm his slut. And I love it. God, I can't wait until the next time."
"Aren't you afraid of Chris finding out? What would he do? Have you thought about that? You're risking a lot you know."
"Chris will never find out. And even if he did, so what? He won't do anything about it. He's a sweetheart and he would forgive me. He would never divorce me and take a chance on losing his kids. He loves those kids and he knows I would take them away from him in a heartbeat. All I'd need would be a cutthroat lawyer and he'd be toast!"
"This doesn't sound like you April. I've never heard you talk that way about Chris. How could you say you love him when you talk that way? You scare me girl. I think you're making a huge mistake. I really do."
"I love Chris. I really do, but I don't want to stop what I have with Carl either. I want both. I want the sex I get with Carl and the love I get with Chris. I need both and I won't give it up."
I had heard enough. My migraine was gone but the pain in my heart was worse by far. The pain was so intense that my stomach tightened and my breath left me gasping. I heard a ringing in my ears and my blood was pounding in my head. I was afraid I was going to have a heart attack and held on to the jam of the doorway until I could feel my body begin to return to some degree of normal. I still hadn't let them know I was there, but as my control returned, the anger inside me grew in intensity until I felt ready to explode. I straightened up, raised my head and walked into the kitchen light.
There was a sudden silence when Robin saw me first. She looked up, stopped talking while her eyes widened and her mouth opened into a shocked 'O'. Her hand flew to her mouth and she let out a soft, "Oh my God!"
April turned to see what she was looking at and saw me standing there. Her face went from satisfied, to surprise, to fear and then to anger. All in a flash. She pushed back her chair and stood, turning to face me. "How much did you hear? Why in the hell were you lurking in there and spying on me?"
I just looked at her without speaking. My eyes shifted to Robin, who immediately rose and said, "I have to go. Pete and I will keep the boys unless you come over to get them. I'll call you later." With that she almost ran out the side door. I watched her go without a word.
Once she was gone, I looked back at April, considering that this was the woman I had loved without question for the last eight years of my life. Eight years that were the happiest I had ever known. I had expected that we would be together for the rest of our days, but now that expectation was shattered. There would be no forever for us. No growing old together. April had killed that tonight.
"Where are the boys? What did you do with them while you fucked your lover? Did you take care of them or was it too much fun just to have another man fucking you that you let them alone?" I was now calm and cold. The pain was still there, deep cutting pain. It was going to be a long time before that pain lessened. There would be days and days of pain so intense that it was going to tax all I had.
April had a look of anger on her face that turned her beauty into an ugly mask. Maybe the mask was the real April. Maybe this was the April I had never seen but who had been inside all along. She lashed back. "The boys are with Pete. Robin and I were out shopping and Pete was sitting for me. I wasn't with anyone else, just Robin."
With this announcement, she felt she had scored a point. The look of anger changed into a look of satisfaction. She finally realized that I had been home all along and asked, "What are you doing home? Where is your car and why were you sitting there in the dark? Were you spying on me? Trying to catch me in something?"
"I came home early with a severe migraine. George had Penny drive me home since I couldn't stand the light. I took my Imitrex and fell asleep. I've been there ever since." I felt a tremor in my stomach and the unmistakable urge to vomit took me. I rose and continued as I started to the bathroom. "Your voices woke me and what I heard made me sick. I need to use the bathroom, so if you'll excuse me." With that I ran to the bathroom and tried to heave my stomach through my mouth. It wasn't successful, but my body certainly tried.
I sat there on the bathroom floor, my face pressed against the cool porcelain as my body slowly relented. My stomach finally stopped its rebellion and my breathing returned to normal. The sweat dried on my face as the urge dissipated. I sat there for a few more minutes before getting up, splashing some water on my face and using more to rinse my mouth. Once the shaking stopped and I felt under some control, I walked back to the kitchen where April sat, staring out the window.
"I'm going to get the boys. I'll put them to bed tonight." I walked past her and out the door, going next door to the Anderson's.
Pete and Robin Anderson were our neighbors and best friends. We spent many an evening on each other's decks talking and sharing drinks. Good friends I thought. I wondered what Pete knew. I had to ask. I walked up the steps to their back door, knocked once and walked in. Robin was sitting in her kitchen with a cup of coffee in front of her talking with her husband. It seems she had told him. He glanced up as I entered with a look of pity on his face. Robin just looked scared.
