Thanks to the hip and knee doctor for editing assistance.
I knew that things were going to be different as soon as I started my new school. I was born and raised in Philly and moving an hour away from the city would definitely take some adjustment. By adjustment, that meant that I had to learn to live with it.
I kept my nose clean and stayed out of trouble at the request of my father and insistence of my mother.
The population was diversified to say the least. Some Blacks, some Spics, a few Italians, and Jews. The majority were hard-headed Dutchies. They weren't Amish or Mennonites, just German Lutherans, who dominated the area and everything in it. It was a melting pot, so I had no real trouble blending in, but I missed my Philly friends.
I stayed in the area after graduation, mainly to be close to my family. I still made regular trips to the old neighborhood and stayed close with my old friends.
I got my first job driving a fuel oil delivery truck. In a few years I was working inside, dispatching, and taking orders. I had a knack for the business and could actually see myself as an owner of a similar operation in a few years.
I had no trouble finding friends of the opposite sex and my social life was better than I had expected. When I got married, my mother was a little disappointed that my new wife was not Italian, but she did her best to make sure that Marcie was accepted with no reservations. After two kids, Marcie insisted that I get clipped. I had no problem with that, but once the kids started school, Marcie wanted to go to work.
My father never felt that it was a good idea for a wife and mother to work. I am not completely sure of the rationale behind this, but looking back, it made sense. It wasn't that I minded Marcie working, as much as I disliked the fact that she was socializing with people that she knew and grew up with. I liked some of her friends, but not all of them. In school, she had been involved in all sorts of student activities and she really enjoyed them. I avoided such things and the people that were doing them. I always felt that they were a bunch of snobs sitting around stroking each other's egos. I knew that she had been sexually active before I met her, but I was also. We never discussed things that we did before we were together. It wasn't a rule or anything, just something that we fell into.
We were married for about ten years when things started to come apart. Marcie had been working in the claims department of one of the local national insurance companies. I got concerned when she started working overtime and weekends. Six months later, I knew that I had to end it, when the seminar came up.
"Tony, I just don't understand what the problem is? It is only for three days. I already talked to your mom and she agreed to stay with the kids while I am gone. You will be home in the evenings. I know you can cook for yourself."
I couldn't believe that she had the guts to ask in the first place.
"Who is going on this seminar?" She seemed to perk up a little when I responded.
"Six girls from the department, Betty Klink from personnel and Rodney."
I smiled when she said his name. I was amazed that she hadn't figured out that I knew all about her special lunches and night work sessions with her immediate boss, Rodney Foote. Rodney and Marcie grew up together. He was one of the kids that was in every club and participated in every activity, other than sports, when he was in school.
"Do you take me for some kind of a fool, Marcie?"
"I don't understand. What are you talking about?"
"I have known about you and Rodney for six months now. If you think I am going to let you go away with him for three days you are out of your mind."
"Tony, what are you talking about? Rodney is my boss. There is nothing going on between us. I would never think of cheating on you. You know that."
I looked at the empty Budweiser can in my hand and slowly got out of my chair. As I walked to the kitchen, I crushed the thin aluminum in my hand and threw it at the trash can. I missed, but didn't bother to pick it up. The new can made a hissing noise as I popped the top and sat back down. Marcie just sat waiting for me to reply.
"You are the mother of my children and as a mother you do a good job. The only reason I haven't thrown you out is because of that. I talked to my mom and explained it all to her. She said that I should stay firm and hope that you get it out of your system, for the sake of the children. If I dump you, the courts will give you my kids. I can't have that happen."
"You told your mother that I was cheating on you?"
"No. A lady from church told her. I just didn't deny it when she confronted me."
"You are not serious. I don't believe you. Why are you saying all this?"
I took a big swig of beer and smiled. "Rodney lives at 321 David Drive. It is only three blocks from your office. You and your boss go there, usually, three times a week and stay for almost three hours each time. What do you do at his apartment for three hours? After you explain that to me, you can tell me about the overtime that you have been putting in at the office. Did you know that your office cleaning lady also goes to church with my mother?"
Her eyes were all watered up and her lower lip was trembling.
"As long as you do not publicly embarrass me or my family, I won't do anything. If that changes, then all bets are off. You can leave or you can stay, but you will never take my boys from me."
She was definitely upset when she jumped to her feet. "Damn you, Tony! I hate you. You Wop bastard." With that outburst, she left the room bawling. That was the first time she had ever swore at me and the first time she every made any derogatory remarks about my heritage. The Dutchie in her, finally came out.
We had two boys, Terry and Rick, who shared a room with a set of bunk beds. The third bedroom was a catch-all room. That is where I slept from that day on. It was a rented house. We had over sixty thousand dollars saved for a down payment on our dream home, but my dream had turned into a nightmare.
Nothing more was ever said about the seminar. Marcie no longer worked overtime. She carried her lunch to work. The atmosphere at home was not chilly, rather it was cold and freezing. Mom had no new feedback from her church friends. Things seems to be normalizing, but I felt uncomfortable. There was no sex at the time, but I would not put up with that situation for too long.
Against my better judgment, I agreed to accompany Marcie to her company Christmas Party. I didn't want to let her go alone and I felt that I could pass the evening quietly by just staying out of the way. It was a good plan, but full of flaws.
The company rented a hall with a dance floor, a buffet table and a couple of open bars. I could nurse three beers for the entire night and not feel any pain. By the time we got there, the only tables that were left were near the company big-wigs. It was quite apparent that all of the employees were avoiding those seats. Things seemed to be all right for the first hour. I noticed Rodney across the room hanging out with some buddies. Several of the guys that Marcie worked with asked her to dance, but good old Rodney stayed away. I was glad to let her dance, because I didn't want to.
I had just started my third beer, when I noticed that Marcie and Rodney were exchanging glances. It consisted mostly of nods and head tilts, but there was something definitely going on. I tried my best to act bored and disinterested, but to still keep an eye on them.
My wife excused herself to use the ladies room. I made a quick sweep across the room and noticed that Rodney was gone. It was unbelievable. After we had the discussion at home, it was totally stupid for her to attempt a get together with the jerk while I was in the same building. She could see him anytime at work, with no possibility of being interrupted. I believed that the only reason for doing it would be to make me look like a cuckolded jerk. By hooking up with Rodney in the middle of a company affair, she would be hanging the horns on me for everyone to see. His cronies were standing together by one of the bars with big grins on their faces, as Marcie entered the hallway to the restrooms. She glanced back to make sure that I was still in my seat and then disappeared.
I stopped by the head table on my way to the restrooms. I leaned over and apologized for disrupting the party, just to get their attention. The guys across the room with the silly grins were suddenly not smiling any more. They seemed agitated because they had no idea what they could do to help good old Rodney.
I went into the ladies room first, and found it empty. I had better luck in the men's room. From there on, things seemed to happen in double time. They were kissing. His back was to me and his hand was up her skirt. There was no resistance on her part.
I grabbed Rodney by the back of his neck and took one step sideways, before slamming his head forward into the bathroom tile. Something definitely broke. I could hear my wife shouting my name, over and over, but totally ignored it. I spun the son-of-a-bitch around and the blood from his broken nose splattered all over my shirt. He was limp, but still standing, so I gave him a good shot to the stomach. He went down and immediately started to vomit. Marcie was pulling on my jacket sleeve with no effect.
.... There is more of this story ...