Monday, May 07, 2007

EXCERPT: My Soul Cries Out


The worst day of my life was the day I caught my husband cheating on me.

You know those movies where the wife forgets something important for work and comes home in the middle of the day to get it, only to find her husband in bed with her best friend?

I should have been so lucky.
I had forgotten my good Littman stethoscope and hated the flimsy plastic ones we kept at the nurses’ station. I didn’t know how any nurse could get a decent blood pressure with those things. Since I was home, I figured I might as well eat. I opened the fridge to get some leftover lasagna before going back to the office.
That’s when I heard it…the bumping.
Not a regular foot-shuffling bumping like someone walking around. This bumping had a rhythm to it. A beat.
I stepped into the dining room and stared at the ceiling. The noise came from the master bedroom, directly overhead. Women’s intuition rose from my belly to form a lump in my chest that ascended to my throat. The hairs on the back of my neck stood at attention.
I tried to reason away the knowing in my head. My husband, Kevin, usually spent the one Saturday a month I worked playing basketball or writing music. Yeah, that was it. He was pounding out the beat to a new song with his size 13 feet…in the bedroom, instead of his studio down the hall where he usually wrote music.
I tiptoed toward the steps, hardly able to breathe. Movie clips of guilty husbands and shocked wives flashed through my mind. Which one of my friends would it be? Or I bet it was Janine, the cutesy little soprano who sang all the leads in the church choir. During every rehearsal, she batted her eyelashes at Kevin and always needed him to stay after to help her get her solo right. I knew she was a skank ho.
I dragged my feet up the steps, fighting to lift them as I got closer to the top. I wasn’t sure of the protocol for such a situation. Did I throw the door open and cry, “Aha, I caught you!”? Did I knock on the door and wait for them to get dressed and come out and admit their crime?
Nothing in my life could have ever prepared me for what I saw when I swung the door open and sang out, “Honey, I’m home.”
Imagine my surprise when I realized that the she I thought she would be was actually… a he.
I had never fainted before, but then again, I had never caught my husband of two years cheating with the guy who was supposed to be his closest “friend.” They were close all right. Closer than two men should ever be.
When I opened my eyes after a few minutes of unconsciousness, they were both scrambling to pull on some clothes – eyes wide, mouths hanging open. I took a deep breath, made sure I didn’t have any life threatening injuries, jumped up and went to swinging.
“Wait, let me explain!” Kevin held up his arms to ward off my blows.
“Explain? What could you possibly explain? I’ve seen enough to know there’s no explanation you could possibly come up with that could begin to explain what I just saw.”
I searched the room for something to swing or throw. Why hurt my hands? I threw books, hangers, a lamp – one of those big floor ones – anything I could get my hands on. I caught Kevin right above the eye with my alarm clock. I felt triumphant when blood trickled down his cheek.
“And you, Trey! You smile in my face, eat dinner at my house, talk about how happy you are for us and how happy I make Kevin, but all the while you were scheming on how to steal my man.”
“It wasn’t like that, Monica, I promise. I –”
“Wasn’t like that?” I threw one of my high heel shoes, aiming for his eyeball. “Obviously it was, Trey.”
I stomped out of the room and disappeared down the steps. They probably thought I had gotten tired or come to my senses. I wasn’t anywhere near coming to my senses. I just remembered Kevin’s golf clubs in the front closet.
When I came back, the look in Kevin’s eyes said he regretted the day he ever became obsessed with being the next Tiger Woods. Trey screamed like a girl and ran out of the room when he saw the driving iron in my hand.
I made a wild swing at Kevin and hit the wall instead. Paint and drywall crumbled to the floor. While I was prying the club out of the wall, Kevin grabbed my arm and wrestled me to the floor.
“Monica, please, calm down and let’s talk about this like rational adults.”
“Calm down? Rational adults?” I unleashed a spray of curse words – strung them together like a pro. Kevin’s eyes widened. He had never heard me curse before. By the time he met me, I’d gotten delivered of the cussing demon I had picked up my freshman year of college.
I twisted a hand free and slapped his face. Hard. Twice. He grabbed my hand again and tried to pin me down. He was forceful enough to stop my assault against him, but gentle enough not to hurt me.
“Monnie, please.” His eyes begged me. Those big, beautiful eyes I had fallen so deeply in love with. Seeing the tears forming in the corners of them took some of the fire out of me. I stopped struggling for a minute.
Kevin looked like he was trying to decide if I was faking him out or if he could trust me enough to loosen his grip. He stared, obviously not knowing what to say. What could he say?
I realized my dream life, my fantasy, had just fallen apart. I let out a wail. “Oh my Gaaaaaawwwwwddddd…”
“Monnie, I’m sorry. I –”
“You’re sorry all right. You sorry son of a…You mother-lovin’…” Forget it. It was too hard. I unleashed another spray of foul language, knowing no matter how much I cursed or how many times I hit him, I’d never be able to make him hurt as much as he had just made me hurt.
I sure could try, though.
He’d let his guard down, giving me perfect space and time to kick him in the groin. When he fell, I jumped up and kicked him in the side with all the force my leg could muster. I didn’t know such violence lived in me. I had to make myself calm down before I really hurt him. Even though he deserved it.
I paced around the bedroom. “Help me, Jesus. Help me not to kill him. Help me not to go down to the kitchen and get a knife and gut him. OhLawdJesus, help me. I want to take this golf club and beat him in the head ‘til his brains drip out his ears. Jesus, keep me. I need you, Lord, otherwise I’m gonna …” My eyes darted around the room, looking for other things I could murder my husband with.
Kevin stood up, holding his side, sheer terror in his eyes. He had only seen me this mad once before – the last time my mother caught my dad with one of his many women.
“Jesus Jesus Jesus Jesus Jesus Jesus Jesus Jesus…” I called His name like I was on the tarrying bench, trying to get filled with the Holy Ghost. When Kevin heard me praying in tongues, he scrambled toward the door.
After I heard the front door slam, I screamed from somewhere deeper than I knew my soul went. What had just happened? How long had it been happening?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

it's really difficult to see the signs of a cheating husband...

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