Makin' the Best of a Bad Situation
Chapter 2: Pain and Suffering...

Copyright© 2014 by Ragnaar

After calling my friend and setting up a meet, I had some time to kill. I sat there and thought about the recent past to see if I could come up with some explanation that would have clued me in on what was going on with my wife. From what I had seen the previous night, things were not as I had believed them to be.

I had been happy and I had always looked forward to getting home to Becky after a week on the road. I normally went on the road two weeks a month.

Had this thing with numb nuts been going on for awhile or was it new? I would have to do some digging and try to find out more.

My plan was to get recompense from numb nuts and Becky. I reasonably believed that what I saw was a good night kiss of lovers after a pleasant evening with each other. Big problem was that she was married to me and he was divorced and a sleaze ball. He was divorced precisely because he could not keep his johnson in his pants.

As I sat there, an overwhelming cloud of sadness descended on me. Why me? What had I done? If Becky wanted some strange, why on earth with numb nuts? What on earth could he have that I did not? Time would tell.

My emotions seemed to continue to spiral down. I got ready to leave and meet with Jerry. I got out to my car and all of a sudden the tears started to flow. I am not normally an emotional person. I have always kept my emotions under tight rein. I was really not expecting it. My body began to shake and the tears just seemed to gush. I let out a wail of despair, and leaned my head onto the steering wheel and sat there and sobbed. I felt like my life was circling the drain, and Becky had her hand on the lever to flush it all the way down.

The meeting...

When I arrived at Denny's, Jerry was already there, watching me come in. I slid into the booth and he extended his hand to shake.

"Hey, Joe. How are you?" he asked.

"I feel like shit warmed over. Sorry to have to call you, but I need some advice and some help."

"Okay, tell me all about it."

I went on to outline what I had seen and what I was feeling at this point. It didn't take me long, because I really didn't know much, just what I had seen and what I was imagining as a result of it.

"Jerry, those are the facts as I know them to be at this point. I know they are kind of slim right now. I hope with your help, to fill in the blanks. If it is as I believe. I am going to take action and numb nuts and Becky are not going to like the out come of their dalliance. I am really finding it hard to come to grips with the idea that Becky would cheat on me, especially with who it is and all her talk about how he was such a shit with her sister Ginger."

"Okay, what do you want to do?"

"Well, that is why I called you. I figured that since you had first hand personal experience with this sort of thing, you could kind of guide me on what to do. I really don't want them dead ... yet. My initial reaction was. They are guilty and they need to be punished, and it needs to be swift and decisive. That hit me in the first hour as I sat out side the house. I was numb and hurting all at the same time. My initial thoughts went something like this: Did I want to kill him? Yes!!! Did I want Becky to hurt as much as I was hurting? Yes!!! With those two questions answered, What to do next? That's why I called you."

"Just a couple of questions, Joe. What are your immediate plans? Are you still going to go home at noon and try to act like everything is all right?"

"Yeah, that was my plan."

"Do you think you can keep rein on your tongue and not confront Becky until you have more info?"

"Yeah, I think I can and even if I can't, I guess things will just come to a head more rapidly. I think I can continue to act stupid and loving. I need to understand why first, before I go through with whatever the final resolution may end up being."

"Ok, Joe, just promise to call me if you feel you're losing it and need someone to talk to. In the mean time, I will get on getting a tail on your ex brother in law and put him under surveillance 24/7 until we get the information we need.

Remember, you are going to have to put on the performance of your life. After being married to Becky for nineteen years, she will recognize anything in your behavior that is not normal and she will most likely ask you about it. So be prepared to answer her with something reasonable, maybe a work related problem that has you concerned, or something like that."

I sat there thinking about what Jerry had just said. He was right. How was I going to face her and keep a straight face or act like nothing was wrong?

"Joe, I've got to get going, I'll be in touch as soon as I know anything. Okay?"

"Yeah, sure," I kind of mumbled to him and he left.

Last night I thought I had it all figured out. Now the reality was starting to set in and I really didn't know how to handle it. I sat there staring at my food and eventually pushed it away uneaten. It was only another hour or so and I was suppose to go home to a happy home, and be happy to see the love of my life. The woman who I had lived with for nineteen years. Who had been the most important person in my life. I thought about the girls. Erin and Eve, we had two happy twin girls eighteen years ago. Now they were gone away to college. They had only left for the fall semester two weeks ago. Thank goodness they were out of state and hopefully they wouldn't get snagged into what was to come.

I got up and left the restaurant and made it to my car, before the tears started to flow again. I just sat behind the wheel and sobbed into my hands.

I knew deep down, that I couldn't face her feeling the way I did at the moment. I needed to get my head screwed on straight. How, I didn't have a clue. I didn't know to who to turn too. I thought Jerry would give me directions all signed sealed and delivered. We never got there. He just listened and when he left, I was no better off. I knew I had to pull myself together. I decided to take the cowards way out.

