Fiction On Odyssey: What Mike Doesn't Know Will Save My Marriage
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Fiction On Odyssey: What Mike Doesn't Know Will Save My Marriage

The Affair part 1

Fiction On Odyssey: What Mike Doesn't Know Will Save My Marriage
Jennifer Tomscha

Chapter 1

My husband lies next to me sleep, it's been a long night of crowds and food, we are both exhausted. As soon as we got in bed, Mike croaked; I can’t even turn my brain off. He sleeps like a growing teenager and I sleep in spurts- power naps specifically. For two hours, I have been in the bed and haven't dosed off yet! I turn on my side facing the lamp shade's silhouette.My belly protrudes through my tank top speaking to me. My stomach grumbles. Yep, I'm not sleeping, my dinner rolls around in my stomach playing ping pong against rival gastric acid. I’m not sure if my nerves or the tuna is keeping me up. We ate at the Cow Fish Sushi Bar in North Hills, a spunky restaurant serving high end sushi burgers, I'm not kidding. Mike is a foodie so we had to go. It was our 1-year wedding anniversary, but it felt strange, like, I don’t know- regular. I wanted to go somewhere classic, but I didn’t want to beat my face for expensive bacon wrapped dates with red wine reduction and especially not beef sushi. Work takes the life out of me and Michael and I work like dogs. It was suppose to be a Netflix date, but I wanted to get out. I wasn’t hungry, but I needed air. Eventually, my past was going to catch up with me. My appetite in the last month plummeted and my gym membership was in the toilet. Maybe it wasn't the food, maybe I'm just getting fat. Michael hadn't notice my anxiety woes; I feel off and slightly paranoid and some days I'm on the Ice & Fire roller coaster. We arrived at the restaurant early, but despite our reservations, we had to wait. The restaurant packed out with young professionals and college students made my lace dress and stilettos inappropriate from the boots and leggings atmosphere. The lights were dim; Lorde blared over our heads as we greeted a dark head hostess. I joked to Michael about it being the club. He didn't mind. The booth we sat in crammed our legs together, my foot ran into Michael’s oxfords a thousand times, my legs are too long. A young waitress with curly hair served us- she was fidgety, but nice. She along with the other servers had trouble navigating through the tables; I couldn't tell whether there was too much food or too many plates, everything was mangled. Our waitress, Maggie showered us with apology after apology. Michael reassured her she was doing a good job. I didn't pay attention to her mishaps. The loud crowd gave me a headache. While Michael chattered about cars and Republicans, I dreamed about being somewhere else, I responded to his questions with a "yes", that a good idea" or "no, I don’t know" I didn't know what he was talking about, again, he didn’t seem bothered, he continued to carry the conversation. He ordered a colossal sushi burger and I, the Tuna poke and California rolls. An hour in the restaurant, the smells of rice vinegar and fish made me queasy. I could barely hold my fork steady; the fumes punched me hard in the nose. This dinner, as my mother would say, was the appetizer but get ready for dessert! Mike promised me a unforgettable anniversary over the Summer in the Bahamas. So, I ate my fleshy pink Tuna and chewy seaweed. Usually, Tuna poke is my go to, but this one was off. The dish its self was dull. Michael's burger sat proudly on top of a heaping mount of sweet potato fries. My spongy California rolls were dry and chewy, thinking about it makes me sick. Sullivan’s Steakhouse, an intimate restaurant downtown, should have been my pick- a nice well done T-bone with mash Idaho potatoes beats this food any day...

