Lying along the embankment of the ocean gave me a full view of the enormous sky above. The clouds stretching across the horizon was in perfect position and knew its purpose. It made me question the condition of my marriage and where it stood regarding its longevity. After twenty years and two kids, I wondered why my husband and I couldn’t be on one accord like the water droplets that gather peacefully together to form the beautiful clouds?
Moving to Joyful Island, Maryland was a quest for my husband and I. We were seeking refuge from the never-ending congestion, noise, and the persistent crime that was all too famous for New York City, so the decision to move to a quieter place was a no brainer. The Island’s tucked away on a peninsula that consists of only 1,500 people. The bedroom community is gathered together by those who have the same common interest and values; I’ve counted my blessings many times on finding this hidden secret; it’s been my heaven on earth.
The best amenity of Joyful Island, for my husband, Bernard, is its jet boats, it being the only access onto the island restricted my mother from visiting without notice. Our children, Patrice, and Arnold became comfortable with taking the 40-passenger aluminum boat to school; they made friends quickly. Life was delightful; we were happy until that dreadful autumn morning when I had to confront my demons.
Awakened by heavy raindrops falling against the bay window of my bedroom, I found the house empty until I remembered that Bernard had taken the children to town for breakfast allowing me to sleep in. I climbed out of bed headed for the bathroom when I noticed my husband’s sock drawer ajar. He has every sock ever purchased in that drawer, I thought, I’m starting to believe he’s a secret hoarder. I tried pushing the overly stuffed drawer close; it wouldn’t shut. I pushed my hand through the cluttered mess until I could feel the base of the drawer. I figured a sock was probably stuck on the track. I pulled upon an object until I was able to release it. I pulled it out. I was amazed to see in my hand delicate silk lingerie instead of a bulky wool sock. I wanted to believe that it belonged to me, and somehow managed to land itself in his messy drawer, but I had to admit I hadn’t worn a size that small since middle school.
I was shocked and felt a little dazed. I took a seat on the bed until I could gather my composure. Is my husband guilty of infidelity? Has his love for me grown cold? Is he planning on divorcing me? Those thoughts and many others flooded my brain as I tried to think of where we went wrong and most importantly who was the recipient of the tiny garment? I don’t know how long I was reflecting on the situation when voices of children echo from the front room.
“Mom, where are you?” Patrice shouted. The patter of feet is heard rushing to the bedroom. Patrice stands at the threshold of the door with her perfectly rounded, tightly curled ponytails neatly wrapped around pink bows; she was wearing a smile from ear to ear.
“Honey, did you enjoy yourself?” was all I could mutter from my mouth.
“Yes, we had fun.” She jumped on the bed giving me a kiss on the cheek. I grabbed her hand laying it gently on my cheek and thinking about how horrifying a divorce would be for my children. At that moment, I made a conscience decision that I wasn’t going freely to give up my husband, the father of my children, to the anonymous petite home wrecker.
The cool sheets felt good against my naked body as I patiently waited for my significant other to join me in bed. I imagined making passionate love to him; maybe it’ll remind him of the vows we took and the fact that we’re soul mates. Unfortunately for me, he was barricaded in the bathroom for almost an hour, was he trying to avoid me? I thought. On an average day, I wouldn’t have given it a second thought, but normally doesn’t exist anymore since I found the remnant of another woman in my bedroom. I climbed out of bed and tiptoed to the bathroom door. I carefully placed my ear against it trying to eavesdrop. Not a sound was coming from the other side. Had he fallen into the shower drain or fell into the toilet? I couldn’t figure out why there wasn’t a single sound to be heard. Suddenly, the door flung open and Bernard, with a towel wrapped around his waist, enters the room. He didn’t look my way or even had a clue that I was trying to intrude on his privacy. I quickly entered the bathroom so it wouldn’t be obvious of what I had conspired to do.
Once inside I closed the door. I suddenly glanced an image of myself in the mirror and felt ashamed that I had become the negative wife who eavesdrops on her husband. All I have to do is ask him about the lingerie; I’m sure he has a logical explanation. I suddenly noticed his cell phone sitting on the basin. Quickly the switched from the woman of rational thinking back to the hellish person, I decided to go through his phone. I picked it up; it wasn’t locked. I instantly checked to see if he’d spoken to anyone during his extremely extended stay in the bathroom. The last call he made was to JENNIFER TROYER…my daughter’s homeroom teacher!
I couldn’t understand what was happening, what reason would my husband have to call Patrice’s teacher? And why is her number saved in his phone? Is that her skimpy lingerie in my husband’s sock drawer? My knees begin to buckle; I felt I was falling; I grabbed hold of the sink and tried to catch my breath. I have to do something, or risk the chance of losing my husband, I thought, but informing him of my newfound information would send him directly into the arms of the home wrecker. After some quick thinking I decided to let him think I didn’t have a clue, but as for the femme fatale, I will deal with her in my way.
The cool sea breeze splashed against my face as I exited the jet boat headed for my children’s school, accompanying me was a freshly baked tray of ginger snaps cookies made especially for Ms. Jennifer Troyer. I used the best flour and shortening I could find with a dash of cyanide to bring out the taste. It would be my way of saying thanks for the great job she’s doing with my daughter and the excellent way that she’s servicing my husband.
