I was pretty pleased with myself as I pulled onto my driveway and hit the button on the garage door opener. Addie's car was already in the garage which was nothing new since she was always home before I was. She would have dinner on and I was trying to make up my mind as to whether I should give her the surprise before dinner, during dinner or maybe after dinner as we sat on the patio and chatted about our day.
Our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary was in three weeks and I had gotten on line and found us a two week cruise. We both had plenty of vacation time coming and I couldn't think of a better way to burn some of it up than spending two weeks on a romantic cruise.
The timing was right as the last of our three kids had just gotten married and Addie and I were alone for the first time in twenty-one years. It was time to revitalize our relationship, put some spark back into it, or to put it a little more crudely – get into some hot monkey sex! Not that our sex life was lacking. We still managed to average twice a week, but with the kids around it wasn't the spontaneous 'go for broke' sex that we had engaged in before becoming parents and getting involved with three a.m. feedings and then school activities as the kids grew and then as they grew even older the after school activities.
There were times we found it hard if not almost impossible to have time for each other, but those days were gone now. Barry was married and living in California, Marcia had graduated from State and was working in Atlanta and Ralph had just married his high school sweetheart and they were moving to Ohio to take up the new position that Ralph had been promoted into. Yes indeed, the time was right for a romantic cruise.
Addie was setting the table when I walked into the room. I walked over to her and gave her a hug and a kiss and then I went to take off my work uniform and get into shorts and a T-shirt. Over dinner Addie told me that she had talked to Ralph and that he and his bride were safely in Akron and were unloading their U-Haul into their new apartment. Addie said Susan (Ralph's bride) told her all about the apartment and the neighborhood.
"It sounds like they will be happy there."
She set her fork down, took a deep breath and then said, "You know I love you don't you?"
As I smiled at her and said, "Of course I do" alarm bells were clanging in my head. That phrase, "You know I love you, don't you?" ranks right up there with "Does this dress make me look fat" and "Honey, is my butt getting bigger?" and I was saying to myself "Oh God, what did she do now? Hit something with her car? Make a checkbook error and we were now overdrawn?" It was a phrase that husbands do not want to hear.
She looked away for a second or so and then turned to me and said, "Sally wants me to go out with her tomorrow night."
"Some kind of a girl's night out or a Tupperware party kind of thing?"
She bit her lip and then said, "No Rob; on a date."
"A date? What kind of a date?"
"Her boyfriend's cousin is in town visiting and she wants me to go out on a date with them."
"Why would her boyfriend want to go out on a date with three girls? Why not just let Sally and his cousin have a girl's night out?"
"His cousin is a guy."
"Sally wants you to go out on a date with a guy? What is she, crazy or just stupid?"
"I told her I would do it."
"You told her you would go out with another man? Have you forgotten that you are a married woman Adelaide?"
"No I haven't forgotten Rob. I need for you to hear me out on this. Hear me out and remember that I love you and I want to live my life out with you. All these years we've been married Rob – and they have been great years – I have never had an orgasm."
I started to open my mouth and she held up her hand in a "stop" motion and said:
"Let me finish. I have enjoyed making love with you, but I have never had an orgasm. I've read about them and the girls I know are always talking about them, but I have never had one. I'm going to be forty-five in another month and I want to experience an orgasm before it is too late."
"And you are expecting me to just to go along with this insanity? Are you nuts?"
"It won't hurt us Rob. I still love you. It is just something that I want to do for myself."
"It has already hurt us Adelaide; or hurt me anyway. Three weeks until our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary and you finally get around to telling me that I'm a lousy lover; that I don't get the job done in the bedroom. Thanks Adelaide, I really needed that."
I got up and Adelaide said, "Where are you going?"
"Please Rob; I nee..." and whatever else she was going to say was cut off by the door closing behind me. I drove over to Bud's Bar and Grill and took a stool at the bar. I told Mavis to bring me a Coors and then I sat there drinking it and reviewing my life up to that point to see if I could come up with anything that would have alerted me to the fact that my wife wasn't pleased with my performance in the bedroom. Try as I might I couldn't come up with a thing.
Neither Adelaide nor I were virgins when we met and we took to each other like a baby duck takes to water. The love making was enthusiastic and satisfying and Adelaide was always wanting to do more. We had only been dating a month when Adelaide asked me to move in with her and then it was sex almost every night and Adelaide sure did seem to like what I was doing for her. She was satisfied enough that six months after we started living together she began hinting at marriage. Based on how well we got along living together I thought we would be a lasting couple.
Until that night I thought we had a great marriage and it had all changed in less than a half hour. Adelaide telling me that I hadn't been getting the job done for over twenty-five years was a hell of a shot to my ego – my male pride – but what was worse than that was the fact that my wife thought so little of me that she thought she could tell me she was going to go out with another man and fuck him and that I would just sit there and go along with it.
