The following is an extract from A BEAUTIFUL, TERRIBLE THING by Jen Waite, a memoir detailing Jen’s suspicions and discoveries that her seemingly-perfect husband, and father of her newborn baby, fits the textbook definition of a psychopath. After stumbling upon an email three weeks after giving birth, Jen goes on a terrifying search for the truth.
The next morning, I sit with my mum and Louisa around the kitchen table as my dad makes omelettes.
“I really don’t think he’s having an affair. It’s just not possible. Maybe because he’s so overtired and overworked he’s making really bad decisions and doesn’t realise how inappropriate his behaviour is. He says he barely even knows this girl and that she keeps asking him for favours and he feels rude saying no so he keeps helping her with stuff. Like the apartment and the ride to the airport. I don’t know. . . ” My voice trails off.
I’m not sure who I’m trying to convince, my parents or myself. There is a part of my brain that has already added up all the facts. But there is a raw, almost animalistic force within my body that is clinging to the possibility that Marco is telling the truth.
“If you really want to know the truth, why don’t you check his phone records?” my dad says from across the kitchen. “I’m sure that will confirm exactly what Marco is saying. That they never talk. That they barely know each other.” His voice is encouraging, but his eyes are hard.
“OK. I will.” My stomach lurches and my hands shake, but I know what I will find. Marco is telling the truth. He has told me over and over and over. He is burned out. He is exhausted and overworked. But he is not having an affair. I open the computer and log into our Verizon account.
I fumble around for a few minutes on the website and finally figure out how to pull up the call log for the past month. I select his number and hit enter. I start scanning the month of January. So far, so good. My eyes flick over the numbers, willing the digits I have memorised not to appear. I scroll through the first of January to the tenth. Nothing. Not a single phone call between Marco and the girl. I start to breathe more normally.