Frank and IrisbyJust Plain Bob©
It is said that "The husband is always the last to know" and it may or may not have been true in my case, but the one thing that was true was that I did know.
I didn't discover it by accident or get clued in by some friend of mine or an enemy of my wife's. No, I got it from the horse's mouth so to speak. It was at breakfast after a night of hot sex and I was on my second cup of coffee when my wife Iris said:
"My boss took me to lunch yesterday. We ended up in a hotel room and spent most of the afternoon there. I liked it and we will probably do more of it."
It set me back and I was silent for a few seconds and then I asked, "Why last night? You get a kick out of giving me sloppy seconds?"
"I didn't give you sloppy seconds. I cleaned myself up pretty good when we were done."
"Still, you spread your legs for me only hours after he pulled his cock out of you. To me that means seconds, sloppy or not."
"I guess I was just feeling a little guilty and I figured that if I did you right after doing him....Oh shit! I don't know what I was thinking. I just felt the need to make love to you. I guess I wanted to see if it changed anything and it didn't. I still like making love with you."
"Make love? You just told me that you fucked your boss and that you will be doing it again. Where's the love in that?"
"It was a figure of speech Frank. Anyway, I'm telling you to give you time to figure out what you want to do in case you don't want me around you any more."
"Why would I want you around if you can so casually pull shit like this on me? I'm going to have to think about what I want to do and you need to move into one of the kid's bedrooms."
"There is no need for that Frank. I just told you that I like making love with you."
"Maybe so. But I don't have any idea of what other whores your boss is fucking and I want to make damned sure that you don't give me anything that he might have given you. I just hope that it isn't too late. You might have given me a gift from him last night."
Her face blanched when I said "Other whores" with the clear implication that she was one and then she said:
"He wouldn't do anything that would give him a disease. He has to be careful because of his wife."
I shook my head in disgust and got from the table to get ready to go to work. When I came out of the shower Iris was sitting on the bed.
"When I told you that I was telling you so you could figure out if you wanted me around I was hoping that you would say that we needed to talk about it."
"What's to talk about? You cheated on me and then casually threw it in my face. If you could be that casual about it I have to ask myself if this was the first time for you or just another in a long line. How do I know that you were really working all those nights you called me and said you had to work late? You said that you spent most of the afternoon in a hotel room with Ted so how do I know you don't spend hotel room afternoons a couple of times a week? How do I know that Ted is the only one?
"No Iris; we have nothing to talk about. Well that isn't totally true. We will have to decide how to let Dave and Marci know. And then of course there is your family and mine. We will need to let all of them know and more than likely we will have to tell them why since I have no intention of everyone thinking I'm the bad guy in this. Everyone is going to have to know that I'm not the one who wrecked our marriage."
"It doesn't have to be that way Frank. I love you and other than yesterday with Ted I've never been unfaithful. Yesterday just happened. It was a spur of the moment thing. I did it just to do it. I wanted to be something other than just the mother and housewife I've been for the last twenty-four years. I just wanted to do something wild and wicked for once in my life. I did it and I liked it. It had nothing to do with any feelings for Ted. He was just in the right place at the right time. It was exciting and one hell of a turn on, but it did not diminish my feelings for you one iota."
"Maybe not Iris, but it damned sure diminished my feelings for you. And I'm not forgetting the part where you said you would probably do it again. I have no idea what I'm going to do until after I've talked to an attorney, but you can consider our marriage over. No amount of talking will ever get me to the point where I could ever trust you again."
I finished putting the Windsor knot in my tie and left the room and went to work.
My mind wasn't on work and the company did not get it's moneys worth out of me that day. I did let my fingers walk through the Yellow Pages looking for an attorney close to the office and I found one and gave him a call. The soonest he could see me was the next afternoon and I made an appointment. As I made a note in my day planner I noticed the date. It was one week before what would have been our twenty-fourth anniversary. Well, I thought, I won't have to waste money on a card and a gift this year.
