Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Your Game--"Thank You Ashley Madison" excerpt

Saturday, January 19

     Blake and I ate breakfast and watched Louis C.K. on Netflix. NMU was playing DePaul again later.
     “Do you want Dad to come to the game?” I asked.
     Blake looked uneasy.
     “I have to deal with Dad forever,” I said. “If you want Tom and Dad to come, text Dad.”
     “Okay,” Blake said.
     “Did you text Dad?” I asked later.
     “If you want, I’ll text Tom and let him know about your game. Dad is taking him to band practice. He’ll probably tell Dad.”
     “Yeah, okay,” Blake said.
     I texted Tom.
     I dropped Blake at the arena an hour before his game and went shopping. I bought stainless steel pots and a bright orange and pink duvet for my bed. I drove back to the arena, passing an upscale hamburger joint on the way. I sat next to Blake in the stands.
     “Did Tom text you back?” Blake asked.
     “He texted ‘Okay.’ He probably got busy with his friends. He might not have said anything to Dad. I’ll text him again.”
     I texted Tom and got no answer.
     “Text your dad,” I told Blake.
     He began texting.
     “Are they coming?” I asked.
     “He just asked me if I was playing and I said no.”

     “Are you at Blake's game?” JB texted me. “I just realized he's I (sic) town.”


     “Ok. Disappointed I didn't know. I've texted with Blake.”

     “Well, you messed him up.”

     “I know. If he doesn't want to see me of course that's his choice. All I ask (sic) that you please not encourage it. I want to stay close to my kids.”

    “I texted Tom this morning to let you know. Does that sound like I'm encouraging distance? As much as I don't want to see you, I was prepared to suck it up for Blake’s sake.”

     “For some reason Tom didn't tell me. And I appreciate your willingness to do that.”

     “My children come first.”

     “I know they do.”

     “Really? You might have considered what you were doing to their mother.”

     “Of course you're right. Tell me how I can make amends. I really want to but honestly dont (sic) know how. Everything I say and do makes things worse.”

     “You're on your own.”

     “Kinda figured. And that's fair. I hope you have a nice evening. I'll drop Tom around 1-ish tomorrow.”

     I got Blake and myself Cajun burgers from the hamburger joint, ate them in the stands, and watched NMU win. As Blake’s team loaded onto the bus, I gave Blake a kiss and he hugged me hard. On my way home, I picked up a chocolate raspberry cake. Tracy was coming over for dessert.
     “I put fifty dollars in Scott’s checking account so he could put gas in his car,” Tracy said sipping coffee. “He’s living at a new halfway house. He’s supposed to email or text me copies of his receipts when I give him money. That’s our deal. Hours have passed since I deposited the money. He won’t text, email, or take my calls. I don’t have a good feeling about this, or the halfway house. It feels like Scott’s just parked there. I don’t think they’re drug testing him unless I tell them to. The place is expensive. They’re just taking my money.”
     “Should you be giving him money? Should he be driving?”
     “No. Heroine addicts shouldn’t have money. But I’ve been making him send me receipts. He’s not getting back to me this time and I’m worried. He probably went out and bought drugs.”
     “My friend Serena’s son, John, is roughly the same age as Scott and he’s a heroin addict, too,” I said. “He’s clean and living in a halfway house. The last time John was locked up Serena didn’t bail him out. The guards put John in solitary confinement so he wouldn’t get raped or beaten to death. He was in a tiny cell twenty-three hours a day. When he got out, he was serious about getting sober. I’m texting you Serena’s phone number.”
     “She wouldn’t mind talking to me?”
     “She’s in recovery and talks to a lot of people who are dealing with this.”
     “I’m calling her.”

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