I had gotten off work early. A localized power outage downtown had shut us down. I'm Red Benson; the Red is short for Redeker, and no I have no idea where such a name came from, supposedly my grandmother came up with it. Oh, and I have brown hair not red.
I work as a lathe operator in a machine shop: XL-Fabrications. The pay is good, the work dirty, and the days can sometimes be long. It was Friday. I headed home a little before 11:00AM, way earlier than my usual 5:00PM. Sally, I knew, would be glad to see me. I'd be taking her for a fancy lunch at the Hyatt; and then, the way I figured it, she would be required to reward me.
My smile was as wide as all outdoors as I entered the home Sally and I had shared since our marriage twenty-five years before. She'd been barely nineteen at the time and me twenty-one. Yes, immature, but we'd clicked and made it work, unlike many who'd married so young.
There was a car parked in the driveway, a Chevy Impala, I didn't recognize it. Sally had a visitor. She had not mentioned expecting anyone during breakfast. Breakfast was always for us. No matter how hectic our life and schedules became, breakfast was our time. Since she hadn't mentioned who might be coming over, I assumed that the visitor was a surprise. I was about to discover just how big a surprise it was, not to her but to me.
No one in the front of the house, I headed down the hall to the bedrooms. Our bedroom door was partially open. What I saw killed my heart. My wife was getting a serious banging from a man I'd never seen before. It was a minute or so, I'm not really sure, before they realized that I was there. Sally shrieked. Red!
Without a word I turned slowly and walked out. I headed for the Scoundrel, my favorite watering hole. I needed a drink—or eight or ten.
I was predictable I guess. She found me in less than two hours. She came up behind me and tapped me on the shoulder. I jumped. "Jesus!" I said.
"Sorry for startling you," she said. "Can we talk?" When I turned to her, she noticed my reddened eyes and puffy cheeks. I could see it distressed her. She clearly realized that she was going to have a harder time than she thought selling whatever excuse she'd brought with her for the occasion.
"Fuck you," I said, literally sneering at her
"Red, I am so sorry you saw that, but frankly it's not the end of the world. What I—we were doing was just fucking. There was no love, no permanency, no commitment, nothing but sex." The bartender ten feet away was trying his damndest not to listen. "You were not ever supposed to know about it, and then you never would have been hurt. I never denied you anything Red, and I never will. It's just that, I need more than you can give. I need more, I just do.
"Then why the fuck are you here? Go get it. Just leave me alone," I said. "I got along fine before I met you; I'll get along fine now. Just leave me the fuck alone."
"Red! Wake up! And stop the awful language, please." She was clearly worried now, and I loved it. But, she was far from through. "I am not leaving you for that man, or for any man. You're stuck with me," she said, trying to sound comforting. "I love you, Redeker, and I always will; but I need to have you understand where I am coming from here. I promise to treat you as I always have, heck maybe even better; but I just have to have my little something on the side from time to time. Okay?"
I was stunned. I was near to going insane with hurt or rage or something! I didn't know which way to turn or what to do. I just looked at her. "Okay? Are you fucking crazy! No, I am not all right. I'm hurt and filled with hate. I don't know how to say it any clearer than that," I said.
"Red, I said I was sorry. I really, really didn't mean for you to see that. God, how awful it must have been for you. I'll never be able to forgive myself for being so careless. Redeker, I'm begging you. Please come home. Please!
"Right now I need to take you home and help you to forget that scene you witnessed a little while ago. You'll see, it'll be fine. Just leave everything to me."
I was too overcome to argue further. My mind, my very soul was in turmoil. The travesty of the things I'd witnessed was more than I could get my head around. I had to think. "Leave everything to you? Trust you? I don't think so," I said.
That I was crushed would be an understatement of heroic proportions. She had made me her cuckold, and she was trying to make me like it, or at least accept it. And she had as much as said that she intended to continue doing it.
We had a daughter, grown now and living on the East Coast with her husband of three years and their two boys. I was mortally concerned that she—they—would find out what had happened. Could I tolerate my daughter knowing that I was a cuckold? No! My humiliation was already way beyond the pale. For Janie to know that her father was a wimpy nothing in his wife's eyes would have been far too much for me to bear.
