Chapter 9 (Summer)

 

         With the soulful acoustics of India Arie’s “Get It Together” playing in the background, Summer sat in her SUV wondering why she had ever gotten married in the first place. She had driven aimlessly until she ended up on Riverfront Drive. While she overlooked The Mighty Mississippi River, angry lines creased her mouth and forehead. She thought about her husband and all he meant to her. Summer and Jason had grown up together. They met in middle school and had been inseparable ever since. From middle school sports, to high school organizations, to college sweethearts it had always been just the two of them.

         Like any relationship, they had their problems, but everyone knew that Summer and Jason had the type of love that could withstand any dilemma. Summer and Jason chose different paths after high school, which resulted in a breakup during college. Against her better wishes, she moved back to Memphis to be with Jason. He had gotten in touch with Summer out of the blue one day and they instantly picked up where they left off. The earth shattering sex, the sweet conversations, the genuine kind gestures, were all enough for Summer to pack up and haul it back to Memphis.

         About six months after relocating, Jason proposed. They attended pre-marital counseling and the pastor said something Summer knew she would carry with her forever. He asked Summer what made her not only fall in love with, but agree to marry Jason? Summer’s reply was instant and it didn’t take much response time. “He completes me. Without him, I’m whole, but with him I’m so complete. His love makes me feel full, the kind of right-after-Thanksgiving-dinner at MaDear’s house type full. He makes me high and forgetful, and I desire him the same now as I did years ago. Pastor, it’s always been him. No man makes me cry tears of pain and joy in one setting, but him. He’s my other half. No matter what he brings to the table, he has my support, even when I don’t agree. I want to give him the love that I feel in my heart because I want him to know how it feels to be loved that much. I never want to let him go. I never want to go a day without inhaling him and breathing his love. My desire for this man runs deep, so much so, that I’m certain that no other man will ever experience it. He is the only person that deserves my love.”

         Summer cried from the overwhelming force she felt when she thought of the love she had for her husband. That love always brought a smile to her face, even during the worse times they faced, she could always rely on the love they shared.

         Summer realized that her cocaine-high love suddenly turned into a deadly overdose affair. Jason had another woman that he was spending quality time with. A man can have casual sex and walk away, but when he spends his time, in public, he’s not just gone physically, but he’s gone emotionally. For Jason, Summer’s love wasn’t enough to keep him. Sure she could admit that she had not been making love to Jason nearly as much as she had been. It was almost like they had gone from being the best of friends to common roommates.

         Summer didn’t know whether to save her marriage, or walk away and accept that things were just too far-gone. How could she miss the warning signs? Although she knew that she never wanted to move back to Memphis, Summer applied for a position here and was hired. That was the cover up she used to move back home, without being questioned.

         Maybe Summer and Jason were still high off of the high school love that they shared and didn’t spend enough time getting to know the adults that they had become.

         Summer feared that she had spent the last twelve years being in a marriage on her own. She was oblivious to the fact that there was ever another woman. How could she be so naïve? For the most part, she thought she and Jason had a great marriage. They were successful and social and for the most part had achieved all of their goals.

         As Summer sat in her SUV watching the flow of the river, she couldn’t help but wonder if her life had taken on the same rapid flow of the water, spinning out of control all around her while she watched. But this was one time she wouldn’t take a back seat in the story of her life. Summer felt as though she was sinking, and she would take every asshole down with her. 

Chapter 8 (Jason)

        Jason hit the button to lower the garage and shut the door. He stood in the middle of the kitchen while he cried silently. He was in so much pain and the only person he could blame was himself. Nothing mattered more at this moment than fixing his marriage. He had no idea why he even cheated in the first place.

         It was true that he and Summer had grown apart from the lack of sex, affection, and making time for themselves, but nothing could justify him stepping outside of his vows. He truly did love his wife with all his being, and would not know what to do without her. But because of his sexual addiction, his marriage had completely deteriorated. The sad part was that there were so many women before Skylar. Women in the neighborhood, at the church, on his job, in the building at his job, at his gym, wherever he met a beautiful woman, he had the charm it took to have her. Jason was always up front with the women he fooled around with. They always knew that he was married and had no intentions on leaving his wife. He made it clear that he was happily married, but only needed more sexually. Somehow he ended up pacifying Skylar rather than dismissing her, which is how he ended up knee-deep in this load of shit.

         It was something about Skylar that captivated him. She was much younger than him, but she had a certain level of wisdom, and spontaneity that made him feel youthful whenever he was with her. 

