Welcome to my Earth Day story. It's only a couple of chapters but it is complete and posted here. I realize that not every story is for everyone, but I hope you enjoy reading this one.
Earth Day is a celebration of life on this planet celebrated around the world in over 175 countries. It brings focus to environmental and humanitarian issues on a large scale.
For me Earth Day is every day. No, I'm not a big environmentalist. I'm just an everyday Joe who tries to survive in this world. The reason every day is earth day for me is because I work in a cemetery. I dig the graves, put in the vaults, and after the services, I'm the one who covers the hole.
It might not be the job of choice for most people but it suits me just fine. It gives me balance by helping me survive the problems that surround my marriage and my life.
My name is Joseph Henry. As a veteran I have seen so much killing, lying, pain, and disgust. Before I entered the service I was happy, but when I came home I discovered my wife had cheated on me. That changed me, but I'll get into all that shortly.
We have two beautiful daughters, Julie and Rhonda, whom I love with all my heart. We also have a son, Joseph Jr. There is nothing I wouldn't do for them. The girls are now teenagers but are still my little girls. They both have me tied around their little fingers and I'm sure they know it.
Joey is much younger but he's my little buddy. He loves working with his hands and is a chip off the old block. On days when he's not in school he likes to come with me to the cemetery where he helps plant flowers. He also loves to read the headstones.
Shonda, my wife, and I have been married for fifteen years. We met at a college party she attended. I didn't go to the school but my friends invited me along. She was outgoing with a bubbly personality whereas I had always been the shy and quiet type. I think that's why we hit it off.
She came from money; her dad was a well known attorney. Her goal was to become a lawyer. Back then I worked for my parents' nursery so I knew plants and gardening as far back as I could remember.
Shonda and I became very close, very fast. She was so hot; for me it was love at first sight. She told me she loved me too. Making love with her was great—we were so good together. I couldn't get over how loud and vocal she was when we made love. It was such a turn on how the more I did to her, the louder she got. She loved getting eaten out and I loved doing it to her. And she had no problem reciprocating.
Her dad didn't really care for me. I guess he figured I wasn't good enough for his daughter. But Shonda told me her dad didn't choose her friends, she did.
When I told her I had enlisted in the service she got really mad at me. I tried to explain that by the time she finished getting her law degree I would have my discharge and we could be together. Until then we could write each other and I would call her whenever possible.
After she got over being mad at me we mad passionate love. I even had anal sex with her for the first time. God, I was going to miss her but I thought fighting for my country was the right thing to do.
Basic training began about a month later. I tried to see her as often as I could till then even though it made leaving her that much harder. We spent our last night together having sex every way possible. Yet I honestly had to wonder if she would be waiting for me when I returned.
After basic training I was going overseas for at least a year. I made sure I spent the two weeks off before I left with Shonda.
As soon as she saw me, she had tears in her eyes. "Joe, I have something to tell you."
"What is it honey? Why so sad?" I asked.
"I'm pregnant. We're going to have a baby and I don't know what to do."
I was a bit shocked at first because I thought she was on the pill when we were together. But she mentioned she missed a few every now and then. So we had to decide what to do.
"Let's get married," I told her. "I love you with all my heart and if you feel the same, we'll elope. It won't change anything as far as your schooling goes. I'll see that you're taken care of."
"What about my parents? I have to tell them. They'll see me starting to show in a month or so. I can't hide it."
"Hide it? I want the world to know you're my wife and we're going to have a family. We'll get married and then tell your parents together."
That's exactly what we did. Her dad was extremely mad and said he was going to have it annulled until Shonda told him she was pregnant. Mrs. Rimes put her arms around her daughter to help comfort her, but she gave me a dirty look.
We all talked a little more civil after that. I explained to them I was leaving for overseas in another week but I would take care of Shonda. Her dad kind of snickered. Money was no object to him but I wanted to take care of my responsibilities.