After work I headed for home because, quite frankly, I had nowhere else to go. A trip to a bar to drown my sorrows in alcohol didn't appeal to me and I wasn't about to go find a friend whose shoulder I could cry on.
Iris usually got home before I did and had dinner ready when I got home and that night was no different. She had the table set and she even had a bottle of wine open. I didn't know what she was hoping for, but whatever it was she wasn't likely to get it. I suppose given the way I was feeling I should have just gone into the den and ignored Iris and the dinner she had prepared, but I had to eat and it was there.
I poured myself a glass of wine and sat down at the table. Dinner was meatloaf, gravy, mashed potatoes and salad. I ate in silence. I could see that Iris was trying to work herself up to say something and I hoped that she wouldn't get to that point before I finished my meal. It would be more satisfying for me to be able to stand up and walk out of the room on a full stomach when she started to talk.
It wasn't to be. I had just put a forkful of salad in my mouth when Iris said:
"Would it make a difference if I were to tell you that it will never happen again?"
I was not one for talking with my mouthful so I said nothing as I chewed on the salad. She fidgeted and then said:
"It was a mistake Rob; a huge mistake that I deeply regret. One bad thing in twenty-four years of marriage Rob. Can't you bring yourself to forgive me for doing one bad thing in all our marriage? Does what we have shared for twenty-four years have to be lost – thrown away – just because I made one stupid mistake?"
I'd finished chewing my salad by then and had swallowed it so I said:
"There was more than one mistake Iris. The first was when you let another man screw you and I don't even know that Ted was the first one. Nor do I know that fucking Ted yesterday was the first time you fucked him."
I put emphasis on the word 'fuck' every time I used it and every time I used it Iris flinched.
"The second mistake was in telling me. If you had kept your mouth shut we wouldn't be sitting here in these strained circumstances. Your third mistake and it was a biggie, was telling me that you liked it and would probably do more of it. So the answer to your question is yes; what we have shared over the last twenty-four years has to be thrown away because of what you did. You have completely lost my trust Iris and a marriage can not exist without trust. At least not a marriage that I'm in."
She got up from the table and was crying when she left the room. I took a sip of my wine and finished me dinner. When I was done I cleaned up the kitchen and then went into my den to play on the computer for a while.
When I went upstairs to go to bed I saw that Iris had moved her things into Marci's old room. She probably chose Marci's room because Marci wouldn't be using it any time in the near future. Marci had married and had moved out to California and only used her room when she came back to visit. Dave still did use his room when he came home on leave so he could be back at any time.
I didn't see Iris in the morning and I stopped at a Village Inn for breakfast. When I got to work I waited until nine which was when the day started at Wallish and Tilden and then I gave them a call. When the receptionist answered I asked for Ted Haarbauer and when he came on the line and said hello I said:
"This is Rob Meyers Ted. Iris told me about your afternoon romp at the hotel and I thought I'd call and let you know that I'm kicking her out and she is all yours. Also, while on the subject, you should know that I'm pissed and I am going to be looking for you. Make sure that your health insurance is paid up because you are going to need it."
I hung up on him without giving him a chance to say a word. I would go looking for him in time, but I was in no hurry. Let him sweat it. Let him spend time looking over his shoulder and wondering if the shadows he saw had me hiding in them just waiting to jump him.
That afternoon at three I got the bad news. Our state was a no fault state so everything would be split evenly. Iris and I made approximately the same money so there wasn't likely to be any alimony. The kids were grown and out on their own so child support wouldn't enter into it. There might be some issues on our respective retirement plans and we each had 401(k)s through work, but the attorney thought they would cancel each other out.
All in all it would be a pretty straight forward divorce as far as divorces went. Then the attorney brought up the fact that we could probably go after Haarbauer in an alienation of affections suit and we might even be able to go after Wallish and Tilden if they had a company policy and procedures manual that prohibited sexual misconduct between employees. I nixed that. To me it didn't seem right to hold W&T responsible for what Ted and Iris did. Besides, if we did that they would probably both lose their jobs and we wouldn't be able to get anything out of Haarbauer and I'd end up paying Iris alimony. I told him to go ahead and prepare the divorce paperwork and the paperwork for the suit on Haarbauer and then have them both served.
