This must’ve been what it felt like to be in a horror movie.
She took small steps forward, hoping the sounds of her steps wouldn’t give her position away. She had spent days thinking about his texts, but now she would discover the heartbreaking truth.
Sharon kissed her twins’ foreheads and she helped them get ready.
She lived a busy life between working full-time and caring for her twins, but she was lucky enough to have a supportive husband by her side.
Sharon met Thomas when they were in college together. She studied advertising and he studied business. They had been together ever since then.
Anyone looking from the outside must’ve thought they were perfect for each other. She knew she was lucky to have such an amazing man by her side. But she would be proven wrong.
Thomas was part of the tech world. He was always busy and Sharon tried her best to stay in contact with him through texts and calls whenever they had the chance.
But for the last while, stress had impacted both their lives and their communication.
Their relationship became strained because the balance between their jobs and relationship was thrown off.
He was overworked and irritated. She would make the effort of taking their children out in the evenings, so that he could have his alone time at home. But that only seemed to work for a short while. That’s when he suggested something strange.
He wanted to take off from work and go to their old cabin. Sharon thought this was strange, as their cabin was in serious need of a makeover if he wanted to feel comfortable in it.
Sharon was too tired to go to the cabin and do a makeover. But he suggested something better.
He suggested going out on his own and giving the place a makeover himself. This way they could all go down to the cabin in the summer and enjoy it as a family.
Sharon thought this was a great idea. He could have alone time to destress and she could stay home with the twins. This also meant she wouldn’t have t worry about the makeover. She would soon discover that he had ulterior motives.
When he got to the cabin, he and Sharon would text and call often. But the longer he stayed, the less communication they had.
At first it would take him hours to reply, and then he would only reply to half of her texts. She excused it as him being busy. Eventually, however, he wasn’t replying at all.
She grew concerned as time passed and he still wasn’t responding. What if something happened while he was all alone in the woods? No one was there to help him.
She imagined the worst and knew that she had to go check on him.
She left her children at her sisters house and made the two hour journey to their cabin. She had a knot in her stomach. She hoped he was okay.
The overgrown driveway of their cabin was a little creepy. She was grateful he would deal with it and not her. She got out of her car and approached the cabin when she noticed something odd.
Her heart pounded as she drove up the loose gravel stone road. She was already surrounded by the forest. She forgot how huge this area was.
Part of her was excited to see what work her husband managed to get done on the cabin. She couldn’t remember the last time he worked outside with his hands and it was part of the reason she was so worried. And for good reason.
When Sharon reached the house, she was surprised to see that there was no car and no sign that the cabin had even been touched at all.
Sharon gripped her keys, and walked the parameter, praying not to find a body. She opened the door to the cabin and checked every room. There was no sign of him. Then she spotted something.
Sharon closed the door and walked around the cabin, searching frantically. Suddenly, she spotted a blotch of white. Her heart pounded like a jackhammer and her palms turned sweaty.
She froze, her feet glued to the earth like a moth to flame. She was too afraid to move. It looked like white fabric. Like a sweater or a coat. What was going on?
Silence filled the air. She walked slowly, keeping a close eye on the bushes behind her in a paranoid reaction.
Sharon pulled out her phone, ready to dial 911. But when a clearing opened before her, she couldn’t believe her eyes. She walked closer and closer, trying to understand what on earth she was seeing. Her jaw dropped.
In the middle of the forest was a table and two chairs. The white she had seen was from a tablecloth.
It was a table setting for two. The leftovers of cheese, crackers, and fruit lay scattered across beautiful plates and a silver tiered dessert stand. The worst part was the champagne glasses … half full and one with lipstick stains.
Sharon stood before the abandoned meal, her mind screaming with every worst-case scenario. Her stomach flipped. She felt sick to her core. What was this?
She didn’t want to believe it. She wished she could just ignore all of this. Ignoring it would surely be better than confronting the tremendous hurt she was surely about to feel. But she couldn’t ignore what lay before her.
She forced herself to move. She raised her phone with a trembling hand and snapped a photo. She looked around the forest one last time before deciding to turn around.
With that, she got into her car and let the tears fall. By the time she got home, her eyes were puffy and her throat was raw. She knew exactly what to do next.
The kids were still with her sister – and were going to stay there for a couple more days. She couldn’t let them see her like this. And she definitely couldn’t let them see what was about to go down.
Sharon forced herself to stop crying. He didn’t deserve her tears. She realized that she was crying over losing someone that simply never existed. The man she loved wouldn’t have done this. This wasn’t that man. Suddenly, her sadness transformed into anger.
She paced back and forth, thinking back on all of their memories together. When did he start to change? How long had he been acting this way? Deceiving her? What a despicable human.
Sharon puttered around the house, not really paying attention to anything. It was all just to burn time until he walked through the door. As soon as she heard the latch click, she took a deep breath.
He walked in, holding his “cabin” backpack and whistling like he didn’t have a care in the world.
As soon as he walked in the kitchen, however, his expression turned to worry. “What’s wrong, babe?” he asked. “Where are the kids?” Sharon held back her angry tears and pulled out the phone.
Without speaking a word, she swiped to the photo – the one that spoke volumes.
The blood drained from his face, and he stood motionless before her. He opened his mouth, but she held up her hand to silence him. “I only want to know who and how long. After that, you can take your bag and get out.”
“No, babe. You got it all wrong”, he said. His face was already gleaming with sweat. Whenever he got in trouble and knew it, he had this tendency to sweat beads. Once upon a time Sharon found it endearing, now however, she found it repulsive.
He tried to deny it outright. The more he tried to convince her it wasn’t what she thought, the more anger she got.
Sharon slammed her phone down on the table. “I’m not stupid!”, she screamed. “Answer me! Who? And how long?!”. Her heart pounded harder and harder. Daring him to answer her questions and in doing so, single handedly tearing apart their marriage and their family.
He began to cry, pleading with her to listen to him but her patience was running thin.
Sharon could see his mind racing, trying to search for a way out but he was cornered – and he knew it. Quieter now she pressed, “I won’t ask you again Thomas. Who is she and how long has this been going on?”.
He fell to his knees and admitted to everything. Sharon was left feeling numb. She looked at the man she built a family with and realized with intense pain that who she used to see was a complete illusion. She wouldn’t wish this man on her worst enemy.
Without a word, Sharon walked to the bedroom and put all of his clothes in a suitcase. She threw it in front of him and demanded he leave. When he left, Sharon felt a strange feeling come over her – relief.
She felt relieved, after months if not years, of struggling to get their relationship back on track, the slow and strenuous uphill battle had finally ended, and through no fault of her own. She could hold her head high and proud.