"What's going on Rob?" Mavis asked as she sat the fifth Coors down in front of me. "It isn't like you to just sit here drinking, staring off into space and peeling the labels off of the beer bottles."
"Got bad news tonight Mav. I just found out that my marriage has been a joke for over twenty-five years and as you can see the news was just a bit unsettling."
"You and Addie having problems?"
"You could say that Mav."
I chugged the beer in front of me, set the bottle down on the bar and then said:
"I'd better get out of here while I can still drive."
I didn't go home. I drove out to Stevens Point and looked out across the lake until I started to nod off and then I went home. The house was dark when I got there. I went to the hall linen closet and got a pillow and a blanket and then bedded down on the couch.
I woke up in the morning with a foul taste in my mouth and I skipped brushing my teeth because I didn't want to make any noise that might wake Adelaide up. I really did not want to face her that morning. I left the house, had breakfast at the IHOP down the street from where I work and then I went into work. It wasn't a good day. I spent most of it thinking of what I was going to say to Adelaide when I got home that night. It wasn't going to be pretty.
Adelaide's car wasn't in the garage when I got home which was odd because she always got home before I did. When I walked into the kitchen the first thing I saw was the flashing red light on the telephone answering machine. As I walked toward it I saw a note propped up on the kitchen table. It said:
"Meatloaf in the microwave. Give it three minutes. Don't wait up. Love you, Addie."
I hit the button on the answering machine and the voice said, "You have one new message and one old message. First new message. Thursday, 5:01 pm" and my sister's voice came on to remind me that we had to get together on what we were going to get our mom for her birthday and the voice said:
"End of messages."
I hit the button again and the voice said, "You have one old message. Thursday. 5:17 pm."
"Hey girlfriend" said Sally, "Change in plans. We will meet in the bar at Tomasino's at six instead of the restaurant. Kevin is so looking forward to meeting you. See ya."
I stood there staring at the machine for what seemed like forever, but must have just been twenty or thirty seconds and then I walked over to the microwave, took out what Adelaide had fixed me for dinner and then threw it against the wall.
It took me a little over three and a half hours to pack everything that I wanted and load it into my pickup and at ten thirty-five I drove away from the house. I spent the night in a motel, had breakfast at Denny's and at eight I called my boss and told him that I would be in late. By ten after nine I had cleaned out all the accounts at the bank, cashed in the five certificates of deposit (paying the penalty) and had cancelled all of our credit cards except the two that I had in my name only.
At ten-fifteen a 'power of attorney' was on the way by registered letter from a lawyer to Adelaide along with a note that said she should sell the house and keep the equity since it would equal what I had cleared out of the banks. Things would be tight financially for Adelaide until she could sell the house, but "Fuck her!" was the way I was seeing it.
Next stop was Verizon where I cancelled the cell phone contract and then I went to Wal-Mart and bought a Trac-Phone with 500 minutes. At eleven thirty I was sitting in my boss's office. After his telling me that Adelaide had already called five times trying to get in touch with me I told him I was quitting and I told him why. He told me that he understood and then he told me that his brother needed someone with my abilities and asked me if I would be willing to move out of state. Three hours later I was on my way to Denver and a job working for Sam's brother Dave.
At six that evening I stopped in a rest area and called my parents, my sister and my kids and I told them all that I was gone and why. My sister had never really taken to Adelaide and I never knew why, but that just made it easier for me to give her my phone number along with instructions that she was not to give it to anyone for any reason. I didn't give it to my kids because I knew that they would give it to their mother and I didn't give it to my parents for the same reason. They had always been very fond of Adelaide. I told them all I would call them once a week on a Saturday. I flat out told my kids that I would not tell them where I was or give them my phone number because I did not trust them to keep it away from their mom and they were not very happy with me.
I stopped at the Mississippi River long enough to take off my wedding ring and throw it as far out into the moving current as I could and then I got back into my truck and headed out on I-70 toward Denver.
When I got to Denver I drove to my new place of employment and checked in and then I went looking for housing. I found an apartment close to work and settled in.
Every Friday night I called the kids, my parents and my sister to see how things were going. For the first two months every call to the kids ended with them pleading for me to call their mother. She was miserable; she was distraught and she was a basket case. I finally told them that I had no intention of ever talking to their mother again and if they kept bugging me about her I would cut back to calling them once a month.
My sister Bev never asked me to call Addie, but she did tell me that Adelaide kept begging her to put Adelaide in touch with me. I told her that nothing had changed and I still had no intention of ever speaking to my wife again.