"Came to get the boys. Are they ready to go home?" I was already moving past Pete to the family room where I assumed the boys were playing with Carly, their teenaged daughter. I saw them working on a puzzle together with Carly watching over them. She smiled at me as I entered the room and stood.
"Hi, Mr. Phillips. Did you come to get them?" At my nod, she said, "I'll get their jackets."
I stood watching them, a feeling of sadness overwhelming me. Scenes like this were the casualties of infidelity, I imagined. All the little everyday pleasures that consisted of family were forever changed. Shattered by the inconceivable selfishness of one or the other of the adults. Shattered beyond repair in most cases. This seemed one of those.
"Thanks Carly. I'll be in the kitchen when they're ready." I walked back to the kitchen where Pete and Robin continued to sit. I looked at Robin and then at Pete.
"Did you both know? Did you know that she was cheating on me? Was it a turn-on knowing what you knew when we were together? Gave you some sort of sick thrill?" I was angry and my words were unnecessarily harsh but I wanted to know. I wanted to know what my dear friends knew. I had to know. Pete looked at Robin before answering me.
"I didn't know shit buddy. I swear to you if I had I would have told you right away. I can't believe my wife knew and hid it from me. That was really low. Damn low. You didn't deserve that. I won't apologize for my wife but if you need me, I'm here." Pete was starring at his wife, a look of anger on his face now. I believed him. I did. He would have told me if he knew. So, it was Robin and April's secret.
"Then I have you to thank Robin. Thank you for letting me become a joke, a cuckold, a wimp husband that didn't need to know his wife was fucking another guy. Hope it makes you feel good, knowing what you knew. Thinking of me when she gave you the details."
I turned when I saw Carly out of the corner of my eye. I quickly put a smile on my face as the boys came out, each with a cookie in his hand. I prayed she hadn't heard my last comments, and from the look on her face, knew she hadn't. I commented on the cookies the boys had as I herded them out the door for home. I followed them out without a look back. That would be the last time Robin would ever be with my boys. I would make that a goal. I didn't know how but I would try.
We entered the house through the back door where the boys ran upstairs to their room to change for dinner. I moved through the empty kitchen and into the family room where April was sitting. She hadn't turned on any lights, sitting in the dark as I had done while I listened to the end of my life. I walked in, turned on the light on the table beside the couch and opened the curtains to allow the dwindling daylight inside. All I succeeded in making was a room filled with shadows, dark corners symbolizing the hidden secrets my loving wife held.
April looked terrible. Her eyes were red, still glazed with tears, her face was pale and drawn, her shoulders hunched. All the anger and belligerence had fled and now she was the frightened woman that I would have expected. It was a little late for this however, and instead of filling me with hope, I was disgusted. Now she was contrite? Now she was frightened? I couldn't accept that much of a change in just ten minutes. No, this was the first salvo in the battle for supremacy. This was the cheating wife that kept secrets and hid her infidelity from me. This face was one of deception and cunning, not regret.
I looked at her and asked the first question that came to mind. "Who is he? What does he have that I don't?"
She just stared at me without answering until I was sure she wasn't going to say anything. I was about to turn to leave when she finally spoke.
"Who he is isn't important and it has nothing to do with you. Chris, I'm so sorry you had to find out this way. I never meant for you to know. I never wanted to hurt you like this. I'm so sorry you heard what I said to Robin. You have to understand. You have to." "Funny. No: I'm sorry I did it. No: I wish it had never happened. No: It'll never happen again. Just sorry I got caught and you had to find out." I shook my head as I sank into the soft recliner she had bought me for our fifth anniversary. I loved it still but now it was just a chair.
"Please, you have to let me explain this to you. It doesn't have to be the end of us. We can go on just as before. We can if you'll just try to understand. Will you?" She looked at me with a pleading expression, one I had seen before when she wanted something I disagreed with. Deceiving bitch!
"Can you tell me it's over? Can you promise me you'll never see him again or be with him again. Is it done?" I kept my voice still, my body rigid, my hands holding the arms of my chair, gripping, holding me in control.
April looked at me with her eyes wide open, tears welling up to flow down her cheeks. She didn't answer me. That was enough for me. She wouldn't stop. I heard her words to Robin. She wanted both and she wasn't going to let me get in her way. She wasn't going to give him up. She wanted me to accept.
"I guess that's your answer. I'll put the boys to bed after dinner and then we can discuss our options. I'll move my things out of the house tomorrow. I guess I'll stay with my brother at his place."
