tagLoving WivesCheaters Never Win Ch. 01

Cheaters Never Win Ch. 01


Well, I was more than a bit taken back. Perhaps the word should be confused or perhaps it was shocked. Really it was both! What ever the description, I was unable to comment, think straight or respond. My friend just sat there as my numb, dazed, inarticulate response refused to challenge my paralyzed tongue. My mind refused to give any command to my voice or body. I felt my face go blank as my body just tensed then began to tremble ever so slightly. I don't think I purposefully moved for at least ten seconds. I didn't even breathe.

The shock of what he had just told me was beyond believable yet, there he sat across the little Arby's table, looking intently and sympathetically at me. My left hand was the first to respond as I carefully put the diet cola I had been sipping back on the table. I had been in a state of animated suspension, unable to move.

Next, I realized that my mouth was still almost full of the icy drink I had sipped through the straw. I gulped it down and took a big long overdue breath. Letting my breath out slowly through pursed lips, I felt my best friend's warm hand cover my right hand. I had dropped my recently purchased sandwich. My hand had begun to twitch slightly. I sat otherwise motionless.

The emotional response to his statement had been pure, body paralyzing shock. My response mimicked my first day in surgery as a junior medical student when I straight out fainted when a small artery squirted a stream of blood from the mouth of a small child who was undergoing a tonsillectomy.

The blood had hit me in the face, splattering on my face. This was long before HIV was known and we were required to wear shields to prevent contact with body fluids during surgery. Sure, I had had no breakfast; I had had trouble breathing with that my first full sterile suit up with twin tightly applied cotton masks. Fortunately I was only an observer. Nevertheless, my response had been paralytic then a full faint. I learned later that the surgeon had ordered the circulating nurse to pull my limp body over to the side of the surgical suite so no one would trip over me. Never since, until now, had I had such a paralytic response.

Now, as then, I felt the rapid onset of a vasovagal faint coming on but I now knew how to manage it this time. I quickly slipped over from behind the little table, bent forward, grabbed my knees, pulled them tightly up against my stomach and rolled onto my back on the bench seat. Gradually I felt the buzzing and deafness diminish as the blackness receded.

The lights came back on howbeit agonizingly slow. Finally I could hear again and the nausea regressed. I saw my friend standing by me unsure of what to do except to keep asking me if I was alright. I small crowd of inquisitive diners had gathered nearby. Others just stared at me from their booths as I recovered. The manager came around but by then I was almost fully functional again. I sat back up as my presence of mind and body reappeared from the hazy darkness.

My first reaction to this so unlike me event, was: total embarrassment. I smiled and waved off the onlookers as I grasped my cola to take another sip. I found great beads of sweat had gathered on my face and forehead. I tasted the salty flavor of those that had run down my face onto my lips. These were all quickly dispensed with by a series of quick wipes with a paper napkin. I sat in an almost trance like state smiling apologetically at my friend Bobby. He was again seated across the table from me.

"I..I.. I'm sorry, Bobby" I stammered in a whisper. "That was so quick I had lost control for a moment. That has happened only once before in my whole lifetime."

What had triggered such an overwhelming and somewhat embarrassing situation? I couldn't remember right off. You see, I'm an E. R. doctor, trained and experienced in handling all sorts of emergencies with the cool, calm collected dispassionate response needed to save lives and bring order out of chaos. I was truly embarrassed by my body's uncontrolled response to those few words from an old and trusted friend. As my senses came back on line, hearing first, then sense of warmth, the vision then body position and finally speech, the last to recover was the memory of his words.

I will never forget them. "Jon, your wife is having an affair" There it was, just like the right hook the boxer never saw. Like the unseen and unfelt haymaker that had put him on the floor for the ten count plus more. Those words were now etched in my memory, indelibly, neither to be fathomed nor forgotten.

I was sitting again now, sipping on my diet cola, looking over the off-white rim of the plastic cup. I stared at my friend. I was still a little numb in my brain but the buzzing in my ears had ceased and my peripheral vision was now perfect again. I sensed purposelessness in my movements of adjusting to my buttock while sipping my cola and trying to get oxygen flowing to my frontal lobes.

