tagLoving WivesYou Can Love Too Much Ch. 04

You Can Love Too Much Ch. 04


Despite the many years since I had last felt that touch, I knew instantly that it was Traci's hand resting on my upper arm as she came around from behind me and sat down next to me at the table.

Up until then I had been sitting alone at the groom's family table at the wedding reception for my oldest grandson, married earlier that day.

I had slipped in to the church unseen right before the ceremony, and enjoyed the service from the back row. The rest of the family -- including my former wife, Traci, was in the front row on the groom's side.

I had not seen Traci in person since just after her third child was born 15 years ago. As I promised, I stayed with her and was in the delivery room for the child's birth, and I made sure she and the baby were healthy. When she needed to take a nap after the child was born, I said my final goodbye and left for good, which I had also promised. The divorce papers were served the next day, and as I made perfectly clear to her and my children in letters, I had no desire to ever see or talk to her again.

Although Traci and I continued to live in the same city, it was more than big enough for us not to run into each other. When the kids were in town, I just stayed away when they went to visit Traci at our former home, and she wasn't welcome at my apartment when they were visiting me. We even did Christmas separately when the kids came into town for the holidays. Call me an asshole; the woman who was the center of my life openly cuckolded me with multiple men, and then wound up getting knocked up and having a child fathered by one of them -- still not sure by whom, but definitely not mine. When I finally put down the torch and picked up my balls, the last person I ever wanted to see again was the one person I would always love, despite the fact that she ruined my life.

But I wasn't going to miss my grandson's wedding, and I promised the family there would be no problems from me.

I leaned over to her and gave her a quick peck on the cheek, just like anyone would do with family, and said hello. She was still wearing the same perfume, but that was about the only thing that wasn't changed, I noticed as I quickly scanned her from head to toe.

She caught the scan and commented, "Yes, Steve, a lot has changed. I'd appreciate it if you'd at least be kind."

"I intended nothing less, my dear. You still look ravishing."

We both snickered at my lie. Hell, it had been 15 years, and both she and I were 67 now. But while I had kept myself in decent condition by hitting the gym regularly, Traci was busy being a single parent at an age when she should have been a doting grandmother. I'm sure being around her son and his teenage friends kept her somewhat vibrant from a social standpoint, but the stress level and the lack of free time didn't help her from the physical standpoint. She was about 60 pounds heavier than her usual weight when we were married, and in addition to the weight showing in her face, the stress showed there as well, particularly around her eyes, which had somewhat of a hollow, haunted look.

We did the usual small-talk thing for a while. She told me all about David's life with motherly pride, as she should have. Being impeccably polite, I feigned interest, although I think she knew I absolutely didn't give a shit about her bastard child. She told me a little about her succession of low to mid-paying jobs after she got fired from the insurance company after her boss's wife filed for divorce from him over having an affair with Traci, once she got back from her maternity leave, of course.

She even mentioned her social life a bit, pointing out to me that being a single mother of a young child definitely did not leave her ample time for anything even resembling the life that led to our divorce. And I was polite enough, again, not to mention how a dose of venereal disease also cut into her social calendar. But she didn't know I knew about that, and since she wasn't volunteering that news, I didn't volunteer that I had been keeping an occasional eye on her.

I told her that I retired two years ago, having been pretty conservative with my money since the divorce. I had had several girlfriends through the years, and was currently seeing her former boss's wife on a somewhat regular basis. It was nothing serious, but she and I were comfortable with our routine and our occasional sex. She was good company, although not the soulmate I thought I had in Traci.

Just then the rest of the family arrived at the table, having taken all the family photos, and her son showed up as well, palling around with my younger grandson, who was a few years older than him. Everyone sort of looked at us with surprise on their faces, like they expected us to be fighting rather than talking. Although it was awkward, Traci introduced me to David, correctly telling him I was her former husband and the father of Robert and Jimmy. The kid respectfully stuck out his hand and I shook it, just as respectfully. Not his fault he was a bastard.

I moved around to the other side of the table and everyone filled in, except for the groom and his new bride, and my younger grandson, who as a groomsmen joined the bride and groom at the head table. It was both of my kids and their spouses, Traci and her son and me. We all seemed to be having a good time, with a lot of memories shared. It was almost like it should have been, and I could see Traci's son getting a little uncomfortable because he was being left out.

"Let's get a drink, kid, so these old-timers can talk amongst themselves," I said to him, and with that he and I headed to the bar. I gave Traci a stage wink to let her know I wasn't going to actually let David have a drink, and she smiled back in return.

I ordered a Jack on the rocks for me and a Coke for the kid. We stood there for a minute or so, both nursing our drinks, so I figured I'd better break the ice.

"So, David any teachers at your school still around from when Robert and Jimmy went there?"

Both of my kids are in their 40s, so there could be an old-timer still there from when the first Trakker boys went through. It was a legitimate question, at least.

