The husband sat alone in a booth in the back of the restaurant. The woman was at a nearby table and bored with her life. The line crossed that night had become blurred with circumstances, a perfect storm leading up to one small mistake. Of course size is relative and some said the only problem was they were watched.
His wife had hired a guy, a private eye from the classifieds. That had been two weeks ago and recently the guy had thought it best not to take her money but integrity had little to do with the bottom line. Plus he had done this before, many times. He knew the gal had trust issues which had very little to do with the husband. Forty years of tailing and telling had led him to think only one thought, People will tell themselves stories and those stories will become their life. He was only there to provide illustration for the book she was writing.
His story, it seemed, was that of the most normal kind of guy. He went to work, came home, coached his kid's baseball team and went fishing with his buddies on the weekend. This had led to some great photography and all kinds of action shots but nothing to satisfy the wife. Until that night.
He had seen their eyes meet and oh how he hated this part, the stumble right before the fall. If only that one thing didn't happen. If only he never smoked that first cigarette then there would never have been a second and all the ones after that. Their eyes met, the waitress came to her table, a joke was made, he laughed from the booth. She smiled but not at the waitress. At the husband and he smiled back.
He could have told them what to do next because he knew better than them what it would be. Only it was his job to watch. Sometimes, like tonight, he hated his job.
Between you and me this is one of those things I love and hate about writing. Sometimes the characters resemble people. Sometimes not. When they don't it comes slow and hard. I rethink every line before it even lands on the page. I resist, don't know where, who these characters are. I tell myself nobody ever has to see it. It's bad. I hate it. Who would ever want to write this?
Tomorrow Mom will ask, What was that?
And I'll go, I have no idea. I think it was just for me. Sometimes it's gotta be for me.
Then the perfect Mom answer, Okay.
After that we'll wish each other a good day.
Note to self: Be that kind of Mom.
The best part is I'll most likely never read this again. I'll leave it here in some type of ya ya sisterhood burning moment where we all just dance around a fire 'cause maybe I begin to notice something or someone in all four characters. Maybe there was a part of me who was a suspicious wife. It could be I was the guy hired to watch. You could have caught me being bored with my life. Possibly I, like the husband, became what someone else needed me to be so I could fit in their story.
Tonight when my eyes met the story there was one thing that stood out, People will tell themselves stories and those stories will become their lives.
I welcome you to my bonfire. I'm burning this part 'cause I don't like that story's ending and I have to take at least a little responsibility in telling it.
I want to tell you I never cheated because at one time that was the only thing making me feel good about myself. He cheated so by my definition that made him worse. Maybe the only problem in trying to be better than everyone else is you finally find yourself better and alone.
Or maybe not.
Tonight I am grateful for the people in my life.