Saturday, February 25, 2017

Think Long And Hard Before You Divorce Him--"Thank You Ashley Madison" excerpt

Wednesday, December 12

     “I went to see a urologist yesterday,” JB emailed. “I wanted a better explanation of the test results I shared with you last week, and to make sure the GP I went to gave me the right medicine. I'm still not feeling quite right. The guy was Dr. Tim. 
     “Dr. Tim said the lab result of gram-positive cocci was meaningless. That is a commonly occurring bacteria. He said I probably have either uretheritis or prostatitis caused by some bacteria that isn't showing up in the labs. He said the levaquin that I was prescribed wasn't the right antibiotic to cover all the bases. 
     “He gave me a single dose of suprax and a week's worth of doxyciline. He's confident that that will clear up whatever is there. He also said this would eventually clear up on its own. 
     “I wish this subject would go away, like a lot of things, but I want to keep you informed so you can share this information with your dr. 
     “Of all the things I've done, this one is eating at me the most.”

     Literally. Ha. I emailed my doctor. She assured me she was not concerned, that I had nothing to worry about.
     Tom came home from school and I made an early dinner.
     “Blake is coming home tonight,” I said as we ate. “He’ll probably get home while I’m teaching yoga. Do you want to tell him or wait for me?”
     “You do it.”
     “Okay. If Blake asks where Dad is, tell him you think he’s working. It’s probably true.”
     “I’m glad Blake’s coming home for a month. You’ll have your brother a long time.”
     “I’m glad, too.”
      I got home from yoga and Tom was standing at the back door. He was staring at me with huge eyes.
     “Blake is here,” he whispered.
     “Hey Blake,” I yelled into the house.
     Blake appeared in the kitchen and hugged me hard. We talked about his six-hour drive home, his finals, chit-chatted about his hockey team, his roommate. Tom stared at me.
     “Let’s sit down in the living room,” I said. The three of us sat down. I looked at Blake. “Your father and I are separated and your father is living at Troy’s right now.”
     Blake looked like I'd slapped him. “What? You’re kidding.”
     “I asked him to leave and he moved out December 1.”
     “He’s been cheating on me.”
     Blake sat back on the couch. He massaged his jaw. “I just, wow, I can’t believe it. Dad?”
     “The guy who never buys himself anything, never goes anywhere, does anything?”
     “He was apparently doing plenty. He accumulated a lot of secret debt. This has been going on for years.”
     “What?” Blake stared off vacantly trying to square the father he thought he knew with the one I was describing. “How did you find out?”
     “He told me.”
     “He told you? Out of the clear blue?”
     “He thought he gave me something.”
     “Oh my God.” Blake looked sick.
     “I’m healthy,” I said. “He’s been on websites for years finding married women who want to cheat.”
     Blake struggled with what he was hearing. I looked at Tom. He was perched on the arm of one of our couches. He was hearing this for the first time, too. His eyes were enormous. Early on Tom had demanded to know why I couldn’t live with his father and I’d held back details until his social worker, Ryan, told me to tell him. When I'd offered to explain, Tom looked scared and said he didn’t want to know after all.
     “I’m sorry,” I said, looking at Blake and Tom. “I’m sorry this is happening.”
     “You have nothing to be sorry about,” Blake said. “You didn’t do anything. My God. Look at you. Look at Dad. He’s not even in your league. What the fuck is his problem?”
     “I feel terrible for you guys.”
     Blake’s phone vibrated. He pulled it out of his pants pocket. “Dad’s texting me.” He shook his head. “He wants to know if I had a safe drive and if I got home okay. Fucker. I’m not answering.”
     Tom jolted ramrod straight. His eyes got even larger. He swallowed hard. Blake’s phone vibrated a couple more times. He looked at it, exhaled disgustedly, and stuffed his phone in his pocket.
     “Tom, you have school tomorrow,” I said. “You should start getting ready for bed.”
     “I’m going to the gym,” Blake said.
     I hugged Blake and kissed him on the cheek. He squeezed me hard.
     “I love you,” he said.
     “I love you.”
     Blake left and Tom hopped in the shower.
     Earlier in the day my attorney sent me a divorce petition that had another client’s name on it and other errors. I’d called her and she’d explained her assistant emailed me before she’d proofread it, but I was still upset. I was unsure I wanted her representing me. I decided to call my friend, Audrey, to get her divorce attorney’s contact information and picked up my phone. There was a text from JB.

     “I just learned from Tom that Blake just got home. I assume you plan to tell him.  Please let me know once he knows. I will want to talk to him. Thanks. I hope you are doing ok. FYI I have been doing some apartment hunting.”

     “Blake knows,” I texted. “Don’t sign a lease until we get finances figured out. I still think Roz could be a good option for the interim.”

     “I won't sign anything. Want to see what's to see what's (sic) out there. I'm ok at Troy's for a little while. Roz has no room for me, and I want to be in this area if possible. How did Blake take it?”

     I ignored JB and called Audrey.
     “I need your divorce attorney’s contact information,” I said. “I’m feeling shaky about mine.” I took a deep breath and told Audrey JB’s latest admission.
     “Think long and hard before you divorce him,” Audrey said. “You’ve had twenty-one good years. You’ve traveled around the world. You got to stay home with your kids…”
     “Are you kidding me? I can’t live with him! He’s been having unprotected sex and exposing me to God knows what for years! He’s racked up twenty-seven thousand dollars in secret debt! Are you nuts?”
     “Marty and Jill wish they’d never divorced. Jill can’t find a job or a man. Her grown kids have to live with her so she can stay in her house. Marty told me if she had it to do over again, she wouldn’t. Her life got a lot harder. I’m just saying, think long and hard about it."
     “I’m supposed to sleep with him? Spend the rest of my life twisting and turning over what he’s doing, what diseases he’s got, how deep he’s digging our financial hole?” I looked down at my body. It was shaking. Miraculously, our call was dropped. Neither of us called the other back. I sat on my couch and shook uncontrollably. Audrey was raising two girls on her own. She had a hard life. I understood where she was coming from, but I will not speak to Audrey about this again. Not until my divorce is final.

1 comment:

  1. Just caught up. Brilliant writing as usual. Looking forward to more!