My parents told me I should have waited till I came back home to get married because I hadn't known Shonda very long. I explained I didn't want people to think badly about her. She would be a married woman, pregnant and attending college. They understood what I was trying to say and agreed to do their best to keep in touch with Shonda while I was away.
Saying our goodbyes was really hard for me but I knew I would be with her again. Though I wasn't able to write her in the beginning, a few months later I received a letter from her. She told me all was going well and her parents finally accepted our marriage. Her pregnancy was coming along fine and she was doing well in school. Her friends were surprised when they found out she was both married and pregnant. And she called my parents at least once a week and gave them an update.
We kept in touch by letter and I received one about once a week. In one she told me she had a big surprise for me but I wasn't going to hear it till after her delivery. Without any hints, I had no idea if it had to do with her schooling, pregnancy, or something personal maybe her parents had done.
Several months went by, and one afternoon the captain called me into his office.
"Congratulations, I just received a call and you're the father of twin girls."
Without a word I sat down and cried for joy. That he said twins somehow didn't shock me, although it should have. That must have been the surprise Shonda had for me.
"Use my phone to call your wife. Here's the number; you have a few minutes."
Shonda answered the phone. "Shonda, I love you, baby."
"Joe, it's so good to hear your voice. You have two beautiful daughters who can't wait to see their daddy."
We said as much as we could knowing our time was limited but all too soon I had to hang up. Being in a war zone made it difficult but I called her whenever I had the chance. It cost us a fortune but I didn't care. Another six months passed before I got to see my daughters for the first time. They were so beautiful. Shonda hadn't changed either. She was as attractive as ever. I was one lucky man.
I was thrilled to learn my next assignment was at a base not far from home. There I worked in the agricultural area. I had seen enough killing and war to last a lifetime. It felt so much better to help make things grow. I had almost another year to serve but I was close enough to make it home on holidays and weekends since it was only a three hour drive each way.
Weekends I spent my time with my daughters. I held them and wasn't afraid to change them. I would often lie on the floor and let them crawl all over me. One thing was for sure—I loved being a daddy.
By the time I was discharged Shonda had already graduated from law school and was an apprentice in her dad's firm. I got the job as caretaker of the city's largest cemetery. It might not sound good to anyone else but it paid extremely well. There I took care of the trees and gardens and had a small staff of four men who helped me with the upkeep. I also had the responsibility of digging and closing up the graves.
My work schedule was five days a week and Saturdays if there was a funeral. It was a gated cemetery kept locked at night. I was usually the first one there to open them in the morning though my crew also had keys.
I was always there for my family. Too bad I couldn't say the same for Shonda. Being a young lawyer she had to work long hours including most evenings. I did my best to understand. Thankfully my mother watched the girls while I worked since I didn't want to leave them with strangers.
Shonda tried to spend as much time with me and the kids as she could. She really was a great mom but juggling a career and motherhood was hard on her.
We still made love but most of the time she was tired and I wasn't about to force myself on her. She told me once she passed the bar it would be much easier on all of us. I reassured her I would wait for her. After all, she waited for me while I was in the service.
Life was still good. I loved my job and spent a lot of time with my girls. When it was time for them to start school, Shonda actually took a morning off so we could take the girls to their first day together. I thought to myself, "This is what being a family is all about—being together."
It was short lived because Shonda had to get back to the office. Though she had passed the bar, it didn't seem to get any easier. I still did my best to stand behind her in her career but it wasn't easy. I had my daughters but I wanted my wife too.
Whenever we were together we made it quality time, doing things as a family. At parties or gatherings I would sit back and smile as her bubbly nature lit up the room. Even though she was always the sexiest woman in the room to me, she never flaunted it. She was friendly with most everyone but not flirtatious. I really did love being around her.
Everyone called us the perfect couple. Though we had disagreements we were always able to work them out and not argue. Most of our friends were people she worked with. Often I would call her around lunch time so we could spend that hour together.
