Saturday, January 7, 2017

Lucky!--"Thank You Ashley Madison" excerpt

     Saturday, December 1

     I got out of bed and walked into Tom’s room where JB was packing and emitting weird little sobs.
     “You don’t have to be here seeing this,” he sputtered.
     “I’m going to a recovery meeting. If I’m not home when you get back from breakfast with Tom, please stick around until I get back. He shouldn’t be left alone.”
     JB nodded and I walked out.
     Several people in my recovery group commented before it was my turn to speak. I gave an outline of what was going on.
     “My husband doesn’t know it, but when he returns from California, he’s getting divorce papers,” I said.
     We walked out of the room and Pete made his way over to me. He gave me a hug.
     “Remember this,” he said. “Don’t forget and change your mind.”
     I got teary and nodded. “Thanks,” I whispered and hugged him hard. 
     JB and Tom were sitting like statues on the couch when I got home. JB stood abruptly.
     “Where’d you go for breakfast?” I asked Tom.
     “Dunkin Donuts.”
     Many bags were on the living room floor. JB picked up a couple and walked to his car. Tom stood up. He was trembling. I opened my arms and he threw himself into me. We stayed locked like that until JB loaded his last bag. I squeezed Tom, we separated, and JB nodded and walked out.
     I remembered the Christmas presents I bought JB on black Friday. I jogged upstairs, grabbed the Macy’s bag full of clothes, and walked to his car.
     “Here,” I said, swinging the bag at him. “Don’t get me anything for Christmas. I don’t want anything from you. I got these after Thanksgiving.” I walked into the house and squeezed Tom.
     “It’ll be all right,” I said. “You’ll see your dad a lot. It’ll be like he’s on a lot of business trips.”
     “But I’ll know better.”
     “He’s flying to Los Angeles Monday. He’ll be there a whole week. You’re the man of the house now and I’m going to need a lot of help from you.”
     Tom smiled.
     “Do you still want to go to Mikey’s for his sleepover tonight?”
     “Let’s get you packed. Mikey called my phone when I was out. He called you but you didn’t answer your phone. He wants you to come over before the other kids show up. I don’t know if his mother knows about that, though.”
     I called Ruby and she said she and Mikey were leaving to shop for Mikey’s sleepover. They’d pick up Tom on their way to the mall. Ruby pulled in front of my house minutes later. Mikey ran upstairs to get Tom. I slid into Ruby’s car.
     “I’m getting divorced,” I blurted. I told her JB had just moved out.
     “Lucky!” Ruby screamed. “Oh my God. I wish I were getting divorced.” Ruby stared wistfully through her windshield. In the eight years I’ve known her, she’s wanted a divorce.
     Tom and Mikey ran out of the house. I jumped out of Ruby’s car and waved good-bye as they drove away. I walked inside. I looked at my hands. They were shaking. Every cell in my body felt like it was vibrating. I put on my running shoes, sprinted out the door, and ran in the woods. I got home, unrolled my yoga mat, cranked Alice In Chains, and practiced hard. I took a long shower. I power cleaned my house to Soundgarden blaring. At eight-thirty p.m., I went to another recovery meeting.
     Paddy saw me and gave me a bear hug. We hadn’t seen each other in a year.
     “I’m getting divorced,” I whispered in his ear.
     “What?!” he said pulling away. “What happened?”
     “He was cheating.”
     Paddy looked at me and shook his head. “What an idiot.”
     The meeting started. After the speaker, Paddy and I went into the same discussion group. Lenny, Gemma, and a young Asian dude were sitting at a table in our room and Paddy looked at me, tilted his head toward Lenny, and rolled his eyes. Paddy and Lenny were best friends and for years both have complained about their alcoholic wives. Lenny was sitting very close to Gemma, a foul-mouthed much younger woman, and they were holding hands. I looked at Paddy. He raised an eyebrow and shrugged.
     Gemma was puffing on an electronic cigarette trying to get vapor to materialize. She unscrewed the cigarette, which looked like a one-hitter for pot, put a new cartridge in, and exhaled a large vapor cloud. The Asian dude, a jonesing addict, stared at her. Gemma lifted her huge satchel, tossed her extra vape cartridges in, and started digging around the bottom. She extracted mineral rocks and handed one to each of us. She gently pressed one into my hand.
      “Yours is for spirituality,” she said softly.
     I started crying. I grabbed Gemma, who was wearing a whiplash collar, and hugged her hard.
     “Oh, I’m sorry,” I said, pulling away. “Did I hurt your neck?”
     “It’s okay.”
     “You don’t know how much I need this,” I said.
     I went home, got into bed, and woke up in the wee hours with my mind racing. What if JB was pilfering our retirement funds? Was he draining the boys’ college funds? I was drenched in sweat.

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