Just as soon as we get into the bathroom, Carrie throws her hip out and drops her hand to it, aggravated. “What has got into Sean? Seriously, can he be more obvious? I mean, oh my god, he’s going to end up slipping on the drool spilling from his lips.”
I try to play dumb, “what do you mean?”
“Oh don’t give me that bull pucky. You know exactly what I mean ... him drooling over perky-boobed Barbie.” Even though I am incredibly embarrassed and growing more jealous by the minute, I giggle at Sarah’s newly acquired nickname.
“Maybe he’s just being polite and trying to make her feel comfortable,” I try to cover for his inappropriate behavior.
Carrie saunters over to the mirror and opens her hand bag to grab her lipstick. “Oh, come on, he’s being a complete douche if you ask me.” She applies her pink lipstick and smacks her lips together, making a loud smacking sound.
“Well, what should I say? Should I tell him it’s bugging me?” I ask, tucking into the smaller stall of the two.
“Hell yes, you should say something to him. You are the mother of his three children, and after you have given him twenty years of servitude…”
I laugh loudly at her blatant comment, “Servitude,” I question.
“Damn straight servitude. You have that house spotless and you tell me once when that man has had to come home and wait for dinner?”
“That’s what wives do … we feed our husband’s,” I try to defend.
“True, but honey you work a full time job too. What the hell does he do for you?”
“Carrie” … I sigh, “he’s my best friend and I love him, and … and he’s supportive.”
“Oh honey, he needs to be supportive with other things too—not just with his wallet.”
I’ve had this argument more than a dozen times with her. Carrie has been my best friend since we were ten years old and she has tolerated Sean for my sake. They definitely have a love hate relationship … they love to hate each other. Staring at the back of the stall door advertisements; propagandizing condoms in one box and a swing set company in another, makes me chuckle. Yeah, just incase you didn’t follow that first advertisement and didn’t use protection, we build swing sets.
Sean and I hadn’t planned on having kids so young, but we got married when we were both eighteen and only ten months later, we were in the maternity ward giving birth to our first son. I can’t believe how fast the time has gone by. In two years he’ll be graduating from college and starting his own life.
“Did you fall in? Do you need me to go find some rope?” Carrie and her witty comments …
I wrap up, and pull my bright red dress back into place. “I’m glad to know if I ever did fall in, you have my back.” I toss her a twisted grin.
“Of course I do, baby!”
Washing and then drying my hands, I use my freshly cleaned hands to ruffle my auburn hair, trying to fluff it for more bounce and volume.
“Don’t sweat it … you look hot!” she says. I glare at her. She knows I have been feeling really insecure lately. Being thirty-eight has really put me into a serious state of depression. “I’m not just saying that. You’re smoking hot sister. I wish I looked half as good as you.”
“Oh shut up Carrie. You are a fine piece of meat … premium grade FAA approved.”
She sticks her tongue out at me and we both laugh hysterically. The way we act, people would think we are in our twenties. “Forties are definitely the new twenties.” I joke.
“You ready?” She looks at me concerned. I know exactly what she is thinking, are you ready to go watch your husband flirt with another woman?
“Almost, you go ahead I’m just going to refresh my lip gloss. I’ll meet you out there.”
I’m not real sure how ready I am to go watch my husband flirt with a girl that I probably have fifteen years on. I pull on my big fake smile and go to join our friends. I can see the table where we’re all sitting, but I don’t see Sean or Sarah. My heart skips a beat. I know I am being irrational—jumping to conclusions—but I can’t seem to tame the jealous monster boiling inside of me.
I make eye contact with Carrie, and she waves me over, but I really need to calm my overactive nerves. I hold up my finger to indicate I will just be a minute. I turn and leave the main banquet hall to search for an exit to get a bit of fresh air. I don’t know what has come over me. I’m usually not the jealous type. Sean and I have been married for twenty years. I’m secure in our relationship. Wandering down the massive hall trying to convince myself that nothing is going on for me to worry about; I realize I hadn’t paid any attention to the way we came in. Feeling lost, I turn to the next door and open it hoping this is the exit—it’s not.
A dimly lit room—not quite as big as the room where the fundraiser down the hall is being held—opens up. My eyes adjust to the darkness as I look for an exit, but instead of an exit, I glimpse two shadows bent in a provocative position over a table. Thankfully they didn’t notice me intruding and I back away quietly. I feel so embarrassed walking in on them, and I hasten to escape the room until, I hear a masculine and very familiar voice. “That’s right baby…” quickly followed by a high pitched feminine, “Oh, yes”.
