It was a Monday morning and we were sitting at the kitchen table. We had finished eating breakfast and I was drinking my coffee and reading the morning paper. My wife Bea said:
"Would you put the paper down Rob? I have to talk to you."
I put the paper down on the table and then asked, "What is it Bea?"
"I'm leaving you Rob. I want a divorce."
"Is that all?"
I picked the paper back up and started reading the sports section.
"I'm serious Rob."
I ignored her and she got agitated. "Damn it Rob; put that fucking paper down and talk to me."
"Why? I've got nothing to say except goodbye. It isn't any great loss. You haven't been worth a shit as a wife for over a year anyway. So go."
I put the paper down and said, "Give me just a second" and I got up and went into the room that I used for a home office. I picked up a pad of paper and a pen from the top of my desk and got an envelope out of one of the drawers. I went back to the kitchen table, sat down and on the top sheet of the pad I wrote:
Thank you, thank you, thank you and thank God she is gone."
I started to put it in the envelope and then had a thought. I took one of the lottery tickets I'd purchased the previous evening out of my wallet and put it in the envelope. Then I added to my note:
"Maybe if you get lucky and win it will be enough to keep the cheating whore satisfied with you and she won't go out and cheat again. Good luck dude; you are going to need it."
I signed it "A very thankful Rob."
I folded the page and put it into the envelope, sealed it, addressed it and handed it to Beatrice.
"When you see him give him this."
She took it and with a shocked expression on her face she said:
"Just because you think I'm clueless doesn't make it so. On second thought" I said as I took the envelope back from her, "I'll mail it to him. I don't trust you not to open it up, read it and then throw it away. Now why don't you go and pack and get the fuck out of my life and since you are the one that wants to leave you need to get out of the house ASAP. I'm sure not leaving. No way am I getting out just so you can move your lover in."
I got up, poured my coffee in a travel mug, topped it off and left for work.
On the way to work I stopped at the bank and closed out the savings and checking accounts and took the contents out of our safe deposit box. Then I went to a bank closer to work and opened new accounts in my name only. When I got to work I called and cancelled all of our joint credit cards and arranged for new cards in my name only and that done I tackled my days workload.
I stopped after work and had dinner and drinks with my executive assistant and told her that I was back on the market if her sister was still interested. Stella laughed and said:
"To hell with my sister. If you are back in circulation I want to be first in line."
Stella had started with me as a secretary ten years ago and had proven so valuable that four years previous I had promoted her my personal assistant and then to justify the raise I thought she deserved I'd made her my executive assistant. Two years previous on a Sunday I'd thrown a back yard barbecue and I had invited Stella. She'd told me that she couldn't make it because her sister was in town visiting and I'd told her to bring her sister along also. Her sister Tara was a sexy looking and very busty blond and on Monday Stella laughingly told me that her sister had the hots for me. I laughed and told her never to let Bea know that because Bea could be (and had at times actually been) insanely jealous. And now Stella was telling me she was interested? I'd never had a clue that she might have had thoughts like that where I was concerned.
"Okay then" I jokingly said, "Tara moves to second place and you can have the top spot."
"I'm not joking here boss. I'm serious as hell. I want a shot."
"You might not when you hear what I have to offer."
"And what is that?"
"Bea told me that she wanted a divorce so I'm leaving it up to her and her lover to make it happen and I have no idea what their timetable might be."
"She hooked up with a guy about a year and a half ago and I guess she finally decided that a couple of days a week with him weren't enough so she's going fulltime."
"How long have you known?"
"A year and a half. I've known almost since the day it started."
"How could you know that?"
"She was seen by a friend of mine going into a motel room with a man and she gave me a call. I put a private detective on Bea for a week and he got me all that I needed to know."
"A year and a half and you did nothing about it?"
"What was to do? Get all pissy about it and turn my life upside down? This state is no fault. Everything would have to be split fifty/fifty and I would have had to sell the house and split the proceeds with her. I would have had to give up the pool, the hot tub, my woodworking shop and my three car garage and move into an apartment somewhere. No thank you. I decided to just ignore it and let her cook for me, do my laundry and clean the house."
"How could you stand being around her knowing that she was cheating on you?"
"You would be surprised at how quickly love can turn into hate and then hate turn into indifference."
"I can't believe that a healthy guy like you could go a year and a half without sex."
"I didn't go without. As long as Bea still offered I still took and she did still offer although the frequency did drop some. I wouldn't touch her on the days I knew that she had been with him, but other than that the only change was that I stopped making love and started just having sex."
