When Barry left in the November, saying that our child had brought on PTSD from his army days and he just needed time to ‘sort his head out,’ I never imagined what was really going on. It was only after a couple of months I became suspicious. He would never let me drop Hector off at his friend’s house, or pick him up. He had started having Hector overnight at his friend’s as I couldn’t bear Barry staying in my house anymore. It was just too uncomfortable. It wasn’t until February that I couldn’t ignore the obvious any more. One night when he had the baby I went to the address he gave me for his mate, but his car wasn’t there. I logged into his iPhone account (when you’ve been with someone for fourteen years you generally know their preferred username and password), and tracked his movements. I found the exact house he was in and, thanks to the internet, the owner’s name. This was a shock. It was a name I had seen in his phone. I decided enough was enough and the next day I went to the house to confront him. This is what happened:
The huge black door stood at the top of some stone stairs and I stood there staring at it. I knew the truth that awaited me if I knocked, but I couldn’t turn back now, it had gone too far. I knocked on the door. A woman in a make-up covered dressing gown, about my age, answered the door. Her long, bleached-blonde hair falls down her back like rats tails. It could use a wash and a brush. She was tiny, maybe a little smaller than me in height and I’m only 5 foot 1, but she was tiny in frame. Despite the scraggy hair and the wrinkly face I felt inadequate in my size 14 body. She is obviously getting ready for a night out. That’s why he lied and said he was in work, like he did almost every single weekend… because he was taking this woman out.
“I’m Barry’s wife, Hector’s mum.” I said.
She answered, ‘Yes, yes, come in. I’ll get hm.”
Barry saunters down the stairs looking comfortable in his surroundings. Fourteen years we have been together, married three and a half, and have a one-year-old son. At least he had the decency to look surprised by my presence.
They stood next to each other.
“I think it’s time to be honest now, honey” she says in an annoying squeaky voice.
“I take it you two are together then?” I ask.
“Yes” he mumbles.
“A few months” he says.
“Pffft” she scoffs next to him.
He corrects himself: “Three years.”
“I’m sorry? – WHAT?”
As the words sink in my world falls apart. It’s like I can physically see the walls collapsing around me. It’s difficult to breathe, to speak. As if I knew what to say! Everything is becoming dark.
“You f**king c**t.” I manage and turn to walk out the door.
“Don’t leave now while you’re upset. Stay and talk about it.”
I listen to the squeaky voice and turn back to them.
“Have you got children?” I ask.
“Me? Yes, I’ve got three boys” she tells me proudly.
“Why did you have a baby with me?” I ask him.
“I told you this would come up!” She says to him an a ‘I told you so’ tone. “When I saw him that day last year in Tesco with you and the baby my world fell apart” she tells me.
I’m very confused by this woman now. She knew he was married and had a child but she acts like they are the couple and I’m the intruder.
“So you knew,” I say.
“I’m no skank!” she almost screeches, waving her hand in front of her face in half-moon shape.
“He told me he didn’t love you. I’ve been through all this with my fella.”
So she is a skank. Because a man betrayed her with another woman she thinks it’s ok to ruin another woman’s life in order to bag herself a man. It’s becoming clear that these two are probably perfect for each other.
I suddenly realise that I’m talking to this home-wrecker instead of my husband.
“Can we talk alone?” I ask him.
“Yes, go in the kitchen” she says.
As we walk into the kitchen we pass the living room where one of her boys, about ten years old, is lying on the couch within earshot of the whole conversation. So these are the type of people they are; they happily admit to their three-year affair and destroy an innocent person’s life, all in front of a child. What scum.
We sit down at the dining table and their little dog jumps up to his lap. “Get down Jess” he says, as he pushes the dog to the floor. This small gesture punches me in the gut as the reality of the situation hits me. This is his home. He lives here with this dog, with that other dog out there, and three boys who he is stepfather to. How did I not know? How could I be so stupid?
I know that I won’t get any answers from him; when he’s in the wrong he just shuts down and becomes a brick wall. He leans back in the chair and waits for me to speak. The questions that he does answer are enough pain to take in one day:
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Because I thought you’d stop me seeing the baby.”
Wonderful. He continued to string me along, telling me he loved me and that he just needed a bit of time to sort his head out, not because he didn’t want to hurt me, but because he suddenly thinks that I am also scum who would stop my child seeing his father.
“So you love her more than me?”
At this point the other scumbag waltzes into the kitchen. She has changed from her horrible, make-up covered, dressing gown into a pair of black leggings and an extremely tight aluminous pink top, making sure I get a good view of her tiny waist and massive fake tits. She has tied the messy hair back.
“I think I need to be part of this conversation now.” She states.
“Well, there is no conversation because he’s not saying anything so he’s all yours.” I reply.
“Come on now honey, you can’t be like that. You have to speak.” She is telling him as I’m leaving the room.
Leaving the house I have an idea and stop in the street. She is following me.
“Do you want my number?” I ask her.
“Yes” she says and sends Barry to find pen and paper. She has lit a fag.
“Do you want some?” she offers.
“No.” I say.
“I’ve tried to give up…” she starts waffling.
I realise that she now seems nervous. A car has pulled up beside us and a woman and a small mixed-race boy get out. The boy runs straight into the house without even saying hello to his mum, and then the woman scurries past with her head bent low as though the pavement needs her complete attention.
“I didn’t know,” she lies. “You can even ask my mum.”
I’m guessing her mum knows exactly what is happening here and doesn’t want to be dragged into it. I wonder what her mum thinks about her daughter? She must be so proud.
Barry returns with pen and paper. I start to tell her my number and I watch her hands shake violently as she writes it down. This is giving me more confidence. I walk determinately, head high, back to my car and drive off.
I immediately regret not kneeing him in the balls and kicking her in the fanny.