One Man’s Secret

Jimmy used his wife’s deodorant regularly. The gentle aroma of baby powder reminded him of why he worked for a living. The children were merely a bonus to his life with Shana. At the end of the day he worked strictly for her. His devotion knew only the bounds of his body which were regularly tested by his masonry gig. On those hot days when the sun turned his skin a light brown and made beads of sweat stand out on his face, Jimmy appreciated Shana’s scent and knew the vision of her face to be his singular motivation for toil. However, on this day, Jimmy was not pleased by the Secret smell. He was quite sure that Shana was cheating and every whiff of his masked body odor was like a small bell going off in his head to the irregular tune of infidelity.

Over the past few weeks she started attending “poetry night” and going to “art exhibits.” This was a new interest for Shana and he was suspicious. Did Jimmy’s wife go out to these newfound events for her own satisfaction or to meet up with her lover? Shana was never one to exclude him before — his worry was nagging and nibbling the corners of his heart into a fractured, broken mess. Since his sole partner in life went to these things alone, Jimmy was left at home to take care of the children and let his concern simmer.

Tonight would be different as he slowly cobbled together a plan to catch Shana in her marital transgressions. Jimmy called his mother to insure the kids would be watched and then used his cell phone plan’s recovery service to track his wife’s movements through the city. After she left for her performance the children’s paternal grandmother arrived to a fanfare of three young humans’ welcome. Jimmy girded his loins for emotional battle and prepared himself for utter heartbreak.

The suspicious husband followed Shana’s route on the map and arrived at the venue for the performance. Much to his surprise the bar was packed with people fifteen years younger than him and his wife was on stage. Seeing Shana in a new light, performing three intense poems, left Jimmy with a conflicting inner turmoil made up of relief, sadness, and betrayal. Why had she not shared this with him? Did Shana not trust him to receive her art positively? Was she hiding something more?

Jimmy waited in the back of the bar, hidden behind a wall playing pool. He mulled over various conversations for the confrontation he planned for his wife. Finally the host called an end to the open mic and Jimmy walked around to the common area. Shana sat alone with her thoroughly scribbled on stack of binder paper. Jimmy stepped carefully through the bar trying not to bump into anyone lest he lash out.

He approached the table slowly and then she looked into his face. An expression of horror and surprise flashed quickly across her countenance to be replaced almost instantly with a look of pleased confusion. Jimmy sat down at the table and said, “Why couldn’t you share this with me?”

Shana’s response left him dumbfounded. Jimmy never expected her to look at him with such contempt. “You’re like a good dog Jim — if I say something in the right tone of voice or present something to you I expect you to drool and wag your tail. Here, the people are honest and helpful without being patronizing or saccharine.” Jimmy’s Secret motivation died that day as collateral damage to the end of his marriage.

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