"You have any idea of why she did it?"
"Not a clue, but he probably wasn't the first one."
"You think she has had other lovers?"
"I have no way of knowing for sure, but what I do know is that in the ten years we have been married she has gone into a certain sort of mood four times that I can remember. Four times that she has behaved like she has behaved since she took up with the guy she is seeing now. It is only a guess on my part, but I'd almost bet that the other times were for the same reason. If she hadn't been seen and I hadn't been alerted to what was going on I would have taken the recent mood as just another one of those female things. I may be all wrong in my thinking, but it really doesn't matter. I know about the one and that is all I need to know about to know that she is a cheating bitch."
"What are you going to do now?"
"Wait? For what?"
"To see what she is going to do. She is on her own now. I've cleaned out the bank accounts, cancelled all of her credit cards and told her to get out of the house. She wanted a divorce so I'm leaving it to her to get it. Since she doesn't make enough to support herself and still be able to pay an attorney she will have to get the money for the attorney from her lover and I don't know if he will give it to her. I'm assuming that they talked it over before she hit me with it, but I have no way of knowing.
"What I am saying here is that if you are really interested you will be running around with a married man who has no idea of how long it will be before he is divorced."
"You are not thinking too clearly here Rob."
"If she goes for the divorce she is in control. You will get served and it could be bad. You have no idea of what she might do. You could be ordered to vacate the house and maintain her pending hearings. What if she files and says that it is because of mental and physical cruelty and gets a restraining order keeping you away from her and the house? You need to be the one setting the pace boss. You need to be in the driver's seat. Make her respond to you and not the other way around. Besides, you filing helps me."
"Helps you? How?"
"If you are going to wait and let her file what if she doesn't? What if lover boy won't give her the money to do it? That would put us in the position of committing adultery and she could use that against you somewhere down the line. You say she cheated and she says so what? You did too." If you file you are saying that as far as you are concerned the marriage is over and what you do from that point on is none of her business. From a strictly legal point of view you will still be legally married until the divorce is final and taking up with me would still technically be adultery, but no court would use it against you as long as it was something that didn't start before you separated from Bea.
"So, from where I sit I need to stay away from you until either you or Bea get the legal ball rolling. If we wait on her it could be years or it could be next week, but with her controlling things. If you do it it could be as soon as this weekend. If you could get into see an attorney early tomorrow you could conceivable have Bea served by Thursday and that would give me the weekend to work on hooking you."
"Damned straight boss man. What good does it do to be first on the list if you don't take advantage of it?"
She was right and I knew it so I took out my cell phone and used speed dial to call Josh. Josh and I had been friends since the third grade and Josh was now an attorney who practiced family law. Family law was a polite term for divorce law. When he answered I told him that I needed his legal services and I told him my problem. He was sorry to hear it because he and his wife Sally were friends of ours and he liked Bea, but he told me that he would get on it as soon as he got into his office in the morning and then he told me to stop in and see him around lunch time. I could sign the papers and we could go to lunch.
Then, just to be an asshole about it I told him that I wanted a restraining order. I fibbed and told him that Bea had told me that if I gave her any problems over her leaving me she would see to it that her lover – Tom Noble – straightened me out. Josh laughed and told me that he knew that was pure horse shit, but that he would do it.
"You do know that there will be a hearing within ten days on the order right? I can get it and have it served, but there will have to be a hearing before a judge will order it to remain in force."
"I know and I'll be ready for it, but right now the big thing is to get her out of the house and keep her out for a while. We have no kids so there is no real reason for her to get the use of the house while the divorce proceeds. I'm going with the 'possession is nine points of the law' thing here. No reason for the judge to order me out and let her in is what I'm shooting for.
"I told her to get out when we spoke this morning, but I don't know what I'll find when I get home. She may be gone, but she may still be there. Since I don't know for sure where she will be plan on serving her at work."
"No chance of you two working things out?"
"Not a prayer."
"See you tomorrow then."
I disconnected and looked across the table at Stella and asked:
"Just what do you have planned for me this weekend?"
She outlined her ideas and they sounded pretty good to me.
When I got home Bea was sitting in the kitchen at the table and sorting through some papers.
"Why are you still here" I asked as I walked to the icebox and got a beer.
"It is still my house too. I'm staying here until I can make other arrangements. If you object to my company feel free to move out."
"And let you move your lover in? Not on your fucking life!"
"You need to sit down so we can discuss what we are going to do."
