"What do you want Sharon? Coming to gloat?" I asked.
Sharon stood there on the porch just looking at me. "This was a mistake. I'm sorry John. I'll leave." She said as she went down the steps to the driveway.
"Sharon. Wait. Why did you come here today?" I was curious about why she would come today. The waiting period for the divorce she wanted was over tomorrow.
Coming up the steps she said, "You have any coffee, John? This is going to take some time to explain but you deserve to know what I found."
Sitting at the kitchen table, Sharon stared at her coffee and started softly talking.
"I guess it really started about eighteen months ago. You knew that Dave and I had gone out in high school and remained friends. I was as surprised as you that he was in this area when we moved here. And I know you were concerned about it. But I know you and he had become friends, too. I never understood why Dave never married. But he didn't seem unhappy so I figured that it was none of my business and let it go."
"About a year and half ago, Dave told me he just had to talk to me about something that had been on his mind and it couldn't wait any longer. He said he was sure you were cheating on me. That when you guys went on that golf weekend he saw you with a woman he didn't know. He took a picture, which he gave me. It was you standing very close to a woman and you were holding her hand. Dave did say that he didn't see the woman after that but you didn't go to dinner with him that night. Also he said he didn't see you until the next morning."
Why that lying son of a bitch. He was the one that cancelled dinner. He said he felt like he got too much sun and was just going to bed. I must have had a shocked look because Sharon started speaking again.
"I didn't know what to think but I trusted you. I knew you would never cheat on me. But then Dave started getting more and more pictures of you with the same woman and giving them to me. I ignored the implication but you never mentioned her. I never said anything because I did trust you. But you never mentioned her. I didn't recognize her but I thought you must have a reason to be seeing her and I trusted you." Sharon sobbed out.
As Sharon took a drink of her coffee, I started to say something but she put out her had to stop me. "Let me finish before you say anything."
"Seven, I guess now it's almost eight, months ago Dave showed me some more pictures. He said he had hired a detective to find out what you doing. The pictures were of you and that same woman. Having sex. The rooms were all different so it must have been on several different days. Now I didn't know what to think. Dave said I should get a lawyer and file for divorce but I didn't know what to do. My feelings were I should confront you and give you a chance to tell me what was going on but Dave argued I should have a lawyer first."
I could feel my jaw ratcheting down so hard my teeth were grinding. Sharon either saw or heard it because she quickly began speaking again.
"Before you jump to a wrong conclusion I will tell you that during this whole time Dave made no moves on me. Even the little flirting we always did disappeared. And I never slept with him. I want you to know and believe that. Nothing ever happened between us before or after I moved out. Nothing."
I wanted to tell Sharon I believed her but I didn't and I'm sure my face with it's locked down jaws and squinted eyes led her to think I didn't believe her.
"Two days later, while I was still debating about what to do, Dave gave me another set of pictures. These were taken here. There was no sex but it did show the two of you in the kitchen and living room. Now I was pissed. Dave told me about a lawyer, Jason Wilson, a friend from college, and I agreed to see him. He was the one that suggested I move out before you were served with the papers."
I offered Sharon more coffee. I felt as though I would explode if I didn't get up and move around. Getting the coffee gave me a chance to somewhat calm down.
"Jason, the lawyer, said to go for Irreconcilable Differences and we would ask for an equal division of property. By now I was feeling shell shocked because of everything that had happened. Knowing my marriage was over, I agreed."
I interrupted with "Why didn't you ever talk to me. Ask about the woman. By the way her name is Joy."
"John, please let me finish and I'll answer any question you want to ask me. This is hard enough but I need to get it all out."
Taking a drink of coffee Sharon continued. "Jason had me sign the forms, which I did even though they were blank, and told him to set up a meeting between the two of us after you were served. The next time I talked with Jason he said he had called you to get the name of your attorney and to set up the meeting but you had refused a meeting. You just signed the papers and sent them back."
I mumbled "Yeah, well the note you left might have had something to do with that."
"What did you say John. I didn't hear you."
"I said, the note you left might have had something to do with that. Telling me you didn't love me. Had never loved me and would never love me. Telling me to leave you alone and not contact you ever again. Yeah, that might have had something to do with it. I think you had been gone for about a week when I came home and found the rest of your clothes gone and that note on this table.
"Well that just goes along with the rest of what I have to tell you. Dave called me at the apartment after I got back from the lawyers. He wanted to take me to dinner and as I really didn't want to go through motions of making dinner, I agreed. We went to that little Italian place downtown. After diner as we finished our wine, Dave started in on how he always loved me. That he had since high school and that was why he never married. Now that I was getting divorced, he wanted to see me, to see if I could fall in love with him again like I had been before. I was straight forward with him and told him it was too soon consider that. I needed time to get over what I was going through before thinking of another relationship."
