Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Come On Champ--"Thank You Ashley Madison" excerpt

Friday, March 8

     “Tom has a makeup voice lesson this Saturday because he missed Wednesday for the Hawks game,” I emailed JB, who was picking up Tom for the weekend.

     I began getting ready to have dinner at a new sushi place with Jody. The doorbell rang. It was JB. I forced myself to look at him.
     “Hey Champ,” JB said crossing the threshold and stepping onto the rug at the front door. I stepped in front of him, blocking him from going any further. JB stopped.
     “You ready to go?” JB called out with forced cheeriness, looking over my shoulder at Tom.
     “No,” Tom said. “I still have to get my stuff.” Tom’s footsteps thundered upstairs.
     I stared at JB. JB stared at the floor. After a while he glanced at me. His eyes were pink and teary. I continued staring. He looked down at the floor. He raised his head and called over my shoulder, “Come on Tom, let’s go.” He glanced back at me with watery eyes.
     “How could you?” I asked.
     JB quickly looked at the floor. He slumped and didn’t speak. I continued staring at him.
     “Come on Champ,” he yelled pleadingly.
     Tom appeared and they left.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Blocking--"Thank You Ashley Madison" excerpt

Thursday, March 7

     “Taking only the best to the Hawks game is a prerequisite of mine,” Paul texted.

     “I think he buys his own shit,” I texted back.

     Paul sent a selfie of him holding his hand in front of his face under the caption, “Blocking!!!!!!!!.”

     Tom got home from school and the boys and I drove downtown to see the Picasso exhibit at the Art Institute. We ate dinner in Greektown and between flaming saganaki and our entrees, Blake leaned across the table toward Tom and said, “I don’t know how you can stand being with Dad. He’s a disgusting jerk.”
     “Mom!” Tom said and looked at me pleadingly.
     “Blake, don’t,” I said. “Really. Leave him alone. He needs to spend time with Dad. He’s a lot younger than you.”
     “I know. But how can you stand staying with him, sleeping at his house with him pretending like everything’s just fine? How can you go with him this weekend?”
     “Mom!” Tom said.
     “Blake, leave him alone.”

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Completely Clean--"Thank You Ashley Madison" excerpt

Wednesday, March 6

     I had my first phone call meeting with Yosef and he asked me what my Kabbalah goals were. I told him to purify my intentions, be as plugged into the divine as possible, and be a vessel for light to shine into the world.
     “Do you have any concerns?” he asked.
     “My divorce,” I said. “It feels like an enormous obstacle to my goals. I often feel sad for the man. I sincerely pray for him. And other times I visualize killing him.”
     “Those are our feelings,” Yosef said. “We’re not supposed to push them down or pretend they’re not there. We need to know that even in the darkest spots, the light is there. There is light to be gained from the darkest situations. We don’t punish ourselves, beat ourselves up for our feelings, we remind ourselves that light is there, too.”
     Our meeting ended and I drove to my appointment with my new accountant. My friend, Whitley, works for him and she gave me a big hug at the door before walking me into Jeff's office. I handed Jeff my tax forms. I’d emailed him the TurboTax returns JB filed the last six years and Jeff had last year’s return printed out and sitting on his desk. He began comparing last year’s tax forms with this year’s.
     “It looks like he took $28,000 out of an IRA last year,” Jeff said.
     I stiffened.
     “Did you know about it?” he asked.
     “You should ask him about it and get back to me.”
     “Let’s do it right now,” I said. I pulled my phone out, dialed JB’s number, and hit speaker. I set my phone on Jeff’s desk.
     JB picked up after one ring. “Hi,” he said cheerily.
     “I’m at the accountant’s office,” I said. “He has some questions for you.”
     “Oh, okay,” JB said. His voice quivered.
     “It looks like you pulled money out of an IRA last year,” Jeff said. “Did you?”
     “Yes.” JB’s voice shook.
     “What did you do with it?” I asked.
     “Paid debt,” JB said.
     “Have you taken more out besides this?” I asked.
     “No. That’s it.”
     “Uh huh,” I said and hung up on him.
     Jeff looked at me. “Look back at the other years when you get home. Look on line 16b. That’s where it will be if he’s taken out other IRA money. He took a big tax hit for doing this.”
     I sat there trying not to cry.
     “I’ll see what I can do, but you may owe something like $30,000 in taxes this year because of the buyout, too. Go see Whitley. I’m sure she wants to talk to you. Go see her.”
     Jeff walked me down the hall to Whitley’s office. I stood by the door. She scanned my face.
     “How did it go?” she asked cautiously.
     “Can I shut the door?” I asked shakily.
     “Yeah, shut it.”
     I closed the door and sat down. I began sobbing. Whitley came over and put her arm around me. I told her JB had stolen money, probably more than I knew about.
     “I can’t take anymore,” I cried. “I keep finding out more bad shit.”
     “It’s good you’re strong,” Whitley said. “You’re strong. You are going to get through this. You’re moving forward. It’ll be over soon.”
     I left Whitley’s office, got in my car, and angrily dialed JB. He didn’t answer. I drove home in a rage. Blake was in the TV room.
     “Hi Mom,” he said.
     “Hey,” I said and sat down on the window seat in the living room. I opened my laptop. I began looking at old tax documents. JB had taken out another $40,000. I felt sick. I dialed JB’s number again. He didn’t answer. I sent him an email.

