It was just after 10pm and I was in my car dressed in a nightgown and snow boots. The temperature was far below freezing and I’d forgotten to bring my coat.
Having driven aimlessly around my neighborhood, I pulled over and texted my friend Timna in the breeziest way I could imagine.
I inquired about the location of our mutual friend’s new townhouse. Something in the tone of her text, which provided a vague description, alerted me to the fact that she knew. She may not have known everything, but she knew something.
Trying to ignore this for the moment, I followed her directions and found Melissa’s parked car near a row of townhouses. All the townhouses were dark except for one. The blinds were drawn, but there was a light coming from the second story window of the end unit.
God, and possibly the neighbors (because it’s that kind of neighborhood), knew how long I sat there, intermittently staring at the window and then my white fingers clenched on the wheel, before I called my friend Lourdes.
“Hello?” She sounded sleepy and this made me cry. Through my unintelligible tears, I managed to get across that it was me and I was parked outside our friend Melissa’s new townhouse because she was having an affair with my husband.
Lourdes was having trouble absorbing things. “Wait. Melissa has a townhouse?”
Calm after my first gush of emotion, I explained that since the time Lourdes, Timna, Melissa and I went out for drinks, a great deal had come to light, including Melissa’s separation from her husband and her affair with my husband.
Lourdes interrupted me. “Lee?”
“Where are the children?”
“Okay, then come over right now.”
I looked up at the golden square of light peaking around the closed blinds then scanned the first story windows, all dark.
“Lee? Are you there?”
“What are you doing right now?”
“I am looking for a big rock to throw through the window.”
LISTEN: Esther Perel on why happy people cheat. Post continues after audio…
“Um, no,” Lourdes said, “Listen to me. I will make you a drink. What would you like?” I heard her whispering to Brad. “Brad’s going to make us cocktails and we can sit by the fire. Why don’t you spend the night?”
By that time, I’d driven around the block and was next to Melissa’s car. From that angle, I could see yet another window aglow on the second floor. I guessed, correctly as it turned out, that Melissa had parked outside so that my husband could pull his car into her garage.
“Hello?” Lourdes’s voice seemed to float in all of a sudden and I wondered if she’d been talking before that.
“Where are you?”