This is where everything got very confusing for her. She found numbers on the phone bill that he explained away and made them disappear by the time the next phone bill arrived. There were other weird numbers but not the one. The girl Kelly’s number he had met on his retreat had disappeared. She didn’t know if it was because she had called and left her a message telling her who her husband was and that he was married with 2 small children. She hoped that’s what happened and maybe he decided to change but her gut told her to keep looking, so she did. She continued with her days like always and he started making it home for dinner a few times a week. He didn’t seem as angry and he was nicer to their children but he still wasn’t being a father. He ignored them mostly.
Their daughter’s 4th birthday was coming up and she’d planned a princess party at a farm with horses and carriages. The little boys that were invited were told to dress up in any costume. It was going to be fun. She always loved doing fun parties for them. Her birthday was during the week before and it was a terrible rainy day and her sweet little girl hadn’t felt very good. They’d always do something as a family on the children’s actual birthday. It was their tradition. They had to postpone it this year because of the rain but they were still doing a special breakfast, a cake at dinner and presents. He had gone to work that morning as usual and would be home early for their sweet little girls birthday. The day was gloomy as it was terrible rainy and gray. They waited at dinner for daddy but he hadn’t been reachable all day. It was odd since it was their daughter’s bithday. After an hour had past she decided to put on a happy face and push through. They started dinner, ate it and she lit all the candles on her daughter’s birthday cake, sung happy birthday cheerfully and made everything seem normal for her little girl. They opened present after and then he called to apologize and say he’d be home soon. He’d lost track of time and his phone and that he was very sorry. Their little girl excepted this and waited excitedly for his arrival. Two hours later, after both children were bathed and waiting past their bedtime for him, he arrived. He had a gigantic balloon, teddy bear and another stuffed animal. He was acting all cheerful but their daughter was so tired and disappointed at this time. He overdid his excitement about her gift. He handed her the teddy bear and she dropped it on the floor and said, I don’t like that bear, I don’t want it. He did all he could to make her feel guilty for not liking it but at this point she just wanted to go to sleep and she told him. He tried again to make her say something nice about his gift but all she said before drifting asleep was, daddy, I don’t like it. I’ve never liked teddy bears. It was true. She never had. She knew her daughter thought bears were creepy but he didn’t know very much about either of their children. He never asked them about their interests. He just told them about his.
That weekend the birthday party was fun. The kids had a great time and their daughter, although still sniffly, pulled through and had a good time. Their father was still not being helpful at all but she wasn’t going to let him bother her today. This was about their daughter.
The holidays were approaching quickly and although he was not being the man she married he was coming home and not disappearing. He wasn’t being aweful to the kids and he was being ok with her as well. Something wasn’t right, she was still investigating it but she couldn’t constantly do it. She had to take care of their children who were both still not even in elementary school. Their 4 year old went to preschool 2 days a week from 9-12 but that was hardly anything. Thanksgiving then Christmas. He was still being extra sneaky, constantly bathing, and not being reachable at times everyday but she didn’t have any definite evidence so she pushed through. They were headed to Florida to stay with his dad and step mom after Christmas and the kids were so excited. She was getting everything ready and packed, pet sitters scheduled and set up and preparing for some much needed time together. He seemed stressed about going but she tried to ignore it. He came home for dinner a couple of nights before the day they were leaving. He said he’d bathe and put the kids in bed and give her a break. She was pleasantly surprised. Maybe he was turning a new leaf and returning to normal. She was very hopeful. After the kids were tucked in and sleeping he came down and happily asked her if she minded if he went to his dad’s (his dad had a second house nearby but he was in Florida) to work on the train table he and his brother were making for their dad. She said ok and he hugged and kissed her and acted silly like he use to. He said he’d be back in a couple of hours but not longer and he’d pick up some stuff she needed at the store on the way back. She was happy to see him like this again. She’d missed him. He left at 8:30 and at 11:30 he still wasn’t home and hadn’t answered his phone in an hour. She was getting angry and concerned. She left him a message that she was waking up the kids and they were coming to find him, that she was worried. Before she sat the phone down it ran and he said he was sorry. He’d left his phone charging downstairs and forgotten about it. That he had done a lot of work and he would send me a picture. He was finishing up one last thing and then heading home if that was ok with her. She said it was. They hung up and he sent her 2 pictures of his work. In the second picture something caught her eye. In the back corner there were 2 black, women’s boots. She made the picture larger and there was no doubt, those were boots. She wanted the cry, scream, and punch him at the same time. She called him and as soon as he said hello she said who’s boots are in the picture? He told her a million lies including that they were his shoes and the color was off. They were actually brown. She may have been many things but stupid wasn’t one of them. She said I’m waking the kids now and we will be there shortly. She hung up, put her head in her hands and cried. Before she could wake the kids up he was there and crawled in their bed with her. He made it home in 5 minutes from a 10 minute drive. His heart was beating through his chest and he just kept saying that he loved her and there was no one there. It was just him. Just him. He loved her so much. She closed her eyes and pretended to be asleep. She knew from this day forward nothing would ever be he same.