Thanks to the Hip and Knee doctor for editing assistance.
I am not going to bore you with the background of how I met and wooed my wife Marcie. Let us just say that we met in high school, fell madly in love, and married as soon as I got a job. We have been married for eighteen years and have a seventeen year old daughter, Jessica. You do the math. Two years later, we were blessed with twin sons: Brian and Baxter. Life was good and I had no complaints, but I was the only one. It appeared than Marcie had not been happy for some time now. Today, I was lucky enough to learn about it all.
I was employed for a small manufacturing company as their one and only Electronics Data Processing manager. I worked my way into that position over a ten year period. I had bigger plans, however, and every evening and most weekends I was struggling with my best friend, Elton, in developing a computer server system that would provide instant linking over long distances. Although the software development seemed to outstrip our hardware efforts, Elton and I were still able to come up with a tight little system that we were almost ready to bring forth. Unfortunately, we were not working fast enough to save my marriage.
Today was the day that Marcie decided to give me the bad news.
"John, it is pretty simple. The only thing I am asking for is five hundred dollars a month for child support. You get to keep the house, the furniture, and everything else."
She had been explaining things to me for the past fifteen minutes and I was, of course, not listening to most of it.
"I don't want to interrupt, but five hundred dollars seems a little low for three kids."
Marcie let out an exasperated sigh. "John, it is only for Jessica, and only until she is eighteen. I am trying my best to be fair, and I think five hundred dollars is reasonable."
"What about the boys? Aren't you taking them also?"
"Of course I am, but you don't have to pay child support for them because you are not their father. I am really surprised that you didn't figure that out years ago."
I guess that shows how really dense I was. No, I didn't figure it out. It never even crossed my mind that the boys might not be mine. Now she was telling me that she not only wanted a divorce, but that she had been cheating on me for at least sixteen years. What else was there that I did not know?
My mind started to wander again. She was still talking and I was trying to put all the pieces together in my head. I am sure that the things that she was saying were important, but I just could not bring myself to concentrate.
"Okay. Damn it, okay. I will go along with just about anything. The only thing that I insist on is that I get Jessica every weekend and on all school breaks, including summer."
Marcie actually stopped talking for a moment. "I can live with that. If it is okay with Jessica, I will have the papers drawn up tomorrow. Will you sign them then?" I could tell that she was getting ready to leave. I didn't realize it before, but she had actually been moving her things out gradually over the last few weeks.
"Just a couple of questions before you go, please. Who the hell is the father of the twins? Who are you going to be living with? Finally, why did you wait so long?"
"Langford King is the father of Brian and Baxter. We will all be moving into his house."
"What about his wife? Where are Joyce and the girls going to stay?"
"Joyce left and took the girls with her. After she caught me and Langford in bed, their marriage was over. I didn't ask for a divorce before, because Langford was still married, and I had no alternative. Now that he is getting a divorce, it only seems practical that I get one too."
"You have been screwing Langford for sixteen years?"
"That is right, and I have no intention of stopping. I am sorry, John. You are a great guy, but you are only mediocre in the sack, and I am afraid you are going to be working just to put bread on the table for the rest of your life. Langford is rich, successful, and a great sex partner. I only have one life and I want to enjoy it to the fullest. You couldn't give me that."
I had no response for that. I watched her walk out the door and then opened a cold beer. She was right. Here I was: sitting in a $300 dollar recliner drinking cheap beer. I had big plans and that was about it. I guess what really killed any feelings I still had for her was when she compared my sexual performance with Langford's. There is not much you can do about something like that. Either you got it or you don't. I was always satisfied, but apparently Marcie wasn't.
We knew Langford and Joyce since high school. Foster King, Langford's father, was the "King of Carpets" in our town for as long as I could remember. About ten years ago, he retired to Florida and his only son took over the business. A lot of us used to get together at regular intervals for Bar-B-Q's, picnics, and other gatherings. Marcie and Langford were always friendly with each other, but no more than any of the other people who attended. Langford started to drift away from our group as his bank account grew. In the last few years, we saw them only two or three times: at least I did.
They had two beautiful, teenaged daughters who were friends with Jessica.
Speaking of Jessica, she was the bright spot in my hectic life. She was small, funny, and cute. She always brought a smile to my face. Unlike her brothers, she studied hard and was an excellent student. All she wanted was good SAT scores and acceptance at a great school. I did everything I could to help her.
Brian and Baxter were just the opposite. Not only were they not interested in academics, but they had no desire to participate in sports either. I tried several times to get them involved in my computer projects with no success. Most of my contact with them was of a preventive or corrective nature. I would adjust situations and their mother would over-ride me. Now I understood why.
Marcie was always a good wife. She never denied me sex and quite often initiated it. She kept a clean house and was never demanding. She was a great mother and a wife that I felt I could be proud of. It appears that she was also a fabulous actress.
I was finishing my third longneck when Jessica got home from school. There was no telling when the boys would be getting home. Usually they missed supper several times a week, and Marcie said nothing. I gave up arguing about it a long time ago.
"Hi dad. What are you doing home? Where's mom?"
I struggled out of the recliner and gathered up my empties. "Your mother asked me to come home for lunch today so that she could tell me that she wanted a divorce." My words sounded a little slurred, even to myself. I am not a good drinker.
"I'll get them. Sit down. I guess that explains why you are drinking in the middle of the day." Jessica took the bottles from me and carried them into the kitchen.
"You didn't have a clue, did you dad?"
"Nope." I watched as she kicked off her shoes and plopped down on the floor.
"What is going to happen now?"
"You and the boys and going to go live with your mother at Langford King's house: the mansion on the hill. Your mother always wanted to be rich, apparently."
"It's not a mansion. It's just a big old house that his father built years ago."
We sat silently for a few moments.
"Did you know that I am not the father of your brothers?"
"Yeah. Brian and Baxter joke about it a lot. I guess mom told them years ago. Every time you chew them out for something, they take it and then go somewhere and laugh."
"Well I guess that explains a lot, doesn't it? How come you know all about this?"
"I have known for years, but didn't want to say anything. You seemed happy enough and I didn't want to rock the boat. A couple of weeks ago, Lisbeth and Carla told me that they were moving to Lancaster. Their mother caught mom and Mister King in bed together. I figured that something would happen soon."
"You could mentioned it."
"I don't think so."
There was another moment of quiet.
"I'd rather stay here with you. You'll need someone to help around the house."
"That would never fly. The court wouldn't allow it. I did work out a little compromise however."
"How is that going to work?"
"You get to stay here every weekend and every school break, including summer."
"I can make that work. Why don't you go take a shower and I will order in some pizza."
While we were eating, Jessica presented her plan for the separation. She would come to our house Friday after school and stay until she went back to school Monday morning. I thought it was better than anything I had imagined. We were still discussing the details when the phone rang.
"John. I just wanted to let you know that the boys are here and will being staying overnight. Tomorrow, while you are at work, the kids and I will move our things over here. They can afford to miss a day of school. Jessica can spend the evening deciding what she wants to bring with her and what she wants to keep there. I don't see any reason why we can't start the new arrangement right away, do you?"
"No. That sounds fine with me. I'll let Jessica know."
.... There is more of this story ...