I rose and walked out of the room and to the kitchen. Funny how the kitchen becomes the place to go when things get really bad. Wonder why? Strange thought to have when your world is falling apart. Stranger thing still to know that your world is falling apart.
April went about fixing dinner for us while I took the boys down to the playroom and spent an hour or so with them, just enjoying. We were playing with one of their games when April called us for dinner. We trooped upstairs with lots of noise and I pushed the boys toward the bathroom to wash their hands. Routine things. Holding it together for their sakes.
Dinner was a strained meal that night. The boys were their usual boisterous selves, enjoying each other, nothing on their plates, and life in general. Compared to their parents who sat quietly, each in their own private world, thinking about consequences and decisions that had to be made. Ah, the joys of growing up and leaving childhood behind. Why do children always want to grow up? Little do they know. They see the freedom adults have and think it is unrestricted. They see decisions to be made and see no consequences to making them. They see independence adults have and relate that to a lack of rules. Adults know better. Then again, some don't. Some see freedom as unrestricted, with no consequences for their decisions and no respect for rules. Like April.
After dinner, April did the dishes and the kitchen while I took the boys upstairs to bed. We talked, read a couple of stories and enjoyed each other for an hour until they finally gave up the fight and let me put them down. I walked to the door of their room, dimmed the light and watched them as they pulled the covers up to their necks and prepared to enter that dreamland where possibilities were endless and new discoveries awaited. My eyes burned and my throat closed up with grief as I watched. This too would end.
Downstairs I sat in my chair and tried to find something to hold onto. It seemed that my world was slipping away and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I had loved April with all my heart but I couldn't forget the words I heard as I stood there in the dark listening. Those words, "he's never made me feel like that" and "I'm his slut" No. There was no way back from those words. I felt the love inside me die as I tried to consider all the possibilities. April walked in and sat down.
"We have to talk. I know you're upset but you have to understand. What I have with Carl is just sex and the excitement of something new. I know it will pass quickly but right now, I can't stop seeing him. It is something that has a hold on me and I can't give it up. But it hasn't affected how I feel about you. I love you, not him. He's a distraction nothing more. It will end soon and we can get back to the way we were. You just have to let this happen."
The words were flowing but I was not able to comprehend what she was saying. I can't give it up? I can't stop seeing him? I have to let this happen? Was she crazy or just deluded? Whatever, this was going to stop. Now!
"I'm sorry but you're the one that apparently doesn't understand. There is no us. There is no we. There is only you and him. That's all there is now. You and I are done! Finished! Over! There is no discussion and I could never understand. You have to know that after being married to me for the past eight years. You couldn't know me so little as to believe I would accept your affair."
"But Chris. I love you! I do! You are the only man I've ever loved. I don't love Carl. I don't! Please, try to understand. Give me this time. Please, baby. For our marriage and our family, give me this time!"
"Take all the time you want. I'll contact an attorney tomorrow and we'll divide everything evenly. I have no desire to hurt you as you've hurt me. I just want it over." I was emotionally drained now and I just wanted to go to bed and forget for awhile. My headache was a thing of the past, but the ache in my heart was real and I just wanted oblivion for a few hours. But, I wasn't prepared for what followed.
"Damn you then! No divorce! I'll fight you every step of the way and I'll take everything you have. I'll make certain you won't get custody of the boys and I'll restrict your visitation rights every way I can. If you won't allow me this time for myself, it is going to cost you everything and I'll still have Carl. You can't stop me. You know it."
I listened to this harangue and it came to me then that this marriage had been over for some time. This degree of anger and disrespect wasn't sudden. It was planned and well thought out. She had anticipated my finding out and rather than stop her affair, she decided on hurting me as much as possible. There was no love here, only avarice and the desire to humiliate me.
"I only have one thing to say to you April. When you push a rat into a corner, he'll turn on you. He'll fight to the death when you try to take away any chance of escape. You should have remembered that before you pushed me. But now you have and you will pay the price."
"Please Chris. I don't want to do this but I have no choice. I love you and I'll do anything I can to stop you from walking out on us. If you won't try to understand and accept that, I'll fight you. You'll have no choice but to give up and stay with me. I know you. You love me and the boys too much to leave. I know you Chris. You'll stay."
"Goodbye April. Tell the boys I'll see them when I can. I'll just get a few things and then I'll leave. I'll get the rest of my stuff later, when we can arrange a time." I went upstairs and quickly packed a bag with enough to last me for a day or so. Nothing much, just my things from the bathroom and a few pairs of underwear and some jeans and socks. Not much after eight years of marriage. Just bitter memories now. But I did have two wonderful sons and that was all I cared about now.
