Author's note: This week's story is a little different for me. I wanted to do something that several of you have asked for. A story where the husband doesn't get angry and turn into a Green Beret or MMA fighter and kick everyone's ass. He's just a normal, shell shocked guy with no plans for world domination beginning with ruining his ex and her new man's lives. He just leaves it up to Karma. And gets on with his life. If you don't like it, don't worry. next week will be something different and I'm working on something special for Halloween. Thanks for reading it. And a special thanks to Mikothebaby for editing this story. SS06.
* * * * * *
I have to admit, I never saw this coming. My car was running rough. It needed to be serviced and I didn't have the money for it. I probably shouldn't be driving it, but I had no choice. I closed the door and saw the looks of people around me as I got out. My BMW didn't belong in this neighborhood.
I headed for the secretary of state office. As I walked into the office, probably based on the way I was dressed, the security guard pointed me towards a license renewal lane. I shook my head and he looked at me puzzled.
"Do you need another picture taken?" he asked. I shook my head negatively.
"Well what are you here for?" he asked. Almost every head in the crowded office turned to listen. Most of them didn't have the decency to even pretend that they weren't interested.
"I'm here to register for State Aid," I said quietly. "You know, Welfare? As in I have no income and no money and I'm going to fucking starve to death, welfare? Or is it, they just came and threw me and all of my stuff out of the crappy apartment that I moved into after I was forced out of the house that I thought I'd live in for the rest of my fucking life, welfare? Maybe it's, I can't find a God damned job to save my ass, because no one will hire me, welfare?"
"Calm down, lady," he said, in a nervous voice. "Half the people in this office are here registering for or dealing with welfare. I know what you need. Go over there and get one of those forms. Fill it out completely and put it in the inbox at the counter. Then have a seat and someone will call you."
"How long will it take for them to call me?" I asked.
"Not very long," he said. "It shouldn't be longer than maybe, 2 or 3 hours at the most."
He wasn't kidding. There were people sleeping while they waited to be called. There was a magazine rack in the corner, but it was empty. I got the feeling that most of the magazines weren't returned when the people who read them were finished with them.
Everyone in the place looked at me constantly. I knew they were wondering why the fuck someone who dressed like me, was here.
It's a long story and kind of funny actually. It all started exactly 2 years from next Tuesday.
My name is Melinda Conrad. Okay I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that my name sounds an awful lot like Mel Conrad. That guy who struck it rich last year and gives away all of that money to charities and all of that bullshit. Well you're right. He's my husband. Okay, technically he's my ex-husband. And you know what else? I got a bum deal. I am directly responsible for that man becoming a God damned gazillionaire and I have nothing to show for it. Okay maybe I'm not directly responsible, but if I hadn't forced him to divorce me, he wouldn't be rich. So I deserve some of the credit don't I?
Two years ago, we were really fucking happy. We weren't rich by a long shot. We were just your typical, average, everyday, middle class family. My husband Melvin Conrad, my daughter, Melissa Conrad and me, were three peas in a pod. We were a very close family. We had a great house. It's the one they forced my ass out of. Then I had to move into that shitty apartment that I was just evicted from, but anyway on with the story. The three of us loved each other like there was no tomorrow.
My husband wasn't very exciting, but he was reasonably good looking and he loved me. He worked very hard to provide for our family and as I've said we were comfortable.
Our daughter had just completed her first year at the state university when it hit me. There are so many names for the same thing these days, but you know what I had. Some people call it a midlife crisis, others call it a hormone imbalance and still others call it empty nest syndrome. They're all great names for "spoiled woman gets bored and does stupid shit and usually regrets it-itis." Occasionally it hits men too, so you guys out there shouldn't feel superior or immune to it. When you see a balding forty something man driving a fucking sports car with a twenty year old blonde beside him, he's probably got it.
Any way I had asked my husband out to dinner because I had to tell him something. Something awful that I had done and I needed to clear the air about. I'm a decent looking woman to say the least. At forty, I was still capable of turning heads on a good day. I'm a little heavier than I was when we first met, but it's all in good places. Mel loved me so much and I was soooo stupid.
