Wednesday, February 25, 2015

LOVE, LIES, AND REVENGE - PART 3

I found myself at the same basement window later that night. They were going at it missionary style this time, so I couldn’t get his face, but soon after, she straddled him and he was in full range.  My faithful video camera did not let me down. After about ten minutes I decided that was enough. I was disgusted at the sight of it.  I was still so hurt and never felt so betrayed in my life.

As I was walking past the house I noticed that there were two mailboxes hanging on the wall. All the lights were out in the main house so I went up and looked in the one marked with a B, B for basement, I assumed. There were some envelopes in there, one for Jennifer Peters and one for Robert Grainger. I took them both. I went back home and pretended to be asleep when he came home.

The next morning I found both Jennifer Peters and Robert Grainger on Facebook. According to her profile, Robert was her fiancé. She worked at the mall in a pet store. Her cell phone number was hidden, but when I went to his profile, his cell number showed. I transferred the sex file to my computer and around noon sent it as an attachment to his phone, along with the name and address of where my husband worked. I then drove there, it was about ten minutes away, and once again hid behind the juniper hedges.

Not long after I had parked the car, a blue car sped up the street turning into the driveway of my husband’s workplace. I could see the wavy blond hair and recognized him as Robert. He went inside and came out seconds later. Then I saw my husband come out. Robert was raging, flailing his arms about, pointing his cell phone in my husband’s face. My husband didn’t know what to say. Then the guy lost it and his fist went right in my husband’s nose, blood flew. My husband fell to his knees and when he tried to get up Robert hit him again, a big barn door swing in the left jaw. My husband, now my ex-husband, got up to his feet and swung at him, missing him. Then they were wrestling with each other. They were in the alleyway so none of the other employees saw anything. I had a ring side seat. And I have to say it was the most satisfying fight that I had ever seen. And my trusty little video camera never let me down.

Robert got the best of my ex and he went down. Robert kicked him in the gut several times and then himself fell to his knees, exhausted. He got up then, went in for one last kick, got in his car and sped away. My ex lay on the ground for about ten minutes then crawled to the side of the building and sat up, leaning against it. He spent another twenty minutes trying to get up. I don’t know what happened after that, because I had an appointment to get to, I was meeting my lawyer to draft divorce papers.

Later that afternoon, I went back home and searched for Robert Grainger on Facebook. His relationship status had changed to single. His friends had made some comments, obviously they knew what had happened and were praising Robert for doing what he had done. He had also posted a picture of his bloody fists. Nothing had changed on Jennifer’s page.

The hurt I had been feeling eased, but that fire inside me was still burning. I still couldn’t understand it. I thought that we were going to stay together forever. Everything was going fine. The only thing we fought about was his drinking problem. He had been a drinker since I met him, so was I, but when I decided that I had had enough, he just kept on going. He had been diagnosed with hepatitis and still he drank. I wanted him to help him, but I guess he just wasn’t ready. I don’t know what went wrong. But one thing was for sure, he was never going to hurt me again.

My cell phone pinged. “Have to work late, be home later.”

“Yah, whatever,” I said out loud, then I texted his supervisor to make certain that he was. Yes, it was true.

Before the mall closed I thought I would go over and take a look at some puppies at the pet store. I browsed up and down the aisles, keeping my head up. Was she working tonight? I wondered.

“Can I help you find something?”

I turned around to face the voice and there she was. Oh my God, she was a child. I felt so disgusted. My ex was fifty-one. What was going on here? All I could think was, “You sick, perverted, twisted, sonofabitch.”

But there was something in her voice, an attitude. That fire began to roar.

“No, thank you,” I said.

“Well, if you need any help just call.” She flicked her hair and walked away.

Oh, the nerve! That little bitch! That brazen little twat! I stomped out of the store and back to my car. Then I waited for the store to close and followed her home. I had no idea what I was going to say to her, but I was going to confront her for sure, so when she pulled off the main road, I parked my car on the side of the street and walked the rest of the way. She was just getting out of her car as I was walking up. It was dark. The street, as before, was dimly lit and there were no lights on in the main house. Once I saw her I couldn’t hold back the rage burning inside me. I saw RED. She didn’t even see me coming. As she was keying the lock, I grabbed her by the back of the hair and dragged her to the back yard where I had already spent too much time. When she tripped and fell down I closed the gate and kicked her in the face before she had time to get up, I kicked her in the stomach, and I never stopped until I knew she couldn’t get up because if she had she might have overpowered me. She was much bigger than I was. I kicked her some more, until I was exhausted, until she couldn’t speak. Then I looked down at her, barely seeing her, and spat in her face while she lay there sobbing and pleading with me to stop.

I got down on one knee and said, “Maybe next time, you’ll think before getting involved in another woman’s husband.” I then let my fist smash her nose. I felt the fire inside slowly die, and as I was getting up, I spat in her face one more time, then headed toward the gate without looking back.

I was so stoked that I ran back to my car. I sat there, trying to catch my breath. There was no traffic, so I was pretty sure no one had seen anything. I started up the car and drove for an hour, away from there. I stopped at a bar in the next town and had a couple of drinks, trying to steady my nerves. On my way back I stopped at MacDonald’s, got a burger and fries, and downed that to disguise the smell of liquor on my breath. When I got home, my ex was in the shower. I quickly got undressed then took a blanket to the sofa. My heart was still racing.

I heard him get out of the shower and go to the bedroom. I fell asleep. I was exhausted. Revenge was a very tiring occupation.

I woke up with sun shining into the living room. I couldn’t remember the last time my life had been in such an uproar. I was sick to my stomach. I still was having a hard time processing what was happening and kept going over my marriage in my mind. Do we ever truly know anybody? I was depressed, but then I remembered what I had done. I sat up, grabbed the remote, and turned on the news.

I watched. Then, there it was. It turned out Jennifer Peters was fine, if you call a broken nose, missing teeth, and a few broken ribs fine. There were no leads and the police were treating it as random act of violence. Okay, so I was in the clear. I figured that she would be too embarrassed to say anything. I went to the bedroom and was going to get under the covers for some more sleep, but when I got there I couldn’t bring myself to even enter. I went back to the sofa and never got up until noon.