"Only one that I know if, sir; Mr. Marino, the science teacher. When he saw my name on his class list for biology this year, he asked me if I was Jimmy's son. Apparently he didn't know Mom had a third child, and was really flustered and apologetic when I told him I was Jimmy's brother.

"That's happened several times now. People get pretty quiet around me after that."

I figured, then, that I shouldn't add to his discomfort, so I kept up the small talk, asking him if he played any sports or belonged to any clubs. He didn't play any sports and rarely got involved in school clubs, which was the exact opposite of my two. Traci in particular had the tough task of keeping up with her job and being the mother of two active teens. She excelled at that, but then again, she was in her 30s and 40s then, not 67. I just got the sense that David didn't get involved because she wasn't sure if Traci could keep up -- or -- maybe worse yet, that he didn't necessarily want her to try to keep up with his friends' parents, virtually all of whom were much younger.

Maybe I wasn't the only injured party in this whole mess.

The kid must have seen the reflective look on my face and figured it was now or never. He straightened up a little taller, looked me straight in the eye and asked, "Was it because of me that you stopped loving my mother?"

I have to admit I admired the kid for his pluck. I hesitated a second, then decided to tell him the absolute truth.

"I've never stopped loving your mother," I said, relief coursing through me as I finally voiced what I had been keeping inside of me all these years.

The kid stood there with his mouth slightly open, shocked to hear the answer.

"B-b-but you divorced her after she cheated on you and had another guy's baby. How could you possibly still love her ... and if you do, how could you have divorced her when we ... she ... needed you the most!"

"David, I'm not sure what your mother has told you, and I'm not about to get in between you two, so let's just leave it there, except to say that decision was not mine, only the timing was mine.

"Let's head back to the table so you can prove you can handle your Coke."

"You know she calls you the best man she's ever known," the kid blurted out.

I had to smile at that. Where was that kind of thinking 15 or so years ago?

Later on in the evening the band started playing, and after about 15 minutes. Traci asked me across the table if I'd like to dance. Even though I'm not very light-footed, I still said yes, just trying to go with the flow of the evening.

"So I'm the best man you've ever known? Apparently you haven't met too many," I said to her at the beginning of our second dance together, a slow one. She started to move in close enough to rest her head on my chest, as she used to do about a hundred years ago, but I stiffened my arms out a bit to keep her off of me and to keep a respectful distance between us. She looked disappointed and a little hurt, but this was as close as she was getting.

"Yes, I've said that to David many times over the years," she finally responded. "I've told him he should get to know you if he ever got the chance to meet you. I didn't think you'd punish me and him this long with your obvious absences at family events."

"Not a punishment to him, of that I can assure you. You, on the other hand, should have known full well what was coming ..."

My voice had risen from just about a whisper to somewhere in the range of angered parent. I noticed several other couples dancing had started to glance over at us.

I stopped dancing, walked off the floor, and hit the bar. Traci slowly came up behind me.

"Do you really still hate me after all these years?" Traci asked quietly.

"No damn it, I still love you after all these years!"

She put her hand on my forearm and looked me square in the eye. For the first time, I think she realized how much she had hurt me.

Apparently Traci and I sharing a moment made the rest of the family nervous, because before anything else could be said we were joined at the bar by the whole family.

"A toast, Grandpa! A toast. It's your turn to toast the wedding couple!"


Traci left a message on my answering machine a couple of weeks later, asking me to call her so we could talk. I'm assuming one of my kids finally relented and gave her my number, seeing that we were civil to one another at the wedding. I had no choice at the wedding, but in real life I did have a choice: mine was to ignore the call. She called again about a week later, and when I didn't call back she apparently took the hint.

My kids apparently took the hint, too, because as had been the case since the divorce, nothing was brought up about their interactions with Traci and David in the ensuing months. Life was going on, until about eight months after the wedding when Laurel, my daughter, called me to tell me that Traci was dying as a result of a blood infection. It turned out to be AIDS, as she had picked up HIV from a sexual partner about five years ago, a couple of years after she contracted VD from yet another partner and been successfully treated for that. She hadn't told any of the kids -- including David -- about the HIV -- and had been on medication since finding out.

Although the kids didn't know about the VD episode, I did, through my various sources that were keeping watch on Traci. Yeah, I know that sounds a lot like stalking, because, in truth, it probably was. But I didn't have a clue about the HIV. I was heartbroken for her, even if this truly was turnabout being fair play.

When I got off the phone with Laurel, I called over to Traci's (she kept the old phone number) and spoke to David. He said Traci was napping, but he was supposed to wake her in time for her to make dinner. I asked him if he'd like pizza, and when he said yes, I told him I'd bring a large pepperoni for him and me, and a spaghetti and meatball dinner for Traci. He started to ask me how I knew what she liked, but he figured it out about halfway through the question and stopped. I told him I'd be over about 6.

