Saturday, July 21, 2018

Demented--"Thank You Ashley Madison" excerpt


Tuesday, May 28

     I had a conference call with two women from the Kabbalah Center about doing their social media. Funny I volunteered for that. I dislike doing social media.

     “Hi,” Golf Guy texted.

     “Hey.”

     “How are you?”

     “Good. Watching Sully freak out.”

     “Cause of the storm?”

     “Yep. He’s a baby. How’s Happy?”

     Golf Guy sent me a video of his dog running around his backyard. “She’s in my lap shaking cause of the thunder.”

     “Sammy, my Toy Fox Terrier, saw Happy’s video and started barking at her.”

     “ :) ”

     “Uh, Sammy just took a dump on my floor.”

     “Wow.”

     “Maybe Happy scared the shit out of him.”

     “That was funny for you.”

     “Want to see something else funny? Tom sent this video to a bully. The bully tattled and the school principal sent me a letter.” I sent Golf Guy the YouTube video “You Suck” by Scary Dave. “I made Tom show me the video. I started laughing. I tried not to, but I couldn’t help it. I’m demented.”

     “Me, too.”

     “Then watch it.”

     Why do I keep texting with Golf Guy? Because  I'm a bit attracted to him and if he takes me out I'll feel desirable? My self esteem is that shot?

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Lifelike Animals--"Thank You Ashley Madison" excerpt


Monday, May 27

     It was a cold and rainy Memorial Day.
     “Want to go to the archery range?” I asked Tom.
     “Yeah.”
     Tom grabbed his bow and set up his station at the range. He began shooting lifelike animals made of foam: black bear, wolf, turkey, deer.

     “You having a good weekend?” I texted Golf Guy.

     “Yes, just got done playing our golf club in Kenosha with my partner and a couple of friends. Was fun but cold and rainy. How are you? Just drove by Libertyville. Waved to you.”

     “Really? Did you pass me driving?”

     “I was kidding. I was driving south.”

     “I was driving north. I’m at the archery range with Tom.”

     “That archery thing is awesome.”

     “Bought Tom a compound bow for Christmas and it’s a good size for me, too.”

     “That’s actually sexy.”

     “I’m not very good at it yet. You shoot?”

     “No. I grew up duck hunting.”

     “That’s a wet sport. Still do it?”

     “Not for a few years.”

     Tom and I took turns shooting then left to have dinner and watch the Blackhawks play the Red Wings in the Stanley Cup playoffs. I texted Blake to meet us at the sports bar.

     “How was shooting?” Golf Guy texted. “Are you watching the Blackhawks?”

     “Shot pretty well. Eating pizza and watching the game with my boys. I want the Hawks to win bad. But if they lose, I’ll cheer for Detroit, my second favorite team. It makes my sons angry. Haha.”

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Stones--"Thank You Ashley Madison" excerpt


Sunday, May 26

     Serena flagged me over at a recovery meeting this morning and asked me to speak at a meeting she chairs on Saturday nights.
     “I think you should date my brother, Ronny,” she said. “He’s cute and rich. John told Ronny he should go out with you. John thinks your hot (John is Serena’s son). I think you and Ronny would really like each other. I just don’t want him to be your transition guy.”
     “Bring him on,” I laughed.
     Tony Bling-Bling, who was eavesdropping nearby and had just chaired the meeting we were at, inched over and said, “I’d like you to speak at this meeting the end of June. Will you?”
     “Sure,” I said.
     “I want to promote it, improve attendance.” Tony had recently taken the meeting over from Playboy Pete and attendance was down.
    I picked up Ruby in the evening and we drove to Buddy Guy’s Legends. Rumor has it the Rolling Stones, who are in town, are playing there tonight. Ruby, an FBI agent who'd gotten the tip from her office, swore me to secrecy.
     “Anything going on with the golf pro?” Ruby asked.
     “I don’t know,” I said. “All we do is text. It doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. A friend of mine wants to fix me up with her brother. She said he’s really good looking and rich.”
     “I want to be fixed up with him,” Ruby said. “Lucky.”
     We got to the club and a tall, young, handsome dude working the door looked me up and down. “Did we used to be together in a past life?” he asked me.
     “Quite possibly,” I laughed, flattered.
     We sat down with Ruby’s FBI friends at a large table next to the stage and ate dinner.  A bluesy jazz trio was playing.