I spent the rest of the afternoon confirming the appointments for the movers and storage and meeting a few friends to let them know that I was going away for a while. I never got into any details, but I think they knew that something was going on. I received the copy of the divorce papers from my lawyer and went back home.

When I got home my ex was already there. He did not look well. His eye was purple and cut, his lips were swollen and cut, and his hands were red and swollen.

“What happened?” I said, feeling rather full of myself.

“Some guy mistook me for someone else. I was at a business lunch yesterday with the sales guy and some psycho, who was loaded, came over to me and started hitting me with a plastic beer pitcher.”

“What!” I tried to act interested and surprised, and for an instant I felt sorry for him. I almost pitied him. He was pathetic. He was also a liar, a drunk, and a cheat. I turned away and went to the kitchen. “Wow, that’s unusual.”

“Yah, I had to go to the clinic; I have a broken rib. I just took a few painkillers, so I may pass out here.” He patted the sofa.

When I opened the fridge, there was next to nothing in there, so I told him I was going to order Chinese. He said it was okay and he stretched out on the sofa, clicking the remote. He turned on WWF and got comfortable.

We ate in silence. He ate in front of the TV and I ate in front of the computer. I wondered if he had heard from his mistress. When I looked over at him, he had passed out. I was so relieved. I had a shower and went to bed. I was exhausted and sad. I realized that it was over. I tossed and turned for most of the night, cursing that prick for making me sleep in the bed we had shared for the last 15 years. All I could think about was that it was going to be a big day tomorrow, the movers were coming early.

I got up after my ex had gone to work, showered and dressed. I packed my suitcases and my ex’s and got everything prepared for packing. The movers were right on schedule. They packed, wrapped, and had everything in the truck by lunchtime. They even helped me lug my suitcases to the car.

I checked everything one last time, knotted the cable wire in one corner, and walked around, remembering all the good times that were spent in each room, then I remembered all the bad. I placed the CD that I had made: The Sex File and The Fight File, on the counter along with the divorce papers and took one last look around. His suitcases were left in the middle of the floor.

I turned off the light, closed the door, gave the keys to the landlord, and said goodbye. I got into my car and headed for the 401 westbound, west toward the Rocky Mountains. When I got on the 401, I turned up U2’s It’s a Beautiful Day, rolled down the windows, and let the warm wind blow through my hair.

LOVE, LIES, AND REVENGE - PART 2

I was feeling pretty wired now. The alcohol mixed with adrenaline soared through my body. I figured it was as dark as it was going to get. I got out of my car and crossed the street. The street with the driveway with the red car was lit by streetlights, but all those weeping willows didn’t allow much useful light. The wind picked up and the rain kept falling. It was one of those nights when people snuggled in their beds early with Stephen King novels. I made my way up to the red car. The rain pelted against my baseball cap.

Brazenly, I walked up to the driveway as if I’d live there all my life. Alcohol will do that to you, or was it the disguise I still wore? I walked right up the front steps and was about to knock on the front door when I noticed that all was dark inside. I checked the driveway, enough for two cars, but only the red one. I stepped back down and walked around to the side of the house. There was a door. I assumed it lead to the basement and that’s where the blond lived. There was no light here, but I could make out a gate leading to the back of the house. I looked around. Most of the houses were now dark. I fumbled for the lock, opened it, and went inside.

There was very little light in the back yard. I stood there for a moment, with my head buzzing and my heart pounding. I tried to make out the shapes and before me appeared a table with four chairs. I took a step forward and bumped into the barbecue shifting it a little and had visions of Pit Bulls and Dobermans running to eat my arms and legs. I froze. No dogs. No lights came on. No noise from the house. I looked down at the barbecue and saw that there was a little light coming from the basement window behind the barbecue. I gently lifted the barbecue up on one side and turned it so that I could bend over to see into the window.

I was not expecting to see what I saw. I wanted to believe that it wasn’t him. I wanted to run and go back to my cozy home and pretend like the day hadn’t started yet. I wanted to go back home and find him there and run to him and tell him I loved him.

The curtain was sheer. On each of the night tables candles were lit. And there, there he was on his knees pumping her with the fullness of himself, pulling her hair, smacking her buttocks, while she rocked back and forth on her knees, giving herself to him with everything she had, matching every thrust.

I couldn’t pull myself away. It was like a dream. I was drenched and shaking, but inside I was on fire. I watched as he plunged his hips in one final heave and let out a howl unlike anything I’d ever heard. She collapsed and he fell on top of her, his skin shiny with sweat.

I looked away. I didn’t know how to feel. I didn’t know what to do. I was lost. I sat there in the pouring rain with the wind cracking tree branches and tearing leaves away from their roots. I had to get away from that window, so I crawled to the farther corner of the yard and hammered the muddy turf with my fists. I bawled on my hands and knees in the dark for what seemed like eternity while the lightning flashed across the sky and the thunder clapped, and the rain became torrential. I was devastated. I was in shock. I saw it with my own eyes but I still couldn’t believe it. I had never felt so much pain. I couldn’t breathe. I felt like a piece of trash someone propped up in the corner waiting for garbage day so it could be tossed and gotten rid of forever.

Just as I thought I was going to go mad with the agony of what I felt, I heard the basement door. It was him. He was leaving. It was still pouring rain. I got up and ran over to the gate.

“Are you sure you don’t want a ride home?”

“No, it’s okay, you get back inside. I have to make it look like I was outside waiting for the bus.” He kissed her then walked away.

She went back inside. I opened the gate and stared at the door. I went over and checked the knob, unlocked. I gently turned it. A set of stairs led to another door. I couldn’t help myself. I went in and tried the door at the bottom, open. I listened. I heard the shower running. I was just about to open the door when I heard a car door slam from above. I booted it up the stairs and back into the yard. I had just closed the gate when I saw a guy come around the house and go down the stairs. My heart thumped in my chest. Could he be her boyfriend? I bent down at the window and looked inside. The guy was undressing. She entered the room in a robe and a towel on her head. He grabbed her and pushed her on the bed. She laughed as she untied her robe. She spread her legs while he pulled the towel off her head.

