|lost my photo credit...oops!|
Mr. Scabs and I have worked together to write this post.
Although I form the sentences, many of these words are his own. Trying to capture raw honesty from the past.
The wheels are burning, riding the slopes down from the mountains and back home. I'm driving fast. Love the all-wheel drive on this Subaru! I'm in control. Bending into the twists and turns of the pavement.
My wife's steaming in the seat next to me. Demanding I slow down. She never trusts me. Not even my driving and I'm the best driver I know. The kids are snoring in the back seat and the hot breath of my dogs fog the rear window. Even the dogs piss her off! Camping this weekend with our friends was a bust. I yelled. She yelled. It's so frustrating. Everything blows up! Geez, what's her fetching problem?
But, I know her problem.
5 months ago I confessed about my exotic mini-vacation overseas and how I'd possibly gone to a dance club and had a few drinks and then maybe I got a blow job from one of the dancers, once. I deserve it.
Of course, none of that is the truth, but it's enough to get her off my back.
Anyway, how am i supposed to get with her when she hates me? There's no love, we're empty, abandoned. She hates me. I can't touch her. She doesn't smile. We don't laugh. If she won't give me love I've got to find it somewhere. I'm so alone.
Driving in cold silence, the road flattens, descending from the mountains into the valley where we live. Our mood flattens too. The hot steamy anger we felt earlier has vaporized. Putting the argument behind us, we decide to go home, clean up and take our kids out to eat.
Yet something happens between cleaning up and going out. It's confusing and almost hypnotic. I hear the office door click shut. My heart stops. There she is, standing next to my desk, her eyes clear and perceptive. As if she can see through my camouflage. Straight past my dual life. She can see what i refuse to acknowledge.
My wife, my friend, the woman I choose, the woman I love asks one question,
"Have there been other women?"
I don't know how, but I'm broken. Hit with a heavy ax, I split like a dry log. Splinters flying in every direction. The pressure of secrets bulging at my seams, crushing the valves in my heart, choking the flow of my blood. Pain threatening to dispose of me as my eyes ache, dry and itchy. Oxygen strangles, struggling in the shrinking passage of my throat and I can't swallow. I can't breathe. There's no way I can tell the truth. No way.
Five years earlier I spied from the safety of my truck. Parked a few spaces away from the OK Massage parlor, I watched a man. He's a regular guy. A regular husband who drives a regular sedan, a family car, he's walking toward the red "OPEN" sign hanging in the tinted windows of the parlor. I ate my sandwich and made a few phone calls while I waited. Nothing was unusual about his face as he left his happy ending. Opening his regular looking car door and driving home to his regular life.
Another time, I was the regular man with the regular car. Entering the parlor was like being in the lobby of a low-end dentist. There are cheap plastic chairs and regular office magazines covering the tables. The tinted sliding glass window opens and an Asian woman asks if she could help.
"How much for a massage?"
She answers. I said ok and left.
Other times, I'd go in and the woman behind the glass would lead me to a back room where I would pay full price. But, it isn't that bad. That's not the real me. That part of my life doesn't exist. Unknown and hidden from eyes and ears. I can't feel it. I'm not that man.
Again, she asks,
"Have there been other women?"
The nitty-gritty truth. I'm frozen. The truth makes me look bad. The truth means I'd have to see myself. I can't. She hates me and the truth would destroy everything. My eyes glazing, I hear the impatience in her voice. I could lie again. If she doesn't know maybe she could believe I'm not that bad of a guy. Maybe she could love me.
Like a primal reflex the words spew from my mouth spilling like water into sand. Endless. Submerging into her conscience. Soaking her with my betrayal.
"There have been other women."
An awful silence, a blackout.
She turns and grabs the car keys. The roar of the engine fades away and she disappears.
Numbness takes hold of my body spreading from my fractured mind and my leperous heart. Wandering as a shadow of myself. I don't know what to do. A sudden stabbing pain as I feel for my children. What have I done?!! It's over. My life extinguishing with every breath.
I'm a broken man, laying open. Diseased puss frothing from my chest. Exposed. I'm an outcast, marooned in my own hell.