I entered the central office, and the smell of pumpkin scented potpourri filled my nose. The receptionist was an older woman with salt and pepper hair pushed back into a bun with thick bangs that extended the entire front of her head. Her mouth was tight as if she dared not speak.
“Hello, I’m here to drop off cookies to Ms. Troyer,” I said.
“Is she expecting you?” the woman asked.
“No, I wanted to surprise her.” I held up the pan of cookies. The woman jotted my name on a white slip of paper labeled Visitor and passed it to me.
“Her class is straight down the hall to your right.” When I arrived at the classroom, I peeked in. Ms. Troyer appeared to be in her late thirties; her blonde hair swung along her back, and her petite body made her look even younger. She caught me glaring into the classroom and hurried to the door.
“Hi, may I help you?”
“Hi, I’m Patrice’s mother, Gloria, It’s a pleasure to meet you,” I said, as I held out my hand, we shook.
“Oh, Yes, please come in.” She said.
“I baked my delicious ginger snap cookies and wanted you to have a batch.”
“How nice of you, but I’m on a sugar-free diet and unfortunately I can’t have any, but maybe my class would like some.”
I instantly ejected, “NO…I mean they may be too sweet for the children.” This blond beauty didn’t have a clue that she was the only one I desired to die.
“Well, maybe I could interest you in my delicious homemade apple spice herbal tea?” I asked.
“That’s very kind of you…but…” before she could say another word I instantly cut her off.
“I appreciate the great work you’re doing with my daughter, and this would be my way of showing my gratitude.” Before she could reject my offer, I wrote my address down on an index card found at the bottom of my purse and passed it to her.
“Well, that does sound delicious,” she said, “How about three p.m. Saturday?”
“Saturday will be great!” I remembered Bernard and the children were going to New York to see his parents. It would be a great opportunity for me to have her over, poison her, and send her home to die.
“I can take the cookies off your hands,” Jennifer said with a smile on her face. “The staff would love to have them.” She reaches for the cookie tray.
I felt a rush of panic through my body as I pulled the tray away. “I don’t think that would be a good idea.” Jennifer develops a flustered look on her face.
“I have a neighbor who’s been homebound for about a month,” I said, “maybe I’ll give them to him.” I had to escape the class and ultimately the school before there’s an untimely death by GINGER SNAPS!
I glanced out the sitting room window and saw a car parking along the circular driveway of my home. I took a quick look at my watch; it was exactly 3 p.m. Ms. Home Wrecker was on time. She stepped out of the car and started strutting toward the house. She’s wearing a maroon mock neck shirt with a high waist black knee-length shirt. The wind current blows her soft sun-kissed hair from side to side as she makes her way to the front door. I can hear the doorbell ring, but couldn’t move a muscle; it was as if I had my feet stuck in quicksand. I finally gathered my composure and answered the door.
Greeting her gave me an instant sense of insecurity. She looked much prettier than she did a few days ago. I thought to myself of all the women on this tiny island my husband would pick the prettiest one. She gracefully enters the foyer.
“The apple spice smells delicious.” She says with a smile on her face.
“Thank you, It’s been brewing all morning.” and ready for the perfect pinch of poison, I said to myself.
I led her into the living room and offered her a seat on the couch. I had the tea kettle and cups positioned adjacent from us on a rolling table.
“Patrice is such an awesome student; I know you’re very proud of her.”
“Yes, I am,” I said, as I slowly pour Jennifer’s cup of tea, which already has the poison inside.
“She reminds me so much of my daughter, Carol. She died when she was only three from pneumonia, but I pictured her to be just like Patrice had she reached her age.” Jennifer reaches for the cup; I instantly pull it back toward me. At that moment, the woman sitting across from me had become a human being, a person, and a mother. I suddenly realized that the home wrecker was not the source of my problem, but my insecurities and fears.
“Is everything okay?” Jennifer asked. I could hear her soft voice, but was reflecting deep inside myself to a dark place where hopelessness lived, and the fright of being alone festered. I acknowledged that black place and demanded it relinquished my soul. Suddenly I felt an electrical charge of energy, and I knew my demons were confronted.
“Is everything okay?” She asked again.
“Yes, how about we forget the tea and go out for lunch?” I asked.
“Are you sure? I’m fine with having the tea.” She said. I looked at her clueless face and thought to myself if only she knew.
My husband eventually left me, but not for Jennifer, and I never found out if she was the actual recipient of the slinky lingerie. I’m now in a relationship with a great guy that I love deeply. What I found out through my ordeal is that people we love will sometimes fade into the sunset and never return, but the energy of love will always replace them before the sunrise of another day.
Weeda Anderson grew up in Queens, New York in 1962, and early on took advantage of the vibrant art culture of New York through The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of African Art, to the great GershwinThreatre on Broadway, which all helped to expand her creative horizons. She acknowledged her calling and moved forward in obtaining her place in the Art community.
After leaving New York, and moving to Atlanta, Georgia in 1998, Weeda created an inner-city community-based organization called The Kids Playhouse, Inc. She believed that any generation that would acknowledge its creativity would be a generation that would consistently move forward.
While doing the laundry, Sandra Bullock finds a woman's bra in her husband's sock drawer. Her first thought is to pack her bags and leave her philandering husband but instead plans to do away with the home wrecker in the most unusual way.