I got up. I went back to my car and headed home, wondering if my husband knew about the guy. Well of course he must have known. There must have been evidence of his habitation there. Or if he didn’t live there then something of his would be lying around. Wouldn’t it? He must have lived there, he just walked right in, or was she expecting him?

I raced home. The rain was still heavy. The wipers did a poor job of keeping the windshield clean and the lines on the road kept disappearing. My mind was a shattered mess. I banged at the steering wheel with fists of rage. “You lying, cheating, sack of shit!” I screamed and swore and ran his name through the dirt. Condensation developed on the window, I couldn’t see. The sound of a horn distracted me and I turned to look. When I looked back at the road, I was driving through a red light. Brakes jammed, tires squealed, horns blew. I turned the wheel to avoid the car ahead of me and spun into circles. I hit my head and blacked out.

When I came to horns were blaring.

“Are you all right?”

“What happened?” I said, tasting blood in my mouth.

“Apparently, you followed another driver through a red light.”

“Is anyone hurt?” I asked the man.

“No, luckily, you spun out of control and the guy in front of you just kept going. Thank goodness it wasn’t rush hour. I don’t know if anyone called the police, but are you all right? Should I call someone for you?”

“No, no,” I told him. “I’m fine.”

My car had stalled and I was inches from the south-east corner traffic light pole. I started it up, thanked the guy, put on the four way flashers, and then slowly maneuvered my way into traffic.

I couldn’t stop shaking. I wanted to get home before my husband did, but I needed time to pull myself together. I pulled into a pizza place and turned off the car. When I looked into the mirror at myself I laughed. My hat had come off, my wig was askew, and a corner of the mustache had come unglued and was hanging off. I laughed so hard I cried. And cried some more, but they were no longer tears of laughter. I cried and cried until my eyes were so swollen that I couldn’t see. I cried until I couldn’t cry anymore, until there was nothing left. I took a few deep breaths and found some tissue and blew so much snot out of my nose that I thought I had a nosebleed. I sat there, dumbfounded. Then I grew a spine. I spotted a garbage can and got rid of the jacket and disguise. The rain had eased up a little and the wind had died down.

Despite almost killing myself and possibly someone else, I got home before him. I showered and was in front of the mirror tending to my head. It wasn’t a noticeable cut, my hair would hide it, but the cut on my lip was something else. The bleeding had stopped, but it was red and swollen. I got myself some hot chocolate and was sitting on the sofa clicking the TV remote when he came in soaking wet.

“Hi,” he said.

“Hi, yourself,” I said. “Why didn’t you call me for a ride? I would have come to pick you up.”

“Well, I didn’t know how long it was going to take to do that order, and I didn’t want you driving on a night like this.”

“Yah, it was pretty bad for a while, but it looks like it’s clearing a little.” I sipped my hot chocolate trying to get the chill out of my bones, but that fire inside me kept raging.

He took off his boots and coat and went directly for the shower. I sat on the sofa, my heart still pounding; I was unable to calm myself. I felt nothing but hatred and anger. I despised him. I wanted to hurt him. I wanted to kill him. I wanted to kill her. I wanted revenge.

After his shower he made himself a snack and went right to bed. He barely looked at me. I didn’t mind one bit. I left the TV on and went to the bathroom. His clothes were still on the floor. I went through is pockets but his phone wasn’t there.

I checked my lip once more, the swelling had gone down. I pulled my hair up and examined my 46 year old face. I had a few lines around my eyes, some sun damage, a few lines around my mouth, but surely I was much more attractive than that burly girl he had been with. She looked no more than nineteen, just the same age as his daughter. I was perplexed. What did he see in her? What was wrong with me? Was I not interesting enough? Was I not fun? Did I not give him enough of myself? Why? Why?

I shook my head. No, it’s not me. It’s him. There will be no self-pity here.

“You are a wonderful, giving person,” I told the beautiful face in the mirror. Then I knew. I knew what I was going to do. I knew exactly what I was going to do.

I went to the computer and logged into my bank account. I checked my finances and found that I had a pretty good handle on things, little credit card debt, my car was paid out, and I had savings to boot. Then I logged into our joint home savings account. I had checked it a few months back and it was close to $125,000.00, now it showed less than $70,000.00, my hands started to shake and for a moment I felt like getting up, grabbing the biggest knife in the block, and driving it through his chest a dozen times. I transferred everything to my own bank account and requested the joint account to be closed. I then logged out and signed into my Hotmail account. I emailed my landlord the standard Notice to vacate letter giving only one month notice. I was sure it wouldn’t be a problem since my unit was one of the nicer ones, and people were always moving. My husband never spoke with the super and I told him in the email not to mention the move. He was a nice guy and I had confided in him a few times, so I was sure he would keep it to himself. I then emailed a storage unit facility, a moving company, and Canada Post to re-direct my mail. After that, I searched the storage closet for my old video camera.

I dozed off on the sofa with the TV still on. I woke up when I heard him leave for work around 4 am. My head throbbed, so I got up, took a couple of Tylenol, and made myself a big cup of coffee. I sat at the computer and worked on my blog. I felt good, like a big weight had been lifted off my shoulders. The manuscript that I had been working on was put on the back burner. There were some things that had to be done first to clear my mind before continuing.  I finished up, jumped in the shower, and ate a big breakfast. I went into our bedroom and started spring cleaning. When I was done there I went to every nook and cranny and by the time I was finished, there were about six bags of junk ready to be taken to the dumpster. I went to Staples to buy file folders and then came back to organize the rest of my stuff.

As I was going through the last of my things, my cell pinged. It was nearly 4 pm. “Going out with the salesman to talk about a customer, be home later.”

