“You’re sleeping with my husband!”
It was 9:42 AM on a Wednesday, and my best friend was screaming this most horrible accusation outside of my home.
“I can’t believe you! You… dis…loyal… bitch!” She shouted while banging her fists against the heavy oak door. She hit with such force that I swore I felt the house shake, but I knew better. It’d take a battering ram to knock down my door. I was more concerned about my neighbors hearing her slander and believing it true – and it certainly was not. I wasn’t the type of woman to mess with a married man…especially not the husband of my closest friend.
I hurried downstairs and snatched opened the front door, pulling her inside.
“Carmen, what the hell are you talking about? I can’t believe you’d accuse me of something….”
WHAP, across my face I felt a sting. Instinctively, I grabbed my cheek and looked up at the one person I trusted most in the world, even more than my own husband.
“CARMEN! WHAT THE SHIT, SIS! DAMN!”
“You’re sleeping with my husband, and you’re gonna sit in my face and deny it? I have pictures you bitch! PICTURES!” She pulled a manila envelope out of her purse and handed it to me.
“Open it.” She said, tears hidden behind the anger.
I stood silently, frowning at the envelope, still holding my face. I contemplated slapping her ass back, but her history as a female boxer and UFC trainer made me reconsider such a reaction.
“OPEN IT!” She shouted impatiently, interrupting my thoughts.
I jumped and ripped open the envelope bottom first. Several photos fell to the floor and I quickly realized why she was so upset. I reached down and picked up a few of the shots. My eyes widened. It was me in the photos – at least it was someone who appeared to be me.
I laughed, incredulously, “Come on…” I gaffed at Carmen, “this has to be a joke, right? Where’s the doppelganger?” I looked around expectantly, waiting for someone to appear.
“Does it look like I’m laughing to you?” Carmen retorted, one eyebrow raised.
I realized she was serious. This wasn’t a cruel joke, she honestly believed I – her best friend of the last fifteen years who has never even talked about her behind her back! – was having an affair with her husband!
I was offended she’d even think it true – regardless of the damn photos. She knew me better than that. I’d never given her reason to think I’d betray her trust…especially like that. I didn’t even find her husband attractive!
“Wh…well…well…OBVIOUSLY…” I stammered, “this is photoshop trickery!” I argued, passionately.
“… you KNOW I wouldn’t sleep with your husband if you invited me!”
Carmen stared at me, unmoved.
“Carmen…,” I reasoned calmy, “…look at her! She’s even smaller than I am!”
Carmen scoffed and folded arms. “Sooooo, someone took the time to make up photos of you and my husband….’
“…because they have NOTHING better to do than ruin my marriage, and our friendship…”
“YES! I MEAN…I DON’T KNOW WHY, BUT CLEARLY! YOU CAN’T BELIEVE THIS? Carmen…c’mon…you know me! I would never —”
She rolled her eyes and shook her head vigorously, “I’m about to go, because I’m not… I respect your home…and our friendship… too much to do this with you.”
She grabbed her purse and started for the door. Walking briskly, I managed to jump in front of her and block her path.
“CARMEN!” I shouted with force, “Get a hold of yourself! He’s not even my type! And why would I need your man when I d–”
I halted my sentence as I recalled where I was. My husband was out, but the children were home due to the summer break; the last thing I need is one of them overhearing something I wouldn’t want repeated.
I lowered my voice,“…YOU KNOW.”
Carmen gave me an inconclusive look and rolled her eyes.
“Fine. You want a chance to prove the pics wrong?”
I know how we can resolve this.”
“According to my investigator, “she” meets him every Friday and Tuesday every other week. Their next meeting is in two days. You pick me up at my home, and if it’s not you, then “she” will show up. AND…” …she paused, and gave me a condescending look, “…if “she” doesn’t, then I get to beat your ass and never speak to you again.” With that, she pushed past me and walked out the door.
Her ultimatum made me nervous. Honestly, I wasn’t the woman in the photo, but I’ll be damned if she didn’t look a lot like me. Carmen was known for playing epic jokes in her heyday; but we hadn’t done anything like that since college. It didn’t seem likely she’d suddenly start pulling pranks again -especially something of this magnitude- without provocation.
Someone had to be playing a horrible trick on us, but who? I wasn’t important enough for anyone to need to set me up; but, if they weren’t playing a trick, what was this? I grabbed one of the photos from the floor, and stared at the picture. The photos weren’t the best quality, and they were shot from a distance – but it was definitely her husband, and the woman could at least be related.
If this wasn’t a joke, there was a woman out there who looked a lot like me, who just happened to be sleeping with my best friend’s husband.
I slammed the door and let out a sigh of relief. I knew I had no reason to feel guilty, but I still did. I always felt a twinge of guilt when I was accused of something, even if I knew I was innocent. It’d been my experience that people will believe what they want – even if they’ve known you for a lifetime.
Still, I couldn’t blame her. If I were in her shoes, I’d probably do the same. I mean photo proof is hard to ignore. It was just… her reaction was so harsh. I didn’t even react this way when I caught her in bed with her husband back in college…back when he was still my boyfriend. People love to forget the compassion extended to them when it’s time to return the favor.
I drudged back up the stairs to resume my rest. She’d interrupted the one day I’m allowed to sleep in, and I wasn’t about to let her, or the photos, steal my peace. I checked in on my girls who were busy with their electronic devices, and climbed back into my oversized bed.
“Dear Lord,” I prayed as I snuggled under the duvet and drifted off to sleep, “please let this woman show up in two days…otherwise, she’s going to kill me….”
Click here to continue reading the second installment of Whores & Wives.