CHAPTER ONE: THE ROAD
I rolled over in bed and laid my head on his pillow. Although I was exhausted, sleep would not come. I looked at the clock for the hundredth time that night. Midnight. One o’clock. One-twenty. Two-fifteen. I prayed, I cried, and I prayed some more. “Please God, don’t let him be doing it again.”
I got out of bed and walked over to the bedroom doors that led to a large deck. “This was supposed to be our dream home,” I thought to myself. It sat almost in the middle of fifteen acres. As I looked out into the night, the moon was so full and so bright. I felt I could see every tree, every rise and slope of the land . . . and every shadow. I thanked God for the bright moon because I knew I would be going out into the night alone again. I reluctantly got dressed and went upstairs where our sons were sleeping.
I hated myself for what I was about to do, but what other choice did I have? I did not want to wake my son, but suppose one of the boys woke up and needed me? Suppose the house caught on fire after I left? I had to tell someone I was leaving. I knelt down beside his bed, said a silent prayer, and then, for what seemed like the millionth time, I gently shook our middle son and whispered to him, “I’ll be back soon.” My heart broke because I knew he knew what that meant. For so long I tried to hide the truth from our sons to protect them, to cover it up; but by this time, he knew something was wrong. All three sons knew something was terribly wrong. Yet, I still wanted so badly to spare them the heartache I was feeling . . . that gut-wrenching raw fear I felt every time he did not come home.
I got into my car and headed down the long winding driveway and onto the narrow dirt road that led to the main paved road. As I turned onto the dirt road, I wondered to myself, “Will I find him this time? Where will he be this time? What lies will he tell me this time?” Then, almost instantly, I was overcome with anger at myself that I would even stoop so low as to go looking for him again. Hadn’t I had enough already? Then, as I rounded a small curve in the road, I saw headlights. I knew the lights were his. I stopped my car and waited. As he drove closer, I turned off the engine and headlights, got out of the car, and stood in the middle of the dusty dirt road.
I watched as he brought his truck to a stop some distance in front of my car. Finally, his headlights went off and he stepped out of the truck. The moon lit up the dirt road like a runway. We walked towards each other slowly. It was like a showdown in a western movie, only I had no weapon to pull. I was again thankful that the moon was so bright because I wanted him to see the disappointment, the anger, and most of all the hurt on my face. When I looked into his eyes, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt he had done it again.
Every promise he made to me died in an instant. “Lies, all lies,” I thought. Staring him in the eyes and feeling a rage like I had never felt before, I said to him, “If you ever do it again, I hope it kills you.” Tears began to fill his eyes, and as I turned to walk away, I heard him say the words that shook me to my very core, “I hope it does, too.” he said.