The Next Morning

smashed_and_broken_heart-1505When I woke up the following morning, I momentarily forgot where I was. I couldn’t figure out why I was in the guest bedroom and why I was on the chaise lounge instead of in a bed. I also still had my clothes from yesterday on. I had also realized that I had slept in some makeup, not brushed my teeth and despite how comfy the chaise looks, really isn’t for extended periods of time while sleeping. Not that I had slept much. I had a fairly restless sleep. Once I did get up (I even still had shoes on?), it all came rushing back to me. Getting slapped in the face by the man you had chosen to spend your life with wasn’t exactly pretty. I looked at my watch and saw that it was 5:45 in the morning. Fortunately, it was Saturday morning. I was going to have to get moving soon since the kids would be up. They don’t really believe in actually sleeping in ever. Especially Ryan. He is definitely a morning person. It is actually kind of cute that he wants to get the day started as soon as possible. He reminds me a lot of my twin brother, Will, who is also a super happy person and always ready to get his day going. While Ryan does this, he doesn’t actually go wake up his sister, which is nice since it means she will occasionally sleep in.

After I went to the bathroom off the spare bedroom to clean myself up, I headed to the kitchen to start making breakfast. Since it was a Saturday, it meant waffles. Earlier in the week, I had promised that we’d have them for breakfast. I had tried to switch it to a dessert after dinner one night, but Ryan was having none of that. In his mind, waffles are only a dessert if it is a waffle cone filled with ice cream. Good news, at least I am not making the mix from scratch, but instead am using one from a specialty food store, which is probably better than from scratch. Or at least better than what I could whip up from scratch.

As I was leaving the guest room, I notice that there was a note taped to the door with my name on it. I have to admit I was curious since it was typed and not handwritten. When I got to the kitchen, I saw that Ryan and Isla were not up yet. This was good. I could make myself a cup of coffee, which I never drink, but somehow today, I was feeling I was going to need that caffeine boost. I started the coffee maker (a little surprised I still knew how to work it) and then sat at the table. I eyed the envelope and then opened it. I immediately put it down as I recognized the handwriting. That of Josh’s scrawl on the paper. I just sat for a moment waiting for the coffee to finish brewing before I started to read. Once it was done, I poured myself the biggest mug I could find of coffee and then slowly opened the letter to read what it said.

Alexis,

I know I really can’t express to you in words how sorry I am about what I have done to you. I know last night you didn’t or maybe more appropriately couldn’t talk to me about what I had just told you. I know you probably have a million questions, so rather than waiting for when you think you can talk, I am just going to try to answer them as best I can. I do love you and hope one day we can work past this. You mean too much to me to let this fester and go unresolved.

First, I know you are wondering if things are really over and I assure you they are. The woman who I cheated on you with is no longer in the picture. It was my choice to end things with her. As far as I know, she is not interested in trying to continue things with me, but I guess I will really never know unless she tries to continue and initiate further contact.

Second, I am still as I always have been disease-free. I did not pick up anything that would threaten my health or yours. As I have always said and will always continue to do, I LOVE YOU! I would NEVER do anything to compromise your health or that of our children by going and getting something that would take you or me away from them.

I guess I really don’t have any excuses other than this woman was there. I can’t really say what it was that attracted me to her other than she was there, available and at the time, providing me something I wasn’t getting from you. What exactly that was, I am not sure other than that things just felt off between us. You always at the hospital and when you were home, seeming to be more focused on our kids than you and me. I am not trying to blame you for my poor decision-making, but I am saying that you and I have some issues and I want to work on them.

You may be wondering what I am talking about and well, it is hard to say it, but I will. I feel as though you are never around or have time for me and our relationship. Sometimes, I have even wondered if you were messing around given how disengaged you would be with me at home, when you were home and perhaps that is why I felt it was ok for me to go do what I did. Again, I am not trying to blame you or justify what happened, but just to say that it wasn’t because of me being a jerk doing things because I could. People don’t cheat unless there is something wrong and something is wrong between us. I want to work it out and I am hoping you will want to as well.

I hope some day you can forgive me and very soon we can start talking to get back to us. Get back to the way we used to be before I went and had an affair. Whenever you are ready to talk, I’ll be there no matter what so we can talk. And ask me anything and I will be honest with you.

With all my love,

Josh

After I read the letter, I folded it neatly the way it had been folded and put it back in the envelope. Just as I was putting it back in the envelope, Ryan came into the kitchen.

“Good morning, Mommy. Is it waffle day”? he asked as he sat down and saw that I was headed to the cupboard to get the mix and stuff ready to make waffles.

“Good morning, sweetie. How are you this morning? Did you sleep well”? I asked him. I am deciding if we should have malt waffles, which are a little richer or if we should go with blueberry. I kind of want to surprise him instead of letting him pick, even though he really wanted waffles. I am so grateful for the mindless work right now that I am almost giddy about it. Sometimes when I am making the kids breakfast on the weekends, it feels like sheer drudgery because I am not big on cooking, but I do it because I want my kids to be healthy and not have bad eating habits like I had when I was a child. And those habits were not because of my parents, who are the most wonderful people one could ask for as parents.
“Yeah. I reeeeeaaaalllllyyyyyy want waffles,” he said.

“Well, you are in luck because I am preparing to make them now. And, I think I will make them extra special since you have waited an entire week for them,” I said grinning at him. I am really hoping that things work out. I am a little surprised that I think this, but seeing my little boy’s sweet face certainly makes me not want to be any cause of pain for him in his little life.

“YES!” he yells. Just then, Isla comes into the kitchen carrying her bunny rabbit. She carries this with her all the time around the house, unless she has her hands otherwise occupied. “We get to have waffles Isla!”