I smiled. It was an evil Grinch-like smile that went from ear to ear.

LOVE, LIES, AND REVENGE - PART 1

I waited for him to come out. I’d been waiting for some time. My back was sore, but as soon as I saw him I straightened up, my stomach lurched. I watched as he adjusted his baseball hat, changed his lunch bag to the opposite shoulder, and fished his cell out of his pocket. He began to text someone. I looked down at my own phone and waited a moment. It wasn’t me he was texting.

He walked over to the bus stop and I couldn’t help but notice how fat he was getting. His stomach protruded beyond his chest and his face was pale yellow, with his eyes sunk back in his head. The booze was killing his liver.

He looked up and for a moment I thought he had spied the car. No, I assured myself. He couldn’t see the car; I was in the parking lot across the street behind ten foot high juniper hedges. I eyed him through the brush, wondering what I should do. I didn’t really have a plan; I was just going by instinct.

I texted him, “When are you getting off work?”

He texted back, “Not until 7, rush order just came in and due by Friday.”  It was now 3:35 pm.

I spotted the eastbound bus coming up the street and got ready to start the car. Seconds later he got on the bus. I started the engine and followed, being careful not to follow too closely. The bus was heading toward the main road. At the intersection, he got off, ran across the street, and caught another bus heading west, not the usual route he would take to get home. I almost lost sight of it waiting at the traffic light. He hadn’t gotten off yet since the bus hadn’t even made it to its next stop. When traffic started moving forward again I followed the bus until he got off and transferred to another one, this time heading north.

“Where the heck are you going, you lying sonofabitch?” I asked myself out loud. But deep down inside I knew. The bus stopped in front of a mini-mall and he finally got off. He headed across the parking lot to a small pub. I pulled in and parked at the other end of the plaza.

Suddenly my mouth was void of all saliva. I saw a small convenience store and went in. I got a large bottle of water and after looking around the store was struck by an idea. I bought a few extra things then went back to the car. I put on the red checkered bush jacket, black wig and bushy mustache, and baseball cap. I checked my new look in the mirror, took another mouthful of water, and headed for the pub.

It was a small place. A few empty stools lined the counter, a half a dozen booths were located at the back, barely noticeable in the dim light, and there were a couple of gambling machines closer to the door. Rock music crackled through the speakers. The bartender looked up from his newspaper. He gave me a nod and I returned the gesture. I sat down at one of the stools, with my back facing the booths, and in my deepest, roughest voice, ordered a beer. I didn’t see my husband. There were no other patrons. I wondered if he had gone while I was in the convenience store. My pulse raced as I noticed him in the mirrored tile behind the bar coming out of the men’s bathroom. I quickly drew my beer to my mouth and took a swig.

He came up from behind me and stood at the bar not five feet from me. I held my beer to my face, peeling at the label, trying hard not to shake. He ordered a pitcher of beer and headed back toward one of the booths. From where I sat I could clearly see him in the mirrored tile. He was busy texting. I got my phone out and pretended to do the same. I had my beer half gone when the bar door opened and a young, tall, blond-haired, overweight girl entered. With a slight tilt of my head, I saw everything in the mirrored tile. I glanced at my husband. He had one of those big, shit-eating smiles on his face. She went over and sat down beside him.

It hit me then. He was cheating on me. It was obvious. Wasn’t it? Yes, what else could this be? For god’s sake, he’s old enough to be her father. I was in shock. It was like someone just punched me in the gut. I couldn’t breathe. Sweat seemed to pour out of every pore and the wig I was wearing felt like a wool hat. No, this can’t be happening. It’s not real. It can’t be. My heart stopped beating. The floor seemed to give away from under my feet. I felt limp. I saw black stars. My eyes rolled in the back of my head and just as I was falling off the stool, the bartender spoke.

“Hey, you okay, buddy? You seem a bit dizzy.”

He brought me back out of my trance.

“Oh, yah, sure, I haven’t eaten yet today, it just hit me, I guess,” I stammered. I looked at my bottle and downed the remainder all the while thinking if I had used my rough and tough voice. I guess it really didn’t matter. Kid-like giggles came from behind me and I could barely contain myself. I ordered another beer and chugged almost all of it.

Sitting there on that stool seemed surreal. I couldn’t believe it. I put up with almost fifteen years of abuse from that lying, cheating, sorry excuse for a human being. And for what? Because I thought I meant something to him. I thought our relationship was special, like nobody else’s relationship could come close to what we had. We had a connection right from the start. Or did we? Or was it all a sham? How long had he been seeing this girl? I surmised that it must have been at least six months. That’s when the strange behavior started. He put a password on his cell. He spent more time on the computer and when I would enter the room or ask what he was doing he would shrug me off, hastily closing website windows, and then leaving the room. He started going to work earlier than usual and coming home later than usual. He started working on the weekends, every weekend. Why didn’t I see it sooner? All this time I thought he was just skipping off work to drink. It never even once crossed my mind that he would be cheating on me. I thought he loved me.

I took the last drink of my beer and felt its power course through my body. My face was numb, my hands tingled, and my tongue felt thick.

I heard laughter from behind me. It made me sick. It made me sad. It made me angry.

She got up and went to the bathroom. He finished up the last of the beer and wiped the wetness away from his mouth with the back of his hand. She came out, he stood up, and they left, together.

When I tried to get up from the stool my legs gave out from under me and I went down on the floor. The bartender looked down at me.

“You okay down there?”

“Just having a bad day,” I said, trying to gather some strength to get up.

“You need to get some food in you, buddy. There’s a pizza place just around the corner.”

“Thanks, I’ll do that.”

I got up off the floor and headed out the door just in time to see my husband and his skanky ‘ho’ get into a red car. I wobbled over to the end of the plaza and got into mine. I was a bit woozy, but focused. I didn’t know what I was going to do; I was compelled to follow them.