My parents were the ones who really pissed me off although it was probably my mom more than my dad. One Friday I called them and my mother answered and we talked for several minutes. I heard some noise in the background and then "Rob?" Adelaide's voice said. "Please ba..." I hung up and it was two months before I called my parents again. It hurt. I had loved her for so long and in fact I still loved her and I would be a long time getting over her – if ever – but I couldn't have anything to do with her after what she had done.
Gradually over the coming months any mention of Adelaide faded. I never asked about her and no one brought her up. I didn't bother looking into a divorce because I couldn't see any sense in wasting the money. At my age getting married again was out of the question so I had no need to be single again. If there was a divorce it would be because Addie went for it and as long as she didn't know where I was to have me served her only option was to divorce me for desertion and that wouldn't bother me at all.
There were several women where I worked who were close to my age and a couple of them showed an interest in me and I started dating. I behaved myself on those dates because I thought it would be unwise to get anything going with a co-worker. What if it didn't work out? Working together would be awkward.
On my third date with Jolene she asked me what my story was and I said:
"What do you mean, 'my story."
"By the end of the second date I'm usually fighting the guy off and here it is our third date and you haven't even tried to give me a goodnight kiss. You must like me a little or we wouldn't be on our third date. What gives?"
I told her my feelings about work place romances and she laughed and said:
"Bullshit! In the ten years I worked there I've been to bed with four of the guys that work there. Do you see me having any problems with my co-workers?"
"Not that I can tell."
"The reason I don't see any of them anymore is that every one of them wanted to marry me and that is not what I am interested in. I want sex without a major commitment and as long as you don't get hung up on me and get after me to marry you we can play together for as long as you want."
When I took her home that night I went to kiss her on the cheek and she grabbed my tie and pulled me into her place. Jolene was the first woman other than Adelaide that I had touched in over twenty-five years and I had to admit that I was scared. Not scared enough to run because it had been some time since I'd been laid and I needed it, but scared because of the way Adelaide had made me feel inadequate.
I warned Jolene that I might be a little quick because of my long dry spell and she gave me a wicked grin and said:
"Then we had better hurry up and get the first time out of the way."
It wasn't near as quick as I thought it would be and my recovery time wasn't all that bad either. I made love to Jolene and at one point she gave a sharp cry and her body trembled and shuddered. If that is what an orgasm was like then I guess that maybe I never had given Adelaide one. Jolene saw the way that I was looking at her and she asked me what was the matter."
"Nothing" I said, "But I am curious. Did you just have an orgasm?"
"Did I ever lover. Two small ones and a biggie. Why?"
I told her the story and she said, "I can tell you this lover; the problem had to be with her because it damned sure isn't with you."
She swung around, took me in her mouth and we were off again. After the third time I told her that I needed to be going so I could get some sleep before having to get up for work and she said:
"Hush up lover. Nothing I like more than waking up next to a warm body and then starting the day out right."
Jolene's idea of starting the day out right was waking me with a blow job and then fucking my eyes out. She fed me a big breakfast and then we drove in to work together.
It was a great day for me and I walked around in a fantastic mood. To have Jolene say to me what she had lifted me up out of the pit that Adelaide's comments had pushed me into. Her comments plus the visual of her actually having an orgasm did wonders for me.
Following that night Jolene and I started keeping steady company. We spent so much time in each other's company (and each other's bed) that after about six months I suggested that we move in together. Jolene nixed that.
"The reason I never got married lover is because I can't stand living with anybody. I've tried it a couple of times and it just doesn't work out. I like living alone. We have a good thing going so let's just be happy with it.
The year passed by and there were many changes. Barry and his wife Nancy had a little girl. Ralph's wife Betsy was expecting and Marcia had gotten engaged. They all wanted to see me and I wanted to see them. The problem was that I hadn't been on the job long enough to build up enough vacation time that I would need to visit California, Georgia and Ohio. I had managed to take a couple of days off to visit my parents and my sister, but they had been quick in and outs and even though mom pressed me to talk to Adelaide while I was there and had probably even called her to let her know I was there I was back in Denver before Addie could act on the information. I was afraid to let them visit me. Once they knew where I was it would only be a matter of time before one of them let it slip to Adelaide.
I was trying to figure out what to do when the matter was taken out of my hands. My sister called me with the news that our parents had been killed in an auto accident. There was no way I could avoid Adelaide when I went back for the funeral. She had been very close to my mom and dad and no doubt would be at the funeral home and most likely at the wake that would be held later at Bev's house.
I'd spent several hours at the funeral home making arrangements and then I had hit Bud's Bar to wind down a little. Mavis was bringing me up to date on what had been happening since I'd been gone when Adelaide slipped onto the stool next to me and said:
"Hi Rob; how have you been?"
