This is a very serious and sad excerpt of a story written from a normally humorous POV. It’s a peek into a portion of the dark side of JT’s life or it may just be a distorted reflection from your own mirror
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 having a few “pops” after service was common. But this wasn’t any other night. This was the night I was confronting Tina. The green eyed monster was surely one of my less positive traits and has arrived too often under false pretenses, but I had been relatively certain she had been cheating on me No false pretenses this time though because tonight I have hard evidence. Her best friend and normal excuse for being late called earlier looking for Tina. Not much by itself but on the counter sat a receipt signed by her for a room at The Millers Grove Motor Inn. Of all places it had to be a motel bursting with happy memories of intense sexual excursions we had under the ceiling mirrors and on vibrating beds. I laid in wait in the darkness feeling my anger percolate. 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 bore an all telling freshly satisfied smile. The kind of smile I remembered seeing so often after our nights at the motel before we were married. It cut deep into my heart and made it hard to breath. 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 now!! You weren’t with Joanne or any other waitress friend. But I think I can guess where you were. More than likely at the Millers Grove Inn. It seems like that’s where you like to go, at least according to that receipt that was in your coat pocket.” I pointed to the receipt my finger shaking intensely. My body responding involuntarily to the sour 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 unable to meet my burning angry eyes. Her face was flushed bluish red from the guilt and sex as well as the drugs and alcohol that were likely involved. She raised her head, eyes now pathetic an pooling up with tears as they held me hostage in anticipation. Her moist red eyes became pathetic and profoundly sad . It must have taken all she had to issue a sad mumble of “I-I’m sorry JT. I’m so so sorry.” She managed a sniffle for an exclamation point but I was miles and miles away from being ready to accept an apology.
“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 head and I felt my Yeah you do cuz we’ve both been fucked over before and swore we would never do it to each other. I fucking trusted you Tina! I can’t fucking believe this.” The next question asked itself because I don’t remember thinking it. “So who is it? Who are you fucking Tina? Someone from the kitchen? A waiter? Who the hell are you sleeping with?” 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, to me, to your husband. Remember him? 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 made a mistake and I’m sorry. I don’t know what you want me to say.” Head still burning hot with anger and distain my voice was getting a bit too loud. “I’ll tell you what I want you to say, I want you to say you didn‘t do it. I want you to say I haven’t been with anyone else but you can’t. It’s too late for that now isn’t it Tina. So I want to at least know who I can blame for ruining my life. Who is your fucking boy toy?” My sarcastic tone was over the top and I regretted the moment I used it, but fuck it man, I was beyond pissed! She looked at me defiantly and just spat out his name. “You really want to know JT? Okay I’ll tell you who I made love to, it was Johnny” The Louisville Slugger of shock cracked me dead in the temple sending 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 saved her from. The worthless prick who abused her, called 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 as I begged her to leave him. 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 hated? 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 fingers. 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 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 week a coupla weeks ago and Johnny was there. He came over and we just 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 returned this time filled with reality. “Wait! Shit! Oh my god no!? Oh no no no. Oh shit Tina. You’re not happy are you? You were hoping. Oh Jesus god you were looking for someone or something that would free you out of ….of life with me. An unhappy life with me!” Anger was giving way to an old nemesis, my self loathing alter ego I believed to be dead had risen triumphantly. My loud rambling was replaces with a soft voice of reality, of self degradation. “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. She looked old and haggard with her face soaked through and through from an all out cry. Every pore of her face looked sad and defeated. I wondered how I must have looked at that moment. Oh my god did 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 self hate. I had truly hated myself morosely a few years ago when I first 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 f. The years of confidence building collapsed in a single instant. I was crushed and beginning to understand that it was my fault. Tina clearly had to share in the blame too but the reality was she didn’t love me anymore. 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 vodka from the freezer which was half gone in a matter of seconds, and being a half empty type of guy at this moment I filled back up before emptying it in one gulp.
We sat in silence for about ten minutes until Tina found the courage to talk. “So what now JT? What are we going to do now?“ I thought for a few seconds then said ”I don’t know Tee, I just don’t know.” My voice had taken on an eerie even tone which I almost didn’t recognize. “I think I needed to go home to Centerlawn and think shit through. And I think you need to decide what you want to do too. I guess we both need to figure out what we want but as far as our marriage well, thats over” Surprisingly Solomonic after such an emotional roller coaster. 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’s 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 know. 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 the Tot Finder in Kayla’s window. Her parents have 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 self worth, and worst of all I’m gonna lose 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 deep breath. I got in my car and left wondering if I was ever coming back.