Frozen in place, my heart shatters into a million pieces. This can’t be happening. No, no, no. This is not happening. I squeeze my eyes shut so tight that they hurt. That is not my husband in the dark corner—with Sarah. My heart pounds violently against my rib cage, and bile rises to the back of my throat threatening to spill over. This is wrong—all wrong. Why? No. How? …ugh. I pry my eyes back open to see my whole world unraveling in front of me. The stuffy hot sex scented room sends icy chills over my skin. I need to move … I can’t move my legs—Jell-O. A large warm hand settles on my shoulder causing me to jump. I look up and see Lance … seeing what I am seeing. Neither one of us moving, the couple finally realizes they have an audience. My husband’s eyes meet mine and I can no longer hold back the bile. I haunch over and my dinner spills out onto the hardwood floor. My stomach cramps and a sickness I have never felt tears at my insides. Lance’s gentle hand just confirms to me that this is really happening. I try to stand as straight as my stomach will allow, wipe the remainder of the residue from my lips, and bolt for the door—backward. “Let’s get out of here!”
The understanding of what’s unfolding, Sean no longer looks stunned that I have caught him with Sarah, but now rather horrified. Trying to pull up his trousers and zip them, he runs haphazardly forward. “Nikki wait. Baby please …”
I run from the banquet room tugging on Lance to move—needing to escape. Now it’s Lance’s turn to direct me. He pushes me towards the main doors, and the brisk winter air slaps against my face as we exit. Lance makes a B-line straight for his car and has his key clicker out, unlocking the doors. I don’t make it all the way to his car before the tears start bubbling over. I slip inside and cry hard into my hands. Spinning and falling out of control, I let the tears pour over.
Feeling like I’ve been in the cold car crying for an hour, I look up wondering why we haven’t left yet. Lance isn’t even in the car. I see his dark shadow outside of my window and realize he is brushing what appears to be four inches of snow off the car. Go figure, a blizzard to top off my disastrous night. I hadn’t even noticed it when we bolted to the car. I don’t know why I’m even surprised. Sean had warned me when I chose these stupid spiky black heels. Tears come harder thinking about Sean. I’m so dumbfounded. I can’t believe I just caught my husband red handed cheating on me, and no less … with a girl, closer to our son’s age then to Sean’s.
The dull thud of the door tells me Lance has climbed in. “Damn snow,” he slurs.
I peek out from under my hands and look over at Lance. “Are you okay to drive?”
“I’m fine. Where are we going?”
I hadn’t given too much thought about where I should be going. I just knew I couldn’t stay. I had to get far away—right now. “Lance, I don’t know. I don’t really have anywhere to go.” I would have said home, but not now. I’ll never go back there again. I shrug my shoulders at him while he stares waiting for some sort of direction. Guilt consumes me, “Wait, you can’t leave! This fundraiser is for you. That’s your party in there.” Catching Sean with Sarah was the only thing I could think about and I ran out forgetting why we were even there. Lance. This party was for Lance to help fund his upcoming surgery, and therapy.
“Do you really think I want to be humiliated? I can’t go back in there, and pretend my date for the night wasn’t just screwing my best friend.”
Lance is hurting too. He has done multiple tours overseas to fight for our country, but it’s a silly girl and a friend that breaks him. “Just drive,” I say.
Lance slips his car into gear. The snow crunches under the tires as we back up. Leaving the parking lot, I see Sean standing at the front entrance with white, fluffy, snowflakes layering him.
The car is silent, neither one of us knowing what to say. Staring at the hypnotizing snow flakes pelting the window, I feel trapped in warp speed. The heater is finally starting to push out some warmth. I really didn’t know how cold I was until I could feel the heat defrosting my numb fingers. I’m afraid my mind might not be so easily defrosted.
“This is so fucked up,” Lance says.
I nod in agreement, but I don’t know if Lance can actually see me in the darkness. He’s right though … this situation is truly messed up.
“Maybe a motel,” is my only response. My head is spinning and I don’t think I can even string together complete sentences. My head just can’t pull all of my senses together right now. A jerk to the left pulls my eyes away from my hypnotic state. “Are you sure you’re okay to drive?” I have no clue how much he drank tonight, but I’m very weary he is in no state to drive.
“I’m fine,” he snorts.
I lean to the side slightly and glance at the speedometer. Fifty-five miles per hour. “Umm, Lance are we maybe going a little too fast? It’s not the best road conditions tonight.”
“Nikki, I’m fine. Don’t you think I know how to drive in the snow?”
“Well, yeah … but I think the speed limit is only thirty-five through here.”
“Would you like to drive?” He looks over at me. I can’t see his entire expression, because in a split second the car starts to turn sideways and we begin to spin out of control. My head twists and hits the side window. I clamp my eyes shut for a second and when I open them back up, I see two bright lights just before the wrenching sound of metal bending and crunching, reverberates through the air.