Thanks to Barney R for the editing. Also, I ran the file through Grammarly.
As always, I had to mess with it some more. Therefore all mistakes and omissions are on me.
All of the cheating stories have their clichés – I came home unexpectedly – she (or he) stopped or slowed way down on sex – he (or she) started using anything for an excuse to start an argument – bills from hotels that you had not been to – gas receipts from areas that your spouse wasn’t supposed to be in. They are clichés because any and all of them have happened enough that they become somewhat commonplace reasons for adulterous divorces.
Mine happened just that way.
I am Randolph Edgar Norman, my friends call me REN, people trying to be friendly call me Randy (I don’t like that name, Randolph is better). I am a very successful fiction writer and successful political speechwriter. I am 39 and have been married to Patricia (Patty) Anne Norman (nee Bergin) for 12 years, she is 34, and we have two children; Chuck is 10 and Lois is 8. After Lois was born, I got clipped.
Patty works part-time at a local charity thrift shop. She is also my paid proofreader.
Lately, I have noticed a lack of affection from my wife, Patty. There are no real smoking gun behavior changes, just subtle things. She has recently complained that she is too tired to go out to dinner, or a movie. She has also started to refuse lovemaking about a third of the time when I try to initiate it. She has also insisted on taking over the bill paying.
I met Patty at a local club on a Friday night in May. I was there as a designated driver as my friends know that I am allergic to alcohol. Patty was there with two ladies Sally and Julie; they all looked to be about the same age. The three of them were having a good time for most of the night and I had managed to dance with each of them. Tom, the friend I was with also danced with each of them. I invited them to join our table, and they accepted. As I was there with only my friend Tom, we were outnumbered three to two.
We were all getting along fine. When about midnight a couple of drunken guys came over and tried to hassle the ladies. Now I am not nor have I ever been much of a fighter, but I was brought up to respect the woman in my circle of acquaintances. When one of the drunks tried to grab Patty and slurred that she was going to dance with him. I stood up and asked Patty if she wanted to dance with “this asshole, or with me.”
She looked at me and said, “I have already told this low life that I did not want to dance with him or his friend.” She continued; “I will always dance with a gentleman like you Randolph.”
The drunk looked at me and got a sneer on his face. “Randolph, no wonder, I’m guessing you’re a fag. I’ll bet your friend here (pointing to Tom) gives a mean blowjob, doesn’t he?”
With that comment, Tom stood up. Now I am not a small guy, I’m about 6’ 2” and 220 lbs. but Tom has me by 3” and 50 lbs. We both worked out so none of it was excess.
The drunk gulped and without a word grabbed his friend and headed for the exit.
Patty thanked me and the girls decided they wanted to leave.
I said; “I hope that those jerks did not ruin your evening ladies. If you would like it, Tom and I will escort you to your cars.”
Tom nodded, he was on only his third drink of the night so he was almost as sober as me.
Julie and Sally both said that the three of them shared an apartment and had come in one car, but they would appreciate the escort.
When we got out of the door; the drunks were leaning against a car near the door. When they saw us, they staggered to their car and started to drive off. They got about 500 feet down the road when they were pulled over by a State Police cruiser. We all laughed.
I told Patty and the ladies how I had enjoyed my evening with them and that I would like to do it again sometime. Patty slipped me a piece of paper and said, “Call me.”
When I got up the next morning, I retrieved the paper from my pants that I wore the night before. Patty had given me a quick ‘Thank You’ and her phone number and address.
With the address and the fact that all three of the women were ladies the night before, I called a local florist and ordered a dozen roses for each of them with a card the said “These blooms will only enhance the beauty of the lady I was with last night. Thank you for the enjoyable evening. REN.”
Then, after I was sure that the flowers had arrived, I called and asked for Patty. When she got to the phone I said; “This is REN, did you ladies get my thank you?”
She squealed, and then said; “That was the nicest thing you could have done. You did not leave any of us out. Thank you.” In the background, I heard two additional thank yous. Then Patty added; “Tom sent over a nice bottle of dinner wine and some chocolates for each of us. It is nice to know we met a couple of gentlemen last evening.”
I asked Patty if she had anything planned for the afternoon. When she said that Saturdays were clean up and laundry days, I asked about Sunday afternoon. She said she had nothing planned.
I asked if she would like to go to a political rally and see what I do for part of my career.
She was silent for a second and then said; “I’m not much on politics, would you explain a little?”
I told her; “I was asked by a friend to write a speech for him, and that he is giving it today and Sunday at a couple of local rallies.” I added, “I am not a real political kind of guy, but I am a professional writer, and Jerry, my friend asked me to help in his run for the Mayor’s office. You and I will be backstage and can see how some parts of politics works. I find it fascinating and at the same time revolting. Some of the deals that have to be made to soothe the egos are disgusting.” Then I laughed and said; “If you shake hands with any of them, count your fingers when they let go, some of these guys will steal anything, including body parts.”
