Tuesday, December 13, 2016

But Thailand Was The Only Time--"Thank You Ashley Madison" excerpt

     Thursday, November 29

     I walked into my doctor’s examining room, stripped, put on a paper gown, and jammed my heels into the table stirrups. Dr. Shoal inserted a speculum and swabbed me.
     “Visually, everything looks good,” she said. “I’ll call you tomorrow with your test results for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea. You’ll need a blood test for HIV in six months. In light of what you just told me, the HPV you were diagnosed with a year ago was most likely something new your husband gave you. It’s unlikely a twenty-four-year-old case came back.”
     I felt like a robot. I drove to Tom’s school. I walked into the office and Mary, the secretary, looked up and gave me a saccharine smile.
     “I need to speak with the school psychologist,” I said.
     Mary gave me an odd questioning look. “I’ll call and see if she’s available.”
     When Mary got off the phone she said the psychologist was with a student but would call me. I left my name and number. I didn’t know how to tell Tom I was divorcing his father and needed help. And Tom would need help. I walked to my car. My text alert dinged.

     “The urine test was clear for chlamydia (sic) and gonn (sic) but the swab test won't be ready til (sic) next week,” JB wrote. “That will confirm tests And (sic) screen for any other possible infections. The urine tests are supposed to be accurate but not 100%. 
     “Troy can take me whenever. I can move in this weekend.”

     JB was going to move in with his brother. Excellent. I fed Tom dinner, JB came home, and while Tom was in the shower, I turned on JB.
     “Remember when my doctor said I had HPV last year?” The color drained from JB’s face. “She says you re-infected me. It wasn’t the case you gave me twenty-four years ago when we were dating.”
     “But Thailand was the only time I was unfaithful,” he stammered. “I swear.”
     I looked at him disgustedly. “The only reason you told me you cheated is because you thought you gave me an STD. Right?”
     JB looked at his feet. He nodded.
     “You’re leaving for Los Angeles in two days and will be gone a week,” I said. “That’ll give me time to figure out what to tell Tom. We’ll tell Tom when you get back then you can move to Troy’s. I’m leaving. I have dinner plans.”
     I met my friend, Matt, at an Italian restaurant. Matt and I’d reconnected two weeks ago at our thirtieth high school reunion. He’d invited me out to dinner in a text. Days after I’d said yes, he told me he’d lied to his wife about our having dinner plans. It made me uncomfortable. I’d decided to cancel but then my marriage blew up. Matt is a lawyer.
     “I know you don't do divorces, but can you recommend a divorce lawyer?” I asked.
     “I have a great one in mind, but I want to make sure she’ll take you on. She’s winding down her practice."