He showed up a little bit late, no more than 5 minutes so I didn't beat him up over it. He smiled at me. His face still lit up like a Christmas tree every time he saw me. You'd think that it had been weeks since we'd seen each other but it was actually only that morning.
I was really nervous as he wrapped his arms around me and gave me a hug. I had butterflies in my stomach then. Something told me I was making a BFM. For those of you who aren't up on your technical jargon, BFM stands for Big Fucking Mistake.
He sat down across from me. His expression was one of absolute joy. I was sure he thought that this was a good thing. I hated to crush the man that I'd lived with, loved, and raised a daughter with for over twenty years, but I had no choice. It was him or my happiness.
"How was your day, honey?" he asked. God damn him, he was the one who'd gone out and worked all day. What did he think I'd been doing, all day? Did he think I'd was working on a cure for cancer or trying to solve the Middle East crisis? I woke up at 9 and loaded the dishwasher. I threw a load of laundry in the washing machine and my day was halfway over.
"Mel, I want a divorce," I told him. He spat the sip of water he'd just drunk straight into my face. I'm sure it was an accident but it ruined my makeup and my hair. I just sat there with water and spit running down my face while he tried to get his breath back.
"Are you serious?" he asked quietly.
"Very," I replied with as much dignity as I could muster, considering that I looked like a fucking raccoon with my water proof mascara proving once and for all that it wasn't water proof.
He stood up and wiped his mouth and said, "My attorney will be in touch with you." The pain and the heartache on his face alone hurt me. I felt like the lowest form of pond scum on earth. Everything inside of me, every fiber of my being told me to get down on my knees and tell him it was just a joke. But I didn't move. He turned to walk away after throwing some bills on the table.
"Wait Mel," I said. "This isn't the way this was supposed to go. Don't you want to talk about it and ask me some questions? Don't we need to discuss how the divorce will go?"
He turned to me and looked at me curiously and asked, "Why?"
I was shocked. I'd rehearsed this whole thing over a hundred times in my head. And this reaction hadn't come up in any of them. He hadn't gotten angry and he hadn't resorted to crying. He hadn't demanded to know why or threatened me at all. He'd simply accepted what I was saying and moved on.
"What would that help? Would it make me feel any better? Would it make you feel any different? I doubt all of those. I'm sure for you to be doing this it means you've found someone else and you want to be with him. The way I felt about you obviously isn't enough to change your mind, although it really wouldn't have mattered. Since you're doing this, you've already slept with him, correct?"
I nodded my head and said, "But..." He cut me off.
"Which means that you are of no further interest to me," he said coldly. "Okay, you want questions? Do I need to get a DNA test or is Melissa mine?"
"God Mel," I said. "For heaven's sake of course she's yours. What do you think I am?"
"You really wouldn't like the answer to that question," he said. "Goodbye Melinda." Then he turned and walked away. He didn't seem to be nearly as angry or upset as I thought he'd be.
"God damn it Mel," I screamed after him. "Aren't you going to even try to fight for me?"
My voice rang out across the restaurant. He turned again and from three tables away, delivered his answer.
"Why, Melinda?" he asked. "I can't change the way you feel. Who am I to try to tell you that your feelings are wrong? You obviously don't love me the way I love you. If you did we wouldn't be doing this. Since you no longer love me, I have to get over you and move on. Besides I only fight for things I want and after hearing what you've had to say this evening, that no longer includes you. Have a great life. I have no intention of trying to stand in your way."
Everyone in the restaurant stared at me as Mel made his way to the door. I felt a shiver go down my spine. I'd read about that kind of feeling. People say that it happens to you when someone walks over the ground that you'll be buried under. I guess what it really means is that as I already told you, I made a BFM.
My heart and my head were both screaming at me, but I couldn't listen to them, then. I called the waiter over and asked him where the ladies room was.
* * * * * *
When I got home that night, I could tell by the empty drawers and closet that my husband was gone. Any and all chances of calling this off were over. I had the worst headache I could imagine. I picked up my cell phone and called Greg. He'd make me feel better.
