answered by Anonymous
I was referred to an endocrinologist for some tests. My regular doctor saw something in my blood, so wanted it checked out. Ultimately it was nothing,
So I looked on the internet for a specialist and a name jumped out at me. My wife (Helen) is in a women’s social club for benevolent fundraising, and one of her friends (Carrie) had the same last name as this doctor. I looked on the club’s roster for the member/spouse names, and sure enough, there he was.I thought the purpose of a social club was at least to do business with each other, sort of like networking.
So I made the appointment with him, call him Evan, and showed up on time. A nurse took me back and did all the usual vitals.
The doctor (Evan) came in with his head down, scanning my record, extended his hand without looking at me, and said, “What brings you in, today?”
I briefly described why I was there. He took notes. He also asked why his office? Was it a referral from the doctor?
I told him no, our wives are in the same social club, so-
His face turned to mine, and turned to stone. I’ve never seen anyone who turned that pale. I’ve heard the phrase “blood ran from his face” but this was the real thing. He brought a hand to his mouth, fingers shaking like a leaf. The transformation was downright scary. But me, like a chump, thought he was having some other issue. Before I could say a word –
“That’s not why you’re really here, though.”
His eyes misted-up and he leaned on the wall, like he was about to have a red-out.
“No, that’s about it,” I said.
“How long have you known?” he said.
“Known about this? When my regular doctor told me-”
“Stop with the games!”
At this point I’m thinking, he thinks I’m someone else, or we’re having two different conversations here. I had the presence of mind to say:
“What should we do about it?”
“Are you going to tell my wife?”
My neurons are kicking in and I get it. Like a sledgehammer in the gut. His reaction, his words, everything flooded my brain and I knew exactly what he was talking about, but my brain froze. Wouldn’t yours?
He said, “Please, I’ll pay you. I have money.”
That was a heckuva deal. “First, tell me everything, from the start.”
I sometimes have to interview clients this way, so let’s leave it open-ended.
He sat in the other chair. “Two years ago-”
I’m thinking – this has been going on two years? Under my nose? Agggh!
” – Carrie and Helen worked a booth at the Treasure Island benefit.”
I recalled this benefit, and I recalled Carrie ditching-out to go do something else, and leaving Helen high-and-dry to work the booth. Helen asked me to help, but I’d had a brutal day and a ton of work to finish.
” – And Carrie asked if I would stand in for her. So Helen and I worked it together. We were there all day, and got to know each other -”
At this point I’m thinking, I’m getting a full confession from this guy, so i pretended to turn off my phone so we would not be interrupted, but instead put it into airplane mode and kicked-on the voice recorder. I had to to this at client interviews, so the motions were seamless. I set the phone on the table next to me as though it was out of mind. He was a basket case and didn’t notice it.
“- We wrapped up for the evening and went for a coffee. And afterwards maintained our relationship electronically – ”
“Email and other apps. She told me her mother was ailing, so I cooked up a plan for us to get together – ”
Helen’s mother lives forty miles away and is near death at the time he and I were speaking. Helen had been shuttling back and forth to care for her for over a year and a half, several times a week
” – and the first time was in her mother’s house, after her mother went to sleep – ”
“First time for sex?”
“Yes first time. And second time – ”
Okay, didn’t need to hear that part –
“And you continued to see each other since? She visited her mother last night. Did you-”
“Yes, we did. Twice -”
Okay, didn’t need to hear it – again!
“Do you love her?” I asked.
“Yes I do. So in love with her, you can’t imagine.”
Getting worse by the moment, and all my fuses are about to blow.
“And you don’t think your wife needs to hear this?”
“Carrie’s family is very wealthy. She’ll be taken care of no matter what. But if this gets out, she’ll bring her father’s lawyers and I’ll lose everything.”
He sobbed, A strong, grown man. A doctor. Captain of his destiny. Crying like a baby. Pathetic.
But I have to say, owning this moment was pretty glorious on its own.
From my perspective, Helen’s family had nothing. She would be out on her tail, with nothing.
“Would you divorce Carrie to marry Helen, if we get a divorce?”
“Oh, don’t divorce Helen – she loves you. She would have already divorced you.”
How nice to hear. So she’s letting the doctor tap her, for over a year, and she loves me? No, she doesn’t love me – she doesn’t want me to find out and maybe kill her boyfriend, and her ticket out.
“What was the game plan, then?” I asked.
“We would continue, and I would make myself too difficult and ornery to live with, and Carrie would despair and ask for a divorce. Then Helen would divorce you and marry me.”
Well, a nice little chess game they have worked-out here. And I stumbled into it. Was this my luckiest or unluckiest day ever?
I said, “Look, I’m going to confront Helen with this, and she’s going to go through the motions of a marriage counselor, I’m sure.”
