Oh, the drama!
TNT only thinks they know drama. Since my blog stats show I have the most views on the posts regarding the sordid tales of my past, I figured what the heck. Let them eat cake!
The damage was done. But as the marriage was falling apart, things were coming together for me. A couple of months prior, after only having been married a year and a half, I realized that there was someone else. I didn’t have to work very hard to figure it out. First, there were little things, like his actually caring about his appearance. One day I noticed he was wearing a gold hoop in each ear, something he hadn’t done for quite some time. “Are you a pirate now?” I asked lightly, jokingly. “It looks good,” he shrugged. Then he added thoughtfully, “Sexy.” I raised an eyebrow. “Someone tell you that?” He didn’t answer. He didn’t have to.
He became strangely protective of the cell phone he was given for work. It never used to ring after hours, but suddenly his job as a courier became very demanding. His tasks were apparently top secret too, as he would speak in muted tones. He’d even take the phone with him into the bathroom. Not even the master bath, he’d head to the guest bath. One day I walked out of the bedroom as he was talking. Sweetly. Softly. “No, not tonight,” he said. “Yeah. Maybe. I sure hope so.” He hung up and turned around, and he might as well have had CHEATING SCUMBAG written on his forehead. “That was Jeff,” he said. “We’re going to play basketball tomorrow night.” Unable to hold my tongue, I snapped, “You sure talk sweet to Jeff. You sure you’re just going to play basketball?”
A private investigator confirmed he didn’t go play basketball. Instead, he was at another co-worker’s home with The Girl. This other co-worker was facilitating their budding romance. The investigator also enlightened me to the fact that one of the video stores I’d seen frequently on bank statements was actually the kind with flashing neon XXX signs in the covered windows.
As I said once before, he was confronted. He admitted only to dating The Girl. He agreed to counseling. At counseling, he said he didn’t love me. He almost passed a brick when I said I wanted to work through it. He continued to see her, though, and continued to expect me to believe that Jeff was actually Jeff. The pastor we were seeing told him to grow some balls (the pastor’s words) and tell me if it was over. I didn’t feel right about leaving. Not yet.
Not until the day I was doing laundry and pulled out one of her shirts. Oh, I wish I was kidding. I was taking laundry he’d done out of the dryer so I could do mine, and out came a Super Bowl XXXV t-shirt. Size Small. He seemed to rush to the garage and came to the doorway as I stood holding the shirt out in front of me. “That’s yours,” he said. “I don’t think so,” I replied and tossed it to him. “Finish your laundry.” That was when I knew it was time. I left the room and waited for him to finish. I loaded the dryer and gathered my thoughts. I went into the guest room, where he’d taken up residence, and told him that it was clear he didn’t want to make an effort, no matter what he said. I would ask my employers (attorneys) for help with starting the divorce.
It was easy for him, wasn’t it? All he had to do was whatever the heck he wanted, and I was going to clean up the mess. It’d been that way for a while.
But for some reason, he didn’t take the neatly wrapped package of a simplified divorce. He went home for a weekend without me and was pressed as to where I was. Asked repeatedly if everything was okay. He flatly told me that he wanted things to be the way they were — ever so unconvincingly. He knew it was time to go.
The weekend that he was supposed to leave, my sister (my hero) moved in. She handed me her rent in cash, did a couple of household repairs, and introduced me to the cat she was babysitting. She knew the cat might become hers for good, and she also knew that my cat was leaving with the soon-to-be-ex.
He walked in as she was arranging her things. To put it mildly, they were never fond of one another. My sister knew from Day One that he was bad news. (She has a gift.)
“Why does she have a cat?” he demanded.
“Because you’re taking Val,” I answered. Duh.
“So that’s it? You’re just giving up? It’s over?” Hadn’t we already been through this?
“You’re the one that had the affair.”
“We never had sex!” he insisted. Having done some simple detective work, I’d discovered some evidence. I smoothly walked out to his Jeep and grabbed the box of Trojans that were on his floorboard. I brought the box in from the garage and held it up. “Count them,” he said defiantly.
I reached my hand into the already open box and pulled out a wrapper. An open, empty wrapper. (Okay, seriously, who puts the empty wrapper back in the box??)
He went ballistic. For some reason, the object of all of his anger became my sister, or her cat. He plowed through me, pushing me through the closed bedroom door, and charged in their direction. Somehow he was removed from the room, and my sister and I locked ourselves in the bedroom. “Call the police,” she demanded. We did, and the dispatcher kept us on the line while we heard things crashing in the rest of the house. The front door opened and shut, and we explained to the dispatcher that he would be easy to find — he was storming around the neighborhood wearing only boxers and socks. Then there was a knock at the door, and I guess I thought it would be the police. Nope. Him. To this day, I can’t tell you what I was thinking, but I let him back in. If my sister is reading this and replaying the night in her mind, I know she’s still baffled as well.
I rushed back into the master bedroom and locked the door again. There was more noise from the living room and kitchen, then shouts. More crashes. The dispatcher told my sister we were going to need to get out of the house and go to where a police car was waiting. Down the street. (Can anyone explain that to me?) We readied ourselves. The front door was just beyond the bedroom door. We left the phone on the dresser, with the dispatcher still on the line, and slowly opened the door. We jumped to the front door and opened it. He saw us and shouted, “What the —-?!” “RUN!” my sister yelled. I tore out the door with her following close behind. I looked up and she was ahead of me. It was like the opening scene of “Baywatch” set to the theme from “Cops” as we bolted down the street to the awaiting patrol car.
We made it to the police car and they instructed us to sit in the back. On the glass partition there was a cartoon of a convict in black and white striped clothes, complete with a mask and matching beanie. “Is he still in the house?” one officer asked. We looked down the street to the house and saw that the garage door was lifting. “He’s leaving!” another officer said. In the blink of an eye, red and blue lights were flashing all around us — I hadn’t realized how many police vehicles were there. We watched as two cars went in separate directions, and the low speed chase ended almost as quickly as it began. He was blocked in. Then he was arrested.
At some point I’d been given a phone. I called my mom and soon she and my dad were with my sister and I back in the house as we wrote down our statements. They told us they’d brought him in on assault and battery charges (going after my sister, shoving me through the door), as well as an outstanding warrant for a theft at his last place of employment. He was going to be held on suicide watch.
He pretended to get arrested when he proposed. Foreshadowing much?