This is a very serious and sad excerpt of a story mostly funny. It’s a peek into the dark side of my hero’s sad life
You’re Cheatin’ Heart
Kayla was sound asleep, and on any other night I would have been asleep too, knowing Tina would come home after she was done with her shift. First maybe have a drink or two before coming home. I worked in many a restaurant and a few shots after service was common. But this wasn’t any other night. This was the night I was confronting Tina. I had been relatively certain she had been cheating on me, but now I had some hard to dispute evidence. Her best friend and normal excuse for being late called looking for Tina a few hours ago, and on the counter sat a receipt signed by her from the Miller Edge Motor Inn. I laid in wait in the darkness as my anger percolated. When I heard her car pull up a rush of adrenaline churned in my gut then gathered in my head. I was shaking. This was it!
The second she walked through the door my fears were confirmed. Her face wore an all telling satisfied smile. The kind of smile I remembered seeing so often after our nights at the Jade Feather before we were married. That freshly laid smile. It cut deep into my heart. Here it goes. “So where ya been babe?” Tina was startled, caught off guard not expecting me to be awake. I could feel the nervousness in her lie. “Oh, Joanne and I stopped of for a drink and it turned into 4 or five. We had some late customers and Jo and Jacob are having problems again.” I took a deep breath, anger growing by the second. “That’s really odd because Joanne called about two hours ago to remind you that you promised to cover her shift tomorrow.” The silence sat for an extremely uneasy four seconds as Tina began to attempt a backtrack. “Oh, did I say Joanne, I meant” I cut her off instantly” Stop the bullshit Tina! Stop it right now. You weren’t with Joanne or any other work friend. But I think I can guess where you were. More than likely at the Millers Edge Inn. It seems like that’s where you like to go, at least according to that receipt that was in your coat pocket.” I held the receipt out tyo her in a shakey hand. My body responding involuntarily to the ssour mix of anger, nervousness, and anxiety. She just stared, eyes wider than I thought possible. Busted! She had nowhere to take it. She looked down at the floor. Her face was flushed blueish red from the guilt and the sex drugs and alcohol that were more than likely involved. She raised her head, eyes now pathetic an pooling up with tears. At the same time they were profoundly sad eyes. It must have taken all she had to issue a sad mumble of “I-I’m sorry JT. I’m so so sorry.” A sniffle for an exclamation point.
“You’re sorry? Sorry about what Tina? Sorry that you’ve been fucking somebody behind my back or sorry you got caught?” My face must have been bright crimson red because I could feel rivulets of livid red blood cells swirling around my face. I wasn’t done yet. “ I have been faithful, all the time faithful. We had a fucking pact Tina, we’ve both been fucked over before and swore we would never o that to each other.“ The next question asked itself because I son’t remember thinking it. Who is it? Who are you sleeping with? Someone from the kitchen? A waiter? Who the hell are you fucking?” She paid no attention to the fact that it was more a demand than a question, Through her tears she softly asked, “JT please, does it really matter?” Actually a fair question but for some reason I felt I had to know. “It makes a difference to me, Tina, me your husband. You‘re partner for life!!” Tina looked up at me and streams of tear had begun sliding down her cheeks. “Please JT, don’t make me, it isn’t important. I ssis it and I’m sorry. I don’t know what you want me to say.” Head still burning hot with anger my voice was getting a bit too loud. “I’ll tell you what I want you to say, I want you to say it didn’t happen. But it’s too late for that now isn’t it Tina. So I guess I’ll just have to settle on knowing who it is I can blame for ruining my life.” My sarcastic tone was over the top and I regretted the moment I used it, but fuck man, I was pissed! She looked at me defiantly and just spat out his name. “Johnny” A Louisville Slugger of shock cracked me dead in the temple. Sent resounding waves of disbelief across my skull. My head throbbed with a combination of bewilderment and almost uncontrollable anger. Johnny?! Fucking Johnny boy, the love of her life before we started dating. The very dude I had taken her from, who abused her, calledd her names, and cheated on her right under her nose!. The mother fucker she cried to me about for weeks after they broke up. The piece of shit that treated her like dirt for years. I couldn’t breathe. I was aware of how loud it had gotten and didn‘t want Kayla to wake up. Choked with incredulousness my voice sounded squeezed .“Johnny. You mean Johnny boy the fuckhead that you hate? That fucking Johnny? I can’t believe this! How the fuck did this happen?” Now her tears were in full flight and forcing their way through her finger. Tina was shaking visibly and breathing in uneven pants. “It doesn’t matter.” Fury was at an all time high. “Stop saying it doesn’t matter. It does matter. It really does fucking matter!”
