“Francine, I know what I saw. I was standing in front of the 7-Eleven, waiting for Theo to come through with some half decent bags because Pedro cuts his too much-”
“For Christ’s sake, Steve, I don’t care about the bags, what did you see?” I was on the verge of hysteria because I didn’t want to believe what he was about to tell me could be seeped in any sense of truth. Mark and I had been together since high school. We got married when we turned 21 and we were going to start a family. Steve had to be mistaken.
“It was raining but I know what I saw. Mark didn’t see me and I don’t know what he’d do this in front of the 7-Eleven when he knows everyone hangs down there, but he was there, with a girl, with blonde hair, that wasn’t you because I thought it was you at first because they were kissing. But when she turned her head, I was waving and I could see she didn’t recognize me and the more I looked the more I realized it wasn’t you then when Steve saw me he got out of that
parking lot like his car was on fire.” He was rushing through the story where I wanted every simmering detail because he was scared. That’s how I knew this wasn’t a joke or Steve just being dopey Steve. He must have really saw Mark with another girl and the pain cut through me so bad I couldn’t breathe. I wanted Mark. I had to talk to Mark.
I couldn’t even hear the rest of what Steve was saying. And I didn’t want to cry in front of him. I just wanted to be alone and I just wanted to talk to Mark. NOW.
And who the fuck was this blonde bitch anyway?
“You wanna smoke a joint?” Steve asked, his blue eyes almost glistening with tears of his own. “I didn’t want to tell you this…I didn’t, Francine, but I didn’t think it was fair not to tell you.”
If what he was really saying were true then Steve was truly a good friend. But how was I gonna find out. It wasn’t like Mark would tell me though I would know if he was lying.
My skin boiled. I was going to sit and wait. I would know right away. I played it off like I wasn’t about to jump off the roof, which is what I felt like doing right at the moment and I thanked Steve, telling him I just wanted to sit and think for a while and I really did appreciate him telling me what he saw.
“Are you sure?” he truly looked upset, “Maybe I should have kept my mouth shut.”
I shook my head, “No, no, that just means you’re a really good friend for telling me this.”
“You want me to sit with you a minute?”
I shook my head, hard, no I wanted to be by myself and I wanted to talk to Mark.
Almost like he knew Steve had told me, but how could he, Mark wouldn’t answer his phone. I called it again and again and again. It kept ringing but no one was answering.
I decided to walk down the stores myself, not drive, but walk, through the woods, even more sneaky like. Anyone could see my car. It was a distinctive blue color. It might have been your standard Toyota but it was painted by whoever owned it before so there was no other blue quite like it. I was gonna kill this mother fucker.
Why would Steve lie? He just wouldn’t. He looked so bad even telling me what he wanted to tell me that it was making me sick. Making me sick to think of Mark being with another woman. We’d been together so long. We had a good relationship. None of it made any sense.
I walked through the schoolyard and down the stone covered embankment and into the woods where we used to hang out as children. That’s when I had first met Mark. We had both been in high school and him and his friends had driven a car inside the woods and blew it up. We thought that was so daring and cool. It had been an abandon car and back then it wasn’t like now. Everything wasn’t tracked. There weren’t cameras everywhere so you could do things and have fun without fear that the next day everything would be plastered all over Facebook or YouTube. As I made my way into the woods, the sunlight glistening off the trees, it lit up like God’s country and everything looked so beautiful. I loved nature. I loved being out in the woods…with…Mark…and now…now would I ever love anything again? Was it even true? Maybe Steve was high and it wasn’t Mark though I knew in my heart that something was wrong.
But why would Mark do it in front of the 7-Eleven knowing people that both knew us would be down there. That was the classic neighborhood hook up place for any kind of drug you wanted. Since we were kids that’s where we got our pot from, our coke, our ludes. (Man, did I miss those 714’s.) I used to take my birth control at 7:14 every night because that was the only time I could ever seem to remember to take it.
I stopped and breathed in the air. The air that smelled like wet leaves and dirt that was old because no one except old heads or real little kids ever came in here anymore. It wasn’t like when we were kids. They had gotten rid of the path so it wasn’t as easy to walk through the woods anymore, you kind of had to walk around it. Strange things would brush up against your legs and one time Mark and I were fucking like mad dogs in what we thought was just a brush and here it was a bunch of Poison Ivy which I turned out to be allergic to and he nursed my wounds back to health.
I frowned. I felt my lip quivering and my eyes tearing and I knew I was about to breakdown because no matter what. I knew something was wrong.
6/24 – 2B (PLEASE NOTE 2B was prewritten and then lost- so this might be a little shaky or “underwritten” at one point I am going to start writing these elsewhere and then pasting them to this site- for now I am literally writing them off the cuff or LIVE and I am sure it shows in some parts but once I get it off the ground it won’t always stay so.)- DEBBIE
I hustled out of the woods, not really knowing what I was going to do. What would I do when I found Mark? Confront him when I don’t even really think I wanted to know the truth? Steve wouldn’t lie to me and unless he had beer goggles on or something and really didn’t see what he thought he saw I was gonna be one sad girl. I came out of the woods and turned to see the orange and green glow of the 7-Eleven, practically blinding my eye sight, then I saw the kids, staring at me, at mom, the enemy, she who was either searching for her kid to yell at or was a town watchdog type person. When I was younger it was pot and cocaine on the weekends but now kids today were all about heroin and whatever they could find, bath salts and things I never heard of nor knew nothing about.