"Don't think so. WE aren't going to do anything. I know what I'm going to do and I don't give a rat's ass about what you are going to do."
"There are things that need to be worked out Rob."
"No there aren't Beatrice. It is simple. You said that you wanted a divorce so you get to go and get it. YOU get to hire the attorney. YOU get to file the paperwork and YOU get to pay all of the court costs. What I will do is fight you tooth and nail over every last little thing. We live in a state that has no fault. Everything gets split fifty-fifty so decisions will have to be made over who gets what as part of their half. I will drag things out so your attorney fees just keep climbing and climbing. You do know that they don't work for free right?
"You want the coffee table? Well guess what. I want it too. You want the sofa? Too bad Bea. It has great sentimental value to me and I just have to have it."
"Why? You don't care about any of that stuff. You weren't even emotional when I told you that I wanted a divorce. All you did was tell me to pack and get out."
"That was before I had time to think on it."
I looked her in the eye and took a chance.
"I let you get away with it the first three times because you stayed. I loved you enough to keep quiet and keep you because you came back to me."
She looked away from me when I said "The first three times" which, as far as I was concerned, confirmed what I had suspected and then I went on to say:
"I don't know why I accepted it, but I did. I thought maybe I had done something that really pissed you off and you felt that you had to do it to get back at me. You eventually ended the affair and I foolishly thought it was because you realized that you loved me and so you came back to me."
I looked down at the floor and yep, the bullshit was already up over my shoes.
"I thought that this thing with Noble was just more of the same, but I can see now that I was wrong. I have come to realize that you are nothing but a low life cheating slut and if you hadn't decided to leave me for Noble and had ended things with him you would be spreading your legs for some other asshole six months or a year from now.
"After thinking about it I decided that I had to get some sort of revenge. What I really want to do is take a thick belt and beat your ass with it so bad it would break the skin and have you bleeding on the floor, but that would only send me to jail. The only thing I can do that won't see me locked up is to make the divorce as difficult and costly as I can for you.
"You are right. This is also your house and if you chose to stay, outside of physically tossing you out and probably involving the cops, I have to let you be here. But I don't have to like it and I don't have to interact with you. Move your shit into one of the spare bedrooms and stay the fuck out of my way."
I finished my beer and then went up to what had been our bedroom and got ready for bed. I thought I'd accomplished what I set out to do. I'd given her things to think about and she would need to talk things over with Noble and make decisions and that would take time. Time that Josh could use to get Bea served and the restraining order in place.
I could be wrong. Bea may have already seen a lawyer and papers might already be heading my way, but I didn't think that was the case. I'd gotten the balances when I'd cancelled the credit cards and they were about what I had expected and when I took the cash out of the bank it was pretty much what I thought it should be. If Bea had seen a lawyer she hadn't used our money to pay him. Of course Noble could be footing the bill. All I could do was wait and hope that Josh got his oar in first.
I was up and out of the house before Bea came out of whichever of the two spare bedrooms she had chosen to use. I stopped at the B & B Café for breakfast and as I sipped my coffee I made a list of who to call as soon as Bea was served. I was not going to let her make me the bad guy. I would tell everyone about the divorce and I would tell everyone why.
At work Stella told me that she was really looking forward to the weekend and I found myself hoping that it would happen.
I met Josh for lunch and he slid the papers across the table to me and I signed them. He said he would go to the City County Building from lunch and file.
"You still want her served at work?"
"Damned straight I do."
"Figure tomorrow around ten."
"Call me as soon as it happens. I want the locks on the house changed before she can get home."
I went back to work and made arrangements to take the next day off. Before I left the office I called a locksmith and made the arrangements for some quick service the next day. It cost me a bit extra, but I felt that it was worth it.
When I got home Bea's car was in the drive, but she must have decided to stay in her room and out of my way because I never saw her. I was up and out of the house before Bea came downstairs and I went to the B & B for breakfast. Angie asked me where Bea was.
"I never see you in here that she isn't with you and two days in a row now you have been in here without her."
"You won't be seeing us together any more. We are splitting the blanket."
"Do tell" she said as she took my order. When she put the bill down on the table she said:
"My phone number is on the back. Not the restaurant number. My number."
I couldn't help but have a 'you poor guy' moment as Angie walked away. She made it two women in as many days who let me know that they were interested. So why wasn't I enough for the woman I'd married? I'd never know because I would never ask. I drank coffee and read the morning paper while waiting for the time when Bea normally left for work and then I went on home and started packing Bea's things and moving them out into the garage.