I looked at her like she was some alien life form as my mind digested what she'd said to me over dinner. She had waited until the fresh baked apple pie was cut and then she had hit me with it.
"There is no easy way for me to do this so I'll go right at it. The kids are gone. I've been a damned good wife, mother and homemaker for the last twenty-four years. I've put you, the kids and the home ahead of everything and I've decided that it is time to do some things for myself. I'm forty-five and still reasonably attractive and I need to do it while I still have the goods.
"I love you and you know I do, but this is something that I have wanted to do for almost fifteen years now and I have accepted that you won't join me and be a part of it. I hate to see twenty-four good years go down the drain, but if you want a divorce over this I'll just have to live with it. I have a date for Friday night so if you don't want reheated leftovers for dinner you will need to eat out."
I just sat there and stared at her until she said, "Say something Rob."
I shrugged and said, "Good luck."
"Good luck? What do you mean by that?"
"Good luck in your new life and since you are no longer in mine I don't want you in my bedroom. So move out. Tonight! We can share the house until it is sold. I'll call a realtor in the morning and get the process moving. But I warn you that even though we will share the house you had better never bring your lovers into it or I'm liable to kill you both."
"Sell the house? I don't want to sell the house. I love this place."
"Then you need to come up with the money to buy out my share. In a divorce the assets will be split and that means the house gets sold. We only have two years left before it will be paid off and our equity is about two hundred and eighty thousand so you will need to come up with a hundred and forty thousand. You can think about where to get the money while you are moving out of the bedroom.
"I suggest that you get started now as I want to turn in early. Tomorrow will be a busy day for me seeing to the realtor, getting an attorney and doing all the rest that needs to be done."
"Why are you rushing into this?"
"Why not? You just ended our marriage so I see no need to pussyfoot around. Just get on it and get it done."
"But I haven't even done it yet."
"Doesn't matter. The 'in your face' attitude you just displayed in telling me what you intend to do told me just what you think of me. If you fuck your date on Friday or not we are still quits. Best you get started moving your stuff. Anything of yours still in the room when I go up to bed will be tossed out the bedroom window."
"We need to talk this out Rob."
"No we don't. You are a cheating cunt and I don't want any more to do with you."
"I am not a cheater!"
"Yes you are Mandy. You just told me that you have a date for Friday night. Not that you were going out looking, but that you already have one. That means that you have been meeting and talking with another man with the intent of setting up a sexual encounter and in my book that is the same as cheating. Now get the fuck out of my sight and start moving your shit!"
I got up from the table and headed for my 'man cave" which was also our garage. As I worked on my latest project, a 1965 Pontiac Catalina convertible, I thought back to when this nonsense started. It was about fifteen years ago and it was all because of who I was and what I did before I got married.
I had been quite the horn dog in high school. Pauline French had taken my virginity on my eighteenth birthday and I had liked it. So much so that I'd spent considerable time looking for more and as a result I had bedded a few of the opposite sex. Well, more than a few to be honest about it. I was your typical 'love them and leave them' asshole until I got to college and a couple of girls made it their business to cure me of my bad habits. I'd loved and left both of them and they got together and made it a crusade to see to it that it didn't happen to other girls. If they saw me with a girl they moved right in and told her about me. By my junior year the word had spread and I couldn't get a date to save my life.
The first year of my senior year I met Amanda Martin and fell ass end over tea kettle in love. She wouldn't have anything to do with me.
"I've been told what kind of guy you are and I know what you want and it isn't going to happen."
I kept on trying until one day she said, "Do I have to call the cops on you and file a complaint? As far as I'm concerned you are stalking me. Do I need to get a restraining order on you? Leave me alone! One last time! I want nothing to do with you! I am not going to be another notch on your bed post!"
I got the message and finally realized what my horn dog attitude had cost me. For the rest of my senior year I went dateless and ate my heart out every time I saw Amanda.
Graduation came and I went to work for the Athena Group in their marketing department. It isn't bragging to say I was a good looking guy and in pretty decent shape and I attracted the attention of several of the single girls who worked in my department. Truth be told a couple of the married ones also showed an interest. None of them knew my reputation so you could say that it was a target rich environment for someone like me.
But a funny thing happened somewhere along the line. I didn't take advantage of it. I guess the easiest way to explain it would be to say that I grew up Some time during my senior year I realized that I was never going to have a meaningful relationship with a girl like Amanda unless I changed my ways and God knows that I had really wanted that relationship with Amanda.
A year went by and while I did date a lot I pretty much behaved myself. I did fall into a friends with benefits relationship with a girl and it lasted for about six months and ended when she took a job in another state. Even though I dated a lot I never met a girl who made me feel like Amanda did and that feeling was my benchmark, my baseline, and what I was looking for and quite frankly I was beginning to feel that I was never going to find it.
One night after working late I stopped at The Purple Onion on the way home from work. I was a regular there and Suzie behind the bar had my vodka tonic sitting on the bar by the time I slid onto the bar stool. I'd been there maybe a half hour when I heard a commotion behind me, I heard a woman say "Let go of me!" and a male voice say:
"No way are you hanging me out lady. Dinner, drinks, a show and you have been cock teasing me all night so there is no way you are going to get away with just saying goodnight."
"Let go of me asshole!"
"No way bitch! I'm going to get at least a blow job out of this night."
Normally I'm a guy who minds his own business, but the asshole acting like that and saying that kind of shit out loud and in public just set me off. I got up and went over to him and told him to get his ass out of the bar.
Who is going to make me, you?"
"Bet your ass."
"Fuck you" he said and swung on me. I blocked it and hit him hard. He staggered and I hit him twice more, grabbed him, spun him around, put him in a hammerlock and frog marched him out the door into the parking lot. The door didn't have a knob' it was the push bar type and I walked his body right into the push bar to open the door. His body hit the push bar at the same time his face hit the door and blood spurted from his nose. I walked him straight to the dumpster and then picked him up as I said "In you go with the rest of the garbage" and I dropped him into the dumpster as I said:
"If you are smart you won't come back into the bar."
I didn't go back in either because my good mood was gone. I went home to my apartment. Took a shower and went to bed.
It was three days before I stopped in at the Onion again. And as usual Suzie had my vodka tonic sitting on the bar when I reached the barstool. She went to the cash register and then came back and handed me an envelope.
"What's this" I asked.
"When you walked that turd out of here the other night you left your money lying on the bar. You tip well, but not that well so I put it in the register for you."
I took the envelope and put it in my pocket without looking in it and took out my wallet and dropped a twenty on the bar for my drink. Suzie pushed it back at me and said:
"Your money is no good in here tonight."
"The lady you rescued the other night told me to call her and let her know when you came back in again. I'm supposed to feed you drinks on her dime to hold you here until she gets here."
"You're kidding me."
"Not the least little bit bubba. The lady wants to thank you in person."
I was on my third vodka tonic when Suzie set a glass of white wine in front of the stool on my right and before I could ask her what it was for someone sat down on the stool. I looked and my jaw dropped as Amanda Martin smiled at me and said:
"Hi Rob; long time no see."
I was so stunned to see her that I was at a loss for words.
"What's the matter Rob? You never used to be the silent type."
"I'm just surprised to see you after all these years."
"It could have been three days sooner if you had come back in after escorting Dirk out of here the other night."
"That was you he was hassling?"
"It was. Unfortunately he was another one of my many mistakes. I seem to be incapable of picking a good man."
.... There is more of this story ...