They pulled out of the plaza and I followed, staying two cars behind. It was now almost 6:30 pm. I wondered what his excuse would be when and if he called me. Just then my cell phone pinged. I picked at my jacket pocket, trying to get it out while keeping my eyes on the road; it was difficult now that I was feeling good. I wasn’t lying when I told the bartender that I hadn’t eaten since yesterday. I had been sitting in the car since 4 am that morning. All I had ingested was a large double double from Tim’s.

“Sorry, have to work late, defective material.” No more, no less.

I threw the phone on the floor and kept driving. I followed them across town to a quiet street. Weeping willow trees lined each side of the street and all the front lawns had four foot hedges. Even though I followed at a distance, I was sure they would spot me since the traffic was sparse. When I saw the car’s signal light flash I felt a shot of adrenaline rush through my veins. I sped past, confident in my disguise. I stopped at the farthest end of the street, a few feet away from a Stop sign. Another street ran perpendicular and across that street was a park. From where I was parked I could see the rear end of the car. If they came back out I would see them. I turned off the engine and looked at my watch, 6:45 pm. I sat and waited, with the springs and sprockets of my mind churning.

A flash of lightning shot through the air. I hadn’t noticed the dark clouds which now hung overhead. I sat. I waited. I kept my eye on the rear view mirror. I rummaged through the convenience store bag and found the water. The booze was starting to wear off and I didn’t much care for the feeling that replaced it. I opened the glove compartment in search of something to eat and instead found something to drink, a half flask of vodka. I guess he forgot to get rid of his stash. I opened up the bottle and took a drink of the vodka and another shot of lightning raced across the sky.

I started to get the feeling that I was being watched. Or maybe it was my conscience. Either way I felt the need to get out of the car. If a strange car was parked in my neighborhood I would be wary. I put the cap back on the bottle and shoved it in my jacket pocket. It was getting quite dark and I knew it would rain soon, but I got out and made my way across the street to the park. If anyone had been looking they would hopefully think that I was taking a leisurely stroll. I walked through the woods, following a dirt trail, all the while keeping my eye on the rear end of the red car through the trees. I sat down on a rotting log and opened the vodka. It started to taste good.

I started thinking about all those late nights when my husband was supposedly working late. I knew when he was lying, a lot of things just didn’t add up. But now, sitting here on an old damp log, pieces of the puzzle started to fit. I thought about where he might have met her. I thought about how many times he had had sex with her. I took another drink and another. That warm fuzzy feeling found me again and I let it take me.

I jumped as a crack of thunder crashed through the sky above. I took another sip of the vodka and staggered when I got up.  I looked all around. There was no one. I looked up the street and down then noticed the parking lot. I glanced at my watch, 8:15 pm. The red car was still in the driveway. I made my way back to my car as a heavy downpour darkened the sky further. By the time I got across the road I was soaked. I started the engine and drove to the park parking lot. I then turned off the engine and finished the last of the vodka.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

A VALENTINE'S DAY THAT I WILL NEVER FORGET

I’ll never forget my very first Valentine date. And part of the reason that I will never forget it was because it was the only one EVER. 

It was a long time ago. I started seeing this guy off and on in the fall of one particular year. He was nice and we had fun together. We got along great and had one specific thing in common: each of us had just left a bad relationship. Sometimes such a thing can bring people together since talking about the past can be great therapy. Sometimes he would come to my place and sometimes I would go to his, and we would stay up until the wee hours of the morning just talking.

Time went on and we grew fond of one another and when Christmastime came we exchanged gifts. I bought him a nice wrist watch and he bought me a gold necklace and pendant. It turned out to be an enjoyable and quiet Christmas and we kept seeing each other after the holidays.

Then Valentine’s Day came up. Now to me, Valentine’s Day was just like any other day. I got up that morning and did the usual things. I remember that it was a Sunday because I slept in and was still wearing pajamas when he called me that afternoon and asked me to come over later that evening. I agreed, and took a stroll up the road to see him just before dark; his place was a ten minute walk up the road from where I was staying.

When I walked in the porch he seemed nervous to see me and when I entered the kitchen I understood why. A white linen tablecloth was spread on top of his old table and two lit candles stood in candle holders, a bottle of wine was chilling in a bucket of ice, and the table was set for two, with food already on the plates and wine glasses ready to be filled. 

Well, I was flabbergasted. I was totally taken aback and was at a loss for words. I stood there not knowing what to say. No one had ever done that for me before. 

“Happy Valentine’s Day,” he said.

I choked up and he came over and hugged me. 

That was the sweetest thing that anyone had ever done for me. It was the only Valentine’s Day that I can remember. It also came with a big heart-shaped box of chocolates and flowers. 

He pulled out a chair for me and I sat down. He sat opposite me and poured the wine. He had rice, steak, and potatoes on the plates. I started to cut my steak, but the knife wouldn’t go through.  The steak was like an old rubber tire—way overdone. He tried cutting his steak and then realized that it was overdone. He looked up and me, I looked back at him.

“How long did you cook this meat?” I said, laughing wholeheartedly. I poked the meat with a fork and held it up to him. 

He burst out laughing.  “I’m not sure. I was too busy scooping out potato trying to make those damn things that you said you liked.”  He pointed to the potato on my plate. “Try one.”

I scooped some of the filling: cheese, scallions, and bacon bits, and tasted it. “Oh, the filling is good, but why don’t you try one.” 

He poked one with his fork and the prongs bent.

Well, that was it. His face turned red as a beet, and for a moment I thought that he might get upset, but he started laughing, then I started laughing, and we laughed until the tears streamed down our eyes and our stomachs were sore. We laughed until all the nervous tension had dissipated. 

We drank a half bottle of wine and the food tasted better after that. The rice, which was very dry, was washed down with wine, the meat was okay with lots of steak sauce, and the potato filling was scooped out of every potato. He figured out later that the oven had stopped working during cooking so that’s why the potatoes weren’t done.

We talked and laughed over dinner and I told him the correct way of making potato skins, to cut lengthwise, and he said that he did not know his way around the kitchen and that he had never heard of potato skins before he met me. 

All in all in was a wonderful evening and I will never forget how special he made me feel. 