Our girls were already in junior high school and in the choir. They were putting on a mini concert for the senior citizens. I decided to take the day off to see them perform. Afterward I called Shonda to see if she would like to meet me for lunch.
"Joe, I can't. I'm really busy working on this big case."
"So, you don't have time to eat today?" I asked in a sad tone.
She hesitated and then said, "Okay, Joe, you've been so great putting up with me. I'll meet you at Olive Garden at noon."
"I love you, Shonda."
"I love you too, Joe, but this is just lunch," she replied and laughed.
I was running a bit early so I thought I'd stop by her office and just wait for her. After parking I headed to the stairs and then heard Shonda's voice coming from the next row over.
"No John, I can't! I'm going to meet my husband. Please, last time was a mistake, I love my husband."
"Well, Mrs. Henry, you either meet me Friday at the motel or I'll turn the photographs over to your husband and you can say goodbye to your marriage."
"You're scum, but I'll be there. And this is the last time. You have to give me the photos."
"Sure, but how about a little kiss to seal the deal first?"
He leaned over and kissed her. Although she wasn't kissing back she wasn't stopping him either.
Scenarios of what I should do raced through my mind. According to what she said she had been with this John guy before. And she was going to meet him again. I needed time to think but I had to meet her for lunch. The one nice thing about being a quiet person was that it was easier to hide my emotions. Right then I knew I would have to act happy and just play along.
We pulled up to the restaurant at the same time. I did my best to not let her know what I had heard and how I felt inside. Looking at her one would never know there was a problem. She kissed me and we went inside.
We talked about the girls and the concert. I then asked her about her work.
"I'm working with a lawyer on a case I really can't talk about."
"Anyone I know, honey?"
"John Lindow, he's from one of the firm's other offices."
I changed the subject since she looked so nervous.
"Honey, I know you've been working hard. Let's go out Friday night, maybe dinner and a little dancing, just you and me. It will give us a chance to get away from it all. I'll ask mom to stay overnight and watch the girls."
I waited for a response, wondering if she would meet this John fellow or go out with me. She had a look of concern on her face.
"Joe, I have business to take care of on Friday. Can we do it on Saturday instead? I'd love for the two of us to go out."
I gave her a small smile. "Okay, Saturday it is. No excuses, promise?"
"I promise, but right now I have to get back to work."
I walked her back to her car and we kissed. When I got home I knew I had to do something. Taking a chance, I called the law agency and asked where John Lindow was staying. I acted as if I was from his home office. When I hung up, I had the name of the motel and his room number.
One thing I forgot to mention was that I was a sniper and hand-to-hand combat vet. I killed more men then I care to admit with my bare hands. It was just something I never talked about, not even to Shonda.
I mentioned to my mom that I would be a little late getting home Wednesday. We had three funerals on Thursday and needed the plots dug. Wednesday we dug all the plots and I had the vaults put in two of them. I told my crew they could leave early and we'd put the last vault in on Thursday.
I never had an argument when I let them go home early. They worked hard getting the job done and deserved the free time. I then headed over to the motel and waited for John.
It was just after five when he pulled up. I had on gloves and a toboggan, as well as a hand gun. As soon as he opened his room door I jumped out of my truck and pushed my way in before he could get it closed.
"Who are you? What do you want? Get out of here before I call the police."
"The name's Joe," I said. "I hear you've been fucking my wife and I came to get the photos. Where are they?"
"I never touched Shonda. She's lying to you. And I don't have any pictures."
"Well my friend, I never said what her name was. Now I get the pictures or you get dead. Which will it be?"
I watched him glance over to a dresser and figured they were in one of the drawers.
"They're in my briefcase," he replied looking back at me.
"Throw the briefcase over here then."
"It's a combination lock."
I knew something was up when he admitted that so easily. Assuming he had a gun, I watched him open it. Before he could reach in I lunged at him, knocking him down. I was thinking as a combat soldier and broke his neck within seconds.