I came back down to see April sitting in the kitchen by the door. She was apparently going to give it one more try. "Chris. Please don't do this. I'm begging you. Don't!"
"Tell me you're through with him. You'll never see him again. Just tell me that and maybe we have a chance."
"I can't! I just can't! Please!"
I just pushed her aside. I felt the urge to slap her as hard as I could, but I knew the anger inside was not so easily controlled so I held back. "I'll stop in the evenings after work so the boys won't notice anything right away." I opened the door and left. The door slammed behind me as I threw my bag in the back and climbed into my truck. I backed out of the garage and drove away.
On the way, I pulled out my cell and called Clyde, my brother. He lived about ten miles away in a small subdivision. He lived alone, since his wife ran off with a friend of his two years ago and Clyde had no idea of where she was. He didn't much care anymore but he was too lazy to do anything about it. They had never divorced but Clyde didn't let that stop him. He was a real boozer now and was usually out with his guys drinking most nights. He and I had words about that but Clyde wouldn't stop. I had to admit, he was rarely drunk, just buzzed most of the time. I think he was burying the memories. But that was just me.
He answered, heard me ask him for a place to say and told me to make myself to home. He'd be back sometime later. Not to worry. So, I drove to his place, took the key from under the planter on the porch and went inside. As always, it looked like no one lived there. Clyde was a lot of things but he wasn't a slob. As a matter of fact, he was compulsively neat. He had always been that way. It was a comforting thing to see now. I checked the fridge, found a few beers and made myself to home as he suggested. By the time he got back, I was pleasantly buzzed. I had gone to the store for more beer and had consumed half of them.
When he got home, I just told Clyde that April and I were having a fight and all Clyde said was, "Well, shit bro." I guess that summed it up pretty much. To help me out, he sat down and started to drink the remaining beer just to keep me from getting too far under. I was his brother. Always there for me.
I woke the next morning with a serious hangover and a raging headache. It was my own fault, drinking that way. Even though I had reason, it was no excuse. I staggered into the bathroom and stood under the shower, letting the cold water shock away the last dregs of the alcohol in my bloodstream. No good staying drunk. I looked for Clyde and found he was gone. Not surprising since we were scheduled to work that Saturday. Clyde and I worked at the same place, a company that leased and rented heavy construction equipment for most of the large contractors. Customers came from all over the state for their equipment and we were two of the top mechanics. It was our job to keep the rigs running regardless of the problems. It was good money and long hours but it paid for the things that I expected to provide for my family. That was my job: to provide.
So, I had to work. I knew I had to continue to make the money that April used to maintain that big house she was so proud of. I believed that she saw it as I did, a home for us and security for our family. I had been proud of that; my way to provide, my way to honor and cherish my family. That wasn't the case as she told me last night. April thought of it differently. It was her security all right, but she also saw it as an asset to hold over my head in any divorce. She wanted the house and the money I made but only to buy beautiful clothes for her lover. For trips to Victoria's Secret for lingerie for her lover.
I increased the flow of water to drown out those thoughts. Even though I was late, I had to get out of here and go to work where I could think, plan, decide. Things I couldn't do now. Things that April had already thought about. It was clear from what she said last night that she had planned this in advance, knowing I would be reeling from the shock of her betrayal once I found out. She knew I wouldn't be thinking clearly then so she had it all planned. Hit me with the divorce strategy of taking me for everything. Make it about hurting the kids. Make it my fault if I didn't approve my wife fucking another man. Make me the bad guy. She had stacked the deck alright. Stacked it against me to force me to allow her to fuck another man. She thought she was smart. She had a good thing and she wasn't going to lose it to her jealous husband.
I dressed and got a box of extra large trash bags. I knew she would be gone this morning, taking the boys to her mother's place. They were planning a birthday party for the boy's fifth birthday. I drove over to the house, and let myself in. I took everything out of my closet and drawers and threw it in two large garbage bags. I got all of the things out of the bathroom that I would need, put that into a small overnight and took that and the bags out to my truck. I heaved everything into the back and then went back into the house. I wasn't going to leave just yet. I was coming home after work and I would spend some time with the children. I had a lot to think about and a lot to decide. One thing was certain: my marriage was over and I would never touch April again. Never again would she be my wife, my lover or my confidant. She was someone else's lover now, not mine. As I thought of that, I couldn't stop the tears that started and I sat there on the floor of what used to be our bedroom and cried. Loss is hard.
