Typically I forgot to check for pocket trash. I'd throw heaps of pants in the wash and end up with a shredded mess of wet papers stuck to the inside of the washing machine. Ticket stubs, credit card receipts, sometimes even money, which was really maddening.
I don't know what made me remember on that particular day, but I reached my hand into my husband's khaki pants pocket and pulled out a pink piece of paper. It read:
Everything's all set for the 15th. Get ready for beautiful sunsets, gorgeous water and lots of romance.. tee hee.
I reread the note several times and then I cried. Although I'm not suspicious by nature, lately the thought of Ken cheating had crossed my mind. He seemed distracted and had received a few seemingly secretive phone calls. I hadn't wanted to wrap my brain around the theory but now I couldn't avoid it. The truth was staring me in the face.
I walked to the kitchen and checked the calendar. Sure enough, Ken had written, "business trip" over the week of the 15th. He told me he was going to Florida for a lumber convention. As the owner of a small lumber company, business trips were common. I had even accompanied him on a couple in the past. But this time, he'd made no mention of taking me along, the reason now obvious.
The worst part was, I knew Tina. I had even encouraged Ken to hire her. She was more than qualified, and her resume' included several rave references regarding her dedication and hard work. Tina also happened to be young and pretty which, honestly, I never worried about. As far I as I knew, Ken and I had a strong marriage. There was nothing to be concerned about.
Until now. Now my husband was going to throw away twenty years of marriage for his secretary.
What to do?
Maybe I would use the week he was gone to consider my options. Then again, maybe I would follow Ken to the airport and confront them both before they ran off on their lustful rendezvous. The more I thought about it, the stronger I felt that confrontation was the answer. It might be the end of our marriage, but at least I would leave a lasting impression.
The morning of the 15th, I tried to remain nonchalant as Ken packed his suitcase.
"Oh, by the way," Ken said as he stuffed several pairs of underwear in his suitcase, "I ran into your mom yesterday. When I said I was leaving today, she said she would give you a call and see about taking you out for lunch. I told her I knew you would welcome the chance to spend some time with her," he smiled.
"Hmmm. Whatever," I said, not feeling much like talking.
Ken glanced at me. "Are you okay? I'll only be gone a week, you know. You won't even miss me," he teased.
I watched as he finished packing. He kissed me goodbye, picked up his suitcase and left. I waited a few seconds after he pulled out of the driveway and hopped in my car. I stayed several car lengths behind and followed him to work, parking on the street to remain inconspicuous. Then I waited.
About an hour later, he emerged with Tina, both dressed in shorts and T-shirts, their arms full of bags that they tossed into the trunk. I kept my cool as I continued my trail.
Strangely, instead of heading to the airport, they drove to a marina and pulled up next to a huge yacht. I watched as they carried the bags inside. When they didn't emerge after thirty minutes, I couldn't take it anymore and quickly made my way to the cabin. I gathered my courage and prepared myself for what I could be walking into. Before I could change my mind, I flung open the door.
The looks of horror on their faces were priceless. But it was probably the look on my own face that took the prize. Especially when I saw the sign.
"HAPPY ANNIVERSARY HONEY! BON VOYAGE!"
Balloons, flowers, and party ware, along with two cruise tickets, sat within plain view on the table.
Within ten seconds flat my emotions went from shock to comprehension to relief to embarrassment, and finally, to overwhelming love.
I turned on my heel and fled to go wait for the call from my mother.
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