I looked in his briefcase where there was indeed a handgun along with some papers. Opening the dresser drawer I found an envelope with a number of photos of him fucking my wife. More disturbing were the pictures of her fucking another guy. I needed to find out who it was.
The room wasn't even messy. After I threw the pictures into the briefcase, I picked up his lifeless body and slung it over my shoulder. There was no one outside the room when I opened the door, so I threw him into the back of the truck and covered him with a big piece of canvas. Tossing the briefcase onto the seat next to me, I drove off without attracting attention.
After I turned a corner I got out and wiped the mud off the license plates. Just in case there were any witnesses all they could say was what kind of truck they saw.
I headed over to the cemetery and dropped John's body into the empty hole. Then I lowered the vault on top of him using the backhoe. Now we were ready for all the funerals the next day.
I mumbled "Happy Earth Day John, you son of a bitch" as I locked the gates then headed home.
When I got home mom had already fed the girls so she heated some leftovers in the microwave for me. I ate and watched some TV with the girls until Shonda got home. Looking both nervous and tired, she talked to the girls a little bit before taking a shower.
When I went to bed I asked her if there was anything I could do to help her. She told me it was just some stuff at work she needed to deal with. We cuddled and she went to sleep.
On Thursday all three funerals went as planned. I doubt John ever expected to be buried under a ninety-two year old woman.
When I got home I got a call from Shonda. It wasn't very often she called home so I was concerned.
"Honey, what is it? Is there a problem?"
"No, honey, I was wondering if anyone called there for me today."
"No, were you expecting a call? Mom never mentioned any. Is there something wrong?"
"Well, remember I mentioned the name John to you the other day. He never showed up at the office and when we sent someone to his motel he wasn't there. His car was in the parking lot and his clothes and keys were in the room. Only his briefcase was missing. So I thought maybe he had called there."
"Sorry, I can't help you honey. Will you be home soon?"
"We're going to call the police and then I'll be home after that."
"Okay, baby, I love you, see you soon."
"I love you too, Joe," she said before hanging up.
That went well, I thought as I hung up. I got John's briefcase and took the pictures and his gun and put them in my gun safe that was in my garage. Nobody went in there except me. Then I went to the backyard and burned the briefcase and all the papers that were in it.
"Did you find your friend?" I asked as soon as Shonda came home.
"No, it's like he just disappeared. No one has heard anything from him."
"Did you like him a lot?"
"God no! He was an arrogant asshole but he had some important papers I needed. Now I have no idea where they are."
"Christ, Shonda, papers can be copied. I'm sure he didn't have the only set." I knew it was the pictures of her she was worried about but I just played along.
"You're probably right. I'll call his home office tomorrow and get copies made. Thanks Joe."
"Thanks for what?"
"Thanks for always being here for me. I don't deserve a man as good as you."
"Honey, we're a team and a family. Nobody is going to take that away."
The odd look she gave me told me she was wondering what exactly I meant. I understand many people would not react the way I did. But I love my wife and daughters.
She loves me in her own way, and I knew that. However, I realized I couldn't totally trust her. I thought of just going out and showing her the pictures and telling her I saw her talking with John. Maybe someday that would happen but not yet.
If I faced her with the facts then we would probably end up divorced. My daughters were my life and I wasn't about to fight just to see them. Mr. Rimes was a very powerful man and I'm sure he would help Shonda get custody of the girls.
The girls loved my mom and I didn't want to mess up the bond between them either. The best thing to do was bide my time and take care of my family. Flying off the handle would solve nothing.
I didn't want Shonda to find out I knew anything. The last thing I needed was to get involved with the disappearance of John. I also needed to find out who the other man in the picture fucking my wife was. I wasn't exactly sure how to find out but I would eventually.
On the Friday after the demise of John, Shonda came right home from work.
"I thought you had a business meeting tonight?" I asked.
"I found out at the last minute it got cancelled."
"I guess we could have gone out after all, but tomorrow works fine with me. Mom said she would be here around five and she'll spend the night."
