Terry didn’t know what he was going to do, he had watched as others he knew had gone through the same thing, and there was rarely anything other that sadness and continuing bad feelings, in fact, he had watched as his own parents’ marriage had deteriorated over a period of five years or so, until they could no longer stand to be in each other’s presence.
That was almost twenty years ago now, and the thirty-seven-year-old Terry was starting to understand a little about how his mother and father had felt towards each other in those last months, just like all those others he and Michelle had met and then lost as friends over the years. There was of course complete disbelief, that was the first feeling, followed very quickly by an anger that he had never known before, one that he was afraid would lash out at his wife of almost fifteen years after she told him of the affair, and so he had left, three days ago now.
“Your paid up until Friday, must have forgot, huh?” Terry had tried to hand the man behind the desk at the motel enough for a few more days, then decided he might as well anyway, he really didn’t want to head home yet, if ever, if home was what you could call it now. The restaurant employees down the street from where he was staying had stopped asking him how he was doing, they had seen that face a thousand times before, despair and anger, complete loss and uncertainty. He pulled out his cell phone to check any missed calls he might have had, and saw again that his possibly to be soon ex-wife had tried to contact him at least four times this morning already.
“How do you think I feel, look what you did to us.” Terry could hear the sobbing on the other end of the line and for a moment he felt like he should just jump in front of a truck and end it all, he could not only be insensitive, but extremely cruel, and that may be the reason that Michelle had reached out to someone else for compassion. “I know you don’t want to talk to me right now, maybe never again, but please, just listen for one minute.” The meal was terrible, he should have known better that to try this place, the floors were filthy, and it had smelled bad from the moment that he had walked in, but food wasn’t on his mind tonight. It had been seven years since his last drink, it was one of the things that he had promised Michelle that he would stop the last time that this had happened.
She had meant nothing to him, in fact, he could not even remember her name, a one-night drunken fling while he had to attend to some business in another town. Michelle would not have even found out if he had not gotten in an argument with her a few nights later, blurting out all the gritty details just to make her feel bad, resenting every word when the tears did not stop for several days. Now it was her turn, and it was not so easy when the shoe was on the other foot. He set the drink back on the counter, not even bringing it close to his lips, threw a twenty on the wet spot where the drink had sat, and walked out into the night.
“His name is Dr. Swensen, he’s a registered marriage counselor and a pastor, and we need to talk to him together.” Terry had hung up on Michelle and waited almost an hour to call her back and agree to the meeting, “I’m not making any promises, but I’ll be there.” The next two days were nothing but a blur, walking for miles at a time, head down most of the time, deep in thought, staring into the shop windows not even seeing what the wares were for sale. He knew he had been wrong; it had taken over a year for them to even sleep in the same bed after he had cheated on her, and another three months before they had any form of physical relationship. They had sought no outside help that time, only his promise to quite drinking, but that had not changed his attitude, still easily upset, too easily pushed in the wrong direction.
“No, Terry, I’m not like that, I am not interested in what your upbringing was, what we’re interested in here is keeping a marriage together, and while the past will be brought up in these sessions, let’s deal with the first things first, shall we.” Terry slept in the basement of there two story home for the first four weeks, and drove himself to the first four sessions with Dr Swensen, he needed all the time he could get to himself, returning to work was not what he wanted to do, but he couldn’t just spend the days in the basement and wandering around town in his car. The Dr. had made him think, and think hard about himself, and Terry was starting to see a side of himself that he did not like, a side he had known in a small part was always there, but never wanted to face.
“I can understand the need to talk to you, and the need to talk with Michelle, but why would I want to talk about Jesus, I don’t see how that is going to help the matter any.” It was the sixth week of their counseling sessions together, and they had actually driven in the same car to their scheduled appointment, that was when Michelle had told him. “You may not think that He’s important, but look over at your wife Terry, tell me that you can’t see a change in her.” He was right, and Terry knew it, what she had done to him was tearing her apart, but not because of her actions in the adulterous affair she had, or even of him, there was someone else that she was more concerned about than either of them now. It had taken him a few minutes to understand the story that she had read to him the other night out of the brand-new Bible that she had purchased, but she could not stop the grief filled sobbing while she read, and so he listened, listened to a story about a woman who was also an adulteress, and who also was seeking for forgiveness.
“Did you remember to bring the money for the offering, Terry.” “Got it right here, sweetheart, and I grabbed a little extra for the missions fund, they really seem to be doing the Lords work lately.”