It was just a normal day in our hometown of Secret, New Jersey and my husband was planning to work late yet again. I was making eggs and bacon, his favorite- even though I despise both of them, for him to eat before he left for work since he would have time. He came down the stairs dressed a lot nicer than he usually is for work and I teased, “Ooo, hot date later?”.
He looked surprised and apprehensively asked, “Wh-What makes you think that? Why would I be going out on a date? I’m just going to work”.
Confused I replied, “It was a joke, honey. You’re dressed nicer than you normally are for work, that’s all.”
He responded curtly with, “Oh. Well stop doing that. I don’t like that. Don’t assume things you don’t know.” I looked up from what I was doing and gave him a sharp look that could inflict tears upon small children and sensitive adults. He changed the subject immediately and acted as if he had just noticed I was making him breakfast, and asked, “Whatcha cooking there? It smells good.”
Still upset at how he was acting earlier I ignored his question and continued cooking because it was almost done anyway. I heard his big feet in his nice dress shoes tap across our fake wood kitchen floor and then his arms were around me and his chin on the top of my head. His voice was quiet and so low that I could barely hear him whisper, “I’m sorry for snapping at you. I love you and I don’t want anything to come between us.”
Shaking him off of me I turned around to grab the plate off the island and started putting his food onto it, still not saying anything. His clipped responses and short temper towards me have been extremely frequent lately and uncalled for. It’s as if he thinks I’m always out to get him and want to find something wrong with everything he’s doing. He continues his pleading with, “Isabella, please. Talk to me. I know I’ve been mean lately. It’s just work is super stressful lately and I take it out on you when you don’t deserve it. I’m sorry. Please, babe.”
I put his now full plate back down on the island and told him, “Here’s your food. You better hurry, you’re gonna be late to work.” I wanted so bad to just say it’s ok and that I’m fine,but I couldn’t because I wasn’t fine and by just saying it’s ok he wouldn’t understand how frustrated I am with his actions and he would just do it all over again.
He didn’t move from where he was, he just stared at me waiting for me to say something but I didn’t know what to say and ended up saying nothing. The thousands of things I could say were running through my mind yet I said none of them. I just stood there and stared at him while he stared back with pleading eyes. He finally walked over to me said, “I have to go work. I’ll see when you I get home. Goodbye, I love you.” and kissed me on my forehead.
“I love you too, Tyler.” With that I watched him walk out the door to leave.
My thoughts while driving to ‘work’ consisted of only a few things:
I’m an idiot.
I’m a terrible husband.
I don’t deserve Isabella.
I need to get my life together.
I knew all of these things long before this morning as much as I knew seeing Vanessa behind Isabella’s back was wrong and yet, I still continued to do it. I even continued to take my anger at myself out on Isabella by yelling at her when she says anything that seems remotely suspicious of me even though I’m sure she suspects nothing and thinks I’m working like I told her. Maybe it’s my way of trying to get her to want to leave me so that I don’t have to be the one to publicly want to end things. So that it will still be my fault but for a much less serious reason than it really is. I love her, at least I think so and I don’t want to hurt her. I know I did love her genuinely at one point until Vanessa, who doesn’t stop until she gets what she wants, decided I was her new beau and pulled me further and further away from my wife with her ‘problems’. It’s not Vanessa’s fault, though I knew what she wanted from the start and I didn’t try to stop her at all.
I had arrived at The Shore, the expensive apartment complex on Jersey Shore that I half owned with my brother, and I was going there only to tell Vanessa that we needed to end things. I knew it was going to be difficult because Vanessa always gets her way, but I had to do it, I couldn’t continue hurting Isabella like this. I walked up to her apartment on the 2nd floor and rang the buzzer for her to let me in.
“Who is it??”, she called into the mic.
“It’s Tyler, who else?”, I replied monotonously.
“Okay, Okay. I’m coming.”
I heard the locks click as the girl I almost gave up my marriage for opened the door. Her dark curly hair, light brown skin and tall hourglass figure were almost all the complete opposite of Isabella who had straight blonde hair, light olive toned skin and was very short but still curvy. The only similarity with them is their drive to get what they want, Vanessa just happened to be a lot more obvious about it than Isabella.
I walked in the door and decided now was as a good a time as any and informed Vanessa that, “We need to talk.”, she looked confused at me but I continued, “We can’t keep doing this to Isabella. She doesn’t deserve this. You know this would break her heart and she’s fragile. She’s already suspecting something is going on and I would rather she not caught us. We need to stop.”
“This is so out of the blue. What made you realize that you shouldn’t cheat on your wife?”
I rolled my eyes at her, “You know I said no at first. You just didn’t stop and I gave in. I thought about it though. I don’t regret us, I just don’t want Isabella or anyone else for that matter, to find out.”
“You’re so selfish. Much like me. You should just leave Isabella and be with me. We are the same person. Worried about only ourselves and our feelings. We wouldn’t have to worry about hurting each other because we aren’t sensitive little b****es. We’re tough and can handle ourselves. I mean that’s what we’ve been doing this whole time.”
“Vanessa, you know that can’t happen. I’m married and I can’t leave Isabella for you because that’s completely unfair to her. I already went behind her back, I can’t throw it in her face now. I’m done. We are done. We have to be.” I could tell I was sounding exhausted and about to give in and Vanessa knew that but I couldn’t. I couldn’t give in, we needed to be done.
She eyed me for a few minutes and then said, “You look tired. Were you up all night debating on telling me this?”. She paused for a second, “Nevermind. I know you, of course that’s why you look like this. Why don’t you just take a quick nap here, it’s still early you don’t have to work yet.”
She was so mischievous and she knew it. I knew it too and I wasn’t going to let it work this time. “Vanessa, I need to go to my job. We aren’t doing this anymore. Stop trying. Find yourself a man who will be with you and only you. You’re a great girl and many men are definitely willing to be with you.”
She looked at me so bewildered almost, disappointed as I turned away from her and walked out of the door to go to work.
Vanessa was right, I had stayed up all night contemplating my decision and I was extremely tired now because of it. Work was exhausting because I hate dealing with all the snobby renters and my brother gives me a headache every time he opens his mouth. It was an entire nightmare and I was just glad to be heading home.
I texted Isabella to let her know I was on the way home and then started my car. It was earlier than I usually leave so she didn’t answer me right away, plus she was probably still mad from this morning.
There was basically no one on the road while I was driving which was nice, so I started to daydream. I thought about Isabella and how bad I felt that I hurt her and Vanessa because I had used her and she didn’t deserve that either. I don’t know what I would do if Isabella- my back wheels started sliding and I couldn’t control the car anymore. Wait, which way are you supposed to turn for the back wheels out right? No, in? I didn’t know, I lost control and the last thing I saw was a thick maple tree.
Tyler texted me like 3 hours ago that he was on the way home and he still wasn’t here. I knew he was going to do this again because he said he was working late earlier. That’s why I didn’t answer him. I knew it would change.
My phone lit up with a number I didn’t recognize calling me. I answered it because why not. “Hi is this Vanessa Perez ? Tyler Johnson’s girlfriend?”
“Excuse me? This is his wife Isabella? Who is Vanessa?”
“I’m sorry ma’am. My mistake. I’m calling to sadly inform you that your husband died in a one person car accident on Route 57.”
I hung up. I couldn’t hear him say that again. Girlfriend?? Who the heck is Vanessa? Wait, the long nights at work, the dressing nice, the anger and suspicion. He was cheating on me. He died on his way home from cheating on me. I didn’t say anything, get mad or yell, or even cry. I did nothing.