When I got to the house, I saw the infection had taken about 20 pounds off of Traci, making her look closer to the Traci to whom I was married. But she looked drawn in the face, and her eyes had a haunted look. In front of David, she told me all about her infection, and the course of treatment the doctors and she decided to use. I'm sure that was incredibly tough, basically admitting to your son and your ex-husband that your lifestyle was what is killing you. Still, she said she was grateful for the company, and asked if I wouldn't mind stopping by again in the near future. Considering the doctors only gave her about another six months to live, she only had a near future.

I stopped by with carryout of various types the next four Wednesdays, and the three of us ate, talked and laughed until the kid's bedtime at 11, because he had to get up for school the next day. On the fourth Wednesday, as the kid was heading off to bed and said his goodbyes, Traci asked me to stay a minute longer, and when David had closed his door, Traci said she needed to ask me the biggest favor she'd every asked anyone in her life.

"I don't have any right to ask this, and you can turn me down and I won't be offended if you do, but would you take care of my David after I'm gone? It's okay to say no, Robert's already offered to take in his brother, but I would really like him to learn some life things from the man I consider to be the best man I've ever known."

I was stunned speechless. She was asking me to take care of the one thing she had left that really mattered to her -- and whose life became what was the very last straw in the path of degradation she had led me down those many years ago.

I don't know how long I was standing there with a million thoughts whirling in my mind, but Traci's touch on my hand brought me out of my reverie. Damn, where was this kind of thinking 17 years ago when I needed it?

How could I possibly turn her down? We talked a little while more before she was obviously getting tired and needed to go to bed. She said we'd talk more specifics in the coming days, and, of course, would talk with David. The final decision would be his, she noted, and I said I thought that was wise.


I moved back into the house about five months later, when Traci had to be put into a hospice home. I had given her the house to live in after the divorce, with the stipulation that we would split the proceeds 50-50 should she ever decide to sell. We worked it out that I would purchase her half after an appraisal, with that money going into a college trust fund for David. David would live with me through the rest of high school and college, and for as long as he wanted after that.

Before we had to move her to hospice care, I stayed over a few nights when things got bad, just to take care of Traci so David could sleep and then go to school. Several times before we had put her into hospice, Traci had asked me to move back in; I could have one of the other rooms in the house that were empty, but I just couldn't.

I also couldn't be there for her physically. I couldn't hold her hand, or even give her a comforting hug. While I felt bad about that, I just couldn't. She had killed that part of me. She commented on it once, when she had started to put her head on my chest and move in for a comforting hug, but I recoiled almost involuntary. The look on her face was almost painful to see.

"I'm so sorry. I'm sorry for ending us, the best thing I ever had in my life, and I'm sorry for killing off a love so powerful that I didn't even think it was possible for anyone to have. I was stupid and selfish in so many ways. I completely didn't understand at the time that you stood by me out of great love, and not weakness, as I thought.

"It was only after you left, and it was just David and me, that I got to feel that love again. It was us against the world, and even when I screwed up as a parent, David showed me the same unconditional love that you did, and that's when I finally put it together. That's when I knew that you two needed to be together."

The funeral a month later happened on a beautiful spring morning, attended by the children and grandchildren, her sister from Arizona, a few co-workers and the few friends she had left. Most of her larger circle of friends from the old days ended their relationships with her after the divorce; I'm sure some of the wives of some of our old couples friends didn't want their husbands anywhere near "the biggest tramp this side of the Rockies" as one former friend called her. Once word started getting around, it seems her circle started to shrink substantially, and making new friends at her age with a young child in tow apparently wasn't easy.

As the "wronged" party in this whole drama, most of the friends stayed with me, and, of course, I had children and grandchildren I could go visit whenever I wanted, not being tied down by a child in school nor by finances. I even had a pretty good sex life for a Senior Citizen, as I found myself to be a rare commodity: healthy, in pretty good condition, and possessing talented hands and tongue.

Traci's death left me sad for David more than anything. It would be tough to lose a parent -- his only parent -- at that age. But for me, there really wasn't too much grieving. That had been done years before.

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by Anonymous

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by danoctober09/04/18


More true to life hard decisions made here. Years go by and the bitterness shifts but the hurt of betrayal stays. This is the way this husband handled things. Well written, but not all loving wives storiesmore...

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by Gillotine09/03/18

Agree with 05/27/18 Anon

Though, more violence should have ensued after 'waking up,' dude loved his wife more than she loved him. She got what she deserved & he gets to shape a young man's life. It's just a story people, don'tmore...

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I bet this dude.....

Runs around wearing one of those Pink Pussy Hats on his head at marches. He is, after all, a big Pussy for not nipping his problem in the bud the first time he found out.

He should have jumped themore...

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by Anonymous08/08/18

Absolute garbage

One of the worst stories I have ever read. If you take a picture of this guy, all you will see is a 6 foot tall wimp ass pussy on legs. This is pathetic shit. Just fucking awful.

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by Anonymous08/07/18

Not worth a comment

I will only say how stupid this one is

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