Patty laughed and said; “Gee, with that kind of invite and description, how can I refuse.” Then she asked what time.
I said; “How about I pick you up about 12:00 and we go to a Sunday brunch at Guido’s near the rally hall.”
That started our dating, and we continued for about six months then she started to turn down dates without any reason or excuse. When that occurred three weeks in a row, I stopped asking. I also stopped calling. Unfortunately, I had developed feelings for her and her blowing me off hurt.
I was not really surprised when I saw her picture in the paper on the arm of someone. I just did not expect it to be Jerry, my friend the Mayor. The caption said that the pair was becoming regulars on the local social and political scene. Jerry had a wife and kid in the town he moved from, and I know he did not divorce her as her daddy was his financial backer for his political career.
I was furious. I called the paper and got three copies of the paper and sent one to Jerry’s Father-In-Law, one to his wife, and one to Patty with a note with the question “Did you ask Jerry about his wife and son?” I was a coward about the note and did not sign it.
A week later Jerry resigned, telling the press that he had to return to his family to straighten out a mess that would take all of his concentration. Then it was announced that Jerry was being sued for divorce.
Patty called a few days later and asked, somewhat angrily, “Why have you stopped asking me out?”
I said to her; “You turned me down for more than six dates in a row over a three week period, and then I see you escorting a married man, who I thought of as a friend, to functions. Then you two are mentioned in the media as a hot item. What am I supposed to think? I do not need that kind of rejection. I get that from my publishers.”
I continued; “If all you did was called me to chew me out, remember before I was rejected for more then a month, I called at least every other day, and mostly every day. You’re just now calling to ask why I haven’t called.”
Piling it on I said; “I don’t deserve to be lectured at by you, I should be telling you off. I will say I enjoyed all of the time we had together, but it is obvious to me that you meant more to me then I did to you. Please just remember the fun times we had together and don’t call anymore. I can’t stand the hurt. Goodbye, I hope you have a wonderful life, and find someone you are devoted to. I would not want you to feel what I am feeling.” Then I hung up the phone.
I saw Patty occasionally around the area, but I don’t know if she saw me. I went to the club where we met a lot with Tom and another friend Ed. I saw Sally and Julie and always danced with them, but after the first time when they tried unsuccessfully to bring up Patty, it was never mentioned.
About 3 months later, the girls were in the club with Patty, and when they saw me and my friends come in, they waved at us to come over to their table. John and Ed both looked at me and I told them they would not hurt my feelings if they went, but I would sit at the bar. They went.
Patty looked at me as I went to the bar, and she left for the lady’s room in a hurry. I went over to the table and gave my friends $50 for a cab and said that I had to leave as I spoiled the lady’s evening.
The next morning I was sitting in my study going over some edits that my publisher had sent when I heard a knock on the door. When I answered, Patty was standing on the porch with a very frightened look on her face.
She asked if she could come in, I stepped aside and motioned her into the living room. I asked if she would like some coffee, and when she responded positively, I brought two cups back.
Patty let out a big sigh and said; “REN, I was caught up in the adrenalin rush of Jerry’s orbit. I did not even realize that I had turned down so many of your dates. I did not know he was married. I also turned him down repeatedly when he wanted to take me to bed for sex. You know I am not a virgin, but there was something that felt wrong about the thought of having sex with him. I’m so sorry that I got involved and then rejected you. You were and are the best thing that ever has come into my life. Is there any way we can try again?”
“Patty, I have very strong feelings for you. That being said, you hurt me and then took up with a friend of mine without ever saying a thing to me. I want to believe that you won’t do something like that again, but I can’t help but feel that you would do it again. Maybe not in a year, or five years, but somewhere down the road, you will find something that will stir your interest and you will hurt me.”
I continued, after a sip of coffee. “I was going to ask you to become engaged to marry me on the first date you turned me down on. I want to get back together with you, but I will never ask you to be my wife. If you can live with that condition, we can start over.”
Patty looked down at the cup in her hand for a long time before saying; “I did not understand the hurt I have caused you. I will live with that condition, but I don’t like it. I like even less the thought that you will not be at my side if I don’t agree.”
She finished her coffee, kissed me on the cheek and left. She had not said another word.
I did not call her and after four days, my phone rang. It was Patty and she wanted me to go with her to a local art exhibit that was displaying some of Sally’s tapestries.
I said yes, got the details and rang off. We started back together with that date.
I did not call to arrange dates for a long time. It must have started to bother Patty. One afternoon at a party one of her friends was giving she asked; “REN, why do I have to call you for dates all the time? You have not planned any of our times together since we got back together. We have not gone out with any of your friends, not even Tom.”
I came back with; “Well to answer your questions altogether, I am not making plans for dates because the last six times I did you were too busy. The last time I introduced you to one of my ‘friends’; you turned down dates with me and decided to enjoy the spotlight with him. He is now an ex-friend who is also now ex-married. Tom wants nothing to do with you. Jerry was a friend of his and Jerry’s ex-wife is Tom’s favorite cousin. Did you get all of that?”