"Dave dropped me at the apartment. Two days later, he started calling, in the morning and at night, always professing his love. He asked me several times to go out with him but I kept putting him off. After four days of this, I wrote him a note telling him to leave me alone. That I would never love him. How you ended up with the note, I don't know. I wrote it to Dave not you."
I had been getting a bad feeling for a while now and was about to interject a comment when Sharon began again.
"Fortunately Dave quit bothering me for a while. Now I felt I could try to heal. I hated you for a while because you destroyed our marriage. I also hated you because I couldn't understand how you could do that to me if you loved me. Then last month, I got the final decree. It was all done but the waiting period. John you have to know I was shocked when I read it. I had signed blank forms and Jason was going to put in what I told him. I didn't know he was going after ninety percent. It was supposed to be a fifty fifty split. It was supposed to be Irreconcilable Differences not Adultery. I went to see Jason and he told me it was what Dave wanted. I left and went to see another attorney. The upshot of it all is that Jason has paid me one hundred thousand dollars so I don't sue him. He also will be going before the ABA ethics committee and will have his license suspended and will most probably lose it permanently."
"Now comes the tough part. Dave started calling again and I decided to go out with him once to try to convince him that we would not be getting together. I must have convinced because he told me the whole story. You know he is a commercial artist. Well he is also a computer graphic artist. He took some shots of you, probably in the locker room, some shots of that woman, Joy, and shots of different hotel rooms and here in the house. He played mix and match with the pictures and now we have you cheating on me. All because he wanted me to be his."
Sharon looked up at me and I stared at her for the longest time. "Why tell me now? Why not just leave it alone? Knowing how and why it happened doesn't change anything."
Looking me in eye Sharon said, "A couple of reasons. My new attorney has spoken with the Judge and had the Property Settlement vacated. Also, the order for alimony has been set aside. You should be getting the amended decree in a couple of days. I'm taking nothing out of the marriage. I talked to your brother, Scott, the other day and told him everything that happened. And guess whom I saw there? Joy. They are getting married, but I think you knew that. Joy told me about running into you that weekend when Scott was getting ready to deploy to Iraq. She told me how you helped her this past six months get everything ready for Scott to get home and to get married. She is a lovely woman and Scott is very lucky. Just like I was once."
She broke down at that point and cried for a bit. I freshened our coffee while I waited for her to get herself under control.
"The third reason I had to tell you all of this is that there are a handful of states that still allow Alienation of Affection lawsuits and Illinois is one of them. As an injured party I've filed suit against Dave since he willfully tried to cause the breakup of our marriage. You will probably be subpoenaed to testify. I'm going after all of his assets. I will make him pay for what he did to you."
"And the last reason is my parents told me I had to tell you everything before they would allow me to come back and live with them. I didn't want to do this. I didn't want to see you and open the wounds again. Yours or mine. But now that I have told you everything I can fly back tomorrow without that hanging over me. I'll probably stay with my parents for a couple of months while I try to put my life back together. You know like find a job, a place to live, try to move on." This last she said while shaking her head.
"Okay, I guess. But again, I want to know — Why tell me now? Do you hope to get back together again? Is that what this is about?"
Sharon shook her head harder. "No, no, no. If my parents hadn't made it a condition for coming home, they will be calling you by the way, and I hadn't had that law suit against Dave, I would not have come here. I would not have said anything. I would have just left. Believe me I did not want to inflict myself on you again. After the way you've been treated, the way I've treated you, I know there is no chance to get back together. I just hope you no longer hate me because I know you had to at some point. No, you have to let me go as I have to let you go. We each need to get on with our lives." She started to cry quietly again.
"Sharon, it's okay. I understand. You know I'm leaving also. Scott resigned his commission and was discharged from the Army when he got back. Yeah, I talked with him last week; it must have been before you saw him. Anyway, I told him I would sell him the house. He got a great job with a security firm just off downtown Chicago. It's only about a thirty minute commute from the house. I'm going out on a plant startup team and I've been told I will stay on as the plant manager, so I'll be moving too. It all works out. I'll carry the mortgage until he can line up the financing."
"Oh John, that's great news. They're finally recognizing your capabilities. That's great. Where are you going?"
"Actually there are two new plants. One in Sacramento, California and the other is east of here. They will make the final determination sometime this month."
"That really is great news, John. I just wish I could have been part of it. I think I covered everything, John, but do you have any questions you want to ask?"
"Only one. Do you still have the pictures? I've never seen them."
"Yes. Maybe you can see something that would have clued me in to them being faked."
Looking at the pictures, even knowing they were forged, I could see me having sex with Joy. Her body was wrong, the breasts were too big, but back then Sharon had never met Joy. And it did look like me, down to the scar on my back. I could see why Sharon believed them.