Saturday, June 17, 2017

That Package--"Thank You Ashely Madison" excerpt

Friday, January 18

     I called to get my STD test results. A woman at the health department answered the phone and asked for my name, password, date of birth, and address.
     “I thought this was anonymous,” I told her.
     “It’s just for us,” she said. “It won’t go anywhere. I need it to find your results.”
      I doubted it. Nervously, I gave her my information. Minutes went by as she tapped on her computer. I anxiously fidgeted in my chair.
     “All of your tests came back negative,” she finally said.
     “Thank-you,” I exhaled loudly.
     I sat for a while letting that sink in. I got up and started pulling Caphalon pots and pans out of my cupboard and putting them on the front porch for JB. I wanted to get rid of my aluminum cookware and get stainless steel. Maybe JB would get Alzheimer's from high levels of aluminum. I did Tom’s laundry and packed a weekend bag for him. He was spending the weekend at JB’s new house.
     Tom’s band was auditioning for the middle school talent show and JB was helping move and setup band equipment. After the audition, JB and Tom were stopping by to get Tom’s clothes and the pots and pans. I went to the barn. I didn’t want to see JB. I brushed BlackJack and headed out for NMU’s hockey game against DePaul. Blake was in town for the game but wasn’t playing. He hadn’t cut short his winter break for hockey practice because he’d stayed home with his messed-up mom instead. We sat together in the stands and watched the game. Afterwards, Blake came home with me instead of staying at a hotel with his teammates.
     “Does your father know you’re in town?” I asked.
     “No, I didn’t feel like seeing him.”
     I felt relieved then sad for Blake.
     “I’d like to see Tom,” he said. “But Dad would come with that package.”

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