The feeling inside me ballooned so large, and so suddenly, that I was under the impression that I may explode. I knew that it had happened, but the feelings had just set in. Reality had finally made itself present into my heart, and it almost overwhelmed me.
At first, I had judged it as anger. However, it became apparent almost instantaneously that this feeling that was overcoming me was a large, dull pain. It could be compared with being hit with a large item on the back. The impact is very real, but the pain is slower to come. But when it does, it consumes your whole body, and leaves you feeling almost numb.
A pain that is the result of extended denial, of a constant purposeful ignorance of the truth. Of telling oneself that it couldn't be, that you could continue to live the way that you are, and not have to doubt the trust that trust that was so hard to put into this person.
This pain consumed me, and for a second, I thought I was just give in, let myself bottle it up once again, and continue to offset the problem. However, I knew that if I continue to let this problem go on without recognition, that the pain from it would be worse then it needs to be. Not that it isn't already three times worse then it needs to be now, but I didn't want to double it.
"And I guess I still have hope that we can get around it." I said aloud to myself.
I was sitting in my living room, at two o'clock in the morning, just waiting. I wasn't going to scream, not let my emotions get the best of me. I didn't want a fight, or tears, even though I figured those might come anyways, I just wanted to get the definite answer, to know for sure, so I could completely process it, and let myself come up with an idea of what I was going to do.
I didn't really think an affair was an option when she started to take random nights out of the house. I wouldn't had even thought about it, because of the trust I had put into this relationship. But, then the rumors from people around town started to pour in on me. Rumors of her at late night clubs, with this guy. Which, I wouldn't have minded, if she was out with a friend, or just having a little bit of fun. But, the descriptions started to all sound the same, and the way these rumors described her actions toward him. Then, watching her actions change, her actions towards me almost desperate, over niceness, and a lack of ease around me. I know something was definitely up.
I don't want to jump to conclusions. I want to trust. Maybe I'm seeing things in her actions. Maybe there's something else going on in her head that I just don't know about. I don't know. But, I do know I need to know. These rumors and different actions have been going on for a month, and I don't think I can take it anymore.
So, I've told myself I just need to ask, confront, and deal with the answer one way or the other.
I waited on my couch for another twenty minutes before the door knob started to shift and the passageway to the outside world began to slowly open. As she entered, she looked over to me sitting on the couch. Her eyes were freshly wet. She had been crying. She looked over to me with a look of understanding, and I knew instantly that I was right, and she knew I knew.
She averted her eyes from mine as she closed the door, then just stood there for a few seconds. I kept my silence, trying to give off the air of impatience at this moment. The feeling of pain had dulled to the point where I could keep myself under complete control.
She held the silence for another few seconds, and finally looked up at me. "Jared... I..."
With no warning, our door came flying off the hinges, shooting splinters across the room. Behind the door a large foot came through, and stamped itself the ground. The foot was followed by a man. He was a large man, built strong, and had the expression of someone whose anger had reached a peak. He first cast a glance at me, who was in momentary shock, then to my wife, who was frozen in place. He took a slow step towards her and muttered "You." He lifted his fist and began a full motion swing.
By this time, I was off the couch and rushing to put myself between this behemoth and my wife. I was able to catch his swing before it made contact, and throw it fully off course. That, however, did not seem to phase this assaulter in the least. After taking a second to register the shock of my interference, he stared down at me, a full foot above me, and let out a low rumble, "Your health depends on your staying out of this."
I held my ground between the two. He didn't like it. I could hear my wife's panicked breathing behind me, and it was only getting faster. "Please..." She began.
"SHUT UP" roared the man "You! Get out of my way!!"
I had grown my courage up by now, and wasn't going to let this man intimidate me. "Get. Out. Of. My. House." I let each word out syllable by syllable, trying to maintain the volume of my voice.
His action was instantaneous. With what seemed like lightening speed, his hand was rushing toward my face. I barely had time to brace before the contact was made, and my feet were lifted off the ground.
I landed somewhere over the left, breaking one of our dining table chairs, and slowly rolled to my front. Once again, I saw him lift his hand to strike, but this time with an upward slap. I was too slow to get up, and watched the contact. I saw her eyes right before, and saw the pain. Watching it sent chills down my spine, and instantly set my anger out of control. I was running at him faster then I thought I could move. Before he could react, I was at his legs, and threw my whole body weight against them. This brought him down. As I caught my breath, I dug my elbow into his shoulder and let the heat of my anger come out in a swift sock right between his eyes.
I could feel the bones break beneath my knuckles, watches his eyes close in pain, and got a sick pleasure out of it. I reached my fist into the air to strike again...
But, this assault was actually planned to be a murder. I heard the gun shot before my fist began its rapid decent, and knew instantly what had happened.
An instant pain formed instantaneously in my right thigh. I gasped and fell backwards. I heard high pitched screaming. My assaulter began to gain his feet, but suddenly lost his footing again. I wasn't sure what had happened. I started to hear other voices, vaguely familiar ones.
I would have looked and saw, but the pain had become so intense, that it was all that I could even bear to focus on. The voices got closer, and I suddenly felt a pair of hands on my leg, on the my newly formed wound. I would have waved the hands away, done anything to make them let go, but I was not in full control of my body. I felt dizzy. Things were starting to get dark when a face appeared in front of mine, and some familiar voice, which seemed so distant, called out "He'll be o.k!!"
Then it all went black.
I was comfortable. No huge pain. I felt like I was laying on a cloud.
Where am I? I thought to myself.
I began to open my eyes, and could see nothing but white. Things were a little hazy. I couldn't really remember anything for a moment. I just knew I was looking up at a white ceiling.
