Why He Really Cheated

excerpt from Note to Self . . .

There was silence. She was giving my statement a moment of reflection. Finally she said, “Jess, I have to be honest with you. I love my kids, but sometimes I wish I never had them. I know they can take care of themselves but somewhere deep inside, I blame them for Jon leaving me.”

Hearing her say those words immediately made my analytical-therapist-self kick into gear. “Tina,” I said with an air of profundity, “your kids aren’t the reason why Jon cheated on you. I’m sure he loves the kids. You want—wait, let me correct that. You need someone to blame, and the kids seem the more logical choice. To admit to yourself that Jon left you—left Tina—is admitting that you’re fallible and human. You didn’t hold up to your end of the marital bargain. You let yourself go, and you want to blame having three babies as your reason. But what you tell yourself, delusional as it is, is something that most women tell themselves when their husbands cheat on them. Do you get what I’m saying?”

Again there was silence, and I was waiting for her to tell me to go fuck myself.

“You’re right,” she said in a softer voice. “I used the kids as an excuse to binge and not exercise. I gave my attention to them and at the end of the day, I was too freakin’ tired to fix myself up and play Stepford wife. And you know what’s really bothering me?”

“Tell me,” I said.

“What’s really bothering me is that I knew it all along. I knew that I was letting myself go. I knew that Jon was losing interest. It was obvious by the way he was acting—only I chose not to see it because seeing it meant that there was something wrong with me. I wasn’t that perfect looking girl from high school. It’s entirely . . . my . . . fault.”

She broke into a quiet sob.

“Tina,” I said, trying to calm her, “it’s not your fault. Can I tell you something?”

“Please,” she sniffled, “tell me anything, just as long as it helps my broken heart.”

“When someone cheats, it’s not you they’re cheating on. There’s something within them that’s empty and can’t be fulfilled. It may feel like it’s being done to you because you’re the one suffering the consequences of the infidelity. Those who hurt others, whether through jealous acts of vengeance or infidelities, do it because they’re hurting deep down. You have to believe me on this. I’ve studied the mind for a long time, and the people who come to me for help aren’t any different from you or me. We’re emotional beings, and when we feel unfulfilled, when we think we’re not good enough, we subconsciously seek out situations to either validate it or reject it. He cheated on you for the same reasons Kevin cheated on me. They both needed to feel young—to be validated—because deep down, they believe they’re over the hill—that they’ve lost it. We were too busy to make them feel better about themselves, so they sought out others who would.”

Her sobbing seemed to have slowed down, and she took in a long breath, as if she was giving my statement full consideration. “Dear God, Jess. What you just said, could it be true? Do people really cheat because they feel unfulfilled?”

“They do, Tina. It’s the only reason they cheat.”

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NOTE TO SELF COVER—excerpt

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NOTE TO SELF . . .