     “How was your day?” Golf Guy texted.

     “Golf Guy just texted me,” I told Ruby. “Is it okay if I tell him and invite him?”
Ruby leaned over and asked one of her friends. The friend nodded. “Just tell him not to go on social media with it,” Ruby said.

     “I’m at Buddy Guy’s,” I texted. “Rumor has it the Stones are playing here tonight!”

     “Where is that? And really?”

     “700 Wabash. Come if you want. Don’t know for sure, but my friend got the tip.”

     “That would be amazing if they play.”

     “I know.”

     No yes or no from Golf Guy. Dangle Brenda. Maybe I’ll text you last minute to hit golf balls when I'm bored.
     The jazz trio wrapped up and Ruby checked with an agent who had the Stone’s schedule. The agent said the Stones had just gone out to dinner and if they played, it would be after the second band. The second band went on.

     “Well?” Golf Guy texted.

     “They’re supposed to go on around ten if they play,” I said. “I’ll send a picture if they do.”

     “Send me a picture of you in the meantime.”

     I leaned over to Ruby. “He wants me to send him a picture of me.”
     “Well send him one. Here, I’ll take it.”
     “I want you in it, too,” I said. “I feel weird sending a picture of me.”
     “I hate myself in pictures.”
     “You’re a hottie. Shut up. He’ll think, ‘Who’s her friend?’”
     Ruby asked one of her friends to take a picture of us.
     “See,” I said, showing Ruby the picture. “You look great.”
     “I guess,” she moaned.
     I sent the picture.

     “You look pretty,” Golf Guy texted.

     Ruby leaned over. “I don’t know,” she said. “I don’t have a good feeling about this. I don’t think they’re coming. It’ll be late. They’re old.”
     “Don’t they live in LA where it’s two hours behind?” I asked. “I don’t think they keep day hours.”
     Ruby checked with her Stones source. The Stones had finished dinner and were on their way to Buddy Guy’s. The bar was packed. We were definitely not the only people who’d heard the rumor. Suddenly, the singer stopped her set, spoke with a couple of guys, then started back up again. She sang a long time.
     “They’re not coming,” Ruby said.
     Half an hour later, the set ended, the lights went on, and the bouncers told everyone to leave.

     “Mick?” Golf Guy texted.

     “Nope. Bummer.”

     “Hopefully it was fun.”

     “Saw two bands that weren’t the Stones.”

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Happy Place--"Thank You Ashley Madison" excerpt


Saturday, May 25

     I hopped on BlackJack, hit the trail, and my text alert went off.

     “You should come over and hit balls,” Golf Guy suggested.

     I photographed the trail between BlackJack’s ears and sent it. “On BlackJack,” I texted. “How long will you be there?”

     “Nice, five.”

     “I just got home,” I texted later. “Probably won’t get there today. If there’s another good day, let me know.”

     “Okay. How was riding?”

     “Great. Rode alone. Jack gets competitive, racy, tries to run other horses off the trail when we’re with others. He’s a pistol. How was teaching?”

     “Sounds like he is full of energy, like you.”

     “He’s taught me a lot. There’s a global meditation tonight from nine to ten. My friend is coming over and we’re going to do yoga and meditate.”

     “Nice. Find your happy place.”

     "What are you doing?"

     "Just chillin'."

     No future date. Golf Guy, please go away.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Texting Dance--"Thank You Ashley Madison" excerpt


Friday, May 24

     Tom got out of school early for teachers’ institute and the boys and I played golf.

     “Did you hit balls today?” Golf Guy texted.

     “Yes! Just got home from nine holes with my boys. I hit well. It’s because of you. You’re awesome. Did you have a good day?”

     “That’s great. Nice job! I’m good. Have my boys tonight. We went out to dinner and now watching silly TV.”

     I’ve been praying, meditating, and scanning the Zohar for Angie, Paul, and Tanya to find their soulmates. I’ve now added Golf Guy to the list. Golf Guy only wants to text with me, and I don’t want to do this weird texting dance anymore. It’s messing with my head. 

