Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Huh? (01/21/10)
TITLE: My Huhsband
By Troy Manning
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Before retiring for the night, I laid out the clothes I knew my Harry would want to wear the following day then entered the bathroom to brush my teeth. There on the counter was Harry’s toothpaste tube with the cap on it. I clutched it so hard the cap shot off and red gel oozed onto my fingers. I walked into the bedroom and shook the tube before Harry’s alarmed face. “You didn’t put the cap on your toothpaste, and I didn’t put the cap on it, so who put the cap on your toothpaste?!”
“There is no cap on it,” he snidely replied.
I wasn’t going to let him sidestep the point so I let fly the word “affair.” With a certain effrontery, my Harry said he was not just having one but many of them. After taking Harry back to my aunt’s for a few days so I could think things through, I was astounded at how the evidence began to mount. Even the word “many” was sounding like another of Harry’s euphemisms. I found a few two-for-one breakfast sandwich receipts, a number of buy-one-get-one-free doughnut receipts, not two but three practically identical pocketknives, and even two copies of the same issue of Field & Stream. I could see by the date on the magazines this double-life had been going on for quite some time. I headed for my aunt’s with some of the items to show my Harry his gig was up.
My aunt greeted me more warmly than usual and she had Harry all dressed up as though anticipating my arrival. It was eerily conspiratorial. She even had the gall to put my very favorite of Uncle Renfro’s ties on my Harry as though to make sport of me. I would have gone right up to Harry, taken the two ends of it in my hand and pulled with all my might if I wasn’t afraid he might have another of his lover’s knives on him. Instead, I reached into my purse and pulled out the magazines. One of them dropped to the floor and fell open to its centerfold. What gawked up at me was no jackrabbit but a Junebunny. Astonished, I flipped through the other magazine and saw that it too contained something quite other than what was promised on the cover. I suddenly felt a sharp pain in my back and instantly realized my aunt must have thrust a pocketknife between my shoulder blades. I stared into my Harry’s fretful eyes and smiled, even if it did hurt to be right.
After recovering, I visited Harry several times at the prison. His sentence was light compared to that of my aunt’s, for whom I have since lost tremendous respect. I tried to get my Harry to reconsider proceeding with divorce but his stewing in the tank noticeably hardened him. He admitted to having several more affairs since his brief stay in prison, but I knew him well enough to know it was only from wounded pride that he was still trying to backstab me. I managed to prevent our discussion from wandering off on rabbit trails and exercised great patience with him, as I could only imagine how discouraging for him doing time must be. And although he didn’t acquiesce with the attitude I might have liked, he finally assured me he wouldn’t file the papers. I knew, after all, deep down that wasn’t really what my Harry wanted.
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