The day started like any other day.
My receptionist, Kristin, had buzzed me on my pager to let me know that my first patient of the day, Larry Schafer, had arrived and was waiting in my office, which is downstairs from the main part of my house. I answered her by saying that I was on my way down, but just then, my house phone began to ring, and hearing it ring made me stop dead in my tracks. I curiously glanced over to the phone and then looked at my watch, and not wanting to keep Mr. Schafer waiting, decided to let the call go into voicemail. But for some reason, the tone of the ring had a strange feel to it, and the fact that it rang at all did more than pique my curiosity. Maybe my overly suspicious defenses were triggered because my friends and family knew to call Kristin if they needed to reach me during the day and that hearing the phone ring, when it shouldn’t be ringing, almost seemed eerie.Deciding to ignore it, I walked over to the back door, just outside my kitchen, and grabbed my sneakers and began putting them on. But by the second ring, my gut was taunting me with the idea that this was no ordinary call. I couldn’t let it go and ran over to answer it.
“Hello?” I said very carefully.
After listening to what the caller had to say, I found that I was unable to move; unsure if I had heard correctly or that maybe the caller had the wrong number. She said that if I was looking for my husband, I could find him at his usual room at the Skyview Motor Lodge, right outside of JFK Airport. Suddenly, my perfect life, with its accomplishments, luxuries, and fantastic circle of friends was pulled from under me, and what I had suspected for years now proved to be more than the occasional suspicion. I buzzed Kristin and told her to reschedule Mr. Schafer and to cancel the rest of my appointments for the day. I was going to put an end to my suspicions once and for all.
As I stood outside the motel door trying to calm my pounding heart, I knew that I was about to face a pivotal moment; a truth that I had evaded for years. Would I be forced into accepting that my husband, the man I’ve known half my life, was nothing more than a con artist who’d deceived me from day one? I inhaled a deep breath and prayed that I wouldn’t fall apart, and then banged on the door several times. When it opened, I was face-to-face with the biggest liar I had ever known.
He had a white towel wrapped around his waist, and beads of sweat were trickling down his temples and chest. His expression was one of utter shock and disbelief. He never expected to see me standing at that door.
As I shoved my way past him and went into the room, I looked over to the bed. She had the sheet pulled up to her neck and was studying me through eyes that were wide with panic. I stared back at her thinking that she was stunningly beautiful—with her light green eyes, flawless complexion, and long auburn mane that flowed down and around her shoulders.
Rage and jealousy came at me all at once; dizzying me to the point where I couldn’t think or even speak. The two of them stayed where they were and just watched me. Neither offered words of explanation—nor an utterance of apology. There was only hard-core silence—the kind that makes time stand still; where admission of guilt, though not verbally expressed, was as deafening as my pounding heart. He was with her! He had sex with her! They had shared that ultimate closeness; that bond that only love making could create. They were whispering words of love, making future plans, but worst of all, they were betraying me—the one who loved him unconditionally—the one who stood by him through thick and thin—who wore the gold ring that signified my inherent place next to him. And now, as he took a step toward me, running his hands through his saturated hair, eyes filled with desperation and shame, I just shook my head not wanting to hear what he had to say. I didn’t want lies. I didn’t want excuses. There was nothing to discuss. He broke our pact—obliterated my trust—and it was a pain that permeated my flesh and etched itself into my soul.When someone cheats on you, the memory stays with you for the rest of your life, and you end up judging all your future relationships based upon that one undying memory.
from Note to Self, due out June 2012

Posted by at 12:00

You Want A Little Press Action ?

I hope everyone had a great holiday. I just wanted to say that I’ll be posting a new article for the new year–hopefully for the beginning of January, 2012. Until then, I wanted to let you guys know that if you’re on Twitter, and if you post links to your blogs or to stories, or if you’re trying to promote yourself, I can help by putting your content on my ezine, MediaSnitch. It’s all for free, and you get to be on the front page if your content is good. In return, all you have to do is help promote the ezine. It helps you and it helps me.

If you’re interested, you can get me on Twitter. Just hit the Follow @Valliedee button to the right of this post. Then, send me your links. I’ll go and check it out and post it to MediaSnitch. It’s that easy.

Have a great day, and I hope to see you on Twitter.

I Lost Sleep Over HBO’S Boardwalk Empire

The screeching guitar is playing over in my mind. I can see the Atlantic’s waves crashing bottles of booze up against the Atlantic City shoreline. I can see his face–his bulging blue eyes darting from left to right. The music. Jimmy Darmody. Nucky Thompson. Margaret Schroeder. The blood. Dear Father, what will become of HBO’S Boardwalk Empire?

If you’ve been watching HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, the series which depicts the life of Enoch “Nucky” Thompson, the crooked, gangster treasurer who ruled Atlantic City back in the 1900s, played by none other than Steve Buscemi, then you obviously watched last night’s thrilling season finale. Okay. So why? Some one tell me why they killed-off Jimmy? I just can’t believe it. And Nucky? Did you see how he screwed-over Margaret Schroeder, played by Kelly Macdonald? Did you see what she did at the end? Nucky’s gonna be one pissed-off person when he finds out that his land was signed over to the church. Tsk, tsk.

Now, if you haven’t been watching Boardwalk Empire, then you haven’t a clue of what the show’s about. And I’m sorry that I can’t get into a full synopsis as it would take way too long. But you can go onto HBO’s site and check it out there. Wait, I’ll get you the link. Be right back. Okay, I’m back. Here’s the link. HBO OFFICIAL WEBSITE   Check it out if you have time.