         After everything that had happened, Jason knew that none of it was worth his livelihood. At that very moment, standing in the middle of his kitchen alone, he felt that he had the motivation to go back to being the best at everything-The best husband, the best father, the best anything he put his mind to if he could get a grip on life. He didn’t want to recreate the disconnect that grew in his family because of his father’s actions. He worked hard to get his family where they were and it seemed as if he had worked just as hard to tear it all apart.

         Jason sat at the kitchen table and buried his face in his hands as he released a river of emotions. He never wanted to admit that he was a lot like his father with his womanizing ways because that would mean he had to acknowledge the pain and bitterness that he had masked deep within.

         As Jason sat at the table crying his silent tears, he picked up his cell phone and decided to call the one person he knew would keep it straight no matter what. He called his sister Monica.

         The phone rang three times. Right when Jason was about to hang up someone answered. “I knew your trifling ass would call sooner or later,” Monica said when she answered.

         “Hey, I’m great thanks for asking,” Jason replied in a less enthusiastic tone.

         “Jason where in the hell have you been? Summer hasn’t answered her phone since she dropped me off last night, and you couldn’t be contacted. Ava has been calling the two of you all night to tell you about her grades.”

         Monica had rattled off so much so fast that Jason almost regretted calling her.

         “Listen up Monica, I did not call you to hear this shit! I wanted you to let me know what was Summer’s reaction when you two left the store last night. I know this is some serious shit! I know I messed up! I know, and I don’t need you to tell me something I already know,” Jason exploded.

         The line went silent. Monica had a lot of sass, but she was extremely sensitive. He knew that his screaming at her had taken her by surprise and probably hurt her feelings.  

         “I apologize sis. I didn’t mean to take this out on you.”

         “I know you didn’t. Look she was much too calm and relaxed for me. When I offered to stay with her until you came home, she told me that she was fine and needed some time to herself,” Monica replied.

         “Calm? Summer is never calm when she’s pissed off.”

“I know,” said Monica, “She had a blank look on her face and was talking low. I ain’t never seen her like this before Jason. Maybe she just needs some space.”

         “Space? Monica we ain’t some suburban couple on TV! I promised momma that I would never go to bed mad with Summer and that I would always remain under the same roof with my wife and work through our problems. Now that has been true up until last night.”

         “Then don’t leave the house. Just go out back to the guesthouse. Leave her a note letting her know where you are and that you want to work this out, but you’re sure she needs her space.”

         “You may be right Monica. Thanks lil sis. Talk to you later.”

         “Hey, Jason? You and Summer are made for each other. Yea, you messed up, but you can make this right. You’re not him, so that means you can fix this. Now go put in some work.”

         They hung up and Jason felt a glimmer of hope. In the last 24 hours he had been made to feel like he was no different than his father. However, when his little sister said he was nothing like him, he knew exactly what she meant and it made him believe that he could change.

         He decided to fix a little dinner, because he was sure Summer hadn’t eaten. He fixed her a spring salad with pecans and a vinaigrette dressing, Parmesan chicken with mashed potatoes, and grilled asparagus. He chilled a bottle of white wine and had flowers delivered. He ran out to pick up candles and a thoughtful card to express his feelings. He decided to add a personal touch to the card he bought and wrote from the heart.

Summer,

I want to spend the rest of my life making this right. Just as you’ve spent most of your life loving me. I love you more than you know and I know that you don’t deserve any of this. I messed up baby. I’m sorry. I could say that a thousand times and I’m sure it doesn’t move you now, but know that I mean it. I know I can’t say nothing to take back how I made you feel. My actions may not have reflected it, but I am. You are the perfect wife, mother, and woman. Any man would be lucky to have you and I am. I was just selfish and I wasn’t thinking about how this would affect our family. I have to gain your trust back. I know I have some flaws that I need to fix and I’m willing to work on it for however long it takes. But baby I need your help in identifying those flaws and faults. I want us to work through this and grow old together. Right now, I’m sure you need your time and space, so enjoy this salad and dinner is in the oven. I’m staying in the guesthouse until you’re ready to talk. I love you baby.

J

 

 Jason had pulled out all the stops in hopes that he and his wife could see past this hiccup. After packing a few items, on his way out the back patio, he picked up a wedding photo of him and Summer. He had to put the glimmer back in her eyes. He stood in the doorway and looked out towards the sky. “Alright God, this is me. My momma always said that You have a way of knocking us down on our knees, and I’m there now. I know that I haven’t come to You like I should or gone to church with the best intentions, but I’m here now and I need You. I know that I’ve done a lot of wrong in my past, but God I’m begging You not to take my family from me. I love my wife, in spite of all the wrong I’ve done. I love her with all my heart. The look in her eyes last night and before she left… God I just can’t take it. Please show me how to make this right. Teach me how to be a better man for Summer. Please God.”

         Jason walked out towards the guesthouse with the photo in tow.