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The final chapter: he & Sandy come to an arrangement.
"Well, if you've got nothing to say, I'm going to bed. Don't bother joining me until you're willing to talk to me," she said. I didn't even look up.
I didn't move until I heard the bedroom door slam. Good, I thought, she's off balance. Now, I have the initiative. She'd crushed my heart. And, not by the cheating per se. No, it was her heartless attitude about what I could do if I didn't like it. It was obviously her dictum that it would be her way or the highway. The way I saw it at that moment, the worst case scenario, was gonna be that the highway would hurt her more.
That night, and every night for the next month, I slept on the couch. I didn't flinch when she called to say she was going to be late Tuesdays and Thursdays as usual. We both knew she was fucking him those nights. And, then she began adding Saturdays to her schedule. This last, I was pretty sure, to push me to talk to her.
I did talk to her: about the kids, the house, the job, everything; but not about her whoring around on me. She was becoming skittish. She knew first-hand what I was capable of. I saw her look worriedly at me when I was working in the yard. My cold demeanor must have had her wondering when the shit was going to hit the fan.
The supreme irony was, that as I let things continue, my hatred grew, but so did my sadness. I loved this woman with all of my being. And, I was pretty sure she loved me almost as much. She just wanted to have her cake and eat it too.
Had I talked to her, I know she would have tried to convince me that her liaisons were nothing but sex; that they had nothing to do with us as a married couple. It made me smile inwardly when I thought of the scenarios that sooner or later would be played out. The charade went on for almost a year.
We had not had sex once during the whole time, and I had not, during that time, cheated on her or said so much as one word to her or to her asshole lover about their adultery. I had however, with the assistance of Gary and Mark, gotten a busload of evidence in case of a divorce. We were also grinding it out to find as much evidence as we could against Mr. Gordon Crowder of other things he might be guilty of. We worked on the premise that absolutely everyone had something to hide. The work was slow, but it definitely was sure.
Every state but New York is a no fault state, so to guarantee that I could have custody of the children; I had to have near incontrovertible evidence of her unfitness as a mother. This was going to be a tough nut. But now I was close to getting it.
I had been kinda surprised that she hadn't divorced me! I knew she was angry and frustrated with me. She did mention divorcing me a couple of times, but I just walked away without so much as acknowledging her words. But, then, finally, I caught a break.
Again, I think she was trying to force me to talk to her and agree that her fucking around on me wasn't so bad. She kicked me out. No talk of divorce. She just said to get out until I would talk to her and try to solve our differences-read agree to her demands.
This time I looked her in the eyes as mine teared up. I was genuinely saddened by her move, but I also realized it was an opportunity. I went up stairs and began packing a couple of suitcases. I heard her on the phone when I came out of the room. She was in the kitchen, but I could hear her side of the conversation easily.
"Your idea sucked, Gordon...no...he's leaving...no damn it...he's leaving don't you hear me...no I said...no...when? what?...you have got to be kidding you're not half the man he is except for your dick...you?...hahaha...one on one with him...yeah right...you'd last about as long as a fart in a typhoon...no...forget it...we have to cool it for a while...yes, but not any time soon...I have to get my man back...yes...goodbye."
I came down the stairs and she was waiting for me by the door. "Blake, I apologize. I made a mistake. Please don't leave," she said. I pushed by her.
"Goodbye," I said. And, I left.
I wound up at the Pine Tree.