Wednesday, February 25, 2015


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.