     “You took $40,000 out of our IRA in 2009, $28,500 in 2011, and copped to $30,000 in secret debt. That's $100,000. Come completely clean.”

     I was shaking. Blake walked over. He started telling me about investment ideas. I snapped and said I didn’t want to hear it.
     “I’m sorry,” I said and started crying. “I just found out your father took $70,000 out of our retirement account.”
     “What an asshole. What a piece of shit.”
     Blake sat next to me and hugged me. I cried on him.
     “That’s it,” Blake said. “I’m done with him. I’m not going to that fucking game tonight.”
     “Oh Blake, I don’t . . .”
     “Stop,” Blake said. “I don’t want to see his face, hear his voice, sit there with him like everything’s fine. I can’t do it. It was hard enough going to the driving range and having dinner with him Sunday. All he did was make small talk, try to act like nothing happened. I won’t do it.”
     Blake picked up his phone and began texting. He told JB he wasn’t going to the Hawks game.
      “Why?” JB immediately texted back.
     “Funny,” I said. “I tried calling him twice. He wouldn’t answer or return my calls.”
     Blake snorted disgustedly. He began texting. “I just told him ‘I have 70,000 reasons why.’” Blake’s phone vibrated. “Dad just texted, ‘We need to talk.’” Blake began texting. “I told him, ‘I disagree.’”
     Blake and I sat on the window seat looking at each other.
     “I’m in the Twilight Zone,” I said.
     “At the end of the show people get out of the Twilight Zone.”
     “No they don’t. They’re stuck in their twisted realities.”
     “Well, Dad’s going to stay stuck. Not you.”
     I hugged him.
     Blake looked down at his phone. “Dad just said he’ll drop off the tickets and you could take me and Tom. He said he texted you, too.”
     I looked at my phone. “He did not. Let him drop them off. You and Tom can go. You could find a friend for your father’s ticket.”
     “I don’t want to go. I don’t want his tickets. I’m not going.”
     “Tell your father I’m already going to the game and he can pick up Tom.”
     “I’m calling Chad. We’ll go to the driving range, hang out on his campus.”
     Tom came home from school and Blake told him he wasn’t going to the Hawks game. He said he needed to go out with Chad to discuss business ideas instead. Tom frowned.
     “You’ll still have a good time buddy,” Blake said. “We have the rest of the week. Get ready. When you see Dad drive up, walk out the door. It’ll save time.”
     Tom went upstairs.
     “I don’t want to see Dad,” Blake said.
     “I know how you feel. I’ll be gone when he gets here. Please don’t let him in the house.”
     Blake snorted. “No way he’s coming in. I’m going to have Tom stand at the door and watch for him.”
     I hugged and kissed the boys. I drove downtown and pulled into parking lot K to meet Paul. I began checking email. There were a couple from JB.

