I had been on a rare business trip and I was eager to get back home and relax. The older I get, the more I appreciate my home, cuddling with the wife, and a couple cold beers. You really can't ask for too much more, can you?
I walked through the doorway and heard nothing. Usually, Jen would have the radio on, or a CD of Enya playing when she was home alone. I went through the living room and into the kitchen. Jen was sitting at the table, crying like a baby.
After 23 years of marriage, I am able to detect certain hints that indicate unhappiness. This was definitely one of them! I quickly realized that whatever the problem was, it wasn't an emergency. Jen handles them very well and only allows tears when there is time to spend on personal emotions.
I grabbed a cold MGD from the refrigerator, pulled out a chair from under the table, and sat down across from Jen. I knew she would tell me the cause of her tears when she was ready. I didn't know it would take so long. Jen just blubbered for another 15 minutes as I sipped my beer and waited.
"Mike, I've done something terrible and I feel like dying!" she finally wailed.
Then the tears started in again. I sat there, not really daring to attempt a guess as to what exactly Jen had done. With my wife, a terrible thing could range from cold-blooded murder to accidentally admitting her true weight. It took another two minutes for her to stop the tears. Then she blew her nose and composed herself.
"I went to Tom and Linda's party last night. Remember we accepted an invitation before you found out you had to leave town on business?" asked Jen. "You said I should make an appearance anyway?"
I nodded my head and waited.
"I guess I had more to drink than I realized. A man there offered to give me a lift home so I wouldn't have an accident, or get picked up by the police for driving under the influence," continued Jen. "He walked me to the door and I tried to thank him by shaking his hand. He just took me in his arms and kissed me hard!"
"Jen, I don't think you have to be so upset," I finally spoke. "If you like, I'll look him up and straighten him out on that."
"Mike! That isn't the problem. At least it's only the beginning of the mess I'm in. He persuaded me to invite him in and the next thing I knew, we were having sex in our bed!" she almost screamed in her agony.
I would have felt better if she had taken the butcher knife and plunged it into my heart! I felt dizzy and weak. I began to perspire and I felt cold. It was if I was suddenly afflicted with some terrible disease or infection, or something. Breathing became difficult. I lowered my head to my hands and tried to regain control. If I had been able to think of a response, I wouldn't have been able to voice it. I don't believe I passed out, but I lost all track of time. Jen's loud crying was the only sound in the room.
I don't know how long I sat there, but eventually I began to regain some semblance of rational thought. I knew I could not control myself to remain civil to Jen, and I really had no desire to physically harm her. I stood, grabbed another beer, and walked back out the front door. We have a front porch with some wicker furniture on it. I sat down in a chair in the evening shadows and tried to think through my anger. I could faintly hear Jen's sobs from the kitchen.
We had been married 23 years, had two kids in college, and were just beginning to feel comfortable with our lives. In fact, I thought we were happier than we ever had been. Our income was more than adequate. We hadn't had any of those money spats lately, which married people, especially with kids, so often have. I had adjusted to the empty nest easier than Jen, but I thought we were doing great.
To go from being a contented guy to contemplating divorce in a matter of minutes was quite a leap. I knew myself well enough to know I would never have an open marriage, or enjoy any kind of swinging lifestyle. I needed the complete devotion of one woman and I always felt I had it. I had never strayed, or even came close.
We were partners. We owned everything jointly. We were best friends, or at least we had been. I would have laid down my life for Jen and been proud and happy to do it. She was such a large part of what I was, that I couldn't see how I could function without her. I had become dependent on her presence, her wisdom, and her love. Now I was sitting in the twilight weighing if, and how, I should rid myself of her. It was the lowest point of my life.
Finally, I drew a deep breath and went back into the house. Jen had stopped crying. She was probably dehydrated and simply unable to shed any more tears. I sat back down at the table.
Jen slowly raised her eyes to look into mine. It appeared that she was deeply shocked at what she saw. She gave an audible gasp and her hands trembled nervously.