It was after four when I left the attorney's office so I decided that there was no sense in going back to work. On the ride home I pondered the asset split. We had quite a bit of equity in the house and in fact it would be paid off in three more years. Did I want to buy out Iris and keep the house? I thought not. What would a single man do with a large four bedroom house? Not only that but every thing in the house would be a constant reminder of what life had been like in that house before Iris spread her legs for Haarbauer. So the options were Iris buying me out or putting the house up for sale.
When I got home Iris had dinner ready so I sat and ate. I could see that she had something she wanted to say, but couldn't bring herself to say it. I finished eating and was getting up from the table when Iris said:
"Ted told me that you called him and threatened him today."
"Not true. I didn't threaten him; I made him a promise."
"You will just get yourself in trouble Rob. You could end up in jail."
"Why would you care? I'd be out of the way and you would be able to spend more hotel afternoons with lover boy. Providing of course that I leave him with anything to play with."
"Please don't do it Rob. Please? For me?"
I laughed and said, "For you? I'll tell you what I did for you. I saw an attorney today and told him to start the divorce paperwork rolling. You can tell your lover that he isn't going to be able to hide behind your skirts."
"I wasn't thinking of him. I don't want to see you go to jail because I was stupid."
"I wouldn't mind. I could sit inside and smile thinking about how you were feeling knowing that you were responsible for my being there. Imagine how good it would feel for me to be able to tell Dave and Marci that you were the reason their dad was locked up in jail."
"Don't even talk like that Rob."
"Why not? I've already told you that I'm going to make damned sure that everyone knows that I'm not the reason that this marriage went into the trash can. Get yourself ready for it Iris. You are going to have a lot of people asking you why you threw your marriage away. Another thing for you to think about is what you want to do about the house. I don't want it so if you do you are going to have to buy me out. Otherwise it will have to be put up for sale."
"Sell the house? Oh God Rob, no. We can't do that."
"Then you need to figure out how to go about buying me out."
I left her sitting in the kitchen and went into the den to play on the computer.
The next morning I was up and gone before Iris got up. At work I told my Barney (my boss) what was going on in my life and that I might have to take some time off here and there for attorney meetings, court appearances and the like. He wished me luck and told me to take whatever time I needed.
Iris wasn't home when I got there so I micro-waved some leftovers and then watched some TV for a while. The phone rang and I answered it and it was my daughter Marci.
"Mom called me to tell me that you were leaving her."
"She tell you why?"
"She just said that it was all her fault. What happened?"
"Lets just leave it at it was all her fault. I had intended to call both you and Dave and let you know what happened because I didn't want people thinking that I was the bad guy in this, but if she has already admitted that it was her fault that's good enough."
"Any chance that the two of you can work through it?"
"No chance at all."
"Why dad? You two were so much in love with each other."
"The operative word there kiddo is 'were'. How are things going with you?"
"Good. I'd come home to see if I could help, but I'm involved in a critical project at work and I can't get away."
"That's okay honey; there isn't anything you can do anyway."
"You don't need to call Dave. Mom called him too and then he called me to see what I knew about things. You take care daddy. I love you."
"I love you too sweetie. I'll be talking to you."
Three minutes later Dave called and the conversation went pretty much the same as my conversation with Marci had gone. I'd just hung up the phone when Iris came in.
"Late evening with Haarbauer" I asked sarcastically.
"Fuck you Rob. For your information I've spent the time since getting off work visiting your parents and mine. I told them about the coming divorce and I told them that it was all my fault. I didn't give them specifics. I just told them that it wasn't because of anything you did. Now if you don't mind I'm going to go up to my room and lose it."
I saw tears running down her cheeks as she left the room and headed for the stairs. A week ago the sight would have had me rushing to her to take her in my arms and to try and comfort her.