This is how potato skins are supposed to look.



Tuesday, February 17, 2015

99 THINGS GIRLS AND WOMEN NEVER FORGET ABOUT BOYS AND MEN






The first boy who chased her (in the playground).
The first boy who made her laugh.
The first crush she had on a boy.
The first time she wrote her name with a boy’s name.
The first time she was humiliated about liking a boy.
The first boy who had a crush on her.
The first boy who professed his love to her.
The first boy who stalked her.
The first boy she chased.
The first boy who rejected her.
The first boy she kissed.
The “first” time.
The time she was his “first.”
The first “he used her and she used him” relationship.
The first boy who talked “trash” about her.
The first drunken night with a boy.
The first boy she rejected.
The first bad relationship.
The first “make-up sex.”
The first boy who hit her.
The last boy who hit her.
The boy who got away.
The first boy she called, on the phone.
The first boy she spent all night talking to, on the street.
The boy she took to the prom.
The first boy she picked up at a bar.
The boy who gave her an STD.
The first time she got picked up at a bar.
The first “booty call.”
The first boy who gave her a gift.
The first boy who gave her flowers.
The first time she spent in a hotel with a boy.
The boy she was ashamed to be with.
The first boy she lived with.
The boy who scared her.
The boy she ran away from.
The boy who was “too good” for her.
The boy she was “too good” for.
The boy who “forced” himself on her.
The boy she married, out of fear.
The first boy who lied to her.
The boy who mentally/emotionally abused her.
The boy she divorced.
The boy who stalked her…in a good way.
The first boy who brought her take-out.
The first boy who “blew her mind.”
The boy who cooked a romantic dinner for her.
The boy who was ashamed to be with her.
The boy who betrayed her.
The boy who destroyed her.

The first man she met.
The first man who took her to a decent restaurant, with a white tablecloth.
The first man who didn’t feel threatened by her independence and strength.
The first man who treated her like an equal.
The first man who respected her.
The first man she respected.
The first man who never stopped wanting her.
The first man she never stopped wanting.
The first man who accepted her just the way she was.
The first man she accepted just the way he was.
The first man she shaved her legs and pits for, all the time.
The first man who took her to visit his parents.
The first man her parents liked.
The first man who asked her to marry him.
The man she went on a vacation with, south of the border.
The man she shared a home with.
The man who fathered her child.
The man who raised her child.
The man who supported her and his family.
The man who brought out the best in her.
The man she would do anything for.
The man she supported.
The man she confided in.
The man who confided in her.
The man who laughed and cried with her.
The man who had the same morals and values.
The man who took care of things, as they came up.
The man who knew the importance of spending time with family.
The man who never forgot an anniversary or birthday.
The man who took care of everything, including her, when she was sick.
The man who went to the pharmacy for “women things.”
The man who never let the passion dwindle.
The man she never let see the things men aren’t supposed to see.
The man who always kissed her passionately.
The man who loved Christmas.
The man who showed her off to all his friends.
The man she showed off to all her friends.
The man who believed in her abilities.
The man who spent hours in the rain just to get her concert tickets.
The man she took to her favorite concert.
The man she stood up for. 
The man who stood up for her.
The man she trusted.
The man who trusted her.
The man who never let himself “go.”
The man she never let herself “go” for.
The man who loved her deeply.
The man she loved deeply.
The man who grew old with her.











I found the following in my documents folder--I don't know who wrote it, where it came from, or how or when it found its way into my documents, but it's very interesting. Not meant to offend.


Here's to all the Real men out there:

Boys play house. Men build homes.

Boys shack up. Men get married.

Boys make babies. Men raise children.

A boy won't raise his own children. A man will raise his and someone else's. 

Boys invent excuses for failure. Men produce strategies for success.

Boys look for somebody to take care of them. Men look for someone to take care of.

Boys seek popularity. Men earn respect by knowing how to give it.

Boys quit and walk away when things get hard. Men will promise to love you through it all.




Tuesday, February 3, 2015

LOVE HURTS, OR DOES IT?

Remember the old Nazareth song “Love Hurts?”  

I was eight years old when Nazareth recorded the song in 1975. I wasn’t really into music then and the only songs I remember listening to on the transistor radio were Kung-Fu Fighting by Carl Douglas, Seasons in the Sun by Terry Jacks, and The Night Chicago Died by Paper Lace. As a matter of fact, I really didn’t dig it until my mid-teens when my step-father brought home an 8-track player, and mail ordering from Columbia House was all the rage. Even though Nazareth wasn’t the original band to play the song, it was the best version, especially for that era. It was a short song, but the rock and roll melody made it a classic.

From what I can remember, the first line goes like this:

Love hurts, love scars, love wounds, and mars… 

Now there were some pretty profound words. Well, at least for a fifteen year old who didn’t know if she was coming or going. They were relevant at the time. Heck, every song was relevant. It seemed every song I heard was directly related to my life. 

Now that I’m older, much older, I understand the song differently. Love doesn’t hurt, scar, or wound—people hurt you. Love is the most beautiful thing we have in this world. I believe it is the only thing that keeps us going. The world today is a very dangerous place, but we are able to cope because of love. 

In my experience, it’s the people close to you who say they love you who hurt you the most. The people with whom you share your life with are the ones who hurt you, and on purpose. Love helps you to forgive them. 

Love is there from the beginning of your life and stays with you until the end. It gets you through the good and bad times in your life, even when you feel it isn’t there. It endures through time. Love makes you see the good in things, the good in people, and the good in life itself.  

Love hurts? Seriously? Really? What was I thinking back then?

Monday, February 2, 2015

JESSIE TEMPLAR'S MYSTERY VALENTINE

“JJ!” 

Jessie Templar rushed to the kitchen table just in time to stop her mischievous kitten from chewing up the lovely roses that had just arrived. 

JJ scrambled from the table to the chair to her hideaway bed behind the sofa. 

“You little devil.”

