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Chapter 3

  • It’s been a long day, and by the time Adrian leaves, I’m exhausted and ready for bed. It’s nice to have a shower that actually works, though it’s small. The water is clean and it makes me feel clean for the first time in weeks.
  • I’m drying my hair with a towel, walking around the small trailer, examining its contents. There are pictures of a younger Adrian and a small girl holding up a couple of fish on fishing lines, going on hikes in a rocky canyon, and one with an older man with the same crystal blue eyes as Adrian with the young girl on his lap. It makes me smile seeing the irritating handyman looking so carefree and loved by his family. There are no pictures of a mom.
  • Maybe she was the one taking the pictures. Men don’t think of stuff like taking pictures when on vacation. My mom used to hound my dad all the time for that very reason when I was younger. The memories of our vacations to Branson and Wichita Falls as a child bring remorseful tears to my eyes.
  • I shake off the feelings of self-pity and loneliness, moving to the bed to retrieve my pajamas. After getting dressed, I pull back the sheets of the bed and almost gag. There’s a woman’s dirty thong tucked behind a pillow, the black lace unmissable against the beige sheets. No way am I sleeping in this bed.
  • Making my way back to the house through the garage, deciding to sleep in my own bed, I think about my taciturn repairman. He gave me a decent quote, and I paid the first half up front for supplies. He’s redoing the plumbing, the electrical wiring, and even replacing the roof. I’m thankful for him helping, but his attitude and personality are crap. He became more vulgar the more we talked, offering to clear my pipes and patch my holes; crap like that.
  • Men are pigs. All of them.
  • When I get into the house and to my bed, I open my laptop and check my emails. My parent’s lawyer is helping me to move my assets around now that I’m an official resident of California and not Kansas. I made a bunch of big purchases during this move, like the house and a car, and with the repairs, I’d like to know how much money I have available in my regular accounts.
  • I cringe seeing another email from Barry, moving it to the trash folder without opening it. I keep blocking his emails, but he just makes new accounts. I opened one a week ago that at first appeared to be from the property management company in San Francisco I rented from for 3 years, but it was just a lengthy email from him, telling me how sorry he was.
  • Bull crap. The more I thought about it, the more obvious it was that he was messing around with Jessica the entire time he was with me. She hated me. She was openly hostile towards me the few times I visited him at work, but he just assured me she was a jerk to everyone and to ignore her.
  • She would sometimes call him when we were together, and he would say it was to ask if he could cover her shifts, but he would never answer, saying he was with me so she could find someone else. When I saw them together at a cafe after he told me he was working on a school project, he then said she was just in his lab group.
  • She wasn’t even in the same major as us. I let it go, not thinking much about it because I thought I trusted him completely, but he just showed me you can never really trust a man. Not with your heart.
  • Barry’s long email claiming he was sorry and it was a one-time thing, and that it didn’t mean anything to him got a curt ‘Leave me alone’ reply back. I stopped blocking him. What’s the point? I just ignore the emails now and hope they will eventually stop. I wasn’t going to offer him another moment of my time. Once a cheater, always a cheater. I’m just glad I caught him before I crossed that line and gave myself to him. It would have hurt so much more if I found out after I slept with him or after I moved in. I could have been finding her lace thongs under his pillow if I had not gone to see him that night. I guess I should be thankful for that at least.
  • My dad was like Barry. He was charismatic, great with people, and would treat my mom like gold out in public, but even he wasn’t all he seemed. When I was 17, coming home early from church camp because of a stomach bug, my mom and I walked in on him and his secretary going at it on our couch.
  • Mom wasn’t even surprised, leading me to believe she already knew. She quietly led me out of the house before my shock wore off and I went into a fit of hysterics. She drove down our long gravel driveway, parked her car so it was hidden between the shrubbery, then called my dad on our house phone.
  • It took her 3 times calling for him to answer, and he sounded angry with her for the repeated calls.
  • She softly told him we were on our way back because I had a stomach bug and would be there in 10 minutes. Two minutes later, his secretary came speeding down our driveway, completely ignorant to the fact that they had been caught.
  • My mom calmly told me that we all have sin in our life, something that holds us captive and impairs our judgment, and my father’s was his adultery. She asked me to keep what I saw to myself, and I have to this very day.
  • Things about my childhood made more sense to me after seeing him cheating. I often questioned why I was an only child, and they explained to me that my dad had to get a vasectomy for medical reasons right after I was born. I remember, though, when I was really young, a woman came to our house asking to speak with my dad. She was very insistent and he was furious when he met with her. He was probably cheating on my mother during their entire marriage and got the surgery to pacify her.
  • He was ruined in my eyes after that. He was no longer the father I trusted and depended on. He was the man that lied to me, mistreated my mother, and broke both of our trusts, but continued to live a hypocritical life.
  • Maybe that’s why I pushed so hard to go to a university so far away. He tried to get me to go to one in Lawrence, but I stubbornly applied to a college of my choosing, then cut off most of my communication with him, talking mainly to my mother. Now, I’ll never speak to either of them again. I don’t know who I blame more. Him or myself.
  • I check my accounts after reviewing the emails from my lawyer who is working on selling my family home for me. I made the decision when I bought this house. I didn’t want any ties left to the house I grew up in. Not after those memories were dug back up after seeing Barry with Jessica.
  • As I lay in bed, staring up at the ceiling, trying not to flinch every time the porch light flickers on and off, too lazy and tired to get up and flip the switch off permanently myself, I resolved myself to never let a man hurt me the way my father and Barry hurt me again.