from Nick Suss
May 8, 2014, 10:51 a.m.
Part 4: Tag
Jane looked at her watch. It was 5:15. It had been exactly 52 minutes since Allison had dropped her off. This was the longest time she had spent awake and alone since her drive back from New York City. Jane made herself make four stops during that drive so she could make it all the way, but she knew that she easily could have made it in one trip. She was that excited. In retrospect, it was that excitement that ruined her life.
Jeff found out about Jane’s indiscretions rather easily. It took two steps. For one, Jeff and Dave met for lunch that day and Dave said that Allison stayed home from work because William was sick. Second, Allison forgot to log out of her Facebook page on Jeff’s phone. (She just had to show him this video that some kids at a local church made. He pretended to enjoy it.) Allison had RSVP’d to a performance in New York that afternoon for someone called the Blind Commissioner. A quick Google search of that name brought up a picture of Brian on the third page of image results. Most of the results were about a different, somewhat more popular band in New Hampshire. But it was the result that yielded a Bob Dylan lyric that made Jeff feel the need to search a little deeper. Desolation Row might have been Brian’s passion, but sleuthing was Jeff’s.
Jane walked into their house very early the next morning to a scene straight out of an interrogation movie. A single light was on, shining directly toward the door. Jeff sat silently in his armchair, facing out from the darkened abyss, waiting idly for his lying wife to enter. When she did, he didn’t even move. He stared blankly through her into the garage.
You fill up the gas tank? That must’ve been a long drive.
Yeah, I made it on two tanks. Wasn’t too bad.
Did Allison split the tanks with you or did we front the whole bill ourselves?
You know Allison. She wouldn’t stick me with the whole bill.
You’re right. I do know Allison. I know her pretty well.
Yeah. You do. Why are you sitting in the dark? And why are you still awake? Don’t you have work in the morning?
How was he?
How was he?
It was actually a woman who interviewed me.
Not that. How was he?
Honey, you’re scaring me. What are you talking about?
What am I talking about? I’m talking about the Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan over in the big city. That’s what I’m talking about. Did you think I wouldn’t find out? An eight-year old with internet access and spellcheck could have caught you! How dumb do you think I am?
How long has this been going on, huh? How long have you been seeing him behind my back? Did you ever stop fucking him? Or did you just finally, after two years, decide to commit to me but keep him on the side? Is he your ranch dressing that you always order on the side? What does that make me? I’m just a bowl of lettuce to you, aren’t I? Aren’t I? Just a boring pile of leaves that you need to spice up.
I’m not finished. Don’t interrupt me. At least pay me that much respect. At least give me that. If you’re going to shit on our marriage, at least don’t shit on civility. So how long has it been?
This was the only time. I swear. We’ve been talking on the phone a lot and we’ve been emailing and texting, but today was the first time I’d seen him in person since college. You’ve got to believe me.
You think that makes it better? How in any way does that argument that it was just one time make any of this okay? I only murdered him once, I swear! Is that okay? I know it’s wrong to burn down buildings, but I only did it once! You’ve got to believe me! Do you hear yourself right now?
Well, Jeff, you were awfully okay with this when it was the other way around. Yeah, you have nothing to say now, do you? How is this any different than what we did for two years? You didn’t think adultery was like murder then, did you? How is this any different?
How is this any different? Do you hear yourself? We’re married! That’s how it’s different. You know what the difference is between then and now? Then we were just two kids dicking around in college. Now we’re adults. For fuck’s sake, we’re a family.
Really? We’re a family? That’s what you say? Does a “family” spend more time thinking about their work and themselves then their own fucking wife? Does a “family” outwardly admit that you never think about your wife when she’s not in the room? That doesn’t sound like a family to me Jeff. That sounds like two people who fundamentally do not understand each other. That’s what I’m seeing.
Really? That’s what you’re seeing? Because I thought you were seeing your ex-boyfriend.
So you aren’t going to let this go, are you?
Let this go? Let this go? It just happened! How on earth should I be expected to let this go? If anything, you should be groveling at my feet begging for my forgiveness.
You want me to beg? I’ll beg. I’ll get down on my knees and beg for you to be less of a fucking asshole about this. Please God. Please let me husband stop being such a jealous piece of shit. We didn’t have sex. I bet you never thought to ask that, did you? I watched him play a concert. We had some coffee. I read some of his poetry. Please God, please let Jeff forgive me for going to Starbucks with another man. I know I will forever rot in hell for the injustices I have done to my loyal husband, but can you please show the decency to let him one day forgive me? I promise I’ll never have another latte so long as I live. And poetry? I swear I never again will say two things that rhyme. Not even one more time. Well darn it, that rhymed. Why don’t you smite me right now because I DON’T DESERVE TO LIVE?!?!?
I think you’ve made your point, Jane.
No. I think you’ve made your point. You don’t trust me. You’ve never trusted me and you think I’m crazy in the head. You think I’m psychotic. Well, would a psychotic person be this truthful? I went up to New York today to see Brian, yes. I went up there with all the intentions of sleeping with Brian. But you know what stopped me? Do you? Why aren’t you answering?
I’m not answering because I don’t think anything stopped you.
I don’t think anyone stopped you. I think you slept with him. I think you’re lying to my face.
So you won’t admit you were wrong? That’s just like you Jeff.
Cut the shit Jane. Remember who you’re dealing with. I taught you how to cheat. I know all of your tricks. I know the whole shtick. I know why you waited so long to defend yourself. You just wanted to tire me out. I know why you did the whole “Wrath of God” routine. Very convincing. You’re a regular Meryl Streep. Then bringing in your anxiety. Real nice touch. Just like I always told you when we were going behind Brian’s back: T.A.G. Tired, Angry, Guilty. You tired me out. You got angry and made me feel guilty. You think you could pull my own technique past me? And on top of it all, Jane? To top it all off? YOU’RE NOT WEARING UNDERWEAR! Bet you don’t have a lie to cover up how I watched you get dressed this morning and I watched you put a pair on and now they aren’t there. Did you get mugged on the subway and a perverted bandit with style wanted your panties? Is that what happened or did you leave them at Brian’s place and forget to put them back on? Because I think I know the answer to that question.
I can explain.
I think it’s best if you leave.
You’re kicking me out?
No. I’m gonna give you the benefit of the doubt. You don’t have to leave if you can promise me right now that you love me and you don’t love Brian.
What is that going to do?
Why won’t you say it?
For the same reason that you won’t tell me that you love me more than your work.
You’re avoiding the question.
So are you.
Out! I want you out! I think we both need time to think this whole situation through. Goodbye Jane.