So, did anyone watch it last night? Do you think Jimmy is coming back? And what’s with all this snow falling all over my blog?

Cemeteries: they’re not just for dead people anymore

I was on a mission. I was out to prove, to my good friend Trini, that ghosts and spirits don’t hang out at the cemetery. I’ve been in many situations where I was in proximity to the spirits of people who had passed on, but I’ve never had it happen in a cemetery. Trini, on the other hand, was raised by an extremely superstitious grandmother who lived in the West Indies, who insisted that ghosts can only be found around their headstones. I knew she was wrong. I’ve had many experiences with the after life in my house, in hotels, and even in my car; but ironically, never by the their graves.

Anyway, it was a Thursday night, and the setting was perfect. The full moon had cast a misty, white haze around the earth, giving off just enough light to pave our way. I quietly got out of the car and walked over to the old and weather-beaten headstones, which dated back to the 1600s. Trini was still sitting in the car, too afraid to come out.

“Come on,” I whispered loudly, waving at her.

She vigorously shook her head and yelled through the closed window. “No way!”

I pulled my collar up and then folded my arms against my chest to keep warm. “Will you come on? Ghosts don’t hang out here. I’ll prove it.”

She opened the door and looked up at me. “You only telling me dat because you see dem all da time, you voodoo woman.”

I rolled my eyes.

“I don’t see them. I only smell them. And I am not a voodoo priestess. Okay?”

“Den how do you know tings before day happen? Huh, huh?”

I let out a bored huff. “Your sarcasm is duly noted, and if you don’t get out of the car, I’ll put a spell on you.” I knew that would do it.

She quickly got out and came over to where I was. “Okay, don’t put no spell on me. Trini don’t need to be quackin’ like a duck.”

I decided to ignore her voodoo duck remark and pointed to a group of headstones that were nestled near an overgrown oak tree.

“Let’s go over there,” I said.

All I could see was the whites of her eyes. “Do we have to?”

“If I’m going to prove to you that spirits don’t hang out by their graves then yes. Come on, you big baby. How can I take pictures if I don’t go by the graves?”

“You got dat zoom ting in your camera. You can take the pictures from here.”

“No, I can’t. I have to get up closer. It’s too dark out here.”

I proceeded to walk with my camera around my neck and with Trini clutching on to the back of my jacket. As I moved, Trini moved. As I took a step with my right foot, Trini took a step with her right foot. I felt like an Abbott and Costello vaudeville act.

“Trini, can you relinquish your hold on my jacket? You’re choking me.”

“Vallie, I ain’t letting go.”

I was beginning to gag. “I’m choking. You’re going to kill me.”

“Well, we in da right place if I do.”

I yanked away from her grip. “Oh, so you’re a comedian. Well, if I die here, I’m coming back to haunt you.”

“Vallie, I sorry. I’m scared. What if we see a ghost?”

I sized her up and down. “You have nothing to worry about. They’ll never see you. You blend right in.”

Trini put her hands on her hips and cocked her head. “Woman, are you sayin’ dat Trini is black as night?”

I shrugged. “Yeah.”

“Oh. So dat’s good. The ghosts won’t see me. Day only see you? Phew. I didn’t know dat.”

I let out a deep sigh and shook my head.

I continued on, with Trini hanging on for dear life, when I saw what appeared to be a haze of white mist floating past a grave? Did I want Trini to run? No, I didn’t, but at that point, it didn’t matter. Trini saw it too.

“Dear Jesus and Mary! Lord, help us. Vallie, did you see dat?”

“See what?” I casually asked.

“Vallie, you didn’t see dat ting of white floating by? Vallie, let’s get out of here. Der are too many dead people around here, and day not happy.”

I stopped to rebuke her statement, only to have her crash right into me. “Trini, will you give me a little room?”

She stared at me, spewing Island slang through her gritted teeth.

“I don’t need no bloodclot suckin’ the life out of me,” she gushed.

“Bloodclot?” I repeated. I was trying desperately not to laugh.

“Vallie, I tink dat dare are vampires around here. Girl, we best not be messin’ wit dem.”

