Saturday, February 3, 2018

We Have A Court Date--"Thank You Ashley Madison" excerpt

Friday, March 29

     “My almost ex dropped off our son this morning after taking him to a Green Day concert,” I emailed Yosef. “JB had a depressed, wretched look on his face. I could see he was hurting. I found satisfaction in that. Not proud of it. After JB left, I wanted to focus on Tom, what he was telling me about the concert, but my mind was jumping insanely. I’ve been wanting to damage JB. It feels horrible. I want to stop it.”

     JB eyed me up and down when he dropped off Tom. I hadn’t showered and was wearing what I’d slept in: tie-dye yoga pants and a clingy thermal under shirt. He looked pathetic.
     “I shot concert footage,” Tom said. “Look.”
     “Hey, you know what would be great?” I said. “If you posted them on YouTube with your dorky Clyde Winstonberger alter ego commenting on them.”
     Tom’s face lit up and he nodded.
     “Did you dance at the show?” I joked.
     “Did Dad?”
     “No,” Tom snickered.
     “Did he sit like a bump on a log pretending to be cool?”
     “Pretty much,” Tom said.
     I shouldn’t have, but I said it.
     Tom and I picked up Ruby and Mikey. We drove through Wauconda to eat lunch at a diner Ruby has been raving about.
     “Text Lily and see if she’s driving to Lake Lawn Lodge to meet us,” Ruby told Mikey. Lily was Mikey’s half sister. They shared the same dad. Lily was Blake’s age and had recently dropped out of college. Ruby was worried sick about her. She was convinced Lily was doing drugs. “Do you know the address off the top of your head to Lake Lawn Lodge?” she asked me.
     “The resort we’re staying at.”
     “Is that where you’re staying? That’s not where we’re staying.”
     “You’re not staying at Lake Lawn Lodge?” Ruby asked panicky.
     “No. We’re staying at The Abbey. Didn’t you buy the Groupon deal I sent you?”
     “Oh my God, what did I buy on Groupon?”
     “I sent you the link twice.”
     “Well, I was having trouble with the link,” Ruby groaned. “I’ll look at it when we stop at the restaurant. If I bought the wrong one, you can take us back and we’ll drive separately so you don’t have to shuttle back and forth. Oh shoot.”
     We got out of the car and Ruby looked at the Groupon she’d printed out. “Thank God, it’s The Abbey,” she said. “You should have seen the look on your face when I told you we were going somewhere else. You looked like you wanted to kill me. I’ve never seen that face before.”
     I ordered homemade creamy asparagus soup and chocolate pie. Ruby was right, the diner was great. We drove to Lake Geneva and as I unpacked, my phone rang. It was my lawyer’s assistant letting me know she’d sent JB a letter telling him about our court date.
     “I’ll give him a heads-up and let him know he doesn’t have to attend if he doesn’t want to,” I said. “Hope he blows it off.”

     “Our divorce papers have been filed and we have a court date April 10, 9:30,” I emailed JB. “The attorney mailed you a notice yesterday. You don't need to be in court but go if you want to. All that will happen is a judge will sign the papers and we'll be divorced.
     “Before the court date was set, I was going to ask you to pick up Tom after school that day. Lawyers for the Creative Arts is giving a Trends in Publishing presentation. I have to appear in court because I filed for the divorce and I'm planning on staying downtown for the presentation. Let me know if you want to appear or not and if you can pick up Tom.”

     “I'm happy to take Tom that Wednesday instead of Thursday,” JB replied. “Regarding the court appearance, if I am not required to appear and there will be no issues to discuss then I'll probably choose not to appear. if (sic) there is any reason it's in my interest to be there, I'm sure you would let me know. I will want a copy of the final order and assume I will be sent one. I hope you are all having a nice time up there. By the way, I mean (sic) to tell you I like your new glasses.” 

     “Thanks for taking Tom Wednesday. You'll of course get copies of everything. I'll probably be in and out of court in 10 minutes. That’s what the lawyer says.”

      Ruby and I dropped the boys at the pool and went for a walk around the lake. It was beautiful, sunny, and fifty-five-degrees.
     “You’re so lucky you’re getting divorced,” Ruby said. “I’m so jealous. Todd would make it as difficult and horrible as possible. He told me so. He’s doing what JB did. He’s screwing around. I’m sure of it. And I don’t care. I won’t sleep with him. He’s gross. He makes me sick. The smell of his bath towel, the sour yeasty smell of him that comes off of it, I can’t stand the smell of him.”
     “I couldn’t stand the smell of JB either. That’s probably a bad sign.”
     “I bet studies have been done about people not liking the smell of people they’re not compatible with,” Ruby said. “I don’t know why people are afraid of being old and alone. I want to be alone. Who wants to be shackled to someone who’s old and have to take care of them, have to answer to them. We’re all going to die alone anyway.
     “The cops I work with, they’re all cheating. Even the fat gross ones. Women like cops. Any guy who can cheat will cheat.”
     We walked back to the hotel. The boys were playing video games. After dinner, Ruby and I went off to our rooms. Tom watched TV with Mikey and Ruby while I booked B&Bs in Ireland. Eventually Tom wandered into our room and went to bed. I laid in the dark not knowing how to feel.

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