I threw the dishtowel down, grabbed my purse, and stormed out of the house. I raced to the garage, hopped in my car, and drove off down the driveway like the devil was after me. I drove around the block a few times then stopped. Sitting under a tree at the park, I smoked a few cigarettes not exactly sure what was going on. Picking up my phone, I called Tania.
“Hey you, did ya get everythin’ unpacked? I don’t believe how many dirty clothes I have. It’s a good thing we weren’t there longer or I’d be doin’ laundry for a week just to catch up.” When I didn’t answer, she sighed. “What’s wrong now?”
“I had a fight with Mike.”
“I expected that. What was it about?”
I sighed, lighting another cigarette. “He was bitchin’ about everythin’.”
“He didn’t like the way I cut the vegetables for the salad so I dumped ’em down the garbage disposal. I figured we could order pizza.”
I exhaled smoke. “Yeah, but he didn’t want pizza.”
“He had something else in mind?”
“He wanted me to cook. Never mind that I just got home an’ might be tired. There’s nothin’ to cook until I go to the grocery store.”
“When he returns from a business trip, I still have to do everythin’ an’ he doesn’t move. He’s too tired from jet lag, but for me, he expects me to cook him a seven-course meal. He’s just tryin’ to pick a fight with me.”
“Well… not that I’m defendin’ him, but think about it.”
I gasped. “You’re not…”
“Don’t get mad. Hear me out first. Think about it from his point of view. You didn’t talk to him for over a week. You were hangin’ with me, who he doesn’t like. You an’ I were on the beaches of California with surfers an’ all kinds of hot guys. Again, you were with me.”
“Whose side are you on?”
“Yours, but imagine the tables are turned. He goes off with a man whore that you can’t stand. They go to the beaches of California with hot babes. He never answers his phone. He gets home an’ gives ya some flimsy ass excuse why. Wouldn’t you be fit to be tied?”
I couldn’t believe she was defending him! However, unfortunately… she made sense. I would be pissed. He wouldn’t have been able to make things right. He’d be walking on eggshells for the next month, if not longer. “Yeah, I guess.”
She chuckled. “No. No guessin’ to it. You’d be callin’ me every night, cussin’ his ass out. We would’ve booked a flight to catch him in some seedy motel with some bimbo. I know ya better than that.”
As much as she was right, I wasn’t ready to let this go yet. Some of the things he said were just wrong. “True, but he claimed he let me go on this vacation. He didn’t let me do shit.”
“Maybe in his eyes he did.”
“Bullshit. He whined about it from the moment he found out. If he knew how many fuckin’ lies I told to go on this vacation… I really wanted to tell him each an’ every one after that.”
“No. That’s not a good idea. He’s probably just ventin’ without tellin’ ya why he’s really mad.”
“Yeah, but would he claim to let me go after hearin’ all the connivin’ I did? Oh, let me guess… then he would have let me do all that too?” I took a long drag off my cigarette.
“Well, I kinda think that conversation would go in a totally different direction.”
It was at that very moment that desperation packed up and left. After all, its job was finished. The only thing left was an overwhelming sense of guilt. I suddenly missed desperation.
I sighed. “He did say I was actin’ like a drama queen.”
“Maybe ya really are. Maybe you’re usin’ him as a punchin’ bag for the guilt ya have over cheatin’ on him or leavin’ Corey.”
“No. I’m mad at him. It’s like everythin’ has to be his way or no way. I’m sick of it! He knew which buttons to push an’ he pushed every one of ’em! He’s not my daddy! He doesn’t tell me what to do! If he wanted to boss someone around, he should’ve helped me get pregnant. Now, he’s the one that needs to get a dog.”
She laughed. I found it annoying that she found humor in a situation where I was ready to kill. “Lyse, this is nothin’ new. It’s the way things have been for ten years. He’s a control freak. Ya didn’t have any problem livin’ with it up until now. Why do ya think that is?”
I knew what it was. Mike had always been a control freak and had to have things his way. Usually, I just caved to get him to shut up. Corey was just the opposite unless we were in bed. In fact, he did things because I wanted to. “I can’t stop thinkin’ about Corey.”
“Exactly. That’s your issue that you have to deal with now that this is done.”
“Well, it’s his fault I can’t stop thinkin’ about him.”
“It’s whose fault?”
I rolled my eyes with her inability to keep up. “It’s Mike’s fault.”
“How? What happened?”
“He kissed me.”