“Trini, get a grip. You bet me that there were ghosts in graveyards, and I brought you here to prove that there aren’t.”

“But we just saw dat white ting float by.”

“Okay, I’ll tell you what. You stand near that grave, and I’ll take a picture. Then we’ll leave. Okay? Just one picture and we’re out of here.”

I could tell that she was thinking–I could see the whites of her eyes moving back and forth. “Just one picture?” she said.

“Yep, just one.”

“Promise?”

“Yep, I promise.”

“Okay, but let’s be quick about tit.”

I proceeded to manuever through the thick fog, mesmerized at how the moon’s glow turned the air into white streams that extended across the field. A cricket’s chirp echoed in the empty courtyard, and it made me sense how eerily quiet it was.

“Trini, you okay?” I whispered behind me.

“Vallie, let’s hurry,” she said.

“Okay, stand by the grave.”

She carefully walked to the grave while searching the air.

“Is this good?” she whispered loudly.

“A little more to your left,” I whispered back.

She inched over to her left. “How’s this?” she asked.

“A little more,” I said.

She was right next to the stone. “Is this good?”

“Yeah, that’s great. Could you rest your right hand on the top of the stone–to make it look good.”

“How’s this?” she asked.

“It’s good. Stand straight. You’re hunched over.”

“It’s dis damn bra, Vallie. I took a size smaller to hold me in. Can you tell?”

“I thought you looked smaller. That was a good idea. What brand did you buy?”

“I got me a Playtex Cross Your Heart, wireless. For big girls.”

She turned to her side to show me her profile.

“I don’t fit in Playtex bras,” I answered. “They’re uncomfortable for me?”

She waved a hand at me. “Vallie, I must have tried on a dozen bras and dis one was da only one wit support. I bought four of dem.”

“You know what brand I happen to like the best? I like Warner. Did you ever wear one?” I yelled to her.

“Ooh, girl, I love dem underpants. I just bought ten pair for seven dollars.”

I gasped. “You did? Where? I need some new underwear.”

“JCPenny. You want to go?”

“Yeah. We can go over the weekend. You doing anything?”

“Just got me some laundry but dat’s it. And maybe we can go to dat chocolate shop down on Picard? Oh, girl, I can’t wait.”

“I have a great chocolate recipe that I’m dying to try,” I said enthusiastically.

Then from nowhere, Trini belted out a roar of laughter.

“What?” I asked her.

“Vallie, tink about it. We standing in a graveyard talking about bras and chocolate.” 

I was still aiming my camera. “You see. It’s nice here. It’s really not as scary as what people make it out to be. Hold still while I take this shot.”

She smiled, showing off her big chicklit white teeth.

“Great! I got it.”

She started walking towards me. “I can’t wait to see da picture. You should put tit on your website.”

“And what would I put as the caption?”

She laughed. “I know. You can put like dem commercials do for pork.”

“For pork?” I repeated.

“Yeah, you know. You can say, ‘cemeteries, they not just for dead people anymore.”

I rolled my eyes. “Get in the car, you sick woman.”

To Tweet or not to Tweet

Testing. Is this thing on?

Okay guys, I need you to please hear me out. I know Twitter started out as a hot commodity. It was just so groovy to post my thoughts and my whereabouts all week long. But can I tell you something? I don’t have the head to keep posting my thoughts and my whereabouts. It’s not that I don’t want you guys to know my whereabouts. It’s just that, well . . . do you really give a rat’s ass what I’m doing all day long? Does anyone really care about my bad hair day or that I’m meeting my gay friends for drinks? Or that I got my stiletto heal stuck in the metal groove on the escalator in the Menlo Park Mall? I don’t think so.
Why are we telling the world what we’re doing and who we’re with and what we want to aspire to when we grow up? I mean, really guys. Who has the time? But here’s what gets me.
We complain that the government knows too much of our business. We worry over identity theft. We’re afraid of being stalked. Hello? If you keep Twittering all day long, you can pretty much bet that your life is out there for the whole wide world to see.

Okay. I feel better. I just had to get this off my chest. Maybe I should have Tweeted this. Hmmm, not such a bad idea. Heck. What’s one more Tweet for the road?

Valentine deFrancis on Twitter