The signs existed for months — even years. I just did not see the whole picture.
Maybe I did not want to see it. It is difficult for anyone, let alone a wife of many years to face the facts as I have had to face them the last couple of weeks.
Finally, I admitted it.
My husband is cheating on me.
First, it with the simple things that we used to enjoy together. Activities we shared with our children: Traveling, reading aloud Narnia books, meals. Of course, he did not have to do these things with just me, but then the things just the two of us shared together began to exclude me. I shrugged it off at first. He is retired and at home. I am at work. He has a lot of time by himself at the house and on the road.
I simply do not have the time to share all the activities that he does.
I could live with that … until the afternoon I discovered him inside our van grabbing a few stolen moments when he knew I would not be there.
“You do realize it would be more comfortable in the house?” I dryly commented as he looked up at me with just the hint of a blush.
“You really do not have to stay in the van running down the battery like that,” I pulled the boom box out and plunked it down on the counter where he could see it.
“Oh yeah,” he said at least having the decency to look a bit embarrassed.”
“Well, if you want to finish listening to that John Grisham book on tape, you can do it here in the house. You don’t hide out in the van or wait until we take another trip,” I snapped open the cassette case and thrust the cassette into the tape player.
“That’s okay. I don’t have to listen to it now,” he quickly backed away.
Sure he backed away that day, but he could not resist Grisham’s writing as read by an expert dramatist. He pretends he can live without listening to a suspense book read by a skilled actor — but he can’t.
The next day, he met me at the door talking about Grisham’s novel The Chamber, about a man making his final legal appeals as he counts down the hours to his execution.
“He got you so you were thinking, ‘he really doesn’t deserve to go to the gas chamber’ and you are hoping that somehow he will get out of it,” my husband mused as I unloaded groceries. Okay, so he fell under the influence of a very skilled author, the man did not have the decency to look abashed that he had finished listening to that book without me.
I can not believe this is the same man who for years declared his total abstinence from novels. For years, he has pounded into my brain that he just does not like to read.
Well, he certainly does like to listen.
I know, because Grisham is not the first author with whom he has cheated on me.
I select and save these audio books for trips we take together. He drives. I do handwork. We both listen — together.
The first time he finished a book without me, I shrugged it off. He had had to drive on alone. I had already read the book. I knew he would enjoy it.
In the last month or so however, the man has left me behind at least three times as he finished one John Grisham book after another – not on the road, but in our house. I take the time to find the audio books. I save them to share with him when we travel together and then he turns around and takes off to hear it through to the closing chapter without me. Some thanks.
Next time I’m taking a James Herriot book. All those veterinarian vignettes about people and animals will entertain him without the attention grabbing effect of a John Grisham page turner.
(With tongue in cheek, Joan Hershberger writes for the News-Times.)