At work, I dove in and worked straight through breaks and lunch hour. I was happy to bury all thought of home and wife and kids under the demands of fuel injectors, drive chains and fuel pumps. I tackled broken drive gears and hydraulic lifts, anything that challenged me. I worked on the toughest jobs without complaint. I was like a man possessed and was still at it ten hours later when Clyde tapped me on the shoulder for a break.
"Hey man. Come on! Jesus! Take a break would you? You're making the rest of us look like lazy bastards." He stood there waiting till I stopped, a dazed look on my face.
"Sorry man. Just working to bury myself in this shit. Don't mean to shame anyone. Sorry." I must have looked as if I was about to burst into tears when Clyde took me by the elbow and led me off the floor and into the break area. Clyde and I had been tight since our father and mother died in a car accident ten years ago. Clyde was the best man at my wedding eight years ago. Clyde was godfather to my boys, Chris jr and Charlie.
I sat down and stared at the table as Clyde got us both a cup of hot coffee. It wasn't good coffee but it was hot. "OK, talk to me. Tell me the whole story and don't leave anything out. Start talking."
I started talking and didn't stop for the next ten minutes. I told Clyde everything. All the shame, the humiliation, the contempt April showed me and I even told him of the threats she laid out. The ones she had planned to keep me from doing anything to spoil her fuckfest. She was trying to make it impossible for me to do anything to stop her or to get back at her without giving up everything. She had done it willingly and now she wanted me to accept it. I told Clyde of the look on her face as she humiliated me, as she told Robin of the sex and how wonderful it was. The contempt on her face when she threatened me with taking it all away from me. She made it clear that her lover was too important for her to give him up.
Clyde was shocked. He knew April well, had always thought of her as a good woman and a good mother. Chris had never hinted at any problems between them and he assumed their marriage was strong. Now this. Clyde looked at his brother and saw the pain and the suffering he was feeling. It hurt just to see it. Chris was a good man, a solid father, a great provider and under it all, someone the guys around the garage knew they could always trust to be there for them. Clyde began to become angry. How could she do this to him? What the hell was wrong with her? His anger began to grow as he looked at his brother and best friend, broken and beaten.
"Chris, listen to me. You're not going to take this are you? You have to do something. Let me and the guys help you. This can't stand!"
I looked up with a hopeless expression on my face. "What can I do? She'll take it all if I divorce her. Child support, alimony, the house, the car, everything. You know I would never take anything away from my kids. She's using the kids as a weapon against me. She knows I won't hurt them and probably so does that prick she's fucking. He's a shithead who thinks fucking another man's wife is fine. They've got me by the balls, and April's doing the squeezing."
Clyde shook his head and growled, "Fuck them both. April's made her bed now and she'll have to lie in her own shit. We have to go after them both. The first thing we have to do is find out who he is. That's the easy part. Let me make a couple of calls. Then we can talk."
I just shrugged my shoulders. "OK, but I don't know what you think I can do. She won't tell me anything about him."
"So what? We'll find him and he'll go down just like any one else. And you know you can never take April back don't you? What she did makes that impossible. She'll castrate you if you accept what she's doing. No way man. She's a slut."
I was surprised for a second but then a small smile started. "You're right. She's no longer my loving wife. I learned last night how quickly love can turn to hate. And my hate for her is stronger today than my love for her last night. She took that from me and turned it into something that is going to come back to hurt her. I told her that."
We talked a while longer, clocked out without any overtime and went to a small bar close to work. Neither of us planned on getting drunk. This was business and plans had to be made. Clyde called a few others in and the group of friends sat around a table and plotted. I was amazed at the support I received from these, my friends. They asked no questions, just wanted to know what they could do to help. This was the loyalty I thought I had with my wife, but that was a lie. Together, we plotted and came up with a workable plan.
At 7:00 that evening, I pulled into my drive and went into my house. Funny I thought as I walked in. It was no longer home, it was just a house. I walked into the kitchen, put my lunch pail down and walked into the family room. There I saw April sitting in her chair, watching Chris and Charlie, our five-year-old twins playing a video game. I stood there, locking this picture in my mind forever. It was not going to be this way any longer.
