Friday, October 03, 2008

Sneaking out of the house

originally posted on AOL 8/27/05

A question was posed to me recently, asking if I had ever snuck out of the house as a teenager. While I was in the minority, I truthfully answered that I had not. What I failed to admit (but am choosing to disclose here in all its glory) is that I did sneak out of the house as a grown woman – married and the mother of two children.

What possessed me?? My close friend at the time, whom I shall fictitiously call Pam, was in a very unhappy marriage. We were both in our early thirties and she frequently confided in me about the concerns she had regarding her husband’s behavior. For someone on the outside looking in, it seemed obvious to me that her husband was running around on her. I knew, too, that he had already had one affair and had even made a pass at me one time. She would describe his unusual schedule and ask me if it sounded reasonable to me. An auditor (fictitious but similar occupation) that had to leave the house at 2 AM to “go to the office”?! Yeah, right!! But, on the occasions she had called his office to check on him, he either answered or called back later with a semi-acceptable explanation (he had gone to use the copier and did not see his message light on the phone, etc.) Keep in mind that this was in the days before carrying a cell phone was the norm. Cell phones at this time were expensive and the size and weight of a cheap brick.

After many weeks of conversations about her unhappiness and fears, I could not stand it any more. I offered to follow him and try to get to the bottom of the truth. The Best Friend Private Eye Company at your service, ma’am. After we went back and forth about it for a couple more weeks, we finally decided that the next time he said he was going into the office in the middle of the night, she would let me know and I was going to follow him. One evening the call came. Perfect timing! My husband’s car was in the shop and he was driving a rental. I could drive that car and Mr. Scummy Husband would never recognize it!

At my house no one knew my plans. Everyone went to bed as usual but I lay there, wide-awake, knowing I had a mission to perform. Mr. SH had told his wife he was leaving at 2 AM. So, I slid out of bed, dressed and headed to my friend’s neighborhood. I drove to their street around 1:30AM and parked my car, facing their house. Sitting there, with the car lights turned off, I could hear the pounding of my heart in the darkness. Sure enough, at 2 AM he opened the garage door and I swear I thought my heart was going to jump out of my chest. He rolled the trash containers down to the curb. (Okay. He had a redeeming quality.) I scrunched down below the steering wheel, fearful that I would be seen. Holding my breath. After a few minutes, he backed his car out of the driveway and headed out of the neighborhood.

There was no other activity on their street at that time of the morning and, not wanting to raise suspicion, I waited until he turned out of the neighborhood before I turned on my lights and followed. I knew the path he would have to take – one that led to the highway which then connected to any other direction he would need to go.

As I pulled on to the main road that led to the highway I saw his taillights in the distance. Pace yourself. Pace yourself. Breathe. Don’t let him see you. Stay back. As we approached the entrance to the highway, the lights overhead illuminated his car. But it wasn’t his car!!! Where was he?? I panicked. How had I lost him that easily? Had he seen me? Was he aware of my presence and now he was following me?? Yes!! There he was! A few cars back on the interstate – in the next lane over. I knew I was busted!

What would he tell my husband?? What would he say to his wife? What if we were wrong in our suspicions?? Oh, why was I doing this?? I picked up my “for emergency use only” cell/brick and called my friend. Oh, no! She could not believe I had actually done it. But then, she was the one who gave me the heads up on his schedule that evening, right? She suddenly felt that it was not a good idea to begin with! Duh! Little late for hindsight now.

At this point I am driving down the highway, scrunched down behind the wheel, talking on the cell phone at 2:15 AM and feeling like I am going to be sick. I told Pam I would keep her posted. Heck! My cover was already blown. I sat up straight and took a deep breath. Mr. SH was coming up on my right side. He passed me without so much as a glance toward my car. Yipee! He had not recognized the car. He did not know it was me! PTL

I quickly called Pam back and told her of our good fortune. Now what? She left it up to me. Safer that way. She could later claim ignorance. Of course, if caught, that was going to be my defense. I was ignorant! Stupid! Crazy! Who would challenge that?

I realized that the way I had missed him earlier had to have been because he pulled into the gas station we passed. Maybe he had been suspicious. Perhaps he thought he might be followed. Regardless. I was in full-blown Mission Impossible mode. “Your mission, should you decide to accept it …” Of course, I was going for it now! Mr. SH was picking up speed as he headed toward town. I had to quickly catch up and yet stay far enough behind to not be caught.

On through the night we drove. Where was he headed? To his office downtown? No… we exited off the highway. Best Friend following Scummy Husband. It was tougher to keep up now. I saw where we were headed. The part of town where the nightlife never slept. The hookers, the drug deals, the street lights shot out. I lost him on a back street, with my friend on the line. Where he was going or what he was doing was merely speculation at that point. I had failed in my mission. And, now I was lost at 2:45 in the morning!! Pam tried to help guide me out of my mess but neither of us was that familiar with the downtown area. Finally, I told her to go on to bed. I would figure it out.

Thirty minutes later, in tears and still lost, I had to admit defeat once again. Only one thing left to do. I called my husband. Woken from a dead sleep he could not figure out why I was calling him from the other side of our bed. But when I explained where I was and confirmed the time of day/night, he was suddenly wide-awake. I told him I would explain my behavior when I got home. (If I had told him at that moment he might not have led me back home!!) The tears started to flow. Once I was safely home there was never a more contrite spouse than me. I promised to never again play detective. I promised to stay out of our friend’s problems no matter how helpful I thought I could be.

And, whatever became of Mr. Scummy Husband and Pam? A few months later he left her for another woman in his office building. Evidently he was having to work those crazy hours so he could "take care of business" during regular hours.

1 comment:

Leigh said...

Being a new reader, I haven't seen this one. How brave of you-and a loyal friend.
I've got to work on getting my journals ready to go, copied, etc.
Looking forward to more of your adventures. :) Leigh