I stood there at the window and watched as the car backed down the drive, turned right and then disappear down the street. I wondered why I wasn't more upset. I'd just seen ten years of my life drive away. Shouldn't I have felt something? Shouldn't there have been something other than a shrug of the shoulders and an, "Oh well; I guess I should go and take care of that dripping faucet?" As I turned and headed for the kitchen I ran the events of the last half hour back through my mind.
I'd come home from work to find my wife Peggy sitting at the kitchen table with a full glass of wine sitting in front of her. I knew something was up as soon as I saw her sitting there. First - she was home before me and she never got home from work until a half hour to an hour after I did. Secondly - the understanding we had was the first one home would start dinner and there was nothing on the stove. Lastly - there was the glass of wine. Peg rarely drank. I was no sooner in the room than she asked me to sit down and told me she had something to say. I grabbed a beer out of the fridge, sat down across from her and she said:
"Rob, I know you know this. There has been something out of sync between us for the last six months or so. I have no idea why we seem to be moving away from each other. I don't know if it is something to do with me or something to do with you, but something is wrong. I've tried to talk with you about it, but all I get from you is that we are just going through a rough spot and it will get better. I've decided that we need to separate. I'm not talking divorce, just a separation for a while.
"I think I need some space Rob. I need to get away, look at my life and see if I can figure out where the disconnect between us is coming from. You can use the time we are apart to look at the same thing from your angle."
"Oh come on Peg; it isn't that bad. Sure we are having some problems - what marriage doesn't - but two people can't work out problems if they are away from each other and not talking."
"Talking isn't going to help Rob. You only see one problem with our marriage. As far as you are concerned the only problem we have is that we aren't making love. Your solution to the problem is for me to get naked and let you have your way with me. As far as I'm concerned there is a lot more wrong. We don't make love any more because I don't want to. We don't snuggle or cuddle any more because I don't want you touching me and I don't know why I don't want you to touch me. I still love you. I love you as much as I did on the day we were married, but something is wrong and I don't know what it is. I need some space Rob; I need some time alone so I can figure things out."
"So you want to pitch ten years of marriage out the window."
"No Rob; I just think we need to spend some time apart. I've already packed my stuff in my car. I'm going to stay with my sister until I can find me a place. I'll call you once a week to keep in touch"
She stood up and said, "I have to go. I told Mary that I'd be there by seven." She turned and walked away without even offering to kiss me goodbye and that in itself told me where I stood.
It didn't take long for the word to get around that Peggy and I had separated. Most of our friends were sympathetic and went out of their way to try and cheer me up. Peggy called me once a week and asked me how I was and I would say I was managing and then I'd ask her how she was and she would say that she was okay. Then I would ask her if she were ready to come home yet and she would tell me not yet.
Peg had been gone for six weeks when I started hearing things; disturbing things. Things like she had a live in boyfriend. I didn't want to believe that. I wanted to believe that things were like she said they were; that she just wanted some time alone to get her head straight and then she would be coming home. I kept hearing things so I decided to check out the rumors. I'd find out where Peg was staying, do a little snooping and put the rumors to rest. But no one could tell me where she was staying, either couldn't or wouldn't, and I began to think that something about the situation stunk to high heaven.
I was having dinner with my friend Tom and his wife Tanya and I voiced my concerns and let slip that I was going to hire a private detective to find Peg and either confirm the rumors or disprove them.
I saw Tom look at Tanya and I saw her give him a little nod. "Save your money Rob" Tom said, "The rumors are true. Most of the people who know you know what is going on, but they like you too much to tell you."
"Tell me what?"
"That Peggy left you to live with Adam White."
"Adam White? Who the hell is Adam White? I've never heard of him."
"He works with Peggy."
"And she just up and left me to go and live with him? That doesn't make sense. If she was going to do that why didn't she just divorce me? What's with the separation bullshit?"
"You know Peg Rob. She plans, makes fall back plans and then makes plans for if the fall back plan doesn't work. She has been seeing White for almost a year and I guessing that she did this separation thing so she could come home if living with White wasn't as good as having an affair with him."
"And everyone knows this, but no one would tell me? Gee, gosh oh golly, what a great bunch of friends I have."
I stood up and threw my napkin down in the center of the table and said, "Thanks bunches. I'll see my self out" and I left their house. On the drive home I thought about what I had just learned. No sex with Peg for over a year because she didn't want to make love with me. No snuggling for over a year because she didn't want me touching her and all the time she was hanging horns on me. Like a fool I sat at home like a good little boy and behaved myself while I waited for the unfaithful whore to come home. And all my friends - my wonderful friends - knew all about it and they just let me sit there, stare at the walls and wait. Well, the waiting was over.
The next morning I made an appointment with the Corliss Investigative Agency and gave them a retainer. I told them where Peg and this White guy worked and told them I wanted all the dirt they could get me on the two and then I went home and started making a list of everything that I need to do to sever my relationship with Peg. I'd wait until I had the report from the detective agency, but when I got it I would have my list and I would be ready.
Once the list was made I sat back and thought about something else I needed to do. I hadn't been laid in almost sixteen months what with Peg denying me for a year and then the separation. I'd been a completely faithful husband, but now that I knew what Peg was doing I damned sure wasn't going to remain celibate any longer. I sat at the kitchen table sipping a beer and making plans to end my long dry spell when I remembered what Tom had said about Peg.
She planned everything!
After living with her as long as I had I knew that was true. To me that meant that she had plans for what to do if I found out about what she was doing; plans based on how she thought I would respond to finding out and the biggest plan of all - how to stick it up my ass if she decided that living with White was what she really wanted to do. I could see her having me watched so that if I went out and dipped my wick she would be able to use it against me in a divorce.
All of a sudden the list I had made was worthless because she might have planned for my reacting that way. It was back to the drawing board and a new list took shape and as it took shape I saw that a lot of what I wanted to do would have to be done right away and not left until the last minute. And there were some things that I could do that would stick it up Peg's ass and make her bleed. I smiled at the thought and wondered if she had a plan for when something like that happened to her.
The next morning I went to my bank to deposit my paycheck and while I was there I checked on the safe deposit box that Peg and I had there. I saw from the sign in log that Peg seemed to check the box at least once a week and when I saw that I knew she was keeping track of me and that at the first sign that I was onto her she would pounce. I thought about that for a minute and then I took the five certificates of deposit from their plastic envelopes and went upstairs and used the banks copy machine to copy all five and then I went and put the copies back in their envelopes and put them back in the box. Unless Peg took the CDs out of the envelopes to check them she would never know about the switch.
Then, since I knew that Peg was checking up on me, I took my passport from the box and casually mentioned to the woman from the bank as she put the box back in it's slot that I was going down to Mexico on a fishing trip. I left the bank with the five CDs in my pocket. I normally was into the bank twice a week on the average and each visit I would cash in one CD, pay the early withdrawal penalty, and then hide the cash away when I got home.
I wasn't a believer in credit cards as I thought you could get in trouble to easily with them so the only ones I had in my name were an American Express, on which the full balance had to be paid when you got the bill, several gasoline company credit cards and one Visa card with a low limit that was in my name only. Peg on the other hand had a good half dozen credit cards in just her name and some of them had high limits. I knew what the limits were because I paid the bills every month and I made a list of the remaining account balances and set it aside. I would make sure that I paid the minimum payment on those cards to keep them in good standing.
.... There is more of this story ...