The last bit of stuffing was being shoved into the turkey. “That’s it!” Kelly’s mom exclaimed. “Finally we can stick that thing in the oven and relax.” They each grabbed a corner of the pan and heaved the turkey into the oven. Kelly set the timer for six hours, and raced to the living room to watch the Macy’s Day Parade. She stopped shortly when she noticed the beautifully decorated table in the dining room. A cranberry colored silk cloth kissed the table. On top, little Pilgrim salt and pepper shakers were holding hands around the potholders and china. A small dish of walnuts lay in the center. She grabbed a few and ran to the TV. She grabbed her cell phone, and called her boyfriend, Ryan, who had not called or answered the phone, since yesterday afternoon.
“Where are you?” she asked when he picked up the phone.
“I’m busy, can I call you back?” he replied.
“No, you were supposed to be here an hour ago, and you never called me. I left three voicemails. Where are you?” Kelly repeated. Ryan had become infamous with this type of behavior: not answering the phone, blowing up at her for leaving voicemails, and never calling her back. However, today was Thanksgiving, and he was not going to fly by with a lame excuse.
“I told you I’m busy, so just leave me alone. Don’t piss me off. I’ll be over there later.” Ryan said in a desperate attempt to shut Kelly up.
“What is going on with you?” Kelly shouted. She had wanted to ask that for the last two months. “Talk to me.”
“I don’t know, Kel, I just want some time to myself right now.” Ryan replied. “I can’t explain it to you now, I just want to be alone right now. I want to be Ryan, without Kelly,” he said.
“Okay, we’ll talk later. I love…” a solid dial tone rang out into Kelly’s ear, before she could get to the word ‘you’.
She studied the phone in her hand before throwing it to the floor. Tears began racing down her cheeks and her face became flushed with patches of bright red blotches. She ran to her bedroom, slammed her door and turned on the computer. She logged onto the Internet and pulled up Google search. Her nervous and shaky hands typed the words, “Is he cheating”.
The results comprised a startling number of quizzes, essays, books and articles. Kelly clicked on the very first result, “Warning signs that he may be cheating.” The tears streamed down her cheeks, plashing on the keyboard as she leaned in to read the results.
Her blurry eyes read the article, “your man may be cheating if he frequently picks fights with you. It gives him time to be with the other woman, with an excuse. He may be cheating if he has been acting emotionally distant and withdrawn but when you ask about it, he doesn’t want to discuss it and becomes very protective of his privacy. If he stops saying, ‘I love you,’ or he would rather spend time with friends than be with you, he may be cheating. If he easily becomes offended when you make normal and natural inquiries and may demand to know why you are checking up on him, he may be cheating.” The list ran on for as long as she could scroll. Thirty-two reasons to suspect your boyfriend is cheating and Ryan fit the description of every one.
The final one made Kelly lose all control. It said, “You know your man better than anyone else. If you have a gut feeling that something is wrong, you should stick to your instincts. Your mate should never make you feel this way, and it may mean something is terribly wrong.” Kelly started breathing in and out in sort jabs. She could no longer control the pace that she was breathing or the tears flowing down her face. She could not speak or control herself anymore. Ryan, she believed, was cheating.
“Kelly, the turkey needs to be turned around, Honey, can you come down and help me?” her mom shouted from the kitchen. Kelly wanted to answer back that she wasn’t feeling good anymore, but it was impossible to do. She could hardly breathe.
“Okay.” she managed. The jabs were getting shorter, and less out of her control. She knew her mother would ask what happened, but she didn’t know if she had the heart to let her mother know that her eight-year relationship with Ryan was falling apart in front of her eyes. She strolled into the kitchen like a zombie.
“What’s wrong Kelly,” her mom asked as she raced over to her daughter. “I think, I think Ryan is cheating on me,” she forced out. She fell to her knees and her mom quickly embraced her. With gentle strokes, she caressed her back to soothe away the pain. “It’s okay baby, it’s okay.” Her mom said in a soft, tender voice. “I’m sure everything will be okay.” Kelly lay with her mother on the floor of the kitchen while she calmed down. Her face was blotchy and puffy, and her eyes were red and tired. Her mom walked her to the couch and turned on the parade. She handed her a glass of water and said, “Just relax, Honey, I’ll finish everything.”
