In keeping with my book pick up the month, “The Husband’s Secret,” I decided to share a story of my own. The book is dark. It is about a wife finding a letter addressed to her from her husband to be opened upon his death. The problem is: she opens it while he is still alive. And she finds he is hiding a dark secret.
My husband happens to have a little dark secret of his own.
With that in mind, I must include the following disclosure:
DEAR DAUGHTER, PLEASE READ THIS
UPON MY DEATH…NEVER,
One day, a few months ago, my husband pulled a small white device from his pocket. He held it cupped in his hand. He looked dodgy. I could tell he was nervous.
“What have you got there?”
He looked up startled. He attempted to hide the object in his palm. I wasn’t buying it.
Neither were the kids who were in the room with us.
We gathered around him like a bunch of orangutans who had just discovered an empty cracker box.
He shielded the white object with his other hand.
It was obviously not “nothing.”
“Is that a new phone?” I asked.
Well, heck, now I knew I had to find out what he was hiding.
“What is it?” Momma was getting upset.
My husband was getting more nervous.
“It’s just my iPod,” he said. I would have just accepted this. I have no idea what devices he has. And frankly, I don’t care.
But the kids?
The kids take inventory of this stuff.
“You got a new iPod?!” They were immediately clamoring over each other trying to see.
“Where’d you get it? When did you get it? Can I see it?”
My husband was still acting oddly. His eyes were shifty.
I could tell there was more to this story.
“I bought it a couple of months ago from NewEgg.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?!”
This question was asked by the kids.
Not by me.
He is a grown man. If he wants to buy an iAnything, he can. iDon’tcare.
I do, however, care about someone lying to me.
And here is the thing. And probably the only time I will ever say this. If you miss this, you’re out of luck: You can’t lie to me. I can always. Always. Tell.
Especially if your “tell” is to break into giggles.
And, he, for whatever reason did not want the kids to see his device.
“So, you have a secret iPod?” I began my line of questioning.
“It’s not ‘secret.’ I just didn’t tell anyone about it.”
This went on and on as I tried to get out of him what he was obviously evading.
But he was stubbornly sticking with his lie. I let it go. Or got bored. One of the two.
I would make a terrible detective.
A few months went by and he did something sneaky. It was probably something stupid, like eating my candy bar, but the iPod was brought up again. I bide my time, folks.
“So, you’re saying you didn’t eat my candy bar? Is this like how you didn’t buy a new iPod?”
If you ever, ever need to get under my husband’s skin, all you have to do is accuse him of eating your candy bar. It is like accusing him of murder. He hates it. He didn’t eat anything!
And in an attempt to free himself of candy bar purgatory, otherwise known as our house, he finally admitted something to me. His deep dark secret. The reason he was waking up in terror.
“I’m not really left handed,” he said.
Okay. That’s not his secret. But that would have been way cooler. Especially if he was left handed.
“The iPod is really Our Daughter’s iPod,” he confessed.
I wasn’t prepared for this new twist of events.
“She never uses it. She has her iPhone. I’ve been using it for six months. She has never even realized it’s gone.”
I pondered this. “Why didn’t you just ask her for it?”
“I did. She said, ‘no.'”
“Well, then why didn’t you buy yourself one? From NewEgg?”
“Because that’s stupid. This is a perfectly good iPod. No one was using it. She’ll never even know.”
And you know what? That probably would have been true.
Except, you know what they say about karma? Yea, well, they say she’ll catch up to you.
And she did.
About a month after having that conversation, my husband and I were laying in bed. I looked over to see what he was doing. He was fidgeting with “his” secret iPod.
I looked closer.
The whole screen was cracked.
“You dropped Our Daughter’s iPod?!”
He looked up sheepishly. “Yea. It was kind of amazing. It barely hit the floor.”
“So what are you going to do?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, are you going to get a new one?”
“Why would I do that? This one is perfectly fine!”
I looked at the shattered screen. Here is the other thing about my husband. He lives in a little town called, “Denial.” It’s quite an ugly little town. I sometimes visit him there. I am sure you have been there. Everyone has. Next time you go, could you tell my husband I’m looking for him? And for that Twix bar I know he ate. You’ll know where to find him. Just look for his office, it has the title, “Mayor” on the broken door.
I watched as his fingers navigated over the cracks. I rolled my eyes. And I ignored the problem. This is different from denial. This is avoidance. It’s super healthy.
A few more months passed. My husband still was in love with his secret cracked iPod.
And he had continued with his lie. And quite frankly, his theft for longer than I thought possible.
One day, my daughter and I were in the car. I think we were laughing about a candy bar my husband had eaten (not really, but I knew reading that would make him mad. And that equals a good laugh for me).
She turned to me and said, “It’s like his secret iPod!”
I stopped laughing. I stared at her.
This had just gotten real.
She wanted to continue the laughter, so she said, “What if his secret iPod was really my iPod?!!!” And then she laughed at the absurdity of that possibility.
“Have you ever thought of that?” I timidly questioned.
“Yes! I have!”
“Well! It! Is! It is your iPod!” I shrieked through the car as I burst into a puddle of laughter. Tears were streaming down my cheeks as I finally released the secret that had been trapped inside of me for months.
My daughter half screamed and laughed in the car. And then what can only be described as a sitcom moment, she burst into giggles and said, “Oh Mom! You’re so funny! That’s a great joke!”
This only made me laugh harder.
We continued laughing at my “joke” until my son got into the car.
I’m chuckling about it right now.
Oh, what a cracked iPod we weave
When it’s not the one we receive.
*There’s now more to this story: My Husband’s Secret Part II.