But, I know I was somewhere important before.
Suddenly the memory of the attack flooded through my head, and my eyes snapped open, and I began to look around desperately to learn the fate of the situation I was in.
I met a pair of eyes almost instantly. Loving eyes, caring eyes. Eyes that were in the head of someone still alive.
She put her hand gently on my shoulder, trying to calm me. "It's o.k." she whispered. "Everything is o.k."
Still panicked, the questions began to roll from my mouth like water through a broken dam. "Where is he? Are you o.k.? Has someone called the cops? How is my le...?" I trailed off as looked down to my lower body to see my right leg suspended in some sort of cast.
I am in a hospital.
I looked over at my wife, who looked relatively unharmed, save for a nice bruise on her chin, and she saw the understanding in my eyes.
"You were shot in the leg," she explained, "You lost a lot of blood, but it looks like you're going to be fine." A small smirk came across her mouth, "You sure do sleep a long time."
All the gears were moving now, and I finally began to process what happened. "Are you o.k?" I asked, suddenly aware of what could have happened.
"I took a nice hit, but I've dealt with worse," She smiled slightly again, then the smile was quickly replaced with a look of great remorse. "I'm... so sorry," she stammered.
The question I was going to ask...
I looked back at her, and the pain I was beginning to feel must have been showing more then I intended, because it was instantly reflected back at me. Trying to avoid the subject just slightly, I asked, "Who was that man? Why was he after you?"
Tears were forming in her eyes, but they weren't letting themselves fall yet. I waited paitiently for an answer.
"A couple months ago, I met him at a club. His name was Dan. We had a night together. I wasn't sure how it happened, it just did. And I let it. I felt terrible, and didn't want it to ever happen again. I wanted to tell you from the first, but things started happening before I got the resolve." She was crying now, hardly able to keep her eyes on me. I sat there, absorbing as much as I could, trying to keep my feelings under control until after the explanation was completely finished. "He started to call me. Started guilting me into doing more things with him. I thought maybe after a few times, he would back off. But he never did, he got worse. He started calling me names, threatening me, slapping me. How dare I do this to him. The guilt kept building up inside me. I didn't know what to do..." She trailed off.
"I would have helped you. I may not have liked it, but I would have."
She let out a huge sob, and her voice started to get higher as she continued. "I know, I know. That's just you. But, I couldn't stand to hurt you like that, then ask for help. I didn't have it in me. I had made this situation, and I didn't want to drag you into it. I could deal with it, and then tell you later." She started to collect herself. "He wanted to go out again last night," Good, I have been out for less then a day, I thought to myself "and that is when I decided that it was time to end it."
Still attempting to keep my emotions bearable, I asked, "How did it go?"
Her voice got higher again. "At first, he seemed o.k. with it. He told me he understood that I loved you, and didn't want to be constantly secretly hurting you. He seemed calm. I started to walk away, and he started calling me names again. Tried to grab me. I slapped him and ran away. I thought that was the end of it. I didn't think he would follow me. I didn't think he would try to do what he did. If it wasn't for you...." She trailed off again, the tears got faster, and she looked away.
"I got shot last night. What happened after that?"
"When I heard the gunshot, I thought it was all over. I was petrified. I sat there and watched, waiting for the inevitable." She was shaking at this point. "But when he was starting to collect himself, Jack, from next door, showed up out of nowhere, and knocked Dan out. We called the hospital, and you have been sleeping since you got here." She looked at my leg. "How do you feel?"
"I'll be o.k." I shrugged. "There are probably enough drugs in me to bring down a horse."
"Probably." She made a quick smirk. "I don't know how to feel right now, Jared. I didn't deserve that."
"You to save me!!" She shouted back in response. Her words came out quick and uncontrolled. "If you weren't sitting there, waiting for me, he would have gotten me before you could have gotten down our stairs. That's the way it should have been. But, you were there. You defended me, and you got hurt.... and I don't know what to do. This is all my fault... I didn't want to hurt you." She went silent, and then whispered "I'm sorry."
I began to process my emotions then. I let the silence sit between us for a few long minutes. Then I looked up at her and said, "I am too."
She looked defeated, as she looked back at me, hugged herself, and said, "I know. I'll go now." She turned and headed back to the door.
"I'm sorry you didn't come to me in the first place about this, and let me help you. I'm sorry it came to this."
She stopped turned around, and stared at me with shock. "But what about..."
I cut her off. "I don't know what all I feel about that. My trust is shaken, and I don't know how I'm going to deal with that later." I paused, took a breath, looked her straight in the eye, and continued. "That doesn't matter right this moment. I thought I was going to watch you die in front of me, before we talked, leaving us like we were. I couldn't stand the thought, I didn't know if I would survive like that. But, you're alive, and that is what matters to me now." I gave a weak smile. "I don't want to lose you, one way or another. This, you walking out, would be bearable. But the other way, no. I wouldn't know what to do. So, I'm not telling you to stay, I'm asking if you would."
She stared at me for a long time, halfway through the door, then took a step into the room. "Worried about watching me die?" She asked. "I watched you get shot. How do you think I felt? I thought you were gone, and that I had killed you. You're right, I could stand to walk away, but to have you disappear like that...." She averted her eyes. "You really want me to stay?"
"I think so. Yes." I declared. I looked at her, her face distraught, and then theatrically looked around the room, and loudly declared "This hospital room would be so boring without company."
She smiled, her authentic, beautiful smile and let out a laugh. "Well, I'm at your service." She looked me in the eyes, and asked, "So what now?"
"Well, I definitely could use something to eat!"