"Not to bad Addie. How goes the search for orgasms?"
Before she could answer Mavis was there and Adelaide ordered a vodka tonic and Mavis looked at me and asked, "Your tab?"
"No. The lady is paying her own way."
Adelaide flinched at that and then said, "There is no search Rob and there hasn't been."
"Good old Kevin able to do the job first time out?"
"There was no Kevin Rob. I didn't go through with it. If you would have let me talk to you I would have been able to tell you that."
"I wouldn't have believed you so there was no point in talking to you."
"It is the truth Rob; nothing happened."
"Here is the way it was Adelaide. It took me a little over four hours to load up my truck and get ready to leave. According to Sally's message you were meeting her and your fuck toy at six. If you had walked back into the house by seven and said you were home because you just couldn't go through with it I might – just might – have believed you, but there was no way – no fucking way – that I would have believed you if you had been gone three or more hours and you had already been gone over four when I left.
"Even if I had believed you it wouldn't have changed anything. Our relationship had already died the night previous when you told me what you were going to do. You didn't even have to fuck Kevin to destroy our marriage because by the time you met him the marriage was over. You killed our marriage when you told me what you really thought of me."
"What are you saying Rob?"
"You know exactly what I'm saying Adelaide."
"No I don't."
"You showed me how little you thought of me when you told me what you were going to do and then expected me to just sit still for it. That told me what your real opinion of me was. A spineless wimp that you could fuck around on and have me accept it. No way in hell we could ever had any kind of meaningful relationship after that. No Adelaide, talking with you would have changed nothing."
"Oh my God Rob, I never thought any such thing. I thought I could talk you into letting me do that little something for myself. I thought we loved each other enough that I could show you that letting me do it wouldn't hurt us any. I wasn't talking long term affair or anything like that. Just one time to see what it was like, but you got up and stormed out before I could make my case."
"Get serious Adelaide. My reaction to what you told me told you everything you needed to know about how I felt about the idea and you went anyway. And what if Kevin hadn't given you an orgasm? Who would you try next? How many more would you have wanted to try out to get that orgasm?"
"It wouldn't have been that way Rob; I swear that it wouldn't have been that way."
"You say that now Adelaide, but it is after the fact and I'm not believing it. If you were willing to risk your marriage to try on Kevin and on the remote chance I would have gone along with it and he hadn't gotten it done you would have thought that I'd let you get away with it once so I'd probably let you try again. And even if I would have said no to a second try you would have done what you did with Kevin and just go. Another "Meat loaf in the oven, don't wait up" night."
"What can I do to convince you that you are wrong about that? How can I convince you that nothing happened between me and Kevin?"
"You can't Adelaide. What you could have done- what you should have done – is come to me with your concerns when you started having them so we could have worked together to see if we could have done something to solve the problem, but you didn't do that. You ambushed me. Let me ask you this Adelaide. Have any of the men you have been to bed with since I left given you an orgasm?"
"That's a rotten thing to say. I haven't slept with anyone since my last time with you."
"As much as you liked sex? Oh yeah, I'm believing that."
"God damn it Rob, its true! I came home and found you gone and it killed me. I went to pieces and I was a basket case for months. When I finally got myself together I knew without a doubt that if you came back and found that I'd been to bed with another man there would be no chance of me ever getting you back. There has been no one Rob; I swear to God there has been no one. I love you Rob. I need you. I need to be with you."
"It is just too bad that you didn't feel like that or think like that the day you left the house to meet Kevin."
I slid off the stool and left the tavern.
Of course it didn't end there. All three kids flew in for the funeral and my sister's place became the place where the family got together. I saw my granddaughter for the first time and met Marcia's fiancée. The conversations were general in nature and carefully skirted the kid's mom.
Adelaide was at the funeral home every time I went there, but as soon as she headed for me I moved in the other direction. It wasn't easy avoiding her. For over twenty-five years we had been a part of each other's lives. I had loved her completely and there was no kidding myself – I still did. Seeing her and knowing that we were over tore at my very soul.
Following the funeral there was a wake at Bev's place and of course Addie came to it. It was harder to avoid Addie there than it had been at the funeral home and cemetery because every time she approached me she had one of our children with her. If I was smart I would have left the wake and gone to a bar until it was over, but unfortunately with my parents gone I was now the head of the family and I was obligated to stay until the end.
When the last of the well-wishers had departed Barry, Ralph and Marcia cornered me and said:
"We need to talk dad."
"Okay, go ahead."
"Not here. We need a place that is a little more private."
"Why? There is no one here except for family or about to be family."
"The rest of the family doesn't need to hear this."
Bev, who was standing behind me, told us that we could use her sewing room so the four of us went into it and closed the door.
"Okay" I said, "Let's have it."