"Hi, Beck, I thought I'd better call you let you know. I am still Illinois, the car started giving me trouble as soon as I started it this morning and I only got down the road a few miles when the car stopped. I have it in a dealership and should know more later. I will call you later on when I know more."

"Joe, do you want me to come and get you? How far is it?"

"No, it's okay. I am sure they will get it fixed. Right now, they haven't even gotten it in to a mechanic yet. I'll let you know when I know more."

After I hung up, I drove to the far side of the city and found a park to take a walk in. I was walking slowly around the edge of a lake and there was a bench. I sat down and just as soon as I did, some ducks started to show up. They came out of the water and waddled toward me. I was kind of taken aback by their attention until I heard a voice coming from behind me.

"You silly ducks, he doesn't have any food for you. I'm sorry for being late. The bus got behind schedule. I've got your food right here."

With that this white haired older man sat down beside me and proceeded to open his sack and start to hand out bread crusts and chunks to the ducks. They pressed forward until they all had a chuck and were trying to bolt it down dry. Some did and came right back for more. Some took theirs to the water and there chewed it up as it became soaked with the water. As soon as they were done, they came right back for more.

I sat there watching the whole production until the man ran out of bread. The ducks seemed to know that there was no more food. They kind of looked at me expectantly and when nothing more was offered, they waddled off on to the grass looking for bugs I guess.

"Hi. I'm Harry. I guess I've spoiled them. I come every day and feed them. As soon as I sit on this bench, they come flocking around. Sorry if it disturbed you."

"Oh, it was no problem. It was kind of startling at the beginning, but it was fun to watch. You say you come here every day? Bye the way, my name is Joe."

I put forth my hand and he took it to shake.

"Yup, everyday. If I didn't they would not get fed. I started it two years ago, right after my wife Mable died. After all the family left me alone. I just got on the bus and rode around and when I saw the park, I got off and walked along until I saw this bench. I sat down and this one duck came out and started pecking at my shoe. I had a package of saltine crackers in my coat pocket. I got it out and broke them up and fed the duck small pieces until it was gone. It was amazing. I had come there feeling alone and lost with out Mable. After feeding the duck, I felt at peace. I sat here all afternoon just watching the people and the birds. After a while. I got up and went home. The next morning, I grabbed all the bread and rolls left over from the funeral meal and caught the bus and I have been doing it ever since, every day rain or shine. What brings you here Joe?" Harry asked me.

For the next hour or so, I told Harry my story, he didn't say anything, he just listened quietly. When I ran down and sat silently for awhile. I felt a sense of relief. Eventually, Harry got to his feet, he had trouble with his knees and had to push up from the bench seat with his hands to get up. It was then that I realized that he had an artificial leg. I quickly stood to give him a hand, but he brushed my help away and said.

"No, no, that's okay. I'm good now. Seated or standing I am okay, it's the getting back and forth between both positions, that give a bit of trouble. Well, I better be heading home. If you decide to come tomorrow, Joe, bring some bread and we'll feed the ducks together. Bye."

I watched him walk off. I turned my eyes toward the lake for just a moment, and then looked back. He was gone. He couldn't have gotten out of sight that quickly. Where did he go?

I left the park and for some reason, I felt the need to stop at a grocery store and buy several loaves of bread for tomorrow. Not sure why. I guess, I felt calm in his company. Also I wanted to find out if he had any thoughts about my circumstances.

I turned my cell off and headed for the motel. I needed to let my self unwind. I felt the tension bleed off as I lay in my bed.

I woke the next morning around four, having slept almost twelve hours. I guess my body had been so tense I must have just passed out. I did feel rested. I got up and followed my daily morning ritual. I logged onto SOL and proceeded to read my favorite categories newest offerings. I was done by six, and went out for breakfast. While I was at the restaurant, I turned my cell on and found that I had 16 messages all from Becky. They started out calm and by the end they were desperate. Pleading for me to call her. I called her cell. I left her a message. Telling her that I had just fallen asleep and would let her know as soon as I found out how the car was coming. I may be stuck here all weekend.

I felt like a heel lying to her. I guess it didn't bother me too much, She had been lying to me for awhile.

I knew that she would be at work. Becky had never had a job in her specialty after she graduated from college. Her degree had been in a Dental Hygienist program, and had never looked for a job. She had worked her way through by working at a small Mom & Pop morning grill and sandwich shop. She just stayed on where she had been the whole time through college. Now her normal shift was six to two in the afternoon, when they closed. Her weekly checks had always went into our account directly and she had always kept her tips to use as she wanted. Over the years she must have made good tips because she was always buying extras for the house or for the girls. Some times she would plan a vacation and take us on it. She had never shown any interest in the day to day running of the house hold, house payments, utilities etc, she had just always left that to me. She didn't even have access to the house account, so I guess I didn't have an over riding need to rush about and protect myself from her raiding the accounts, and changing the insurance.

I looked at my watch and realized that it was close to the same time that I had went to the park yesterday. I decided to go early.

I drove to the park and walked toward the bench where I met Harry yesterday. I had no more sat down and looked around. I saw no one close. I started to open my sack of bread and I heard a step behind me.