I was confused and scared and angry and sad—mostly sad. My wife of twenty-five years didn't love me. She said she did, but she didn't. She couldn't if she could do this to me, talk to me the way she had. Treat me like a little boy who needed to be comforted while she was out getting laid by every sport in town. I had to think.
I didn't know how I hadn't seen it coming. There had to have been signs. Something! I decided I'd have to call Janie, our daughter soon. I couldn't let the woman have the edge in that conversation. Janie had to know that her old man wasn't some wimpy little shit.
I was already getting to the place where I knew that my marriage was over. She, my cheating wife had to realize that too If not now, then sooner or later.
I was not sure about moving out immediately; that was a complication. But, even if by some miracle some miserable vestige of our marriage were to somehow stumble on, I had decided that sex between us was done forever. She'd said I didn't satisfy her, so her allowing me mercy fucks to placate me wasn't about to happen. I had some pride, damaged certainly, but I still had some no matter what.
I don't know how we got home. I don't remember driving. She was saying something about picking up my truck tomorrow. I climbed the steps to what had been our happy home like a condemned prisoner going to the gallows.
"Come on baby, let momma make you better," she said. I looked at her like she was the one who was insane now.
"Red? Are you okay, baby?"
I finally got some sense of grit back in my belly. "No, Sally," I said softly. "I'm—I'm..."
"I know, baby, you're hurt, and I hurt you. I can't tell you how awful I feel. I'm going to make it up to you, right now, my husband. I'm going to make this right between us. I promise you." She was smiling. She felt in control, and I could smell it, see it. She was wrong.
"Sally, you just told me not half hour ago that I couldn't satisfy you. Was that true?" I said.
"Red, I said that, but I wasn't thinking. Of course you satisfy me. It's just that I need..."
"'More than I can give you, ' I think were your words, which means that I don't satisfy you," I said.
"Sally, I am not going to accept a mercy fuck from my own wife and call it love. I need to be loved for real and appreciated for what I am and what I have. I won't be bothering you for sex again as long as I live," I said.
I was crazy wasn't I? I had just burned my bridges. I'd told her we were done with sex between us. I hoped this wasn't going to come back to bite me in the ass. But divorce—did I really want it? Why didn't I know? I couldn't live with a woman who thought as little of me as she did. Could I? Jesus, I was confused!
"Red, of course we're going to have sex. And it's not going to be any mercy fuck either. I do love you. I don't love anyone else, certainly not Rod Wilson, and he knows it. You have to believe me," she said. "Come on. Let's go upstairs and let me show you how much I love you. You sure as hell will be able to tell it's no mercy fuck. It'll be just like always, even better."
"No," I said.
"I said no, Sally; and I mean no, never again. I still have a smidgen of self-respect left, Sally. I will not be the butt of your lover's jokes or the recipient of your mercy or his, the asshole stud you brought into our bed!" I was beginning to raise my voice. "I will be sleeping in our daughter's room for now.
"Tomorrow's Saturday, it'll be a day for me to think and make decisions. I have loved you more than my life for going on a quarter of a century. I thought you felt the same. I guess I was only half right," I said. "I suspect now that you hold me only in contempt, and for sure he does. Someday, he'll pay, mark my words, Sally. You best not be around him when I come down on him because it ain't gonna be pretty. I can promise you that."
"Red, Rodney is a good man. He and I, well we fill a physical need that we both share, but Redeker it's not love, not by a long shot. I keep telling you that. Can't you understand what I'm saying! He just fills a physical need that sometimes overcomes me, and that's all."
I just couldn't believe the things that she was saying. Surely my wife of so many years couldn't be that stupid. I mean, if she was, how could I have not known it? Was I dumber than she was? I guess I had to have been.
She tried to grab my arm, but I yanked it away from her and headed out to the patio deck in the back yard. I grabbed a Lite beer on the way. "Fuck you," I said.
.... There is more of this story ...