I explained the situation to my parents over the phone and asked if my father could come watch the kids because I had to go down there and see for myself. My father through his wisdom and steadfast Christianity had me stop and think what if this woman is just making up lies because she lost her job and wants to get back at him. True. That could very well be the case, but I knew it wasn’t. I knew he couldn’t stay away from her. I knew that the promise he made just two short months before was a thing of the past and now reality of what was happening and what had most likely been happening the whole time was now staring me in the face. I wanted to dress all in black and maybe even fatigues and stake out his car and do a surprise attack and catch them in the act. I wanted to see with my own eyes and really know the truth once and for all. I did not do that. A) because I don’t own fatigues and 2) cause I’m afraid of the dark. I sat in my bed and debated what to do. I called him and confronted him over the phone. He said “If you don’t believe me that nothing is going on why don’t you call her yourself” interesting twist, which is exactly what I did. I dialed her number and waited as it rang; with each ring that passed my heart was beating out of my chest “Pick up!” I shouted in my head and then she did “Hello?” Her voice was young sounding and nervous and I said “Hi, it’s —-, I’m sure you’ve been expecting my call” She agreed. She’d been waiting for this moment for a long time and as we spoke she was adamant that nothing was going on and then I lied I said “He told me everything, he told me you guys are together, he admitted to everything.” And there was a long pause as I’m sure she was debating what to do next, was this a trap? Did he really say that? If she answers not according to their script what would happen? After a few seconds that seemed again like a lifetime she spoke; “Ok, you’re right, we have been seeing each other for a little over a year. You sound really nice and I used to tell him all the time that it sounded like you and I would be friends.” With these words I felt a heat rise in me so strong I scared myself, friends? Friends? Then in my lowest, scariest dark and twistiest voice I simply stated “Let me make one thing perfectly clear, you and I will NEVER be friends.” I then switched things up and decided to enlighten her to his money troubles, of his three kids of all the scheduling and places they will need to be. I asked her what weekends she wants to have the kids and where to send his mail. I ask her if I should drop off his clothes now or wait until they get a new place of their own. I could hear her fear rising and her anxiety growing when she said, “Whoa, I’m only nineteen I can’t be a step mom, I live in a house where I’m a nanny”. I was only twenty-five years old and he was cheating on me with a nineteen year old. For some reason this was the most disturbing part of the entire conversation. She was a baby, a kid, so was I, but she couldn’t even legally drink. He can’t take her to the bar or out dancing or out anywhere. She could barely see an R movie without a chaperone. Youth. How true the statement that life is wasted on it. How many of us can honestly say we knew the domino affect of our actions at nineteen? We didn’t. I barely know them now at forty-one. In each scenario of things that happen to us, there is one pint in time, one thing whether big or small that changes the dynamic and turns things on a dime. The fact that she was so young was that moment for me. Not the earring, not the affair, not the complete dissolution of my marriage, but that she was nineteen. NINETEEN. Talk about being left for a younger woman…..I cannot do anything about getting older. I cannot do anything about the bags under my eyes and the sagging of my ass to the back of my knees. I can however, get old gracefully. I can look in my face and see the lines of all the stories I’ve been through. It’s what we call character. And character is something not one man I’ve been with has had. It is singlehandedly the most important quality in a person, one that I would not really truly understand for sixteen more years. Possess it. Whatever you do, do not settle for another human being who doesn’t carry it close to their heart.