I turn over facing Michael, I study his smooth round face- he’s such a man child. I have the urge to pinch his nose, he can’t stand when I do. We didn’t have sex tonight; we would make up sometime next week if I’m free. Michael always accommodates. He is solid- trustworthy, the perfect husband. The day we met, I lost my purse in Kroger, I searched in the the pasta aisle for hours. After I gave up, I saw a man turn in my brown tote to the cashier. He looked concern, there he was, handsome and single. The next thing I know I'm planning a wedding! I smile, Michael looks so peaceful. My breathing relaxes and my stomach softens. I began drifting to sleep, but then, my phone buzzes. My eyes open. It buzzes again. Its 15 minutes past midnight. I didn’t answer. It buzzes again! Who was it? Everyone who knew congratulated me earlier today- my parents, my friends, even Facebook. What If it’s an emergency? I sat up, dreading the worst. I always keep my phone by the night stand on vibrate, you never know. Mike keeps his phone on silent in the next room; he’s not a tech guy. I flip over my phone disconnecting the charger- the blue light gleams in my face. I froze and my stomach flips inside out. It was Eric. My chest tightens. Why is he messaging me? Something hard bump in my lower back, I glimpse over my shoulder, my heart racing, it was Mike’s knee. I pause. I sat there with my phone in my hand, waiting forever. I became nausea, saliva coats my mouth, the taste of tuna. I swallow the fishy spit. Please, don’t wake up. Finally, Michael rolls over facing the burgundy wall. My heart beats loudly in my ears. My chest is so tight; I might need my asthma pump, the urge to run outside for a breath of fresh air became impossible to resist. My phone buzzes again, the room rattles. My fingers scurry to find the volume button. I turn my phone on silent. What felt like an hour, was maybe a few minutes. Mike snoring fades in the background as my frozen body melts into the bed sheets. Is it me or is everything in slow motion. I didn’t dare to look at my phone. I'll wait till my heart slows down to move. The room stills. I am going to read it. I look at my phone, my hands clammy, the phone hot- Eric sent me three messages- back to back. I want to look at them, but I couldn’t. I can’t afford to. I shook my head trying to push out my thoughts. I try to think about work, then I thought about the Bahamas, I thought about the proposal, the rehearsal, the day my last name became Figueroa. Then my mind went back to Eric. What did Eric send? It doesn’t matter, I try to convince myself. I shook my head to shake off the desire to respond. For a moment, I consider to meditate, but my thoughts continue to race.

I decide to open the message;


Sent 12:16am


Sent 12:22am

I know you probably didn’t want to talk to me today, but I wanted to tell you….. congrats on your anniversary

Sent 12:35am

…….. you deserve it Maddie.

Sent 12:55am

Jesus Christ, Maddie? Why is he calling me that, I’m not a fucking child anymore. He knew I didn’t want to talk to him. I thought I made it clear. Should I text him back? I think I need to tell him to leave me the hell alone. Or, should I block him? I look at Michael, I love Michael. A bit of guilt burned my chest. Didn’t I once love Eric, or thought I did. If Michael knew, he would kill Eric and me. Eric and I were once something, I couldn’t just block him. He had been there for so long. I gave him my number a couple of weeks ago without thinking....I'm so stupid.

I sat back up, what do I say? I began to send a text message then delete it. My hands smell like tuna and I keep writing too much. I wipe my hands on my bottoms. I work on another text, this one is pretty casual. Is casual what I’m looking for? I read over it, I didn’t like, I delete it. I didn’t know what to say. I finally sent him:

Thanks, it’s okay.

Read 1: 20am

I bit my lip waiting for Eric’s reply. Another 10 minutes went by, I stare at my messages, still no reply. My phone lights up. He;s calling me! *** I race to the master bathroom forgetting to slip on my bedroom shoes. I ran into the freaking dresser, a loud sound ruptures from the wood. I curse myself. I stub my big toe. I’m sure it is bleeding fml, I took another glimpse at Michael before I dart in the bathroom.

I ease the door close There was enough moonlight seeping through the blinds. I look down at my swollen toe, it is bleeding. The tuna after taste in my mouth is bothering me . I put my phone on mute and sat it next to Mike's cologne on the counter top. I quickly brush my teeth to get rid of the God awful tuna taste.

After I rinse my tooth brush, I put Michaels cologne back in the cabinet. My fingers now smell a little bit like Michael. I took a deep breath, and secure the phone in my hand. I sat down on the cold floor unmuting the phone. I pull my knees to my chest. I put the phone up to my ear and sharpen my voice. “What, do you want, Eric.”- I'm half in pain and half angry, he called me on my anniversary night. I could hear Eric smiling, "did you stub your toe?" he asked me. I didn’t say anything. "Of course, I stubbed my toed I’m clumsily"- awkward silence.