After a deluge of wet sobs Tina attempted to explain herself. “I went out for a drink with the girls after work last week and Johnny was there. He came over and we started talking. Just talking, nothing else. He wanted to tell me how sorry he was and wanted to be friends again, we had a few drinks, one thing led to another and I-I don’t know. It just happened.” I was still in stun mode and the anger needed to escape in the worst way. “It just happened?” I was pissed and I could hear Tina sobbing heavily. “Something like that doesn’t just happen Tina. That’s bullshit. You have to know that something might happen. You say to yourself, this is a bad situation, this is wrong. This asshole fucked me over an now I’m talking to him. I can’t do this cuz I’m married. I’m happily married and….” The Louisville Slugger struck again, this time filled with reality. “Wait! Shit! Oh my godd no!? Oh no no no. Oh shit Tina. You’re not happy are you!? You were hoping. Oh Jeu god you were looking for someone or something that would free you out of ….of life with me. An unhappy like with me! What about Kayla? Are you unhappy about Kayla too?” Now Tina’s face looked distorted. The sockets of her eyes were sunken and wrinkled, deep reddish brown from so much rubbing, Soaked through and through from an all out cry. Every pore of her face looked sad and defeated. He looked old to me for the first time. Oh my fucking god id she hate me that much? I was consumed by a combination of anger, betrayal, guilt, sadness and deep self loathing. My old pal, the demon of self hate. How I hated myself so back a few years. Back when I told Carrie about my theory that everyone that gets to know me either dies or leaves. That’s probably why I got so fucked up all the time, did so many drugs. Fuck man, even I couldn’t stand being near myself. Why should Tina feel any different. The years of confidence building collapsed in a single instant. I was crushed and beginning to understand it was my fault. But Tina was clearly blaming herself too. Neither of us were able to talk. All we could do was shake and cry and sniffle. How did it come to this? I poured myself a huge glass of straight vodka from the freezer. It was half gone in a matter of seconds, and being a half empty type of guy at this moment I filled back up, then emptied it.
We sat in silence for about ten minutes until Tina found the courage to talk. “Now what JT? Where so we go from here?” I thought for a few seconds, said ”I don’t know Tee, I just don’t know.” My voice had taken on an eerie even tone and I almost didn’t recognize it. “I think I need to go home to Centerlawn and think things through. And I think you need to think too. I guess we both need to figure out what we want. But I guess this is over” Surprisingly Solomonic. Tina just stared at me with a profound sorrow in her eyes so deep it made her look totally detached from life. “I am so so sorry JT. Its all my fault. I don’t even no where to begin.” I put my finger up to her lips, “Shh, there plenty of blame to go around. I’ve been so consumed with work and, fuck man I don’t know what. I-I just never saw this coming. We both fucked up. Maybe we should never have been, I don’t kmow. Like I said, I need to think shit through. I gotta split. I’m going home to my Moms, I need to think. I’ll be back to see Kayla after work tomorrow.” I pounded down another glass of vodka and took what was left of the bottle. I could hear Tina sobbing loudly in the background as I walked out the door. I took one last look at our home, our once happy home and could see Kayla’s window. Her parents had just become the monsters under her bed. I thought about Kayla and broke down and cried again. Not a soft cry, not even a cry like I had when my brother James died. This was a deep guttural cry with an ugly darkness. I have lost Tina, I lost my dignity, and worst of all I lost Kayla. All in the blink of an eye. I blew Kayla’s window a kiss through my tears, wiped off my soaked cheeks and took a seep breath. I got in my car and left. I wondered if I was ever coming back.