     “The maximum debt I carried reached about $60,000,” JB wrote. “I paid off a chunk with the 40K (had to take a bunch out for tax so it was more like 30K), then the later 28K (about 22 after taxes) went to both pay taxes (about 9K) and further reduce debt. At that point the balance was whittled down to about 22-23K and it gradually climbed back up with interest over the next 2 years.
     “The origin of much of the large debt was when I was self-employed and I kept way too much of our income (for us, not me) and went into debt to pay taxes over those years. It started out as a few thousand and I let it compound over the years at high interest and made it worse with carelessness with business expenses and yes some with things I shouldn't have been doing but have already told you about. The latter was not the biggest factor at all, but it was part of it. It eventually grew into a monster. I borrowed from Peter to pay Paul until that was no longer an option and i got desperate.
     “I didn't have a secret/double life beyond what I have already confessed to you. Once it started to snowball I feared telling you because I was sure you'd throw me out. 
     “For tonight, if you like, I can give you the tickets and you can take Tom and Blake. We can tell Tom something came up with work. I can leave the tickets in my mailbox. I don't want Blake to miss the game because of me. Tom knows where the mailbox is.”

     Email number two.

     “I imagine you've at least considered the idea of hiring a private investigator. I actually think it would be a good idea. They don't miss much, and I can't remember every detail of what I've done. The ability to block things out is kind of prerequisite to the kind of behavior I was engaged in for all that time. I'm pretty confident he wouldn't find much beyond what you already know, but you will believe a third party more than me.
     “If you want to get some quotes and let me know what it entails, I'll consider contributing. I am sure the lawyer knows a few good ones. 
     “Think about it.”

          I stared at the last email. I reread, “The ability to block things out is kind of prerequisite to the kind of behavior I was engaged in for all that time.” I reread it. My head began to swim. I felt rage creep up my body. Paul called. He was in the lot. He told me to meet him at a specific door. I got out of my car, saw Paul, and waved at him. We walked to the stadium together and and took the escalator up to the restaurant. I told Paul about my visit with the accountant and JB’s emails.
     “What the fuck?” he said. “Does he have a gambling problem?”
     “I don’t know who he is. I don’t trust anything he says. He changes stories constantly. Now he’s saying he’s blocked things out, can’t remember. He said blocking is prerequisite to the behavior he was engaged in.”
     Paul almost choked on his food. He started roaring with laughter. The game started and we walked to our seats. Between the first and second periods, as the Zambonie smoothed the ice, I showed Paul JB’s last email.
     “Perhaps hiring a PI would be therapeutic for JB,” I said. “Help jog his memory. Shake him out of his amnesia. Because it’s all black for him.”
     “Yes,” Paul said. “I’m sure he had no idea where he was or where he parked when he was walking into those hotels. ‘Where am I? What am I doing here? What just happened?’ Paul held up his hands. “‘Blocking! Blocking!’ That’s what happened when JB walked in and out of those dens of iniquity. ‘Blocking! Blocking!’”
     We laughed until we couldn’t breathe. Paul shook his head.
     “I’d like to beat that piece of shit,” he said. “I hope we don’t run into him because I don’t want to do anything in front of Tom.”
     After the game, Paul drank a scotch and I had a tonic and lime in the restaurant. We waited for the parking lot to clear.
     “A guy can spend a lot of money on hookers,” Paul said. “I went to The Bunny Ranch in Vegas. My buddy won a bunch of money and wanted to go. I was married at the time. I didn’t do anything, but it was hard not to. They go after you. One hooker put her hand on my crotch and offered me a cheap hand job. I told her I was married and wasn’t interested. She offered to give me a massage and I told her, ‘Yeah, so you can get me all worked up and get me to go for it.’ Another one pulled her shirt off, walked behind me, and put her enormous breasts around my ears like earmuffs. I’m telling you, Brenda, you can walk out of those places thousands of dollars lighter.”
     Paul looked at me like he was my savior, my best bet. He shook his head and said, “You’re damaged goods now.”
     My stomach clenched. I felt sick. I felt angry. I began driving home. My phone rang. 
     “Hi Mom,” Tom said. “Where are you?”
     “Are you at home?” I asked.
     “Yeah. Dad and I are here and the house is all dark. Blake isn’t home either.”
     “I’m about twenty minutes away. I’ll call Blake and see if he’s on his way home. I’ll call you back. Stay with Dad until one of us gets there.”
     I called Blake.
     “Hey Mom,” he said cheerily.
     “Hey. Tom just called. He and Dad are sitting in front of the house. I’m about twenty minutes away. Are you nearby? Are you going to be out for a while?”
     “I wouldn’t be there any quicker than you,” Blake said.
     “Okay, have fun.”
     “That was a great game, huh?”
     “You watched it with Chad?”
     “Yeah. We hit some balls at the driving range, came back to Lake Forest, played pool with some guys, and watched the game. I’ll be here a while.”
     I pulled onto our street and didn’t see JB’s car. Maybe he’d decided to have Tom sleep at his place. I called Tom.
     “Hey, where are you? I’m home.”
     “We’re about to pull in front of the house,” Tom said. “I was thirsty so we went to Walgreens.”
     I parked the car beside the house by our backdoor. I saw JB’s car in my rearview mirror. I got out and Tom was standing next to my car. JB was gone.
     “Great game, huh?” I asked.
     “Yeah,” Tom said. “Guess where our seats were?”
     “The last row?”
     “Yeah. We were sitting up in the ceiling behind the Hawk’s goal.”
     “Well, you could see the whole ice.”
     Tom laughed. “Where were you?”
     “Second level, center line.”
     “I wish I could have sat there.”
     “Paul is going to try to get us tickets.”
     “Hope he can. I’m tired.”
     “Me too.”

