Friday, January 4
“I hope you are doing OK,” JB emailed. “Boys and I had a nice time at dinner last night. Blake mentioned I should put a list of things together....for right now, I'd just like some more clothes.
“I think it makes sense to hold off on a big list until I am ready to move into a place. I am looking now. Trying to find a place that is reasonable and not a dump. Still working on it.
“Once I do have a place, then I would hope for starters I could take some items of furniture. Perhaps starting with stuff that is in the basement, like the spare dining room table, the coffee table, some chairs...I'd like to minimize the amount of furniture that I have to buy. That green chair that I think my mom gave us I believe is in the basement and I'd like that as well.
“We would also need to look at the artwork sooner or later. As I said, I'd like my mom's work, as well as the work she gave us, and the items of historic significance, which also came from her. I would like the crystal vase on the mantle. That has family significance.
“As I have also said, if there are some pieces of hers you'd like to keep, let me know and I'll be more than fair. For example, the limogues (sic) are things you seem to like and I am happy for you to have them. My mom's sketch of Blake is meaningful to both of us, but I am happy to let you have it if you want it.
“All the art work you've acquired during our marriage is yours as far as I am concerned.”
“I gave your mother those Limoges,” I responded.
“That's right. Point is, you can have them. Troy, Pris, and family will be out of town on the 11th -- I'd like to have the boys over for dinner that night, and they can sleep over if they want to…Let me know if that will work for you.”
“Fine with me. Schedule with them.”
I emptied JB’s dresser and closet. I packed his clothes into 15 garbage bags. I threw in framed photographs he was in. I went into the bathrooms and started filling a bag with JB’s toiletries. I threw JB’s garbage bags on the enclosed front porch. I began cooking dinner. The kids and I ate and Mary Kate called.
“Do you have time to talk?” she asked. She was crying. “I’m in a parking garage in Highland Park. I followed Sean. He’s with a woman. He met her in recovery. Back in October I found a bunch of texts. They were sickening. They were about how much they wanted each other, wanted to leave their spouses, be together. I confronted him about them. He spent a couple nights out of the house sleeping at different friends’ houses. He was crying and begging to come back, so I let him. We started going to therapy, but my trust was shot. The therapist told him he was going to have to really woo me, prove to me he meant business, earn my trust again. Sean swore that he wasn’t going to see that woman, Jillian, anymore.
“I called Verizon to see if he was still texting and calling her. He was. I don’t want to live like this. A couple of nights ago, he checked his phone, jumped out of bed, and said he had to go help someone and left.
“Tonight, I followed him when he left the house. The stupid moron is so in his own little world that he didn’t even notice me following him. He stopped at a townhouse in Highland Park and Jillian came running out the door all smiles. They stopped at Walgreens and Sean came out with a rose and kissed her. They drove off and I followed them. I think they’re having dinner somewhere. I want to confront them. Do you think I should?”
“Go home and start throwing his stuff on the lawn,” I said. “I’m guessing you know JB and I split up?” Sean and JB were old high school friends.
“Sean said JB cheated on you a couple of times.”
I started laughing. “JB’s been on cheating websites for five years.”
“Oh my God. He really took it a lot further than Sean.” Mary Kate sounded happier, like her situation wasn’t so bad. “Sean didn’t sleep with Jillian.”
I stifled a laugh. Weirdly, I felt better that JB had meaningless sex with random women rather than falling in love.
“I still love Sean,” Mary Kate cried. “I don’t want this. I want our marriage to work.”
I suddenly thought of a gorgeous summer afternoon when JB asked me to meet him at a hotel. I wanted to be out riding my horse in the woods, not having sex with JB. But I said yes and met him in a dumpy business hotel with a cheap mattress covered in see-through sheets. I felt dirty checking in. I don’t know why it popped into my head as Mary Kate sobbed, but it suddenly became clear that I’d filled in for an Ashley Madison bang. Some woman had ditched JB and he'd called me. Mary Kate began blowing her nose while I envisioned myself standing over JB’s lifeless body bashing his skull in with a baseball bat.
“You’re so strong,” Mary Kate sniffed. “I’m afraid to be on my own. Aren’t you afraid?”
“I’d rather live in a tent than with JB,” I said angrily. “You and Sean have a lot of money. Half is yours. You’ll be fine if you leave.”
“So you think I should confront Sean and Jillian?”
“Do you need to confront them?”
“I have to confront Sean. I have to show him I have proof. I’m pulling my car up next to his right now. When they walk in, I’m going to get out of the car and I’m going to introduce myself to Jillian and say, ‘Hi, I’m Mary Kate, Sean’s wife of 24 years. You’re a home wrecker. Do you like destroying someone’s marriage? Does your husband know what you’re doing? Well he’s going to know now. Nice rose you gave her Sean. I want you out of the house tonight.’ Then I’m going to drive away. You think that’s okay?”
“Yeah,” I said.
“Okay, they’ve got to come out soon. Thanks for talking to me.”
Half an hour later Mary Kate called back. “I did it,” she said breathlessly. “When they walked into the garage I stood in front of Sean’s car. I said what I said I would. They denied they were doing anything wrong. They said they were helping a friend who was in trouble. Parking in a public parking lot, stopping at Walgreens to buy a rose, I don’t think so. Jillian just stood there with a smirk on her face. Sean’s trying to call me now. Do you think I should take it?”
“If you want to.”
Mary Kate took the call. She called me back. “He’s still insisting they were helping a friend. He’s on his way home. I told him I want him out of the house. How am I going to keep him out? He’s going to come in and he’s not going to leave.”
“Throw a bag of his stuff on the front porch and bolt the doors.”
“Yeah, I can do that. Okay, okay, that’s what I’m going to do. I gotta get going and get this done before he shows up.”
“Good luck Mary Kate.”