I looked at April. She had been watching me as I looked at the kids. She had a small smile on her face. A smile I now understood. It showed her contempt for me and her contempt for this whole wholesome scene. It was all a lie. A huge lie, with her as the liar. Now I could see and understand. I returned her look but not the smile. As I turned away, she looked down.
I walked out to the kitchen and looked in the refrigerator. I grabbed what looked like left over fried chicken and mashed potatoes and put them in the microwave to reheat. I wasn't hungry but I needed to be doing something. I had planned to talk to the boys just before they went to bed but Clyde had talked me out of it. I had to delay it now but when I spoke to them, it would be the first step in the battle that was beginning with April. I would lose, no doubt, but I would go down fighting.
I sat down with my plate and began to slowly eat. Nothing tasted good but it was necessary to maintain my strength. I needed my wits about me. I had gotten about half way through when April walked in and sat down across from me. I glanced up at her but returned to my plate and continued to eat methodically, chewing slowly. I said nothing. I had nothing to say to her yet.
"Have you calmed down from last night? Can we talk like civilized adults now?"
I looked up at her in surprise. Civilized adults? How about a cheating slut and her cuckolded husband? That was more realistic. Instead of that, I chose to say nothing.
"Aren't you going to talk to me now? Are you going to be childish and give me the silent treatment? I thought better of you than that Chris. We have to think of the children now so you have to remember your place in this house as their father."
"Am I? Am I really their father? Makes me wonder now." Nothing more than that. No anger, just a simple statement.
April's face clouded over with anger and she was about to say something when I simply said, "Careful April. The children will hear you if you start to yell. You remember the children? The ones you accused me of forgetting about last night when I got angry? Well, now you have to remember. You have to think about what you have done to their world. You not only fucked another guy, you fucked away this family. Think carefully April."
April stopped, lowered her voice and hissed, "It seems you haven't thought much about what I said last night. I expect you to get over this and get back to normal. Nothing will be different here at home. I still love you and you are my husband. That hasn't changed. Neither you or the children will be deprived of a single thing. I keep my activities private and only when they are in school and not around. You need not lose anything since I am always here for you."
I didn't answer or respond. I simply continued to eat, chewing slowly and methodically. I kept my face bland and unresponsive. My eyes were blank as I looked at her. As I did, I felt nothing inside. Interesting that my words meant nothing but my eyes told her everything. That began to slowly get through to April as she sat there. For the first time, I could see a single shiver of fear go through her.
"What are you going to do? Are you going to make this difficult for me? I hoped that you loved me enough to let me have this time for myself. I told you last night he hasn't taken anything from you and that I would always be here for you. Why can't you understand that?" April was becoming emotional now while I simply stared at her, slowly chewing my food.
I finally swallowed and said, "I think you should wait for this discussion until the children are in bed. I listened to you last night while you said your peace. I didn't like it but I listened. Afterwards, I behaved badly and I apologize for that. I should have stayed. I'm sorry for leaving that way, but I will not have this discussion while the children are still up."
April seemed mollified by that and began to smile again. "Thank you for that. I accept your apology. I think you were justified in some of what you said, but you hurt me with your words. I'll take the boys up soon and then we can talk." She walked past me with a hand on my shoulder. I couldn't stop the revulsion I felt from that simple touch.
I went in to be with the kids and tried to be my normal self. It was hard, knowing it was all going to change. But, I accepted that April's actions had destroyed all of this for me. Maybe I should just be a good cuckold and accept her terms. Wait it out till she was done with the other man. After all, didn't she say she still loved me and wanted to stay married to me? But I knew I couldn't do that. Not now, not ever again. It was after 9:00 when April came into the family room where I was sitting. She heaved a sigh, lowered herself into her chair and smiled. "Got them down and asleep. They are getting almost too big to put to bed now. They say they go to sleep but I know they turn the light on after I leave to read. They're good boys."
I looked at her and nodded my head in agreement. "They're good kids. It's too bad that this is going to be so hard on them. But, I don't know how to spare them the pain they are going to go through."
"What do you mean? I thought you understood that there is no need to do anything. Just let me have this time for myself and then we can go back to being a family like we were. Just be patient. I told you, it will be over soon. You will have lost nothing. I love you so much and I want to remain as your wife. This is just something that I have to do. Nothing more."
I looked at this woman who had been my wife for the past eight years. I married her because I couldn't think of my life without her. We had two great kids and a good marriage up until last night. Now, it had all changed and she couldn't understand why I felt it had to. Well, I was not going to go into much tonight but I had to set the record straight.