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Know-It-All--"Thank You Ashley Madison" excerpt


Thursday, May 23

     Angie tied a red Kabbalah string around my left wrist at lunch. In the evening, Jody and I met up with some friends at a local bar. Suzy walked over.
     “I wasn’t surprised at all when you said you were getting divorced,” she announced.
     “Really?”
     “When you and JB were at our dinner party, I could see there was a disconnect. At your book release, JB was there, but he wasn’t with you. He was just standing around on the periphery hanging out like a visitor. I started talking to him about your book, about how big the night was for you. He was like, ‘eh.’”
     “It was hard for me to be around him," I said. "Apparently, it was hard for him to be around me, too.”
     “Well, you know he did what he did because he knew you couldn’t stand him,” Suzy said. “I’m not excusing what he did, but that’s why. Why did you stay married to him? Why did it take this to get you to leave?”
     I fantasized about punching Suzy in the face. Instead, I said, “I believed JB loved me and was faithful. I thought there was something wrong with me for being unhappy. I thought I was a bitch. If I’d walked out sooner, my mother would have sided with JB and my children would have hated me.”
     “But you knew there was something really wrong with him.”
     “I thought I was a bitch for not liking him. I took my mother’s advice and kept reminding myself of good qualities I thought he had. I tried to make things better. I figured JB was put on my path to make me more selfless, loving, helpful, so I worked hard at that.”
     “But you knew, you knew in your gut something was wrong for a long time.”
     “Yeah, but the first half of my marriage I was drunk,” I laughed. “The person I am today did not marry JB. The person who married him was a cynical sarcastic party girl who needed to prove how smart she was. JB was the same. Like attracts like. Later, I recognized how hollow that was and then I got sober.”
     “So what’s the take-away from this?” Suzy asked condescendingly. “You knew, even though no one else knew, yet you stayed. You need to listen to your instincts.”
     Punching Suzy probably would have felt good.

     “How was your day?” Golf Guy texted.

     “Pretty good. Just got home. Went out with friends to hear a band.”

     “Was it fun?”

     “Sort of. Went out with a bunch of divorced chicks. What did you do?”

     “We had our last night of the golf yoga program, then my partner and I went out to dinner.”

     “How’d the program go? How did you tie the two together?”

     “Lower body stability and upper body mobility, proper breathing and visualization and meditation.”

     “Sounds good.”

     I crawled into bed thinking about smug Suzy. Damned know-it-all.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Barely Civil--"Thank You Ashley Madison" excerpt


Wednesday, May 22

     “May your shoes be waterproof and the ball catch your vibe,” I texted Golf Guy. It was raining on his golf tournament.

     JB and I met at the DMV where it took an hour to have his name taken off the Tahoe and mine taken off the Cadillac.
     “Do you have fun plans for this weekend?” JB asked cheerfully.
     “Yes,” I answered.
     “Oh, well, you don’t, uh, have to tell me what they are or anything.” He looked at the floor then swerved toward the guy handling our paperwork.
     I began chatting with the DMV guy about his family photos and Matt called. Matt said he’d purchased a vacation house in New Buffalo and was spending a lot of time there away from his wife. JB, hearing Matt even though the phone was pressed to my ear, stood next to me trying to look nonchalant. When I got home, there was an email from JB.

     “Well, slowly but surely we're taking care of all the post-divorce details. As far as the 401K goes, the ball is in your court in terms of getting the court order. I'll handle it as quickly as I can once you get that done.
     “I miss Blake terribly and think about him every day. I want him to know this. I don't want to give the impression that I am blithely accepting his decision not to speak to me. I'm respecting his decision, with the hope that time and some effort on my part will allow us to reconcile at some point.
     “I have gone to a couple of ACOA meetings, but travel and Tom's extended stay with me caused a temporary interruption. I will start going again this Saturday with the meeting in Deerfield. I think over time they will help. 
     “I recognize things are just barely civil between us. I've accepted that things may never improve, though I hope they do. Please do know I care very much about you and the kids and I am trying to live up to my responsibilities as best I can.
      “I also ask that we keep an open communication about Tom, how he is doing, what he is feeling, etc. I've made some mistakes, but I hope you at least realize I am trying to be a better father to him.”

     “We got rained out after eleven holes,” Golf Guy texted. “Bummer. How are you?”

     “Are you finishing tomorrow? Were you playing well? Had to meet the ex at the DMV to change car titles.”

     “No extension. We had a weather delay and then had to get back to Deerfield so we had to leave. Bummer that you had to see dumbass.”

     “At least his name is off my car.”

     “Step in the right direction.”