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Why Would I Want To Be Friends--"Thank You Ashley Madison" excerpt

Tuesday, March 5

     “Hope you are well and enjoying having Blake home,” JB texted. “I just read they are putting a Trader Joe's in Libertyville. You must be happy about that.
     “I'd appreciate it if you'd let me know how you want to handle things for the Hawks game tomorrow night, per my last email. 
     “Also, I don't know if you've discussed the idea with Tom of my taking him on Thursday nights on the weeks where he'll spend the weekend with you. Was thinking we could start that next week, so let me know what you think. 
     “Thanks and have a good day.”

     I responded, “Thought you and Blake agreed he and Tom would be at your place at 5 tomorrow. You can have Tom Thursday of next week.”

     “Yes we did. Was just running it by you to be sure you felt Tom had enough time to get his h-work done. And thank (sic) re Thursday next week. Have a good day.”

     Swell JB.

     “Was just looking for Tom's video from the talent show,” JB texted. “Couldn't find it and it became apparent that you've unfriended or blocked me on Facebook, either that or you dropped off entirely. I guess I expected this eventually. It's certainly your right and understandable. It just makes me sad. I'm really sorry my actions have led to this. I still hope we can eventually be friends. Not Facebook friends but real friends.”

     Why would I want to be friends?

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Homicidal--"Thank You Ashley Madison" excerpt

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.”

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Feel Better--"Thank You Ashley Madison" excerpt

Sunday, March 3

     “I wanted to let you know about a race I have signed up for and asked Tom to do with me,” JB emailed. “It's the 5K Foam Fest. It's a race combined with obstacles, but not as intense as some other similar races. Lots of kids do it. It looks like fun.
     Tom told me he would it (sic). But I want to talk to him about it a little more and make sure he knows what he's getting into before I sign him up. We will need to do a little training. 
     I am on a team with the Chens, the Muellers and I think Laurel is doing it as well. You could do it too if you want.”

     Perhaps JB, Tom, and I could link arms and cross the finish line as a happy family. Yay!
     I took Tom to band practice and returned home. Blake, who was home for spring break, was on his way out the door.
     “I’m going to the driving range with Dad,” he said.
     “Have a good time.”
     “Thanks,” he said and left.
     I sat on the couch and started crying. I want Blake to have a good relationship with his father. But at the same time, Blake going to hang out with JB had me feeling betrayed. I don’t want to feel like this. It’s horrible.
     I drove to Terry and Laurel’s to get Tom from band practice later. The boys were still downstairs jamming.
     “We’re trying to figure out what songs the band should play,” Terry said. “I want them to have a shot at winning the battle of the bands.”
     Laurel was sitting in the living room and we joined her.
     “How many songs are they going to play?” I asked.
     “They should definitely play ‘Lonely Boy,’” I said.
     “I made them practice it a lot for the talent show,” Terry said. “Unfortunately, they’re sick of it.”
     “I think they should play it, too,” Laurel said.
     “I’ll try to talk them into it,” Terry said. “The second song I’d like them to do is the Chile Peppers’ version of ‘Higher Ground,’ but Tom says it hurts his hand.”
     “I’ll talk to his guitar teacher about modifications,” I said.
     “That’d be cool,” Terry said. “The other song should be an original. Have you heard the one they’re working on?” Terry pointed to the floor. We listened.
     “That’s the one Tom’s been writing,” I said. “You think it’ll work?”
     “It’ll be good once they learn their parts.”
     “It’s going to be hard to beat your niece’s girl band,” Laurel said.
     “Troy’s daughter’s band is in the battle?” I asked.
     “Yeah,” Terry said. “JB just told me.”
     “The band is weak, but the singer is great,” I said.
     Laurel nodded.
     Tom and his friends came thundering upstairs. I grabbed Tom’s stuff and we left. I was shaking inside. I don’t want to spend hours with JB and his family. I don’t want to go to the battle of the bands. I drove to the Salvation Army, dropped off bags of clothes, and went to the grocery store. I was in a spacey trance. Tom threw a box of sugary cereal into the cart—I don't buy junk cereal—and I let it stay in. Tom gave me a weird look. My text alert dinged.