Or the Angel Dust of the past had mutated into something called ‘wet’ where people ripped off their clothes and drank water out of toilets they would get so thirsty, or so I heard. It scared me how hardcore things were now. I wouldn’t even try ecstasy yet someone told me that we had done enough shrooming and hits of acid that ecstasy wouldn’t matter. And right now the last thing on my mind was drugs anyway.
I wanted to scream out, I am neither I am just looking for my cheating husband.
I had only been with Mark he was my one and only lover. I had kissed a few guys before him but he was it. And I was like maybe his third, we had been with each other that long. I even brought another girl into the relationship before, for his 21st birthday so he wouldn’t stray and while he had a great time while it was happening he told me afterward he really hadn’t liked it. Like he thought me being with her was really cool but he hadn’t liked being with her directly and I hadn’t much liked that part either. But I made him promise that he would do that rather than anything behind my back. At least I would know about it and it always seemed to work. He seemed satisfied, our sex life was as good as it had always been.
I couldn’t understand… so I searched around for a friendly face and I saw Meringue and ran over to him, pretending like I was running up to him to buy something. He was a nice kid and came right over to me and I couldn’t stop it; the minute he wrapped his arms around me I burst into tears. I just could not hold it back. He held me tightly and didn’t ask nothing until I pulled back and said lightly, “Have you seen Mark around?”
He shook his head and his hazel eyes seemed to go right through to my own when I heard a car revving into the parking lot behind me. It was Mark and he was with another person in an unfamiliar car. I was about to break loose but Meringue stopped me. “Don’t” he whispered under his breath, so I did, I stopped…and I waited….
I wiggled out of Meringue’s arms, despite his vehement protests and I ran to the car. Mark was sitting in the passenger’s seat with Greg in the driver’s and they both gave me a look of strange curiosity when I came running breathlessly up. I banged on the window. It was just starting to rain.
“What are you doing outside? Where’s the car?” Mark looked truly upset. And oddly enough the minute he asked me this I thought, he was asking me this like I was a child, and in these brief 5 seconds when I was climbing inside the car I thought maybe this was what he wanted, to be a father. I thought of this a lot, we had talked about it a lot and I was never sure if I wanted to have children but the older I got the more I realized it was something I wanted but I had said I didn’t want it for so long…this was going to be something I was going to have to bring up.
And I sat against the cool leather backing and thought, but if any of this was true none of this would matter because I wouldn’t want to be with him anymore. I could never get over it.
Mark and Greg both turned around and stared at me. “What are you doing out in the rain, down here?” Greg was the one who asked me this.
Mark’s face was turning red.
“Hey, what’s wrong?”
I shook my head I was afraid if I opened my mouth I would start crying. I couldn’t even look at him.
The sympathy in his eyes was killing me. I wanted to blurt it out so bad but not in front of Greg. I was embarrassed like it was my fault that he had cheated on me, like maybe I wasn’t doing something that needed to be done.
“Where’s the car?” Mark was looking around and realized that the car and the jeep we had was not around. “You didn’t walk down here did you?”
I nodded. “It was nice out when I left.”
I so bad did not want what Steve told me to be true that I didn’t even want to know the truth. I didn’t want to say anything and they were both looking at me like I was insane. And yet I was afraid to open my mouth and I could tell my silence was being mistaken for my own deceit; that I wanted to come down here to secretly by drugs or something because no one really came down here for any other reason.
“I didn’t know it was supposed to rain,” I managed to get out.
“Did you need something from the store?” Mark asked, glancing down at his phone. Why didn’t you just call me? I would have gotten whatever you needed, babe.”
I just kept nodding like a mute because the tears were coming up from my stomach into my throat and once they broke I would never be able to stop.
WHY WOULD HE DO THIS TO ME?
HOW COULD HE DO THIS TO ME?
I just sat back and told him I wanted to go home. Mark looked over at Greg and they silently said whatever guys say to each other ‘this bitch is crazy’ etc…and he started up the street, making a left toward the winding road that led up to our house. I glanced back and said a silent goodbye to Meringue who nodded his head at me.
It only takes a few minutes to get up the street so we were in front of the house when a huge storm broke. Really bad. And, of course. the first thing Mark says is, “You would have been stuck in this, Francine, what were you thinking?”
Greg, firing up a joint asked if we wanted any, to which we both shook our heads and got out of the car. I practically ran out and into the house, wanting to confront Mark immediately so he couldn’t make up some ridiculous story.
Our home had been made up just the way I wanted it, in beige and soft blues. I stared at the pictures of us and our friends, and family all across our walls.
I went into the kitchen and grabbed a pepsi, watching the and listening to the fizz as it popped open, waiting for Mark to walk into the kitchen.