His face fell. As if all his other facial machinery hadn’t been enough drama.
“Please don’t do that,” he said.
“I’ll pay you to keep quiet about this.”
“How will that work?”
“Helen is a delicate person. The stress of you knowing, would devastate her.”
“You love her enough to pay me for my silence?”
“Some now, some later, I have money. I can’t afford a divorce.”
“How much are we talkin’ here?”
The amount he offered me, I could not make in ten years of after-tax salary – and I’m pretty well-paid. He also offered to pay the same amount after I agreed to divorce Helen. I could not believe what I was hearing.
“What if you and Helen have a falling out? She backs out of the deal?”
“Keep the money.”
“And when that happens, you’re okay with me divorcing her for cheating, right?”
He recoiled and leaned against the chair back. “If she dumps me, I won’t care what you do.”
He wrote me a check. A check! He had this much cash in a liquid account. I was stunned. I would have to find a bank to put it in – no way would I want her to know it existed.
From that day forward, he and I periodically checked-in. I let her “visit her mother” as often as she liked, and she was always pleasant to me. We had arguments about this and that along the way, and I was always tempted to spring it on her.
Eight months later, the day finally came. Carrie filed for divorce and let Evan off with a half-and-half-and-then-some so he would not be tempted to come pining after her. Within days of the divorce, Helen sprung on me she that she was leaving me. Loveless marriage, etc.
“Is there someone else?” I asked. I pretended hurt. This was mind-blowing.
“There’s nobody else in my life but you,” she said. The smile was so sweet. I found out later, profilers call this a “duping smile” when someone is lying to you and thinks you’ve bought it.
“If that’s what you want.”
She said, “I don’t want anything. I know it’s half-and-half – but you keep the house, the bank accounts and the rest. I’ll be fine.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, I’ll be fine.”
So we drew up the papers and sixty days later, we were divorced. I kept it all. She took her clothes.
During this 60 days, she “moved in with her mother” but Evan told me on the side she was staying with him. They were already planning the wedding and the honeymoon. Even sent me a check. Several times the size of the first one. Yeah, silence has a price, but today he paid top dollar.
A year later Helen called me and said Evan had told her everything. She thanked me for letting her go. She didn’t say anything about the money and I didn’t volunteer.
“Why did you agree to let it ride?” She asked. “Didn’t you love me?”
“Yes, I loved you, but you were cheating on me. I decided to make the best of it, not the worst of it.”
“How much did he pay you?”
“Did who pay me?”
“Evan. He solves problems with money. How much did he pay you?”
At this point I realized there was something more to this call than just a simple thank you. She was fishing for evidence.
“No money changed hands. You relinquished your half of the divorce settlement. That was enough for me.”
“I really need to know-”
At this point, my emotions got the best of me. Evan had paid me to be silent, and though I was angry she was leaving me, it wasn’t a surprise. Participating in this twisted drama – never occurred to me it might have blowback.
“I can’t imagine why you would call me after all this time. You cheated on me. I forgave you. You don’t owe me anything. What is it that you think I owe you? Name just one thing I owe you, Helen!”
Her voice was cracking like she’d been holding back a cry. “I made a mistake. You have to help me.”
“I’m going to quote you, Helen. A mistake is when you knock over a vase, or drop a glass. Or forget to lock the door. It’s not a mistake when you sneak out to your mothers several nights a week to have sex with another man – twice in the same night.”
A long silence. I thought she was going to hang up.
“You there?” I asked.
Another long silence.
“Feels lonely doesn’t it. The quiet? That the quiet you left me here with three times a week while you were lying to me. For eight months, every time you left the house with a lie, you lied so sweetly. And I was looking forward to the day it would be over.”
“Over? What do you mean?”
“My deal with Evan was that I would wait and not divorce you until the two of you could marry. When Carrie dumped him, you turned around and dumped me, and that was the deal. If anything had gone wrong during that time and you and Evan called it quits, I was divorcing you. So either way, here we are.”
“You would have divorced me?”
“You were cheating. We were done. I waited the eight months and let you ask first. So it wouldn’t be a mess.”
“I’m divorcing Evan.”
“Good for you. Take half his stuff – like a good little girl.”
“You heard me. Take half his stuff-”
“Made me sign a pre-nup.”
“That was stupid. So he used you as his mistress on the side, and now what – he has another mistress on the side?”
“Tell me he doesn’t have a mistress on the side. Helen? Helen?”
“He has another mistress.”
“So you’re in a good spot.”
“Why is that?”
“He won’t divorce you. He waited for Carrie to divorce him.”
“That’s so Carrie’s family wouldn’t rape him in the divorce.”
“He’ll wait for you, too. Either way, now you’ll know what it’s like to be in a silent house while your love is being serviced by another.”
“I won’t. I’m hanging up now. The silence you hear? Get used to it.”