Monday, March 4
“I hope you had a nice weekend,” JB emailed early this morning. “It was good catching up with Blake yesterday. I think that coach up at NMU is a complete tool for not making Blake the #2 goalie. Blake clearly outplayed that Alex kid, and according to Blake the assistant coaches were dismayed that Blake didn't get more games.
“Also interesting that Blake is getting into stock trading. You always said you were confident Blake will end up making millions of dollars and I think you are right.
“For Wednesday, the Blackhawks game starts at 7, so I was thinking the boys could come here around 5 and we can eat something here and then go to the game together.
“I know this doesn't give Tom much time for homework, etc., so let me know if this will be a problem. If he needs the extra time I can just pick the boys up around 5:15 or so.”
JB’s light-hearted banter enraged me. So upbeat, breezy. I threw on my riding clothes and went to a recovery meeting before going to the barn. Vince, a guy who came out as gay, talked about his hateful feelings towards his ex-wife and their ugly divorce. I had hoped the meeting would make me feel better, but it enraged me more.
I marched out of the meeting, jumped in my car, and peeled out of the parking lot. I drove down Main Street and a man parked in front of Starbucks swung his car door open. I veered toward it. I wanted to smash it off. I straightened my car out seconds before hitting it. I pictured ramming my car into JB, watching his body fly in the air, and seeing him thump down on my hood.
As I neared the barn, I made a snap decision to turn into the forest preserve instead. I yanked my car into a parking spot, slammed the door behind me, and stalked off into the woods. The snow was deep and crusty. In some places it was up to my knees. I hiked until I was panting. I stopped next to two weeping willows and stared at branches and thick downed limbs on the ground. I picked up a thick branch, held it in both hands, brought it up over my head, and smashed it down on an enormous limb on the ground. I bashed the limb again and again and again. Bark flew. Wood splintered. White inner wood began flying. I imagined the flying white chips were pieces of JB’s skull. I stopped, shocked. I could kill. I began screaming. I resumed beating the limb until I couldn't anymore. I started balling. I began hiking. Exhausted, I sat on an equestrian mounting block and called Paul.
“Where are you?” he asked.
“A forest preserve,” I panted.
“What’s going on?”
I told him.
“I’ve been there,” he said. “What you’re feeling is normal. It’s good you’re processing this. One day, it’ll all be behind you and you’ll feel normal again. I promise you that. You’ll feel normal again but he won’t. JB will live with the fact that he’s a sleazy piece of shit until he dies. That will never go away. You’ll be fine one day but he won’t. Hold onto that. What brought out this rage? There must have been something that triggered it.”
I told Paul about JB’s parking ticket, his flagrantly shopping for women in front of Tom, his sexting for years in front of the boys and me, his cockiness at Panera.
“JB’s happy-go-lucky emails and texts,” I went on. “Blake golfing with him. All the false normality pushed me over the edge. Tom is going to be in a battle of the bands and JB’s family is going to be there. I can’t fucking handle it. It’s too much.”
“Don’t go,” Paul said.
“Tom’s so excited. He’ll be upset if I’m not there.”
“He’ll have more performances. Don’t go. Tell Tom why. He’ll understand.”
I contemplated not going and relaxed. I began breathing easier. “I’m not going,” I said. “I already feel better.”
“There you go,” Paul said. “Why would you put yourself in a position like that? Why would anyone? There will be plenty more shows. Want to go to the Blackhawks game Wednesday? I have tickets.”
I started laughing. “JB is taking the boys that night. Yeah. Let’s go. We won’t see them.”
We made plans to meet in parking lot K and eat dinner in the season ticket holders’ club. Later, I told Blake and Tom I was going to the game, too.
“Dad always gets nosebleed seats,” Blake complained. “I’ve never watched a Hawks game from good seats.”
“I have,” Tom said. “With Mikey and his dad.”
“Good for you,” Blake sneered.
“I could meet you guys after the game. We could drive home together if you want.”
“Dad wants us to come to his house,” Blake said.
“Oh yeah, right, your car will be at his place. How do you block people on Facebook?”
“Why, you want to block Dad?”
Blake started laughing. “God, I thought you would have done that already. Here, I’ll do it for you.”