"Bobby", I mouthed softly, "Tell me what you know. I can't believe what you just said yet you have never lied to me before. Surely you didn't say what I thought I heard?".

Bobby, my colleague in the E.R., long time friend, classmate in Medical school and residency plus being a nearby neighbor, looked at me with grim determination. I saw sadness in his eyes.

"Jon, I told you that I am sure your Sherrie is messing around on you."

"Bobby?" I questioned him. "Please don't fuck with me. I know we joke around a lot but this time, this is really serious business. What in the world would make you tell me such an unbelievable story?"

"Jon, I could not believe it at first either. At first I believed it was just gossip but it's from a reliable source and with more than a smidgeon of evidence supporting this outrageous crap."

"What the heck, Bobby. Let me hear the story."

"Okay, Jon. Here it is. Just you don't fall out on me again."

I fidgeted with my cola and now cold French fries. I dipped a fry in the tiny cup of catsup. Finally my eyes looked up and fixed on his. I took a long deep breath, exhaling slowly, "Okay, let's hear it" I heard myself saying.

"First, let me tell you that I just heard this yesterday. This is all brand new to me also. I do this because if anything like this ever happens to me, I want to know about as soon as possible to. I gain no satisfaction from telling you but it would hurt me more to keep it from you".

Bobby's voice was toned down as he leaned across the table. He was as tense and grim as I had ever seen him yet there was an unusual tenderness in his voice. I knew he really didn't want to be telling me.

"Jon, this is why I asked you out for lunch today. I wanted you to hear this right off. I know that bad news is easier digested fresh than stale. In addition, I have never held anything back from you and I know you have always been totally upfront with me. That's how our friendship has grown and cemented us together over the years. I need for you to believe me that I hate being the bearer of bad news and, yes, I believe it. You need to know that I am totally on your side and will do anything to help you discover the truth and resolve this awful problem. I see how hard this hit you. It has impacted me almost as hard.

I couldn't sleep last night, knowing what I had been told and knowing what I had to do. I had to tell you. We have both had to tell patients and families of impending death. It's something we have to do. We can't push that off on the nurses or chaplains. It's the same here. It is my responsibility, as your friend, to tell you. That's what I'm going to do right now.

He continued in the subdued but direct way. "Jon, my wife just heard about this also. She is the one who told me only yesterday evening. You were still at the hospital on the 2 to 12 E.R. shift. I had just finished the 6 to 6 shift. We had worked 4 hours side by side. My wife told me when I got home. Here is what she told me."

As usual, I had come in the back door and hollered out "Honey, I'm home". She was on the phone but immediately hung up and motioned to me urgently from the breakfast bar.

"Bobby, sit down. I have something awful to tell you. This is so unbelievable yet I have to believe it." I sat down and she slid a cold beer to me. "You know Sherrie and I (speaking of our wives) have been friends even before you and I got married. You know Sherrie was married to her high school sweetheart, Ron Sherbert. They had a little girl named Sammie. Then they got divorced. A couple of years later, Jon and her got married and you know the rest. You probably know that part also.

Her daughter, Sammie, is now working and living with a girl friend in a near by little community. She was always a bit on the exhibitionist side and was always flirting with serious trouble in high school. Sherrie and Jon just couldn't seem to control her. They tested for ADHD but didn't meet the criteria for medication. She was just a problem child. They took her to a psychiatrist for several years but her behaviors never really improved and finally, when she reached 17 she ran away from home. She was 'acting out' as some mental health workers would say. At least she finished high school."

"Well, you know I've been working in the Social Services department of our hospital. Oh my, Bobby, I'm going to break my professional ethics here but it has to be done. I am so ashamed of myself for telling you this because I know you have to tell Jon. He has a right to know. No, he has a need to know. I may get fired for telling you this and never be able to get a job again for divulging confidential information but my conscience tells me I just have to tell you because you are my husband. What you do with this is your business. Let your conscience and friendship with Jon sort it out. I know you and he can handle it and will do the right thing."

She continued telling me. "My friend's countenance showed sadness as he continued this terrible revelation".

