If you love, adore the moon. If you rob, steal a camel.

Stories for the Long Silk Road

Friday, February 24, 2012

Eve Wilkinson: The Vengeance is Mine

On her 31st wedding anniversary, Annie Burgess, a mother of four grown daughters and my friend for thirty years, learned that her husband was having an affair.

It started with the cards. While cleaning out her husband’s half-ton work pickup, she noticed some greeting cards addressed to him in the backseat. They were handmade cards with lace decorations and messages like “you’re my everything” and “you make me feel alive”. She read them over and over, and then little by little she felt the foundation holding up her world crumble into dust.

As the days went by, she noticed that he was working late several nights per week and going to office parties where spouses weren’t invited. Or so he said. That’s when she borrowed a small voice-activated recorder and bugged his vehicle. She retrieved the device after one night and listened to it alone in her kitchen. Thirty seconds of drivel and, “I get so ramped up talking to you,” was all she needed to hear.

After hearing her husband having phone sex, Annie, who had previously focused on things like where to shop for toilet paper, forgot her hopes, dreams and housework. She refocused her energy on getting even.

Here you go, snake. Watch me slither too.

Annie refused to consider that life is not so black and white. I used to cringe when I heard them swearing and calling each other names, contrary to my philosophy of how husbands and wives should interact. I don’t think a marriage breakdown happens in a void; Annie didn’t see it that way. She felt cheated in many ways beyond the obvious one. She had never worked and had no marketable skills. Substantial debt would leave her in financial ruin. She felt he had stolen her life and identity, thrown it away, and that her years as a housewife were a mockery. All Annie could think of was revenge.

She started small. Mr. Wonderful had recently decided out of the blue that he wanted to get “fit”. He started lifting weights and taking vitamin supplements. One night while he was at a“meeting” she took his bottle of Glucosamine and Chondroitin, took apart all the capsules, emptied their contents into the garbage, and patiently refilled the capsules with pancake mix.

Here you go, dough head.

Annie and I laughed heartily about it,although the laughter was bittersweet and short-lived. I was nervous about where all this was going to lead, but Annie was determined to take her game to a new level. That’s when she started to help her husband’s desire for a physical transformation by adding dog food and laxatives to his hot supper. In spicy soups and stews, he never noticed a thing.

Here you go, horndog.

I just shook my head when I heard about this. Being divorced myself, I could not imagine doing this to a partner. I asked her, “Didn’t he ever notice anything odd?”

“He comes home late and eats by himself,” she said. “I add everything at the last minute to his portion only. He scarfs it down with lots of bread and butter. He says it’s great. ”

Next, Annie wanted to find out the name of the other woman. In shortorder, Annie had lined up a long list of friends and relatives, all delighted to follow Mr. Wonderful around. In two days, Annie learned that the woman was from his office.

Annie called her at work and said she was Olga Sokolov from Public Health.

“I have some very bad news,” said Annie in a muffled and thick Slavic accent. “You have been in contact with someone who has a sexually transmitted disease.”

“What?” was the startled reply.

“Yes,” said Annie. “You must go to your doctor and get tested. That is all. Thank you.”

“Thanks,” was the whispered reply on the other end.

Here you go, home-wrecker.

While Mr. Wonderful may not have been aware of Annie’s shenanigans behind his back, he was certainly aware of her open hostility. As soon as Annie learned that he had continued his affair throughout months of marriage counseling, it was Guadalcanal at their house. He left late one night with two suitcases. Annie thought that presented a perfect opportunity to dispose of whatever belongings he had left behind. So she went to the local grocery store parking lot and sold clothes, sports equipment, and tools out of the trunk of her car for ten cents on the dollar. Documents and keepsakes went missing too.

Here you go, you thieving bastard.

An acrimonious divorce was now underway, and I was worried that my sensible friend would self-destruct and wind up in prison.

I told her, “This has to stop. Nothing good will come of this. You have to let go.”

I finally staged an intervention for her with all of her kids at my house. All the grown daughters were angry and depressed and everyone cried. They felt crushed and betrayed, and although sympathetic to their mother’s plight, they wanted the fighting between their parents to stop. They said it was unbearable for them. After listening to her children, Annie finally grasped that her antics were hurting her relationship with them.

“Move on, Mom,” they said in unison.

The next night, Annie came to my house. We had fun, and for the first time in many months there were no tears shed. I bought her a subscription to an online dating club, which I figured would offer her a few laughs.

“I have something for you,” Annie said before leaving, and she handed me a revolver with a box of bullets. “I want to let go. Can you get rid of these for me?”

I nodded yes, but after Annie went home that night, I decided to keep the gun and bullets and hid it all in my basement drop ceiling.

Here you go, Mr. Wonderful. Just in case.

Eve Wilkinson is taking target practice under an assumed name at an undisclosed location north of here.

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Silk Road Mantra

by Suchoon Mo

bury me not

in the lone Silk Road

I go and go

from west to east

I go and go

from east to west

bury me not

in the lone Silk Road


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