The next morning at work Barney called me into his office.
"Is this divorce thing you are going through a definite thing? Is there any chance that it won't happen? You know, the two of you working it out and stuff like that?"
"No chance of its not happening. Why?"
"Kids all grown and out of the house? Nothing really tying you here?"
"Other than my parents and sister living here not really. Why?"
"I've just been told that O'Brian is retiring. I need some one to replace him in the Santa Monica office. How would you feel about living in California? The job is yours if you are okay with the move."
"You're kidding. There are guys here senior to me who would kill for the job."
"Maybe, but just being senior doesn't mean that they can do the job. I've looked at everyone closely and you are my pick."
"I'll take it. When do I have to be there?"
"O'Brian gave a month's notice effective yesterday. I would like you out there for his last week so he can fill you in on everything."
"I'll start making arrangements immediately."
The first thing I did when I got back to my office was call the attorney and ask how the move would affect the divorce.
"Depends on whether or not she fights it. If she fights it you could be ding a lot of flying back and forth for meetings, hearings and the like. Shouldn't any problem at all if she doesn't fight it."
"How can she fight it? I thought that was the whole purpose behind no fault divorces – to eliminate all the crap."
"Normally true, but that's if both parties are okay with the divorce. If she doesn't want the divorce she could say that the marriage could be saved with counseling and the court could so order. She can't stop the divorce, but she can delay it and make it more expensive and sometimes that's enough to make the party suing drop things."
"Well I'm not stopping it. When are you going to serve both her and Haarbauer?"
"The papers are ready. All I need is your go ahead."
"Do it. This afternoon if possible."
"Consider it done."
He called me at three that afternoon and told me that the papers had been served at two thirty-five. Iris was sitting in the living room when I got home from work and it was clear to me that she had been crying. She looked up at me when I came into the room and said:
"You did it. You really did it. I can't believe that you would throw away twenty-four good years over one mistake."
"You still don't get it do you? It wasn't the fact that you fucked Haarbauer. It was the way you threw it in my face and looked me right in the eye and said that you liked it and you were probably going to do it again. Get it straight in your head Iris; I didn't throw away twenty-four good years – you did! You need to figure out what you want to do as far as the house is concerned because two weeks from now I'm going to be out of here."
I left the room, went into the kitchen and got some leftovers out of the fridge. After eating I went into the den and called Marcie out in California. After exchanging greetings I said:
"I don't know if it is good news or not, but I'm going to be coming out there to live. Should be in about two weeks."
"You and mom?"
"Just me. I served her with divorce papers today. I need you to do me a favor."
"Anything dad; you know that."
"Check out apartments and condos within a reasonable distance of Santa Monica and find me a hotel or motel in the same area where I can stay when I first get out there."
"Not on your life pops. You will stay with me. No way I'm letting you stay in a motel."
"Won't that inconvenience you and Alan?"
"Not a bit. Don't worry about Alan."
"Okay then; if you are sure."
"I am pops. I'm looking forward to seeing you."
"Me to kiddo; I'll call you as soon as things are more definite."
In the morning Iris was up and sitting at the kitchen table when I came downstairs. "Good morning" she said and I said nothing as I poured myself a cup of coffee.
"I've decided that I don't want the house if I don't have you to share it with me."
"I'll call a realtor this morning and get the ball rolling."
"It doesn't have to be this way Rob."
"I'm sorry Iris, but yes it does."
I poured my coffee into a travel mug and headed off for work. I called a real estate agent from work and arranged to meet him at the house at one and by three the process was in work.
I had stopped at a U-Haul place on the way home and purchased a bunch of boxes to start packing my stuff in. When I got home Iris wasn't there, but there was a note on the kitchen table saying that she would be staying at her sisters for the next couple of days.
I spent the evening packing and moving boxes out into the garage. By bedtime all that was left to pack was the stuff in the den and the clothes that I would need for the next two weeks.