Eric clears his throat as he searches for words to say, “Madison, I know you are angry, and I’m sorry I called you, but I, wanted to tell you, my flight leaves Monday.” He pauses.

“Flight?”- I press my back into the porcelain bathtub. Coldness went up my spine. There was another silence, Eric sighs. I cup the phone under my chin pinching with my shoulder blade my heels are digging in the vinly flooring.

“I was only here for a few weeks for work…I’m going back to the West coast.”

I didn’t realize Eric was leaving soon, he had mentioned it probably over dinner the other night, I couldn’t remember. I don’t remember talking much. I finger my wedding ring to remind myself.

“When?” I asked. There was another long pause.


“To-morrow?” My chest tightens again.

No one said anything, I continue to play with my ring. A long time ago, Eric gave me a ring as well, not like this one. We were broke college kids, the humble ring my friends called it, "humble ring for a humble guy." We sat in silence waiting for the iceberg to dismantle.

“… I want to see you one last time Maddie.” The seriousness in his voice weights me down. I can't explain it its like I'm attached to a part of him. Of course, my feelings for him ran deep. He knew. We all did. My memories leave me and I'm back to the phone. The only thing I can say is no.

“We can’t. I mean… I’m not. I’m married.” I check the time it was past two. How long I have been out of bed, 45 minutes? I’m surprised Michael hasn’t notice my absence. Eric’s breathing on the receiver amazingly calms me.

“I respect your marriage, I always have, but I can’t resist.. seeing you one last time…. I know we ate dinner the other night … and there were so many things I wanted to say, but couldn’t… due to time and obligations….”

Before I could say anything, Eric puts the dagger in my chest.

“I miss you Madison, I really do.” Eric's voice warms the cold bathroom. I knew it was true, I knew he meant what he said. I knew he was genuine. I know I want to see him, but I couldn’t the other night was enough.Thank God, things didn’t go further. I kept quiet. Why didn’t he mean this when I wasn’t married? Why didn’t he mean this when we were dating? Why now? Why do you want to see me Eric? Eric read my thoughts. I shook my head.

“Eric…” I whisper.

“Well, if you decide to, I’m at the Renaissance Hotel, 3rd floor room 33B….”

I began to respond, but there was a knock on the door. My phone slips through my fingers crashing.

“Madison… are you in there?”

It was Michael!

“Yes!” I called out.

“Madison? Maddie? ” Eric answers me! I retrieve my phone, the screen cracked. Shit, two hundred dollars gone. I muffle my phone with my hands so Mike couldn’t hear Eric asking for me.

“Are you okay? I heard something? You been out of bed a long time, are you sick from the food!” Michael called out. The doornob creaks.

“Yeah! baby, I’m not feeling too well. I’ll be out in a minute!”

Please don’t come in I pray.

“Okay, baby.”

I wait untill I heard Michael’s footsteps moving away from the bathroom door.

I pull my sticky fingers off my phone. I wasn’t sure what to do. I mean, Eric was once my everything, a long time ago.The other day when I saw him he looked exactly the same, older but still had his boyish grin. I knew he had freshly shaved. His voice had deepened, and he was still tall of course, but he had filled out. He smelled like pepermint.

His eyes lit up when he saw me at dinner like they did when he saw me his first time on campus. I was prettier then. Before that, I hadn’t talk to him since I left him…we were together for 5 years. Mike and I? Only for two.

I pick up the phone, I thought Eric would have hung up by now, but he is still there.


“I’ll think about it.” I murmur. I hung up. I ease off the floor. Pain shoots in my big toe, I look down. I forgot I snubbed it. I open the door and Mike stares back he smiles at me motioning me to come back to bed. He waves the remote. I tell him I okay and to put on Netflix. I went back in the bathroom and took a cold shower. I finally smell clean. I wrap a soft towel around my trembling body. I pull back my wet hair in a pony tail. I look up at the sky looking for answers. I shook my head, I made my decision.

I will see Eric tomorrow.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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