General Fiction posted November 14, 2017

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Only Part of the Story.

The Error of Our Ways

by Betty Rosenstein

"Did you hear that? Susie just told her brother Tom she thinks her husband Jim is having an affair. I thought those two would never break-up, especially when you think about the way their romance started--it's shocking." (Waiting for the valet outside a restaurant--where both parties were having lunch)

Phyllis: "Oh my, no, I didn't hear what he said, are you sure? You were eavesdropping,"

Millie: "Yes, I'm positive, She was whispering, but I know what she said. She said she thinks Jim is having an affair."

Phyllis: "Well, I feel sorry for the children more than anyone else. Some people are so self-centered."

Millie: "You sound so surprised, Phyllis, I saw this coming a long time ago--remember when they had that big fight over her not going to church with him? That might have solved their problem if she would have just gone. It makes me wonder what brought this on--after being together for so long. Well, I think Jim was seeing someone else."

Phyllis: "Really?"

Millie: "Yes, really."

Phyllis: "Well, I would rather be left out of this conversation, we can't solve their personal problems, and you weren't even supposed to hear their private conversation. Maybe you have it all wrong."

Millie: "Nope, I heard it loud and clear, and if you want to know what I think, I think Jim was going behind Susie's back and seeing that lady who plays the organ at church. There is obviously more than two people in this relationship!"

Phyllis: "I wonder how Susie found out?"

Millie: "I have no idea, but no matter what you think of them, it takes two to tango. They're going to need serious counseling and forgiveness to repair that marriage--if only for the kids' sake."

Phyllis: "These kinds of things don't start in a day, and it's not going to get fixed in a day, church or no church."

Millie: "Well, we should try to offer Susie help without her knowing we heard what she said to her brother."

Phyllis: "And how do you suggest we do that?"

Millie: "I don't know, but we will think of something."

Phyllis "Who is this lady you think Jim is seeing at church?"

Millie: "Her name is Carol."

Phyllis: "Oh really? I can't believe she would honestly get involved with anyone that was married, but let's call her and ask her to join us for lunch after church on Sunday. Maybe we can ask her a few questions about Jim and see what she says. I'll call her when I get home today."

(Later that Afternoon at Phyllis's house)
Phyllis: "Hello Carol, this is Phyllis. How are you today?"

Carol: "I'm fine, Phyllis, thank you for asking. What can I do for you?"

Phyllis: "Well, Millie and I were talking today and we want to know if we can take you out for lunch after church next Sunday."

Carol: "Well, what a nice offer, but actually I'm busy after church next week, is that the only day we can get together?"

Phyllis: "Well, no... I guess we could go to dinner one day this week if you're not working."

Carol: "That would be great, I'm available on Wednesdays before church, around 5 pm, is that good for you ladies?"

Phyllis: "Wednesday at 5 pm works perfect, I'll confirm with Millie and get back to you. If there is any change, I'll call you, otherwise we will meet you at the "Lodge", the restaurant near the church at 5 pm next Wednesday."

Carol: "Sounds like a plan, thank you Phyllis, I'll look forward to it."

Millie: "Hello, is that you Phyllis?"

Phyllis: "Yes, it is Millie and I just got off the phone with Carol. We are meeting her this Wednesday before church at the "lodge", the restaurant near the church at 5 pm.

Millie: "I thought you were going to see if she could meet us after church on Sunday."

Phyllis: "I did! But she has plans after church on Sunday... So here is what we will do, we will take her out on Wednesday for an early dinner, then if she doesn't tell us anything, we will follow her after church on Sunday and see who her plans are with."

Millie: "Maybe we can ask her some personal questions on Wednesday and see where she is going on Sunday."

Phyllis: "Ok, but we have to make sure she doesn't know we are trying to see if she is meeting Jim, got it?"

Millie: "Got it!"

(Wednesday at 5:00 pm--Millie and Phyllis enter the "Lodge" and Carol is already seated inside)
Carol: "Hello ladies. Thanks for inviting me to dinner--I haven't been at this restaurant for a while."