“Yay. Boobewwy ones?” Isla asks. I love that she has a bit of a lisp, but it will go away soon enough.

“You will have to wait and see which kind we have,” I said. By this time, I had decided I was going to make the malt waffles. Rather than plying them with syrup and other sugary concoctions, I am going to top them with fresh strawberries and blueberries. Kind of the best of both worlds.

Making the waffles is very soothing. Just the motions of making them is so calming and takes my mind off the madness I will have to deal with later today. After about 15 minutes, I have the waffles, topped and on the table. I even went so far as to try to make the plates decorative. Not much interest for little kids, I am sure, but it made me feel good about my culinary efforts. I could finally sit down and eat with them and surprisingly, they are quite happy with them. No whining about not having syrup, which is quite possibly a first in our home at breakfast.

“These are the best Mommy,” says Ryan as he is putting a forkful of waffle in his mouth along with some strawberries.

“There’s boobewies. I like boobewwies,” says Isla. She is picking at her waffles slowly and setting aside her blueberries to eat separately.

“I know you do sweetie, which is why there are blueberries with breakfast,” I said to her. Just then, JC walked in to the kitchen.

“Hey, it’s my favorite people,” he says enthusiastically while walking to the coffee maker. I ended up making a full pot of coffee, even though I was not intending to make any coffee for anyone other than myself. Hopefully, he doesn’t think I was doing this for him in any way. At least if he wants waffles, he will need to make them for himself since I only made enough for me and the kids.

I am resisting the urge to make a snarky remark that he would understand, but would fly over Ryan’s head. Sadly or perhaps for the best, I am having trouble coming up with something. Instead, I told him if he wanted waffles, he would need to make them himself as I had some things I needed to do at the hospital. By now, it is close to 8 am and really I just want to get away from JC and the situation of his infidelity.

“Um, sure I can make my own waffles, but I am kind of feeling in a bagel mood so I will just toast one. Thanks for making coffee,” he says. Just as he is pouring a cup, the heater on it turns off. If he had gotten up any later, the pot would be cold for sure.

“OK, guys, I have to go to the hospital for a bit,” I say to Ryan and Isla. “Mommy will be back this afternoon and then we can go to the museum to play for a bit,” I say. I hope I can make it back in time to do that for a bit. It really is better for us to go in the morning so that Isla isn’t so tired and cranky in the afternoons, but I just cannot deal with JC, his letter confession and what comes next right now.

“Promise? We have to go somewhere. Do you always have to work on the weekends”? Ryan asks me. His innocence really gets to me.

“I promise. I will try to get back here as soon as possible,” I say as I put my dishes in the sink. Ryan and Isla are still working on their waffles and fruit. “Josh, can you please get them dressed and the dishes put away,” I say as I am walking out of the kitchen.

He is following me out of the kitchen and asks, “I thought you didn’t have to work today? What came up that now you need to go in”?
In hushed tones, I say, “nothing, I just need to get out of the house and think. Away from you and my children. Can you handle watching them for a few hours? After all, you don’t have to work.”

“Look,” he says barely audible, “you can’t just run away and not deal with this. Obviously I can take care of the kids this morning and get them cleaned up, but I was hoping we could talk. I see that you got the letter I wrote last night and I am hoping it explains some things. I’d feel much better if we could start trying to work things out. I know you want to do this on your timetable, but it is probably much healthier if we start talking about things right away. I can find a babysitter and you and I can start talking. We can go somewhere else if you don’t want to do it at home,” he finishes with his voice starting to plead.

“You’re right. We should probably start talking right away to work things out, but I am not ready. Unless you want to sit here talking, me ignoring you alternating with wanting to go stab you with the biggest knife I can find? Oh, wait, that would be too horrible and I’d end up in jail so I can’t get the knife. But I can do some ignoring and really that does no good. So I am going to wait to do any talking until I AM READY!” I said in hushed tones as I continued into our bedroom to get some clothes. I hastily packed a bag with a few workout clothes, jeans, shirts, as well as other toiletries. I realized I was packing a bag to move out, so I just kept doing it. In that brief little pleading of his as we left the kitchen, I had unconsciously decided I was going to stay some place else for a while. How this would actually work is strange, considering that I do have children. And I don’t want to lie about my whereabouts to them for such a long time.

Although, me taking off to a hotel for a few days isn’t too much of a new thing.

“Look, Alex, we really need to work this out or at least talk. I am not going to let you get away with running and hiding because you want to be childish, which you are being now,” Josh said slightly annoyed. I can only imagine this is because of me packing the bag.

“Ok, you know I did read your letter. And I’ve actually been thinking about it since reading it. You’re right. There are things wrong with us and I probably helped contribute to your sense of feeling I wasn’t there. However, you calling me childish right now isn’t going to make me suddenly decide I need to start on working things out. I actually – shocker I know – need some SPACE and TIME,” I said to him. “You are going to do whatever it is you were planning to do whether I talk to you now or never, so go ahead. I am sure I will live with the consequences of that decision. I’ll have to. If you really are interested in working things out, then please respect my need right now to not want to talk at this point,” I said as I pushed past him. He was blocking the door I think in hopes of getting me to drop my plans and talk.

“I do want to work things out, but I am feeling like things will go from bad to worse if we don’t try to start healing sooner rather than later,” he said a little dejectedly. “I’m sorry if my asking you to talk right now is annoying you, but I feel like I am fighting for life here and that you just don’t care.”

“Look, just give me some . . .” I stopped as I saw Ryan coming as I was heading down the stairs and out the door. I really don’t want to let him in on anything being amiss with our family. Fortunately, he ran past and said have a good time at the hospital healing. After that, I just looked back and left the house, not sure exactly where I was headed.

If you missed the first part, you can read it here.

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