Chapter Three (Summer)

I stopped by the nearest liquor store on my way home and practically begged Monica to give me some time to sort through my thoughts. The truth was, I wasn’t in the mood to hear Monica’s yelling and cussing. She meant well, but some times she could be over the top.

As soon as I walked into the huge empty house, I lost it. I had never felt so alone and lost. I cried in the shower for what seemed like hours. By the time I even thought to pick up the soap, the water had turned ice cold.

Later that night, I was sitting on the chaise lounge in my bedroom drinking a blackberry Merlot, and hoping to find the answers to my problems in the bottom of that bottle. After thinking a while, I had to admit that I had been distant with Jason lately. It all stemmed from the fact that he just didn’t turn me on anymore. The romance was gone. All Jason ever did was work, which meant I rarely ever saw him. Now I understood why.

Somewhere along the line we had fallen out of sync. He never wanted to talk anymore, or spend time; he only wanted to have sex. Even that felt like a chore. The truth was so hurtful. There were so many signs, but I was oblivious to them because I was falling out of love and my husband stopped being my husband long ago. Jason was working out again, had a lock on his cell phone, and was acting down right shady.

When Ava, our eighteen-year-old daughter, asked when was the last time her dad and I had gone on a date, it became apparent to me the downward spiral my marriage had truly taken.

Since the kids were both away at college, I didn’t have anyone to care for but myself. Ayden, our son, was working at the University of Memphis as a graduate assistant in the admissions office while finishing his masters in business administration. He had really been talking about some little girl he wanted his father and me to meet soon. Too bad he would have to take her to two separate houses to introduce her to us.

Ava was adamant about going away for college. She attended a small college in Murfreesboro, TN, and was really growing into a young lady there. I was so happy that Ava and I had such a close relationship. She called and talked to me every night about everything. She had decided to stay in Murfreesboro for summer school, and to spend more time with this new guy she was seeing. She begged me not to tell her father that she had lost her virginity to Kai this past school year.

I had always encouraged her to speak to her father the same as me, but it never worked out. After she told me about her sleeping with Kai, I took off for a week and spent time with my daughter. It was unfortunate that Kai was out of town that week; however the main focus was educating Ava. I took her to get birth control and took her shopping and we talked about things I wasn’t quite ready to talk about with her, but I was relieved that she was comfortable enough to come to me about it.

I wasn’t sure whether it was the alcohol or just the simple fact that my family had entirely fallen apart before my eyes. I always wanted to show my children what a healthy and loving relationship looked like. Now my husband was having that healthy and loving relationship with another woman. The tears rolled down my cheeks and dripped off my chin into my glass. How could Jason do this to me? After all I’ve done for him and our family, he decides to cheat on me with some child?!

I laid back and knew then that I needed to get myself together. The last thing Jason Rayne would be doing is allowing his feathers to be ruffled. It was those very characteristics about Jason that attracted me to him in the first place. He was always so smooth and laid-back. His demeanor was consistent. He never ranged from one extreme to the next like me. Even in the middle of a family crisis, Jason would just call a family meeting, ask for everyone’s input, and then make a decision. He truly exhibited what it meant to be the head of household. He had a certain savoir faire to him that demanded respect.

His Hershey’s kiss colored skin and brown eyes had a way of melting me and causing any quarrel we had to cease. Just the thought of losing him and sent me spiraling back into the abyss of depression where I nearly drowned in my own tears. I couldn’t stop replaying the entire scene in my head. I’m sure it was the second bottle of Merlot beginning to affect my thought process. I sat there sobbing as I shifted backwards and forward through the five phases of grief.

First it was the denial and isolation. When I walked into what I thought was “our” home I turned off my cell and convinced myself that he was not with that little girl that way. By the time I made it to the shower I was filled with rage! The anger that overcame me was almost demonic. All I wanted was immediate revenge. Then I began bargaining with myself concerning my marriage. By the time I sat down and began drinking I had a heap of things I would do to fix the problems that I obviously had created. Now I was stuck at the fourth stage, depression. This damn Merlot had me all over the place. I’m sure that if I kept it handy, I would never make it to the fifth and final stage, acceptance. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t think straight. All I could do was cry.