"Good Morning, Joe. How are you this morning? I heard Harry ask me. I turned to the sound of his voice and saw him standing at the opposite end of the bench. He stuck out his hand and we shook hands. He lowered himself gently down onto the bench seat.

Before I had a chance to reply. He turned to me and said. "Well, you look rested this morning, you must have slept good last night. How is Becky?" he asked me.

"I don't really know. I assume she is okay. She had frantically been trying to call me all last night and early this morning. I had my cell off, so she couldn't reach me. Her last call seemed frantic. I just couldn't bring myself to talk to her."

"I know how you must be feeling," he said.

He proceeded to open his sack and no sooner than the sack was open, the ducks started to arrive, some flew in and I could see others frantically paddling for all they were worth trying to be first in line for the food. It was almost comical to watch. We started to feed them. I was looking down toward the path at all the ducks pushing and shoving each other to get the most food. Harry seemed to have a name for most of them. I heard Harry talking to them calling them by name and then I heard him say. "Good morning Agatha, how are you on this fine morning?"

I looked to see who he was talking, to, and I saw him stroking the neck and back of a huge White Swan.

"Joe, this is Agatha, she's a Trumpeter Swan, she was found wounded last year and the DNR brought her here to share the lake with the ducks. She's too old to mate again. She must have lost her mate. Did you know Swans mate for life and if they loose their mate many will never mate again?"

I sat and watched him feed the Swan and the ducks. Agatha seemed to take it as her due, that she should get preferential treatment. She would reach out to his hand and delicately take the proffered piece of bread. While Harry fed the birds, he started to talk.

"Joe, I thought long and hard about your situation last night. I think I might have a perspective that you might find interesting. Mable and I had our problems, too, but we managed to overcome them. We were married forty years before she went home. You know, some times things are not always what they seem. Now I don't doubt what you saw. I fully understand your reaction to what you saw. My concern is that you not take any action until you know all the facts."

Just then my cell started to ring. I looked at the window and saw it was Jerry. I answered it.

"Hey, Jerry."

"Mornin', Joe. I just left your house, and all the surveillance gear is installed. We should know more soon. Have you been home?"

"No, I chickened out, and spent the night in the motel again."

"I completely understand," he replied. "I'll be in touch as soon as I have anything."

Harry's story...

"Mable and I had been married about seven or eight years when a new neighbor moved in down the road. We were farmers, and he had just purchased the house and buildings from the estate of our oldest neighbor who had passed away the previous fall. He moved in around the 1st of May that year, we did like all farmers do. We went down to bring him some of Mable's good home cooking and a nice rhubarb pie fresh out of the oven. His name was Harold. He was a good looking younger cuss. He started acting all polite and helpful to Mable. He was about ten years younger than us and thought he was the cock of the rock.

"He kept giving Mable all kinds of attention and ignored me as though I wasn't there. He helped her get seated at the table, he fawned all over her. Now I will admit, that this young man's actions seemed totally innocent when taken at face value. To me he just seemed kind of smarmy. I thought it best that we make our visit short, and hustled Mable out of there. She seemed a little miffed because I made her leave before she was ready. She thought I was rude. Frankly, I didn't care. I just wanted them apart.

I decided then and there to be on my guard for a while. I didn't want a snake slithering in to my hen house. I for sure didn't want him going after my hen.

"It was spring and I had to spend long hours in the field. Some times over behind the hill and I would be out of sight of the home place. One day, a week or so later, I was on the far side of the hill almost as far as I could get from the home place when I saw a plume of dust coming over the horizon from the direction of the road. Now we lived down at the dead end of the road. Normally we didn't have drop in visitors. Most of the neighbors who wanted to see me would drive the edge roads of the property and when they saw me, would park on the road or drive into the field and come over to where I was working and visit with me.

"Mable had a wives club once a week with some of the local neighbor wives on Thursday, but this happened to be Tuesday. I decided to see who had come to the house. I got off the old "B" John Deere and let her sit there and idle. Now a farmer would know it was just idling. Some one who had not been raised around John Deeres would not know the difference between one pulling and one idling. I took the short cut through the pasture and came up on the house from the blind side. I peeked in the kitchen window and sure enough it was old Slither his self from down the road. He was fawning all over Mable as she tried to serve him coffee and pie. She was gushing from all the very personal attention he was giving her. Now Mable was a born and bred farm girl. She was not used to all this citified attention, and the complements he was paying her. It was easy to see that he was good at what he was doing and she was falling for it hook, line and sinker. As I watched, he got up to help her put the dishes in the sink and he slid up behind her and put his hands on her hips and pressed his self against her butt. She didn't know what to think about that. He ran his hands around her sides and cupped her breasts in both palms. It must of startled her. I heard her gasp.

"Oh, Harold, you mustn't do that. You know I am married and Harry wouldn't like it."

"Well, Harry isn't here, you liked it didn't you?"

"Mable was flustered. I am sure she didn't know how to handle this kind of pressure from a man she barely knew.

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