Jessie went back down the hallway to the storage room once again to find the floral wrapping. When she came back out JJ was back on the table chewing on the leaves. 

“Holy mackerel, what’s wrong with this cat?” She chuckled and realized that screaming and bitching didn’t work with cats. She wrapped the roses and placed them on a high shelf. She took one last look around to make sure everything she cherished was tied down or up high, then went to work. 

Jessie owned and operated a small flower shop in downtown Brampton. She had inherited the shop from the previous owner who had left it to her in his will. He had passed away on Valentine’s Day exactly six years ago. Jessie had been his only employee and had been like a daughter to him. The man was never married and had no children or living relatives so Jessie had been the sole heiress. Jessie had liquidated most of the estate, except for the flower shop, and it had become such a lucrative business that she had to hire two other employees to keep up.  

“Hi, Jessie, Happy Valentine’s Day!” 

“Hi, Rose, same to you. How are we doing this morning?”

“Not many walk-ins, but the phone hasn’t stopped.” Rose was at the wrapping counter busy cutting, arranging, and wrapping. “Denise is in the back with the delivery guy.”

Jessie went to the back where Denise was flirting with the delivery guy. When she saw Jessie she said goodbye and sent him on his way. 

“Is he ever going to ask you out or what?” Jessie teased Denise. 

Denise laughed. “He’s shy. Besides, I kind of like the flirting, it’s so much fun, and nobody gets hurt.” 

Jessie agreed. Both of them had had their hearts broken before. All three girls were single and around the same age. Jessie made sure of that during the interviews. It was easier to work with like people. 

“Guess who got roses delivered this morning?” Jessie bragged.

“From your secret admirer?” 

“Yah, that’s the third time this week, and all it says on the card is: See you at the party. I’m starting to get a little nervous.” Jessie took the newly delivered flowers to the front to Rose and Denise followed with the rest.

“Do you think it’s someone who lives in the building?” 

“I don’t know. I should never have put up that party flyer on the bulletin board. God knows what kind of people are going to show up.” Jessie sighed and started helping Rose with the orders. 

“What’s going on? The party’s still on, right?” Rose said. 

“It’s her secret admirer; he sent roses again this morning.” Denise told Rose. 

“Really? And you have no idea who it is?”

Jessie looked up at Rose. “No, I don’t have a clue. I haven’t really seen anyone around. Most people in the building are just coming and going and apart from the odd person bumping into me trying to get in the elevator, it’s been pretty calm.”

“So how many people have responded?” Denise said.

“About 35. There may be a few stragglers, but I doubt that there will be more than 40. I hope not, my apartment’s not that big. Last night, I had to rearrange the living room and bring up some more chairs from the basement storage room. The place looks nice though. I put up a few decorations and the Champaign’s cooling on the balcony. I knew we were going to get more snow, payback, you know, where we had it so good last month.”

Denise and Rose laughed. 

“So how many men and how many women are coming?” Rose said.

“There are a few more women than men, but all are single, and the few people that I do talk to in the building are bringing other single guests, so it should be a good turnout.”

“Great, so when are you leaving here?” Denise said.

“Well, the party is due to start at eight, but there’s always someone coming early, so maybe you and I can leave around seven, that’ll give us time to get home, get changed, and set up.” 

Jessie looked at Rose. “Then you can come right over after closing the shop, by then things should be heating up.”

Rose nodded. 

The girls were excited and nervous and were quite busy for the rest of the day. 

Jessie and Denise left at seven and went back to Jessie’s to get things started. Both had changed into tight jeans and lace tops, fitting choices for Valentine’s Day. Candles were lit, soft music played, and the Champaign was cooled. The first guests arrived at quarter past eight. By the time Rose arrived, Jessie’s apartment was crowded, and everyone was engaged in conversation. 

“Oh my, this place is happening!” Rose said as she poured herself a glass of Champaign. “Any sign of you know who?” 

Jessie refilled her glass as Denise fought her way over. 

“Hi, Rose!” Denise was just a little tipsy. Rose laughed. Denise put an arm around Rose and kissed her cheek. 

“Ok, Denise, I love you, too.”

Denise grabbed the bottle and poured the rest of its contents in her glass. Rose and Jessie watched as she made her way back to her delivery guy. 

“It was so nice of you to invite Randall, Jessie.”

“Well, those two have been fooling around for the past six months; I figured someone had to do something.”  

They laughed and the question came up again.

“Yah, but what about your mystery guy, did he show?”

“Honestly, I don’t know, I’ve been talking to everyone, but nobody has given me the eye, if you know what I mean.”

Rose nodded. “Okay, well, I’m going to mingle, who’s that guy over there? Have you been talking with him?” She pointed at a tall dark haired man standing alone.

“Yah, he lives in the building, seems like a nice guy, he works at Rogers. Go get him Rose, free cable.”

They laughed then Rose went to mingle. Just then there was a knock at the door. When Jessie answered she couldn’t see a face, only a bouquet of yellow roses, and from the footwear, she could see that it was a man. 

“Hi,” Jessie stammered.

The flowers were pushed forward and down so that a face appeared. 

“Happy Valentine’s Day, these are for you,” said the man in the Prada loafers. He had a head full of layered blond hair, blue eyes, and teeth so white they gleamed. He smiled.

Jessie was dumbfounded. “Oh, ah, yes, yes, please come in. My name is Jessie. Welcome to the party.” She felt her face flush.

He followed her in and she shut the door. He raised the flowers again and she graciously accepted them. 

“I’m Eli. Did you get the rest of the flowers I sent?” 

Jessie smiled. “So, it’s you.” They stood there for a moment looking into each other’s eyes and smiling until it got weird. 

“Yes, thank you so much, they are scattered around the apartment. Would you like a glass of Champaign?” 

Her welcomed guest nodded. “That would be great, thanks.”  

Jessie pointed him toward the kitchen to where the Champaign chilled in the ice-filled sink. As she followed, her eyes went from the back of his thick wavy hair all the way down his royal blue silk shirt and his black casual pants to those tan colored Prada loafers, and all she could think about was his accent, his incredibly sexy Australian accent. She downed the rest of the Champaign feeling like she’d just won the lottery. 