Bobby looked down and said; "Jon, believe me, this is so awful hard to tell you but I have to. Please hear me out then I'll answer any questions best I know how."

Bobby continued his wife's story. "Bobby, today I was called to see a young woman who was to be discharged from the psych unit. She had attempted suicide after a botched but legal abortion at The Woman's Clinic on the other side of town. You know the doctor there. He was kicked off the medical staff because of to many postoperative complications of his Gyn surgery. Well he botched this young woman's mid-term abortion and she ended up in our hospital with a life saving hysterectomy. After she left, the very day she was discharged, she made a serious attempt at suicide. I got involved in her case since I was to coordinate post psyche ward mental health and post operative home health nursing care for her. Bobby, this young woman is Sherrie's daughter, Sammie. Sammie tried to hide that from me at first but finally told me everything, complete with tears of rage and remorse. I took her in my arms in consolation, promising I would stand by her as a family friend and as a professional social worker. I was able to help her make post hospitalization arrangements. As a part of my responsibilities, I needed to coordinate with the psychiatric social worker for her mental health follow up care. During my conversations with her, it comes out that Sammie has been emotionally estranged from her mother, Sherrie, for many years. She hates her mom. During her psych hospitalization, as a result of her suicide attempt, she told of her mother's infidelity to Jon and how she hated her mom for that. She hates her biological father for the same reason, plus other reasons. In fact, he had molested and raped her many times. He had inappropriately touched her during her very early years. She was terrified of him but couldn't get the strength to tell anyone because she knew of her mothers continuing sexual relationship to her biologic father. This is the hard part to believe. Sherrie, Sammy claimed, has a continuing sexual relationship with Sammie's biological father. Sammie claims that her mother never really broke off the sexual relationship with her biologic father. Sure, she divorced him yet their sexual relationship continued. This was Sammie's claim. She claims that her mom has met her first husband many times over the years even though Sherrie was married to and is continues to be married to our friend Jon".

Bobby motioned to me. "Let's take a walk together as I finish the story".

My mouth was dry and I felt a mixture of emotions, the sum of which were just numbing. I sucked aimlessly at the slowly melting ice at the bottom of my otherwise empty cola cup. Bobby got up and tugged at my jacket to follow him outside. The cool air felt good and getting my legs working seemed to give me strength. Bobby knew what I needed was some change of environment and some exercise.

Bobby told me. "Just listen". We walked to the Wal-Mart parking lot just cross a street from Arby's. Here we could walk around the parking area safely.

Bobby started a sprint yelling back at me.

"Come on, Get the juices flowing, Jon".

I took off after him. When he finally slowed down, we walked on in silence, for a couple of moments while we caught our breaths. I started to question him when he interrupted. "Just listen, Jon, I'll answer all of your questions later."

He continued telling me. "Jon, Sammie gave my wife some verifiable specifics. I only checked out one. I didn't go any further. There are plenty more but I haven't asked my wife for the others yet. I figured that if one checked out, that was enough for me to believe her and tell you.

"I called a PI last night. His son dated my wife a number of years ago. They were friends in high school so I knew of him. Even after hours, he agreed to immediately start the investigation if I would sign the papers first. He faxed them to me last night, and I filled them out and signed them and faxed them back to him at his home.

"First thing this morning, he got busy on the case.

"The claim I had him check out was this. Sammie's clam was that on Wednesday the 5th of this month, let's see, that was 15 days ago, Sherrie and her first husband, Ron, went to the Sunset Inn Motel out on US 70. I checked out the schedule at the E.R. You were on the noon to midnight shift at the hospital E.R. that day. Sherrie knew of this, of course. Sammie was pregnant and not married or even living with a guy. I guess she must have been in her fourth or fifth month."

"She went to that motel for an unknown reason where they all had a major blow-up in the room and it spilled over into the parking lot. The manager called the police but before they got there, Sammie, who had been crying, had run out and driven away with her girl friend. That was the day before the abortion that went bad. Then she had the hysterectomy and then the suicide attempt the day she was discharged from the psyche ward."

