A Suburban Story by Wayne Scheer
Instead of eating lunch in his office, Jason headed north on I-75 to Marietta, a suburban community just outside of Atlanta. He had left some information home he needed in order to complete a report he was working on.
It presented a bit of a drive, but he always felt invigorated approaching his well-kept suburban community. Turning down Park Street, slowing for the elementary school, he marveled at the affluent homes, so neat and orderly. He felt proud being part of a neighborhood comprised of such solid citizens.
His righteous thoughts ended abruptly as he neared the two-story Colonial he and his wife, Becky, had made their home for the past five years. A tan BMW was parked behind Becky’s car. He recognized it at once as belonging to Clarke Grisholm. Clarke and Becky worked together, and they were supposed to be at a meeting this afternoon.
Although he tried convincing himself there was an innocent explanation, doubt stabbed at his stomach. The well-trimmed boxwoods alongside the house glared at him. He felt mocked by the perfectly manicured front lawn.
Becky had been stressed of late. Their sex-life suffered. “Work-related problems” was Becky’s explanation.
How could he not have seen what was happening?
Should he ring the bell or use his key to walk right in? The thought of catching Becky and Clarke in bed sickened him. He wanted to run away. If only he had not broken his routine and come home in the afternoon.
But hiding from the truth wasn’t an option; he knew that. He unclenched his fist, took a deep breath and turned the key in the lock. When he pushed open the door, what he saw surprised him even more than what he had imagined.
Becky sat with Clarke’s wife at the kitchen table sipping coffee.
How stupid of him to have assumed the worst of the woman he loved. He felt like he had betrayed her.
“Hi, honey,” he said, trying to sound nonchalant. “I thought you had a lunch meeting today.”
“It was canceled,” Becky said, first looking at her friend and then at Jason. “Elise came by the office to see Clarke and I decided to play hooky.”
He kissed his wife and explained he needed some papers from his office. On his way, he glanced toward the master bedroom and noticed the bed unmade. Tangled amidst the sheets were red panties he knew didn’t belong to his wife.
The pain in his stomach returned.