I looked at Shonda and she had a look of wonder on her face but then smiled at me. "I can't wait for our date Joe; it will be like old times. Let's get a motel room and make love all night."
She sure didn't act the way I always thought a cheating wife would act. She really seemed happy to be with me and never asked for a night out with her friends. No phone hang-ups, no trying to hide anything. I was confused. I saw her with John and I had the pictures of her fucking him as well as the other man. Yet, I truly believed she loved me.
We did just what she mentioned. We had dinner and danced till the wee hours and went to our room and made love. It felt just like old times again. She was making loud noises as I ate her pussy. When we fucked she asked me to never stop loving her.
She had secrets she wouldn't tell me and I knew they worked on your insides. That's because I had them too; some I would never tell anyone, not even Shonda.
Our night of lovemaking produced a son. I was happy and the girls were excited to find out they were going to have a baby brother. At first Shonda was distraught and mad at herself for forgetting to take her pills again. She had a yeast infection and stopped taking them for a few days. I had to wonder, what if she had met John that Friday. Would she be having his baby now?
That's the problem with cheating. There are always doubts and distrust afterward. I wanted to trust her instead of second guessing her every move but I couldn't do that, no matter how much I loved her.
Life went on rather normal for us. Joey came right on time and Shonda took a few weeks off to recover from his birth. I worked my caretaker job and did a lot of the planting of flowers around the cemetery. Time and time again the city directors complimented us for the job we were doing. All was well on the work front.
At home things were still good. Shonda started coming home earlier on a regular basis. We did more as a family, which we all loved. Joey always smiled when he saw his mother. Yet I wondered how long it would all last.
I brought up John a couple of times but though she tried to hide it, the subject upset Shonda. Apparently the police listed him as missing but there weren't any clues as to his whereabouts. When I asked her about the important papers she needed she hesitated before saying everything was fine. I could see the worry on her face about the photos. That was something she just couldn't hide.
As time went by Shonda never mentioned John again. It wasn't a surprise when her father promoted her to senior partner since she was still daddy's little girl.
Whenever there was a party or gathering Shonda would take me around and introduce me to everyone. She told everyone I was a landscaper and did a lot of work for the city. I guess saying I was a custodian of the cemetery didn't sound quite as good. The funny thing was how proud she seemed of me and wanted to be with me. They weren't the actions of a cheating wife.
A couple of years passed and we were a happy family. I worked my job and Shonda did her best to be home most evenings. My mom and dad loved her. What wasn't to love? Beautiful, caring, great personality, only she was a cheating wife no one knew about.
Her dad and mother liked me now. Mr. Rimes and I had a few long talks and one day I showed him all my medals for bravery. I always kept them kind of a secret. I didn't want honor for killing others but for the valor of doing what I had to for our country.
He saw how I was with my kids and the love I showed for them. I was just part of the silent majority who wanted to live a regular life and raise my family in peace. I think he finally understood and seemed to respect me after that.
Early March Shonda asked me to go to a big shindig where I would have to wear a tux—which she knew I hated to do. It was some kind of gigantic celebration, gathering, party, or something, for Earth Day.
All the brass from the major corporations would be there. They held it every year but this time it was in our home town so Shonda as well as her dad would be going. These corporations were big contributors to saving the earth projects. In past years she was able to beg off since she didn't want to be away from the family.
"Joe, if you go I promise you'll get the best sex of your life."
"Honey, you've already given me that. What haven't we done together? I don't want other people or anything like that."
'My god John, what are you talking about? I don't want other people in our bed. How could you think such a thing? I can't believe you would say that to me."
The way her voice rose, it was obvious she was really mad.
"Shonda, I'm sorry, I should have never said that. You're the love of my life and just the thought of you with anyone else tears me up inside. So, tell me about this great sex."
"I was thinking about strawberries and whipped cream and what we might do with them. Please say you'll go with me."
"Okay, I'll go but I'm going to hold you to the strawberries and whipped cream."