"Yeah," he answered.
"It's me," I said. "I told him."
"Cool," he said. "How'd he take it? Did he scream and try to beg you to stay with him? Did he slap you around and beat you up?"
"No," I said. "He just got up and walked away from me. He was very calm. He took it really well under the circumstances."
"Want me to come over and fuck your brains out?" he asked.
"Uhm no," I said. "I just put the torch to a twenty year relationship with a man who worshipped the ground I walked on. I think I need some time alone."
"Okay, see ya," he said. And he hung up. I think that was the moment that I realized that I'd understated my BFM.
I knew all of the reasons why I wanted the divorce. Greg was younger, way younger and he made me feel alive. Greg at 29 years old was 11 years younger than me and nine years older than my daughter. He was wild and uninhibited. He was all of the things that Mel wasn't.
I sat down on the edge of our giant queen sized bed. As I looked at the bed, it had never seemed that big or that empty. I got myself a glass of wine and wondered about the new direction my life would take from here on out. Sometime around midnight, after tossing and turning and failing to find sleep, I took out one of our old photo albums and looked back at some of my twenty two years of memories with Mel.
The next morning was worse. I woke up and wondered why I bothered. I sat at the table and just stared as a cup of my favorite coffee turned into a room temperature sludge. I don't know why I didn't move, but I had no reason to do anything. I kept going over in my mind my conversation at the restaurant with Mel the previous evening and the one with Greg.
Mel had started out the evening looking at me like the sun shone out of my ass. By the end of the evening he looked at me completely differently. He looked at me the way he looked at a problem or a project at work. As if I was just another thing to solve to get to the end of his day.
And Greg had blown it big time. What he should have done was to offer to just come over and hold me or be with me. When someone has a great emotional loss, they need to know that someone cares about them. I knew that Greg was young though, so I gave him a break. Training him to become the man I thought he could be was a big part of the excitement.
I knew that I'd hurt Mel badly. That was what I felt so bad about. But I was sure that eventually he'd be okay. Who was I kidding? I knew that he'd be miserable without me. But at the time, all I thought about was my own feelings. My term of service was over. Shit, I'd given the man the best years of my God damned life. We'd done our part for the propagation of the species. We'd raised a child. Our debt to society was over. It was time to have some fun. I wanted to be happy but I didn't want to wait until my golden years. Why not be happy while I was still young enough to know what happiness was?
* * * * * *
I woke up in my hotel room the morning after she told me. At first I didn't know where I was. The room was dark and the sheets smelled different. They smelled antiseptic, like medicine, so I guess they were clean enough. They didn't have that smell that was the culmination of weeks of washing with whatever soap was on sale. Or the traces of body fluids and farts and sex and tears and spilled food that someone had tried to wash out of them. In other words they didn't smell like love.
I sat up in the bed and remembered where I was and why I was here before I blew it all and reached for her. My mind remembered that she wouldn't be here, but my body and my heart missed her just the same.
EGBDF, I told myself and I steeled myself for what I had to do. I had many things to do before I could allow myself to sink into the depression that I knew was coming. I debated calling in today and just staying here to be miserable. Eventually though, I'd have to go out and today was as good a day as any.
Before turning on the lights and destroying the blanket of darkness I'd pulled around me so my tears didn't show, I made a list of the things I needed to do today. I needed to call a lawyer. The guy I usually dealt with didn't do divorces or family law. Perhaps he could recommend someone though.
I had to find a more permanent living situation. I was probably leaning towards either giving Melinda the house or selling it. Whichever worked out better for me, I saw no need to make any decisions based on Melinda's needs or comfort.
I needed to call my daughter to make sure that she could always reach me. I had no intention of making her choose between me and the whore, but I also wanted her to know that I still wanted to be as big a part of her life as she'd allow me. I needed to separate Melinda from me, financially. I'd let the judge and the lawyers settle everything but I wouldn't give her a penny more than I had to. With that in mind I needed to make sure that my assets stayed mine.
