Resentment. Wow. That will only take me a year and a half to bring me up to date. <img src="/ubbt/images/graemlins/eek.gif" alt="" />

For the purposes of keeping this manageable, let's just assume that everything I have shared so far stirs up resentment every time I think of it, toward both of the guilty parties. And if I think of any previously undiscussed sources of resentment, I will be sure to share them.

Now, to see how this ends up impacting my daily life, you will ride along on a hypothetical trip to town with me. (What made me think of this, is one of my friends came over and went with me to town, and ended up getting the full guided tour, as we went past nearly every bad spot in that neck of the woods.) Since we can only go to one place at a time, we'll start with Jackson, the worst of the lot.

We turn out the driveway and start up the street, the only way in or out of the housing development. There on the right is the stupid For Rent sign on that stupid house that AJ wanted to rent. Deep breath. Try to direct as much aggression as possible on the stupid house, while deep inside acknowledging the injustice of this.

The road winds along, and within about 7 or 8 minutes we reach the intersection where I saw her the other day. We look carefully around, but don't see her. This used to be a safe part of the trip, but not anymore. We have fleeting thoughts of the lookout spot several miles off to the right, where she might have been going that day. It used to be one of our favorite spots. Sometimes we even went miles out of our way to go to town along that route, just so we could stop there for a few minutes and admire the view of the lake. Now all we can think of is how he said he was going to break up with her there, and didn't.

So we drive on.

In about another 5 minutes we reach the highway. Now we are on full alert. This is the major road she would use to go just about anywhere besides Jackson, on the other side of the road is the turnoff to where her horses are kept, and so the chances of an encounter skyrocket. We climb the hill, chatting easily, yet always watching in front, to the rear, and on each side.

Today we have to go by the doctor's office, so we drive up past her bank, then the school where Neaksis' children attend, then past her house. Her car is in the driveway, and we relax. She is not driving around. She is not in Safeway. She is at home.

For whatever reason, going past her house is not as painful as it used to be (unless AJ is there). We note the presence or absence of the vehicle, but are able to mostly keep our thoughts from dwelling on how somewhere in one of those cramped little rooms, our dear one freely traded his honor for a quick squirt of pleasure. Several times. Ok, so it still stings. But our heart does not pump any faster, the hair does not stand up on the backs of our necks; we only squint our eyes a little and grit our teeth.

After seeing the doctor, we debate. We could go miles out of our way on a twisty windy road, and avoid going past her house again. It is a beautiful route, and often we do. But it took so long at the doctor we decide that the peace of mind from one more quick peek to make sure she is still there, is worth any momentary irritation.

We drive past, and this time she is gone. So much for relaxing, but it is better to know. Red alert kicks in. She could be anywhere. We don't even feel a twinge at seeing the house. All we can think is that she's out there....somewhere.

At the corner where her bank is (the one where I went in January to ask the tellers if she was PG), we make a left to get to town. Within a few hundred feet, we drive past the airport road, which also leads to the A-workplace. A wave of memories well up, from taking him lunch the very first day, all the way to meeting him when he got off work for his second day back since starting NC, and not knowing at the time that the reason he didn't remember he had promised to go out with me was that she had left the note on his car that day and he had already broken NC.

A little farther down, also on the left, is the now-infamous print shop where she has been spotted repeatedly. We scan the parking lot, unable to help ourselves, but she is not there.

So we shove all thoughts aside and start down the hill into Jackson. Except there is the Denny's where he took both of us to dinner, just not at the same time. And there is the road to the hospital, which I would rather walk on broken glass barefoot than drive past again, after the trauma inflicted on my poor brain after the last time. If we had had to go to Pine Grove, we would have zigged around on some back roads to get past it.

Almost to the health food store is her other bank, the one from which she drew the very first loan to AJ for the corporation, where he lied and said she just did it and he couldn't stop her because he didn't know until she had done it, when I had seen him leaving the house that morning with a deposit slip, and had the bank fax me a copy of everything the next day. For a moment I fantasize about putting up an exposure poster (billboard?) in that bank, but get a grip quickly, chuckling so you won't guess the unflattering direction of my thoughts.

From the health food store we drive back past her bank, past the Denny's, and because this time we have to stop at Wal Mart, which is right on our way home, we also drive past the Perko's Cafe in which he took her to breakfast the morning I was home alone throwing up from the flu and trying to care for our three small children, and it's right in the same parking lot as the Albertsons where the close call occurred a few weeks ago.

While we are in Wal Mart, we chat unceasingly, just in case they play that awful song again - her A song. (Not his or their A song, oh no. She was not special enough to him to have "their song", and yet he betrayed me for her anyway, which leads to yet another kind of resentment.) They don't play it and we are relieved, but still knowing that someday, somewhere, someone is going to play it again. And we will not be ready.

Back past the turnoff to her horses, past the intersection where I saw her, past the For Rent sign, and finally the relative safety of the driveway. We didn't run into her this time, or the last time, so next time we probably will. We take a deep breath and let it out. The tension drains from us. Smiling, we walk toward the house, where AJ is waiting to watch Jarhead with us.


The next Resentment Installment (not tonight) is entitled, "Is Anywhere Safe?"

(Hint: the answer is no.)

A smooth sea never made a skilled mariner.
~ English proverb

Neak's Story