“Ohhhh. His kisses reminded you of Corey? That’s a little odd.”
“When Mike kisses, he slobbers all over my face.”
“Corey is an excellent kisser. Mike doesn’t even compare.”
“You’ve gotta stop comparin’ ’em.”
“Yeah, but it’s like…” I sighed. I cringed as the truth hit me. “…a slug rollin’ around in my mouth.”
“Double Ew. You have to stop. Ya can’t keep comparin’ Corey to Mike or you’re gonna drive yourself crazy.”
“There was somethin’ about Mike that attracted you to him.”
“…an’ for the life of me, I can’t remember what it was.”
“You’re gonna have to try.” She sighed. “Just remind yourself that this is your life. Ya gave your heart to your husband eleven years ago, surely that counts for somethin’.”
“Yeah, but now my heart’s back on the beach with Corey.”
“One week isn’t enough time to take your heart from your husband.”
“Ya wouldn’t think so, but it is!”
“Ya can’t give away somethin’ that someone else already possesses. Think of Corey as nothin’ more than that dream ya have when ya don’t know who the dream guy is.”
I groaned. “Yeah, but I know who that guy is.”
“Imagine him like most men.”
“What does that mean?”
“Picture him sittin’ on the toilet, with his foot in his hand, bitin’ his toenails.”
I cringed. “I don’t even wanna know about the guys ya go out with. That’s truly disgusting.”
“True, but ya don’t know if he does that or not. Ya don’t know him. You do know your husband.”
I sighed. Why did the single girl, counseling the married woman, actually make sense? “Okay, ya make sense for a change. I’ll try.”
“Good, now go back to your husband, an’ make this right. I still have a ton of laundry to do before I go out tonight. However, I need some clean clothes for work tomorrow.”
“Thanks, Tania. I don’t know what I’d do without ya.”
“That’s what sisters are for.”
As much as I didn’t want to admit it, maybe I did overreact. I wondered if there was any more guilt that could be piled on. I pulled back into the driveway and Mike sat on the back of his car. His hands were in his hair and he looked like he was ready to cry.
He smiled when I pulled in, rushing over. Opening my door, he pulled me into his arms. “Baby, I’m sorry. When you didn’t call, I got so worried.”
“I’m sorry, Mike. I’m just so tired from the flight. I don’t mean to take it out on you. That an’ work is a mess. It just has my head all messed up.”
He brushed his hand down my face. “Welcome home again. I don’t want to fight with you, baby. I just want things to be perfect again.”
“I want that too.”
“How about we go say hello the proper way, and then get a glass of wine and take it from there.”
“Mm, that sounds heavenly.”
He practically pulled me up the stairs. I laughed as I ran, a little anxious to be with him too. It was time to get back to my life. Corey served his purpose… hopefully.
He practically threw me on the bed, stripping off his shirt. “I’m going to show you how much I missed you.”
Damn, he was sexy. I laughed as he bent down to kiss me.
Fifteen minutes later, we sat around the table sipping on wine. I wiped off the slug trail. I’m not sure what I expected. I thought, or rather hoped for something a little more. It was going to be hard to get things back on track after living ten days with Corey that meant more than ten years with Mike… apparently.
I know what you’re thinking. I’m a horrible person. Believe me. I thought the same thing. I was trying to fall back in love with my husband when I was in love with another man. To be honest with you, I’m really not sure why he and I got married. We had nothing in common. At one time, I thought our sex was great. Then I found out it wasn’t even good. It’s crude, but true.
I was back in my real life with my husband. The man had no problems charming people. He was a great looking guy with a wonderful body. He was funny, but he wasn’t the man I loved anymore. I did more than cheat on my husband. I ruined our marriage. Not because my husband knew I cheated, which was guilty enough, but because I truly wanted to be with another man. I couldn’t and it was killing me inside.
My soul was homesick for its mate and died a little bit more each day.
“I’m sorry, baby. I guess I missed you more than I thought. I’ll make up for it later.”
The thought of having to kiss him again turned my stomach. I really didn’t want to have sex with him either. How was this going to work?
I thought about telling him the vacation changed me. I thought about telling him I couldn’t stand him. I didn’t want him to touch me because he made my skin crawl. I really thought about booking a flight back to California.
Instead, I hopped into my boring role.
I patted the top of his hand, giving my usual smile. “That’s okay, honey. Remember, sometimes quick an’ satisfyin’ makes me very happy.”
…and I lied my ass off.