"When you are ready to discuss this, this situation without tears and crying, let me know. We have a great deal we need to determine. I will try to be fair," I stated so coldly and unemotionally I surprised myself.
My lack of emotion wasn't lost on Jen, either. She slowly shook her head as she listened to me.
"Mike!" she sobbed again. "Don't leave me, please! It was a mistake. It won't ever happen again. I promise!"
"I have no reason to trust you or believe anything you tell me, Jen. I thought I could bet my life on you. Shit! I pretty much have bet my life on you. 23 years is a long goddamn time to invest in anything to have it go bust!" I replied.
"We have to decide our course of action from here on, but you have to be rational. I think it would be best if we just avoid each other for awhile," I reasoned. "When you feel you are able to answer my questions and make some decisions, let me know. However, do not think this can drag out indefinitely. It can't. I can't, and won't, live like this very long."
I got up and went to the linen closet and dug out linens for our son's bed. Jen watched in abject misery as I made up the bed in his room.
"Mike, can't you still sleep with me, in our room?' she pleaded. "I need you more than I ever have."
"That's a goddamn shame!" I snapped. "What the hell do you think I am? A fucking wimp? A spineless shit that will sleep in the same bed his wife betrayed him in? Sleep with the unfaithful tramp that betrayed him? I have never been unfaithful, and I'll be goddamned if I'll sleep in a bed, or room, were my wife has made me a fucking cuckold!"
I firmly guided her from the room and locked the door. It was early but I was totally drained. I slept in short spans that night and got up in the morning feeling more exhausted than when I went to bed.
To my surprise, Jen was sitting at the table with a cup of coffee in front of her. I checked the clock and it was 5 AM. I couldn't remember that last time we were both up that early on a Sunday morning. I poured myself a cup and took a seat at the table.
"I want to get this over with, Mike," she announced. "I will tell you everything and you can tell me what comes next."
"Then start talking and don't make me ask a bunch of questions. You know what I need to hear and I expect you to tell me," I answered. "Go ahead and begin."
"I started out having fun at the party, but I must have had a few too many drinks and you weren't there to take care of me. This guy flirted with me from the time he found out you weren't coming to the party," admitted Jen. "I enjoyed the attention. As you know, I'm 44 years old. It felt good to have a man seem interested in me."
I stood up suddenly and refilled my cup. Jen stopped talking when I moved so abruptly.
"I can see this isn't going to work, Jen. You want to play games and I am in no mood. It is taking every thing I have to control my anger," I warned. "You are not helping at all."
"I thought you wanted to know what happened, Mike," she responded. "I was just..."
"Shut the fuck up!" I snarled. "You are trying to use spin control here. You know what I have to hear, but instead you're just bullshitting me. I am not in the mood. I'll ask the questions and you'll answer them!"
Jen was shocked. I had never spoken to her like that before. I had always treated her with respect and love. But then, she had always deserved it before. She slowly nodded her head and I started in.
"Who the hell was this cocksucker? You have been remiss in revealing that rather important fact," I told her.
"I really think it would be better if you didn't know, Mike. I know you and you'll do something bad and get into trouble. I think..."
"Then pack your fucking bags and hit the fucking road!" I yelled. "If you were thinking of me you wouldn't have fucked him, would you? If you want to keep things from me, fine. My lawyer will talk to your lawyer and you can carry your lover's name to your grave. Shit, you'll probably move in with the bastard. If that's what you want, then we'll skip this agony. Just pack and go!"
"No, Mike!" cried Jen. "He isn't my lover! I don't want to ever see him again. I'm just afraid you'll kill him or something. I couldn't live with that."
"If you want to decide what you can live with, and what you can keep from me, we are done right now." I declared. "Either you answer every question or get the fuck out. Those are your options."
"It was Wes Stevens!" blurted Jen. "His wife was at a family funeral. He, he slept with me."
.... There is more of this story ...