Uncertainties

I sat there on the couch and waited with arms and legs folded. Looking from the clock, to my lap, to the door and back to the clock again. All I could hear was the sound of that stupid clock. Tick tock tick tock tick tock. That and my heart pounding out of my chest. Jax usually comes home straight after work unless he stops at a shop or has to work late but this time he stayed out overnight. I tried calling but to no avail. After what seemed like hours I finally heard the familiar sound of the Volvo purring in the driveway. I shot up like a meerkat does when it hears danger approaching. I could hear him whistling “Invincible” by Muse from the driveway. This is funny, because the last time I recall him doing that is when we had sex for the first time in two months.  “Must be really pleased with himself” I uttered through clenched teeth. I could feel my blood boiling and pulsing through my body. With clenched fists I met him at the door as it swung open. “Where the hell were you last night?” I asked before he had the chance to walk through the threshold. He was wearing the ridiculous multicolored sweater I hate.

He looked at me with a blank face; he was completely nonchalant and aloof. He also didn’t seem to notice the veins in my face and neck protruding from my skin. The last time he witnessed this was when he told me he didn’t want me to go to a family gathering with him because it would be ‘pointless.’ We’re engaged and he tells me joining him at a family party is pointless? He told me “there will be plenty more don’t worry about it, babe.” I was furious.

He leaned over and kissed me on the forehead, “Hello, sweetheart, I had to work late, remember?” Oh, the old working late line. I can’t even count how many times I’ve heard that line…code for ‘I was out sleeping with someone else.’ Just at that moment I remembered I hadn’t put his laptop back and he seemed to notice, too, because the color drained from his face. On the screen with his Facebook page, the face of a very pretty young brunette smiling back at us with perfect white teeth and gorgeous green eyes. He looked to the screen and back to me; my protruding veins now becoming apparent.

I had first become suspicious of Jax about a month ago when I got a call from my friend Fynn. She was convinced she had seen him at a Starbucks sipping a cappuccino with a young brunette in some shopping center in town. “No, that couldn’t have been Jax,” I had absolutely no doubt in my mind, “he absolutely hates those places. He complains all the time that it’s just an overpriced place for the hipsters to act like pretentious assholes together.” “It was definitely him,” Fynn had said, “I’d know that spiky gelled hairstyle anywhere. No Mistakes.” “I’m sure there are plenty more men in Boston with the same hairstyle, Fynn.” There was a long pause on the line. “Hmm…yeah, actually, I did only see the back of his head. I suppose it could have been someone else.”

Although I felt absolutely convinced that it wasn’t my Jax that Fynn had seen in town that didn’t stop the little voice in the back of my mind from convincing me something wasn’t right. “Did you swing by the shops on the way home, dear?” I had asked him after that conversation with Fynn. I was looking for any hit of hesitation or dishonesty. “I wish! It was an awful day. The systems crashed and I had to spend all night on the phone with IT and had to fix it on my own. Was terribly stressful.” He went on with his rant and I noticed his flushed cheeks and clumsy glasses slide down his face once or twice. How stupid was I to actually doubt him.. there was no way my Jax, adorably goofy hairstyle and terrible fashion sense, would be anything but loyal to me, right?

A month had passed and the cappuccino incident was basically forgotten except for the occasional voice in my head as a little reminder. I was collecting Jax’s dirty clothes which were thrown all over the bedroom floor. It seems that putting his dirty clothes in the hamper, which is two steps away from where they were in a pile on the floor, was too much of a challenge for him. I’ve made a habit of checking all of his pockets before throwing them in the hamper because he’s notorious for leaving anything and everything in there. In one pair of jeans I came across a crumpled up piece of paper and I opened it as my heart sank down to my stomach. It was a receipt for two cappuccinos from Starbucks. I threw the jeans and the receipt down to the floor like it was a hot piece of coal and rested my now shaking legs in the desk chair. It was my Jax that Fynn had seen canoodling with some woman in an establishment he claimed to hate. I wracked my brain-tryhing to think of anything I had done that might have drawn him to someone else. Maybe I wasn’t loving enough? Maybe I didn’t give him the attention he deserves?

It was then while I was sitting at the desk I noticed his little Apple computer. Its shiny cover was like a beacon saying ‘open me! Take a look!’ Normally I’m against snooping, but that little voice in my head chimed in with the computer “what are you waiting for? LOOK!” I obliged, lifted up the screen and logged into Jax’s Facebook. I clicked on his messages and my heart sank back down to my stomach. There was a string of messages from that beautiful young brunette who now had a name: Hadley. She was stunning, with her perfect auburn curls and pearly white teeth she could have easily just stepped out of a L’Oreal commercial. One message in particular caught my eye and hurt like a sharp knife to the heart: “Lovely seeing you again and I’m glad you enjoyed your cappuccino:).”

After he had noticed the computer screen I walked back to the couch and sat down. He somberly shut the door behind him and sat down in a nearby chair. We both sat in silence as I waited for him to explain himself. Finally, after five unbearable minutes, he turned to me. “I think it’s time I told you something….”I took a large, deep breath; a pathetic attempt to brace myself for that pain that was surely about to hit me.

“I…well….I…..”

“Just spit it out already, Jax, Jesus…”
Another long, unbearable pause

“I have a daughter.”