Phyllis: "Well Carol, it is our pleasure! You remember Millie, right?"

Carol: "Of course, Hi Millie, how are you?"

Millie: "I'm fine, thank you."

Carol: "So ladies, to what do I owe the pleasure of your company?"

Phyllis: "Oh, we were wondering if you knew it was Susie's birthday next Sunday?"

Millie: "Her husband Jim called us this morning and said he was throwing a surprise party for her 50th Birthday and wanted to know if we could come? Were you invited?"

Carol: "Actually, I have been meeting with Jim for about a month putting the whole surprise party together! Isn't he a wonderful husband to work this hard to surprise her?"

Millie: "What did you say? You have been meeting with Jim for a month--just to plan this gigantic party for Susie's 50th birthday?"

Carol: "Yes--I have, and you will not believe all the money he is spending on this party. Jim is flying Susie's whole family in from Texas and his family is coming down from Santa Barbara. He rented a large conference room at The Sheraton Hotel and there will be flowers, dinner, a band and all their friends and family. I didn't know if Jim had invited you, so please keep this a secret. He has worked really hard to keep this a surprise."

Phyllis: "Oh Carol, thank you for telling us, we'll look forward to the party--but we have a little problem."

Carol: "Yes, what's that?"

Phyllis: "Susie thinks you and Jim are having an affair!"

Carol: "What? Why?"

Millie: "Well, apparently she has seen Jim meeting with you, calling you and whispering together at church."

Carol: "Oh my! We're not having an affair, I am helping him make all the arrangements for this BIG surprise birthday party! There was so much to do and he couldn't possibly do everything from the house, or Susie would find out!"

Millie: "Well, the other day Phyllis and I were dining at the same restaurant that Susie and her brother were at and we overheard her tell him she was thinking of leaving Jim, because she thinks he is having an affair."

Carol: "Oh, ladies, I would never date a married man--that is not who I am."

Phyllis: "Well, I didn't think so, but one never knows."

Millie: "I'll be glad when Sunday comes and she finds out the truth." (They all finish dinner, leave the restaurant and head to church)

(Phyllis and Millie in the car on the way to church)
Phyllis: "Millie, this is not good. Susie thinks Jim is having an affair and she doesn't know it's just a surprise birthday party for her."

Millie: "Yes, but she has it all wrong!"

(Sunday night--minutes before Susie walks into The Sheraton with her husband Jim. Over 100 friends and family are waiting in the dark to surprise Susie for her 50th Birthday Celebration)

Friends & Family: "SURPRISE! (And they all sing Happy Birthday)

Susie: "Oh, Jim, I'm overwhelmed... How in the world did you pull this off?"

Jim: "Well, I wasn't alone, Carol and I have been working on this for the past month. I would not have been able to do this without her."

Susie: "Oh my goodness--I had no idea... I actually thought you were having an affair. I overheard you talking to her and you left the house early so many times, and got home late so much this past month, I just assumed..."

Jim: "What? You thought I was having an affair?"

Susie: "Yes! I did. In fact, I told my brother Tom I wanted a divorce. Now, I feel so foolish. But when I kept seeing you two together my imagination went wild. Frankly, I'm ashamed after seeing all of this. I don't know what I was thinking."

Jim: "Oh honey, I would never cheat on you."

Susie: "It just goes to show you how easy it is to misjudge something, when you only know part of the story."

Jim: "Happy Birthday, honey--I love you! But I do have one more surprise for you, let's take a walk outside for a minute."

Susie: "Is this for me?" (Seeing a brand new Red Mercedes convertible car with a great big bow on the hood and her brother Tom standing next to it with his arm stretched out to hand her the key.) "I feel so foolish..."(crying) "Did you know about this Tom?"

Jim: "Yes, he did!"

Susie: "No wonder you kept telling me not to leave him...Jim, you are the best husband in the world, please forgive me and thank you so much. This is the best day of my life!" (Leaning in to kiss him)

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© Copyright 2018. Betty Rosenstein All rights reserved.
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