We also had a few social obligations that I needed to tactfully inquire about. I had no intention of becoming a hermit but I really didn't feel like seeing anyone or trying to go out and become some parody of myself by pretending that everything was fine, while the shreds of my tattered heart proclaimed that to be false. With that in mind I called my father in law to talk about the barbecue we were supposed to go to on the weekend for their anniversary.
"Hey Bob," I said when he picked up the phone.
"Mel, how's it going?" he asked. "You are still bringing the Dos Equis aren't you?"
"Bob, that's what I was calling to talk to you about," I said. "I really would like to wish you and Jean a happy anniversary. Your marriage is what I'd love to have when I'm your age. But I can't come on Saturday so I was hoping that you'd allow me to take the two of you out to dinner Friday night instead."
"Stuck at work huh?" he said. "I remember those days. Don't let it get you down, Mel. So we're having a double date huh? I haven't been on one of those in years. Sounds like fun. Maybe you'll let me dance a couple of dances with your wife. I always did like younger women."
"Bob, it's only going to be me and the two of you. I'm not seeing anyone right now. But if it's an uncomfortable situation for you, just tell me and I'll send you a present or something else," I said.
"Mel, what the hell is going on?" he asked. "Your voice hasn't sounded right since you started this damned call."
"Bob, your daughter asked me to go to dinner last night," I said. "While we were there she told me that she wants a divorce. She's found someone else and she wants to be with him."
"What?" he yelled. "She did what? There has to be something else going on? Did you do something to her? Are you cheating on her?"
"No Sir," I said quietly.
"Mel, I'll call you back. I need to..." he began.
"Please Bob, I don't want to cause a fuss. I'm sure she'll tell you in her own good time," I said. "I don't want to create any trouble or distract from the event in any way. What we're supposed to be celebrating is the fact that you guys have been married for 45 years. We're supposed to be honoring the ones who made it, not torn apart by the ones who didn't. I'll call you next week and we can talk then. I just didn't want you or Jean to think that I didn't recognize how special what you two have built is."
One down one to go, I thought as I dialed my daughter Melissa's number. Luckily for me she was away from her phone. I guess I could have dialed her cell phone but I didn't really want to talk to her. I just left my cell number and let her know that she could reach me there from now on or at my work number.
Another call and I had a referral to a divorce lawyer. The woman sounded evil over the phone but she agreed to see me later that morning.
I pulled out my laptop and started looking at condos and apartments. Most of them were the same except for the prices. Somehow I didn't see the benefit of buying a space in a building that you'd never own. I guess I'd eventually want to buy another house so renting was fine. Hell, I might even end up buying Melinda out of our house.
I took a quick shower and dressed in my usual business wear. I didn't really like ties but I could rock a sweater and sport coat with the best of them. I decided to look into getting a gym membership as well. Eventually I'd probably want to start sprucing up the property if I was going to try to interest another woman in taking a chance on me.
I went outside and smiled for the first time since Melinda broadsided me yesterday. There was a woman with a small boy in the hotel's parking lot. She was having trouble dragging him away from my Mustang.
There used to be three things that made me smile every time I saw them. My wife, Melinda was the first one. My daughter, Melissa was the second. The last was my 09 Mustang GT. It never failed, every time I looked at that car I just smiled and shook my head. It takes me back to when I was a kid rolling my Hot Wheels cars all over the floor in our living room.
The drive to work was always a pleasure and today was no different. It was a chance to concentrate on something other than how shitty I felt for a little while.
I walked into my office and my assistant Joyce was on me like a hound on a fox. "Melinda has called you twice already this morning," she said. "She says she can't get through on your cell."
"Joyce, have a seat," I said, indicating that she should sit in my chair at my desk. She sat down and smiled broadly.
"Have you finally realized that, I'm the reason for your success and decided to reward me justly?" she asked.
Joyce was a friend besides being my assistant. We'd been together for so long that it was almost like we were related.
"Joyce, remember the dinner I had to hurry out of here for last night?" I asked. She nodded her head.
"I'll bet somebody got lucky last night," she said.