(Yes, I really am that much of an asshole and I hold grudges)
Patty snapped her head back as if I had slapped her; “I thought we were over that. I know I hurt you, but I will not stand by and be punished over and over again.”
I laughed; “I see you are finally getting to the place where I was. You never bothered to tell me we were done, and then you called and bitched because I finally was fed up with being in the dark; then stopped trying to be with you.”
Patty started to tear up and asked; “When are you going to stop punishing me?”
“Just as soon as you acknowledge to me that you fucked me over. And I don’t necessarily mean sex, but I am still mad I never have received an apology or an even halfway believable reason as to why I deserved that treatment. I was and still am not sure I can trust you.”
I continued; “I will make you another deal. I will start calling you for dates. However unless you or someone in your family is sick, hurt or dead, you will not turn me down. That means that even if you have plans that do not include me, you will cancel those plans and go with me. Can you agree with that?”
Patty got very red-faced; “No, I can not accept that. If that is what it takes, you can go to hell.”
I stood up, dropped a $50 bill on the table and told Patty; “Well I guess we’re done then, I will leave you but use the money to get a cab as I am leaving.” I walked to my car and started to drive away.
As I got to the street Patty was standing in the way. She was crying and holding her arms out like she could stop the car by just standing in the way.
I stopped and she walked up to the driver’s door. I got out and asked; “Ok, what didn’t I say that needs to be said.”
“Please don’t go, I knew I hurt you, I can’t change that it was a terrible mistake. It won’t happen again; please stop punishing me. I’m sorry I hurt you, but I am trying to make up for it.” She took a deep breath and continued; “I will go along with your conditions except for business-related plans that I can not change. Can you live with that?”
“Ok, I understand that at times work interferes with life. I accept. Now can I go, I really do not want to stay here anymore.”
Patty came back with; “Yes, you can go, but only if you take me too. I am not letting you go away mad.”
With that, she ran to the passenger’s door and climbed in the car. I drove her home kissed her goodbye and went back to my apartment.
I was in the apartment for about 15 minutes when the phone rang. It was a crying Patty; “Randolph, REN, Randy, I love all of you, I’m so very sorry I hurt you. Please let’s take a few days off and go somewhere to really start over. No bullshit rules, no interruptions, no commitments. Can we do that?”
“I would like that, but what about your work?”
“Screw work, I gave them my 2-week notice last week and they fired me.” Then she continued; “I have a new, more important job. I must convince the man I love that I need him in my life.” Then for the first time in many weeks she laughed.
“All right, if you want to, come on over and we will figure something out.”
We ended up going to a small town in northern Michigan. It was early fall by then, and most of the tourists were gone during the week. We walked through the downtown area and shopped in a lot of boutiques. We finally became sexually intimate. A good time was had by all.
We once again started dating regularly. I was calling to set some of the dates up, and about once every third week Patty would set something up.
She found a job in a small print shop as a counter person/inside salesperson. The shop catered to businesses for calling cards and letterheads. They also had a small but growing segment of the wedding market.
After about 3 months, in the spring, Patty asked; “When we were going to move forward in our relationship?”
I, being only a clueless male, was confused. So I asked; “What do you mean? Are you trying to tell me we are done? What am I supposed to be doing that I am not?” By then I had figured out what she was getting at, but I was going to force her to state it.
“We have now been together for over a year, when are you going to ask me to marry you? You told you had planned to once.”
“I also told you at the same time that I will never ask you that question. If it needs to be asked, you will have to do it. Oh and about that year, at least one-third of it was when you were messing with a married man, and another few months was when you were mad at me for being mad at you. We have only been together for about three months.”
That statement went over like salt on an ice rink. Patty started to cry and asked me to take her home.
A few days later Patty called me and asked to come over to talk. I had an idea that it was to either break-up or she would ask to get married. As I had bought a ring before we broke up and she started with Jerry; I went into my safe and took it out and put it in my pocket. If she asked, the answer would be yes.
Patty arrived about 20 minutes later and asked for a cup of coffee. When served, she sat at the kitchen table and seemed to be deep in thought.
I said; “Was there anything other than my joyful personality that brought us here, my fair maiden. I am your humble servant; here to attempt to fulfill all your desires and dreams.”
She laughed, “You goof. I’ve been thinking about the last couple of days. REN, I love you, I know I hurt you, but I want to marry you. Will you marry me?”
I took the ring box out of my pocket and placed the engagement ring on her finger. “Yes, my love I will marry you. I said I would not ask, because I wanted you to recognize your commitment to me. I love you more than life itself.”
She laughed, she cried, she kissed, she laughed some more. We went to show Sally and Julie the ring. They laughed, they cried, they hugged, they laughed then they kicked me out saying that they had a wedding to plan. I laughed and went home.