"The Other Woman"
Based on a true story.
I started seeing Max, thinking that he was like any other single man. And in some ways Max was like any other single guy. He wasn't perfectly fit, but neither was he insanely heavy. Max was perfectly in the middle with a healthy appetite and strong arms. His arms were probably the first things I'd fallen in love with.
The first time I'd met Max was in a bar. He was friends with one of my friend's friends. It was a Saturday night in October, with the air crisp outside and stuffy inside. We were all drinking on the deck of the bar outside. A few had lit cigarettes and other just lounged around sober, enjoying the night. When I first met Max I was on my second beer, leaning against the railing of the deck. He was dressed simply in a dark blue button down shirt, the sleeves rolled up to his elbows, and nice jeans. We didn't shake hands, as adults usually did when first meeting. Instead, since we were both a little far gone with our drinks, we hugged and kissed cheeks. I remember the way his arms felt against me: strong and secure, and it was a damned good feeling.
I don't remember the rest of the night. I was all a bunch of drunken mishaps and laughs that barely anyone remembered. I spent the rest of the night enjoying Max's company and learning little things about him. He was a doctor and his family lived three hours away. He was thirty, single, attractive, and flirtatious. I didn't go home with him that night, but I did go to my own home thinking about him. The second time I saw Matt it was Halloween and I was with my son, buying him a Superman costume.
"Sarah Jenkins," Max had said from the opposite end of the aisle, "I can't believe it."
"Max Somber," I greeted, giving him one of my best smiles. He was standing there, holding giant bags of candy, with a handsome smile on his tanned face. Pulling my son with me, I hugged Max briefly before introducing him to me son. "Max, this is my son Sean. Sean, say hi to Mr. Somber."
"Hi, Mr. Somber," Sean said brightly, casting Matt with a smile.
"Call me Uncle Max, Sean," Max said, ruffling Sean's blonde hair. I smiled at the small contact and watched as Sean started to drag his new "Uncle Max" towards the superhero costumes.
Eventually things between Max and I grew to things that were more than friendly. Sean was obviously not oblivious to such things, but proceeded to call him Uncle Max. It was the type of relationship that no one really knew of. It was a "don't ask don't tell" type of deal that I never really paid much attention to. I took things one step at a time and welcomed anything Max was giving me. His attention and caring nature was something I craved for ever since Sean's father had fled town.
Inevitably I fell in love with Max. It was always his smile that got me, and his beautiful blue eyes and long eyelashes. He was a wonderful father figure for Sean, and an excellent cook. There wasn't anything that I didn't like about him. I thought his laziness, albeit it was slightly annoying, was amusing. He'd go weeks without doing the wash because he was too tired from his shifts at the hospital. Being a doctor, Max was always busy. We'd see each a few times a week, and usually in the early morning after his night shifts. I took what I could from him and never questioned a thing because he was there and he was perfect for me.
I was living a wonderful life for about a year. After a year with Max, everything that I thought was perfect was suddenly all becoming a lie.
"So, you and Max are good friends now huh?" My friend Alice asked one day. We were sitting in her kitchen, listening to our sons play in the room next to us. I was drinking a cup of coffee and had an itch for a cigarette, but denied myself one for the past six months.
"Something like that," I said, smiling to myself. I was remembering the morning before I came to Alice's house. Max came, wearing his scrubs. There were no words, just a fierce kiss that sent emotions flying all around my head. Each time we kissed my head spun and I could never grasp the reason why.
"I heard he and Jessica are having some hard times," Alice said, sighing and shaking her head. I looked up abruptly. I'd never heard the name Jessica when it came to Matt. I didn't know of a Jessica, other than a girl from elementary school. I highly doubted the two were related somehow. Jessica was somewhere in Africa helping Sudanese refugees or something.
"Who's Jessica?" I asked, staring at my friend. Alice looked at me, openly showing the shock on her face. Jessica was something obviously very big that I was missing.
"You don't know who Jessica is? Sarah! Oh my goodness. Sarah, how involved with Max are you?" Alice asked, avoiding the answer I was dying for. I wanted to shit my pants. Everything was rushing at me and I couldn't help but know Alice's answer. All of the early morning visits, the out of town dinner dates, all of the secretive things Max did. It all made sense. And a part of me knew that he'd been lying to me the entire time, but a larger part of me just wanted to believe it was just me and him. The larger part of me had thrown all of myself and my trust at him, hoping that he loved me.
"Oh no," I said shakily, my fingers shaking lightly on the table. "Oh no."
"Sarah, answer my question," Alice said, trying to keep the nervousness out of her voice.
"I asked first," I said as calmly as I could. Alice ran her hands through her short brown hair.
"Jessica is Max's wife." And that's when the shit hit the fan. I didn't say anything for the rest of the hour. I left Sean with Alice for the weekend, needing to find some peace in the situation. The crushing feeling of knowing that to Max it was just us, but it was us and another woman. No. Jessica wasn't even another woman. Jessica, this person that I hadn't known about for a whole year, was his woman. Jessica was everything that I wanted to be, and someone that I had hurt without realizing it.
I spent Friday evening in my little apartment that I shared with Sean. I ate three tubs of ice cream, a tub of frosting and three microwavable dinner. It all felt homey and I just wanted to be home for a little, but during that weekend my own apartment was my enemy. There were too many memories in them and far too many things that reminded me of Max.
Saturday I threw away everything that I ever received from Max. After everything was put away securely into black plastic trash bags I lugged them to the apartment Max stayed in. I knew I wouldn't find Jessica, and I knew that this apartment was a secret to the poor woman. I left all three bags in his living room, and left my key there also. That night I received phone call after phone call from Max. It got so far that I just didn't keep my phone on. I spent a good hour looking up Max's real address on the internet, finding the place where Jessica was probably waiting patiently for him.
I imagined Jessica eighty thousands times. Most of them were of an innocent young woman. She was probably pretty, and tall. I also imagined that she was dreaming of having children with Max, and hated myself even more.
On Sunday I drove three hours to find the large stone house that Max and Jessica owned together. It was a nice place, but a little too large for my liking. It didn't seem homey, but rather cliched. There was a young woman getting out of a nice black car when I arrived. I instantly knew that it was Jessica.
She was tall with short blonde hair that fell in tight curls around her face. She wasn't exactly pretty, but her had amazing green eyes and a curvaceous body. I wondered how Max would betray her in the worst way. I wasn't much. I was a decent size 6, but I wasn't exactly beautiful. With my dark hair and dark eyes, I didn't know why Max would be interested in cheating on such a beautiful woman with me: a twenty-five year old with her seven year old son.
"Can I help you?" Jessica asked, stepping towards my old car.
"Are you Jessica Somber?" I asked, getting out of my car. I dressed in my best pair of jeans and a simple black t-shirt. I was trying to come off as friendly, or as friendly as the other woman could come off as. Jessica merely nodded and I took in a deep breath. I didn't want to ruin anything. "I'm the other woman."
If it says "Matt" any where in the story, please tell me. Also, I hope you enjoyed. This hits very close to home.