I guess the most disappointing thing is how sloppy he was. Like he didn’t even care enough to hide his tracks. Didn’t he know how it would tear me apart? How it would tear us apart?
I found out because I wanted the new Jason DeRulo song, the one with the great Stevie Wonder harmonica solo. He’d downloaded it a few days prior and I wanted to listen to it while I went for a run. I booted up his Mac and started looking through iTunes and just like that, ping, a new text message popped up in the corner of the screen.
I use a PC, not a Mac, so I didn’t even know you could connect your text messages to your computer. Now I know, I guess.
Hey sexy. Can’t stop thinking about what we did last night.
It wasn’t from me.
I could’ve ignored it. Pretend I hadn’t seen. Went on with our lives. But instead I clicked the bubble with those horrible words inside and a program called Messages opened.
Messages indeed. Tons of them. Filthy and cutesy in equal amounts.
She was listed as “Ted” in his contacts.
Another message popped up, from him this time.
Me too. You’re gonna get it good later.
It had been going on since Christmas. From what I could gather, she was a coworker. Probably hooked up at the office holiday party that I wasn’t invited to. She liked to be choked during.
What a fucking cliché. So disappointing.
Tell me all about it. What are you going to do? I’m getting so wet.
I was getting nauseous.
The little dot-dot-dot that shows someone is typing popped up. I knew then if I saw it, the message, the things he was planning to do with “Ted” while I was out to dinner with my friend Cristina that evening, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.
Dinners with my friends. Jesus. He’d encouraged me so much lately to go out with them, enjoy myself, have some “girl time”. And so I had, drank endless glasses of moscato while he was fucking some skank.
I clicked in the text box and, with strangely steady fingers, typed:
Steven, this is your wife. I’ve seen everything. I’m canceling plans with Cristina; please come home. We need to talk.
I hit enter. Waited.
The little dot-dot-dot went away.
Neither of them said anything. I kept the messages window open, held my phone like it was a life preserver and I was drowning.
I don’t know what I expected. A text back? A phone call? Some sort of recognition that after 12 years, the life I knew had just been blown to bits?
My phone stayed silent as a stone, a black mirror reflecting my pale face back at me.
For some reason, that’s when I started to cry.
I left his computer on – not sure why, it wasn’t like I wanted to read any more messages between them – and laid down on the couch, curling up like I used to do when I was a kid and I couldn’t sleep. I sobbed until my chest ached. I gripped my phone so hard my fingers turned white and still he said nothing.
12 years. 12 god damn years of my life, gone.
At some point, I did sleep. I woke up when the phone, still clutched stiffly in my hands, buzzed once.
A text message. From Steven.
I looked at the screen.
Will you ever forgive me?
I stared at it. I can’t tell you how it made me feel because at that moment, I felt nothing.
Could I? Could I ever forgive him after reading those messages between him and “Ted”? Him describing how much he loved to suck on her tits, her telling him that she was still sore from the last time but up for more? Dirty, sexy things that I’ve only ever said to him and thought he’d only say to me.
The thought of him inside her sickened me almost to the point of vomiting but the thought of losing him was almost worse.
I typed back:
I’m not doing this over text. Come home.
A pause. The little dot-dot-dot.
Will you take me back?
Why was he doing this? I needed to see him, look at the face I once caressed on our wedding night, hear the voice that told me he loved me tell the truth.
While I was sitting there a few more messages came through, staccato and sudden.
Will you take me back?
Do you think I’m sorry?
WILL YOU TAKE ME BACK
TELL ME IF YOU’LL TAKE ME BACK AFTER WHAT I DID
TELL ME YOU LOVE ME ENOUGH TO TAKE ME BACK
I think you know the answer to all those questions. Come home. We have some things to sort out.
My thumb hovered over the send button. Was I going to really go through with it? My mind raced with everything I would have to do – the lawyer, separating our things…god, even the custody of the dog – and for a moment I thought about deleting the text. Starting over.
Then I hit send.
I waited. No little dot-dot-dot. After a few minutes, I decided to just end the bullshit and call him.
It rang. And rang. And rang.
Fuck. Now that he knew what was going on, he’d never come home. Probably just go screw “Ted”, suck on her tits and forget that I even existed.
At least I’d get the dog.
Well, I was right. He didn’t come home that night. Or the next morning. But around 11am, someone knocked on the door.
It wasn’t Steven. It was the police.
He’d been found in his office when people began to arrive for work. He was hanging from a noose fashioned from a thick electrical cord. He’d been dead for almost 12 hours at that point.
That’s bad enough as it is, right?
‘Cause see, here’s the thing. Before I could even consider this – the idea that maybe, probably, that last text I’d sent him had ended his life – the police had more to say.
They said the scene looked, in their words, “suspicious”. Because while he might’ve jumped from a desk or a chair or even a stepstool, there was nothing found beneath him. No reasonable way for him to have done what he did.
They’re looking into it, they said. Full investigation in progress. They said I should tell them everything I know.
I said I would. But I didn’t.
Because remember how I said he’d been dead for 12 hours when they found him? That means he died almost 2 hours before I’d gotten his texts.
So when the police left, I got on his computer again. Like I said, I use a PC, so it took me a little while to figure out the “Find My iPhone” feature. But I did.
It’s in the backyard. Or at least it was, until a few minutes ago. Now it’s on the front porch.
And my doorbell keeps ringing.
I guess the most frightening thing is the texts “Ted” is sending me. I’ve called the police but I’m not sure they’ll be here in time. Until they are, all I can do is wait – and wonder.
Was she worth it, Steven?
Because I truly hope she was.