Bobby and I continued walking as he continued. "During the conversation between my wife and Sammie, the name of Sammie's real father came out along with his place of employment. I guess you know his name. It seems Ron Sherbert recently moved even closer and now lives in the next county and just off Route 60 at highway 14. That's only bout 6 miles from here. I don't know if you knew this." (I didn't).

"Anyway", Bobby continued, "I now knew Sherrie's lover's name (her ex) and of course Sherrie's previous married name. It didn't take much of an investigation. Ron was even was so careless as to use his personal credit card and his own photo ID driver's license. They registered as Mr. and Mrs. Sherbert. You may not know that he is divorced again. There are security tapes showing the two of them at the check in, at the restaurant and coming and going from the room including Sammie's arrival and departure.

The PI has prints from these but I haven't seen them personally. I suppose he has or will compare the security camera pictures with those pictures of your wife and Sammie I faxed him last night. The one of Sherrie was taken just last month at the E.R. party we all attended. That's all I know. Good buddy, you have a major problem on your hands."

I was flabbergasted. This was all very new to me. I didn't know Ron, actually. I had never met him and didn't know he lived close by or anything about him after Sherrie's divorce. He was a non entity for me. I now know I should have been more interested but that's to late now. Sherrie never spoke of him except when we were dating. She had accused him having abused her. That was her claim for her divorce.

"Bobby, thanks for telling me all this. Please make the PI's report available to me, including the tapes and copies of the motel registration. I'll pay you for them. I want to thank you for telling me. You know I'm devastated but it is something that I certainly needed to know. I had no inkling, no idea whatsoever of all this. I guess there might be is a dark or secret side to all of us."

I continued speaking to Bobby. "Probably, once I've had time to digest all this, I will see what I should have been seeing a long time ago. For now, you can rest assured that how you got this information will be protected. All that is needed is in the P.I.'s report. The reason for the P.I. will never be revealed. I will protect your wife's honor and job. I respect her even more than ever. In fact, I really care for and respect the both of you so very much. Both of you can sleep well knowing you have done what good friend's should have done. I think all I need or want at this time is the PI's report. All the other stuff you told me is, at this point, just gossip. Everything will be held in closest confidence."

"As bad as it looks, we still don't have proof positive. We have evidence of their sharing a motel room once and we have Sammie's accusations. Those certainly give me a lot to think about."

"Right now, I don't know what I will do differently than what I was going to do when I got up this morning. I just hope I can act normally until I have made a decision. You know that I am a totally nonviolent person so no one is in physical danger from anything I might do. Just how I will handle this is another matter."

"Jon, hang in tough!" That's all he said. We were both very emotional at that point in time.

He embraced me with the embrace of a really good friend sharing in my pain. I threw my arms around his chest in response. We stood and hugged. We both knew that the waters were going to be rough for me in the coming weeks but his embrace told me that he would always be my good friend. That strengthened me considerably. Real friends are he essence of life to me.

"Bobby, I want to go now. When can the PI's report be available to me?"

"He said it will take about two more days. I'll let you pay for it as I don't want to argue with you about it. You can expect a bill for about seven or eight hundred dollars. I'll call you when I get the full report."

We walked in silence back to Arby's and drove away in our respective cars.

The cost was reasonable to me. I was glad he was going to let me pay for the investigation. Bobby had done more than his share already. I suspected the P.I. had to bribe someone to get all the information including copies of the security tapes. I anticipated damning prints made from them.

On the way home, my mind was in a furious turmoil. Now what to do? I had to set both time and value priorities on my actions. I did not have to go to work until day after tomorrow. I was to begin a three day 8 pm to 8 am set of shifts after that. I had the rest of today and all of tomorrow to consider how to manage this marital train wreck.

I didn't drink any more. I knew I had a problem with alcohol. I had had a problem with it once before years ago in college so taking up the booze again was out of the question. I did think seriously about taking my first drink in 20 years but overcame this by calling my AA brother. We talked for a few minutes about my temptation to get drunk. As always, sharing a problem with someone who has also walked my path was very helpful. The idea of a therapeutic drink just faded away.

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byRealDoc© 65 comments/ 114266 views/ 26 favorites

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