Kelly was just starting to calm down when the doorbell rang. Her heart raced. She knew it would be Ryan. When she opened the door, Ryan stood emotionless in the entrance.
“You want to tell me where you were?” Kelly asked.
“You wouldn’t believe me if I did,” he replied in a snotty tone. Kelly just stared into his eyes and waited for a response. “Christy, the girl I work with, just got out of a really bad relationship. Her boyfriend was beating her, so I took her to a hotel. I stayed with her overnight to make sure he wouldn’t come after her.” He looked sincere, but that’s how he always looked. Ryan had a chubby cheek baby face that always looked innocent.
Rule seven of the article reminded Kelly, “If he will cheat, he will lie, too.” She shook her head and said, “Come in, dinner won’t be ready for a few more hours, but I’m watching the parade.” They sat on the couch for a while in silence. Ryan watched the parade, and Kelly analyzed the article in her head. She looked at him and her brain whirled. He was “distant, affectionateness, uninterested, and moody.” All were signs that he could be cheating. When Ryan looked at her, she faked a smile and asked him to get her some water. He mumbled under his breath and got up. A small piece of what seemed to be paper slipped out of his pocket when he stood up. Kelly reached over and grabbed it.
“A condom wrapper? Are you kidding me, Ryan?” Kelly burst into hysterical crying and shouting.
“I can explain,” Ryan said. “Christy wanted to feel better so we went around putting condoms on the doors of the hotel rooms.” Kelly gave him a blank stare.
“Are you serious? You really want me to believe that piece of crap?” She was on a rampage. “I’ll tell you what happened, Christy wanted to feel better so you gave her some Ryan! I knew you were cheating on me. You weren’t even man enough to admit it.” Kelly was screaming so loud her throat was getting sore and hoarse. She fell back to the couch and dropped her head into her hands. “I just don’t know what to do anymore,” she sobbed.
Ryan knelt to his knees in a desperate attempt to save himself. “Look, I would never cheat on you, Christy, I love you.” Kelly felt the heat of her anger creeping up her neck. Her ears burned. Her face hot with fury. Her fuse was lit, and it was ready to blow at any moment.
“What did you just say?” She heard it, but wanted to make sure Ryan knew that she did.
“I’d never cheat on you, I love you,” he said, catching his mistake.
“Bullshit, Ryan. Get out of my house,” she hollered. Her fuse blew and she grabbed the closest thing in site, the remote control. She started beating him with it until she cornered him in the doorway. “If this is what our relationship means to you, you can kiss it,” she said slapping her butt. “I want you out of my life, forever.” She threw him out the door and slammed it in his face.
“For what it’s worth, I’m sorry,” Ryan muffled through the door. Kelly leaned her back up against the door, and slid to the floor. She buried her face in her hands and cried. She sat on the floor until the engine in Ryan’s Chevy Silverado fired up and his tires squealed out of the driveway.
Kelly’s mom helped her off the floor and suggested, “Why don’t you go in your room and lie down. I put cookies and milk on your desk, so take as much time as you need. If you want to talk about it, I’m right here for you.” Kelly nodded her head in compliance and headed to her room. When she reached her doorway, she noticed a Post-it note stuck to her computer screen. “Just thought it might help you, love mom,” Kelly tore the note off the computer and saw a Google search pulled up on the screen. The results were for a search typed, “How to get over a cheating boyfriend.” She read the article as she dipped a cookie in her milk. It said, “Be angry, and hurt over the events of your breakup. The hurt is justifiable, but don’t let it take over your life. Don’t become obsessed with it.
That is the biggest understatement of all time! Ending a relationship is among the most stressful things a person can undergo. Find support and advice through people who love and understand you, and you will find it easier to move on. Never take responsibility for his behavior, just because he failed to do so. Finally, always remember that it is his loss, not yours, and that there a hundreds of people out there seeking someone special like you.” Kelly closed out her computer and ran to the kitchen. She threw her arms around her mom and said, “Thanks Mom, I love you.”