“Help yourself, Eli, the glasses are over there.” Jessie pointed to the end of the counter. She opened the cupboard and was about to reach for a vase when Eli placed his hand on her shoulder.

“Here, allow me.” She looked at him; his eyes sparkled. She felt faint.

“Thanks,” was all she could muster. Excitement stirred within her and her legs felt wobbly. 

“No worries,” Eli said. He reached for the vase and filled it with water. She took a scissors and was about to cut the plastic wrap off when she noticed that it was her own store brand plastic wrap. Once again, their eyes met in a long lust filled gaze. The music and hum of conversation and laughing seemed to fade. He moved in close and took the scissors she’d been holding. She stood, smiling. He cut the plastic wrap and placed the flowers in the vase. 

“Where shall I put these?” he said.

Jessie took a bottle of Champaign out of the sink and grabbed two glasses. “Follow me.”

She led him down the hallway to the storage room. He followed her; she could feel his eyes move down her long brown hair and her skinny jeans to her favorite high heels. She entered the room and flicked the light switch. A dull yellow light set the mood. He followed her inside and before she closed the door she caught a glimpse of Rose and Denise, both sporting victory signs, and silly school-girl grins. 

“Have a seat.” She took the flowers from him and motioned to the counter height table and chairs that was set up in the corner. He sat down and she lit the centerpiece candle. She placed the glasses on the table, poured the Champaign, then sat down facing him. 

“Now, Mr. Eli, are you stalking me?”

They laughed, they talked, and they laughed some more. When the bottle was finished, Jessie got up to get another.

“I’ll be right back,” she whispered in his ear. 

“I’ll be waiting.”

When Jessie entered the kitchen she noticed that the party had calmed down and half the people had left. Rose was tidying up the kitchen counter and Denise was in Randall’s arms. When Denise eyed Jessie, she got up to interrogate her. 

“Is that him? Is that the mystery guy? Who is he? Does he live in the building?” Denise started.

“Jessie, he was my last customer at the store tonight.” Rose said. “He bought all the yellow roses we had left.”

“I know, I saw the wrapping paper.” Jessie said. “He’s from Australia and he just moved in. I haven’t seen him before tonight. And that accent! Holy mackerel, he’s so dreamy.” Jessie pinched herself.

“What are you doing?” Rose said.

“Making sure I’m not dreaming.” Jessie chuckled. “So where did everyone go?”

“A lot of people got paired up and left together, don’t worry, I made sure to thank everyone for coming, and I kept the food trays filled and the Champaign flowing.”

“Awesome, thanks, Rose; I didn’t think I was in the room for that long.”

Just then, Alex, the cable guy, came over to Rose. “Are you ready to go?” he said.

Jessie and Denise looked at Rose. In unison they said, “Are you leaving?”

“Yah, Alex and I are going to check out that new nightclub downtown, The Hungry Lion.”

“Okay, well, I’ll see you on Monday.” Jessie thanked Rose for her help and then Rose took Alex to the bedroom to get their coats. 

Denise was just about to drill Jessie some more when there came banging at the door. They were surprised, it was nearing midnight. 

“Who could that be?” Denise said.

The banging got louder. “I don’t know, but I had better answer it before they break down the door.”

Jessie opened the door and a young girl came barging in screaming, “Where is he, where is that lying, no-good piece of shit.” She was clearly intoxicated.

“Excuse me!” Jessie turned to the girl and grabbed her by the arm. “Hey, just a minute, you can’t come barging in here like that! What do you want? Who are you looking for?” 

Denise stood by the door, ready to throw the crazy chick out if she didn’t cooperate.

“Eli, where’s Eli, I know he’s here!” 

Jessie’s heart sank as she let go of the girl’s arm.

Eli came out of the room toward the door.

She came at him with arms flailing. “You liar, your liar, you’re nothing but a liar!”

He tried to calm her down, but she was wild, they were both entangled. Eli was trying to grab her arms and the crazy chick was trying to slap him.

Alex came up the hallway and Randall came out of the living room. When they saw what was happening they grabbed Eli and shoved him out the door. The girl, tripped over the pile of boots, and also went flying out the door. Both the girl and Eli were now arguing in the stairwell. Alex closed the door and they all stood there for a moment. Everything had happened so fast. Someone had turned off the music and the remaining guests were looking on in disbelief. 

“What the heck was that?” Rose broke the silence. 

Denise, who was half in the bag, answered, “I think you know what that was.” She looked at Jessie. “Jessie, I’m so sorry.”

“Don’t worry about it; I knew it was too good to be true.” 

She looked up at her guests and apologized, someone had turned the music back on, but the atmosphere had been ruined. Rose took Jessie by the arm and went to the kitchen, Denise followed. They stood around the counter, speculating about what just happened. The rest of her guests stayed for a little while longer, until they no longer heard the arguing in the stairwell, then they left. Jessie thanked everyone for coming and they were all grateful for a wonderful time, and some wild entertainment. Rose and Alex stayed until Jessie told them to go and have a good time. Denise and Randall were the last to leave.

“Jess, are you sure you’re going to be okay?” Denise felt bad.

“It’s okay.” Jessie was still in shock, but the Champaign had dimmed the senses somewhat. 

“Listen, I’ll come over tomorrow and help you clean up.”

“Yah, sounds good, have a good time. Take care of her Randall.” They said goodnight and then Jessie was alone.

She went to the kitchen and got that bottle of Champaign she had planned on sharing with Eli. Instead of pouring a glass, she went to the medicine cabinet and got some Tylenol. She took two tablets with a glass of water and then went to her bedroom. JJ had been waiting patiently. She put on her fleece pjs and got into bed. JJ kneaded a spot on the opposite pillow, curled into a ball, and started to purr. 

“Happy Valentine’s Day, JJ.”

JJ kept purring.

Jessie closed her eyes, but sleep did not come easy.