     “Eating with Spazo,” Blake texted.

     “Okay. Get the garage door opener from Dad. Then you’ll have one.”

     “Blake’s having dinner with Dad,” I told Tom.
     “Aw,” Tom moaned.
     Soon after Tom and I got home, Blake walked in.
     “That was quick,” I said. “How was it?”
     “Eh,” Blake shrugged. “It was fine.”
     Tom and I ate dinner then I began watching TV in my bedroom. Blake sat on my bed.
     “You know what Douche Bag told me?” Blake asked.
     “He signed up for some extreme race where he’s going to scale walls, crawl under barbed wire, and run through mud,” he laughed. “Can you believe it? Pot belly with the bum shoulder? I told Dad, ‘What the fuck are you thinking?’ He said, ‘Oh, I think it’ll be a lot of fun.’ Yeah right. A bunch of fit manly guys and Dad.”
      “Or a bunch of guys like him,” I laughed. “I invited your dad to run with me last summer. He didn’t make half a mile. He started complaining about a cramp. I told him I was going to continue running and he limped home looking all dejected.”
     “What a loser,” Blake said. He shook his head and went to his room.
     Now I feel better. Sad but true.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Stick My Fingers In My Ears And Sing

Saturday, March 2

     Kent and I had breakfast. He told me he has feelings for me. He said I’ve been on his mind since JB and I separated. He said he played it through in his head but realized it would be a mistake to start up with me.
     I wanted to stick my fingers in my ears and sing.
     “I have a need to know I’m still attractive to women,” Kent said.
     “So did JB,” I said. “George and I had dinner Thursday.”
     Kent looked jealous.
     “George told me he was thinking about going on Ashley Madison last summer. He said he arranged a hookup but couldn’t go through with it.”
     “He talked to me about that, too,” Kent said. “Things got ugly when he backed out of that deal.”
     “JB said his first couple of times were bad, but he kept at it.” 
     “True addict behavior.”

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Look What Happened

Friday, March 1

     I had breakfast with Aunt Lea.
     “Your mother told me what happened,” Aunt Lea said, her eyes welling with tears. “I hate him. I hate him for what he did to you. I had to see you, talk to you. I needed to see if my sisu sister was okay.”
     “I’m okay,” I said. “I’ve had really bad days, but I’m not stuck with him anymore. I’m grateful for that.”
     “Do you remember what you told me before you got married?” Aunt Lea asked.
     I shook my head.
     “I’ll never forget it. Before you got married, you told me you wanted to experience having a child and JB was the best candidate. I asked if you loved him and you said you’d never been in love with anyone, that you’d stopped believing in it. You said JB was a good man and you thought you could do life together and maybe love would grow.”
     “I actually told you that?”
     “Yes. I thought well, I don’t know…”
     “I can’t believe I told you.”
     “Well, you did.”
     We both started laughing.
     “Look what happened,” I laughed.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

That Would Disgust Me

Thursday, February 28

     My friend George told me at dinner he doesn’t remember most of his childhood. His mother tried to commit suicide and he found her sitting in her car with the motor running. He pulled her out of the car and called 911.
     George and I met in recovery about five years ago. That’s about how long we’ve been discussing our unhappy marriages. George and his wife of twenty-four years separated six months ago, and about that time he told me he was considering going on Ashley Madison.
     “I hadn’t slept with Sally in eight years,” George said. “I had sex with a few women before the separation, but it was empty. I felt lousy afterward.”
     “Did you ever go on Ashley Madison?” I asked.
     “I made a date,” he said. “But I cancelled it. I couldn’t bring myself to do something that would disgust me.”