“Marcus! What the fuck did you do?!”
“What’s wrong, boss?? I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“You told the Williams Brothers we wouldn’t be able to deliver on their requests! Why the hell would you do something like that?!”
“I’m sorry, boss; I didn’t want to lie to them. How are we supposed to meet their deadline? They wanted the project done this year. There’s no way we’ll be able to pull off something that large in such a short time frame.”
“That’s not the point, Marcus! That was a 2-million-dollar client! We needed them to keep our heads afloat. Now we’re all fucked.”
“It won’t happen again, I promise.”
“Oh, I know it won’t. You’re fired! Get your shit and get the fuck out of here. NOW!”
Well, fuck! Now, what am I supposed to do? How am I going to pay the bills? There’s no way I can let Jane know. Her father already thinks I’m a failure. I can’t even hold a job in construction – what good am I?
I sat at the bar for the rest of the workday. It was only noon, and if I came home this early, there was no explaining it away. Just a couple beers won’t hurt. I need to relax.
“Daddy! Daddy! Daddy! You’re home!”
“Hi, Angie. Yes, daddy’s home. Where’s your brother?”
“Mattie is outside playing! Come play with us, Daddy!”
“No, I can’t, sweetie. I need to talk to your mom. Can you go outside and play with Mattie while your mom and I talk for a little bit? We’ll call you both inside for dinner when it’s ready.”
“Ok, Daddy! I love you!”
“I love you too, sweetie.”
I decided at the bar that I would tell Jane about what happened today. There’s no point in lying about it. We’re in this together, and if I keep it from her, it could tear us apart.
“Oh, Marcus! You’re home! I didn’t hear you walk in.”
“You didn’t hear Angie yelling Daddy downstairs when I came in?”
“No, I had the hairdryer on. How was your day, honey?”
“It was alright. I need to talk to you about something.”
“I need to talk to you about something too. Can I go first? It’s crucial.”
“Yeah, that’s fine.”
Maybe whatever she needs to talk to me about will ease the blow of me losing my job.
“Marcus, things have been crazy lately. Your job has been stressful for you; my job has been stressful for me. Trying to balance the kid’s schedules with ours has been exhausting. But none of that should be used as an excuse. And I don’t want you to think that I’m saying I have an excuse. I need you to know something…”
“Jane, what are you talking about? You’re scaring me.”
“Marcus, honey, I love you so much. We’ve built an amazing life together. I can’t keep this from you any longer. Marcus, I’m having an affair.”
Her voice trailed off. I think she was trying to explain that she knew what she did was wrong. I don’t even know who the son of a bitch was. I just froze. My head was buzzing, and my eyes started to blur. Why was the room spinning? What went wrong? How could she do this to me? After everything we’ve been through together, everything we’ve built together. She cheated?
“I SAID, HOW LONG?!”
“Marcus, please calm down.”
“Calm down? CALM DOWN?! My wife – the love of my life – just told me she’s been having an affair, and you want me to calm down? You’re insane. And to think I was worried to tell you I lost my job. Doesn’t even fucking matter because I’m married to a lying slut!”
“MARCUS! How dare you!?”
“How dare me?! HOW DARE ME!?”
She hit the floor so hard it rattled the pictures on our walls. The palm of my hand was throbbing uncontrollably. Then a rush of adrenaline went through my body, and before I knew it, I was on top of her swinging. Each punch landed on her face. I couldn’t stop, and I didn’t want to. She betrayed me, betrayed our family.
I can’t let the kids know their mother was a slut. I stopped swinging my fists, and when I looked down, I could hardly tell she was my wife anymore. Her face was covered in blood; eyes swelled shut from bruising. She was still breathing, and I didn’t want her to anymore.
I grabbed a pillow from our bed and held it over her face. She struggled a little, but after those punches, I can imagine she drained her energy. When she stopped moving, I stood up, leaving the pillow on her face.
Oh fuck. I turned towards our bedroom door, and there stood not only Angie but also her brother Matt. How am I going to take care of these two without their mother or a job? I can’t. I just can’t. The adrenaline rush was still there, and as wrong as I knew it was, I can’t do this on my own.
“Come here, kids, it’s ok, daddy will take care of you.”
They both started crying uncontrollably. Did they see what I did? The fear in their eyes made it seem like they did. They can’t continue living, or they will surely be my demise.
“It’s ok, kids, daddy’s here.”
As I walked closer to them, they huddled closely. Angie wouldn’t let go of her brother. I knew this wouldn’t be easy, but I am stronger than two kids. I slowly crept down to hug them both, and while I was hugging them, I could feel them shaking with fear in my arms. They knew this was the end. They knew they would end up just like their mother.
I saw my baseball bat by the door. I didn’t want it to be a blood bath, but I knew my strength would do me well. As I slowly reached for it, Angie fell to her knees, sobbing in her hands. Matt went to calm her down, giving me an opening to grab the bat and swing.
It was quick. I don’t think they felt anything. At least, I didn’t want them to. But I knew I had to get rid of them. Losing my job, having a cheating wife, I can’t live a life like that. I thought this time would be different. I thought this family was better, and my career was on the right path.
Next time will be different. Next time must be different.
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