My Dearest A.J,
By now I guess you’ve figured out that I’m gone. This was the hardest decision that I have ever had to make. We’ve been together a little more than half of our lives and though I love you more than anyone in the world, I feel that we have reached that proverbial fork in the road. I may not have said anything, but I noticed that you’ve been drinking again over the past two months. It would be really easy for me to use that as the reason I left, especially given the last time you relapsed, and just blew ten-thousand dollars, I told you it would be the “last time.” But to be honest with you A.J, that is only a small part of why I left. There were all of the other women in the past, and yes, I know it’s been over ten years and I really did forgive you for it; but if you add the women, the drinking, the gambling and the many nights I’ve worried and cried myself to sleep fearing that something terrible has happened to you; I’m just all burned out. I’m ready for a change. I’m ready to spread my wings and to do what parenthood and being a good wife wouldn’t allow.
The scariest thing for me over the last four months since Nanna died, was that you would somehow blow all, or most of the inheritance she left. That is something that I would never have been able to forgive you for. When I learned that you’ve been drinking again, that only confirmed what I already knew in my heart, I needed to do. I am sure you also noticed by now that I took four-hundred-thousand. You still have one-hundred- thousand dollars and I think that is more than fair. It’s certainly more than any other woman would give and more than you deserve.
I will be calling you soon to discuss things with you. I don’t want to fight and I don’t have the energy to discuss this with you now. I only want to end this relationship on a positive note so we can move on with our lives from this day forward.
A.J. sat the letter on the kitchen table and walked down the hallway to his bedroom. He looked in and turned on the light, taking a deep sigh of relief. “At least she left the bedroom furniture.” He said out loud, while still feeling the effects of his mystery night, A.J. pulled the cell phone from his pocket, and began dialing Jamie’s phone but changed his mind. Instead he fell face down in the middle of the bed and despite all the drama over the past twenty-four hours, he fell into a deep sleep.
“Wait a minute Mommy. What do you mean you left Daddy?”
“I mean that I left A.J. I moved my things out this morning after he left the house.”
“Why? What happened?” Their oldest daughter Merlinda asked in complete disbelief. She sat down on the couch and Jamie sat shoulder to shoulder with her.
“Well sweetheart, it’s actually been a long time coming. Your father and I just grew apart over the years. I figure now that you and your sisters are grown, it’s time for me to be happy.”
“So what are you saying? You weren’t happy raising a family?”
“Of course I’m not saying that I wasn’t happy raising a family sweetheart. I love you and your sisters more than life itself and you know that.”
“So it’s just dad that you don’t love? I can’t believe that I’m hearing this from you Mommy.”
“No, no Merlinda, I love A.J too. You know that. Your father and I have been through a lot over the past twenty-six years and he will always have a special place in my heart. I just don’t want to be his wife anymore, and I’m ready to move on.” Merlinda was crushed and it broke Jamie’s heart to see saw how much she was hurting. “I hope that you can understand, but I understand if you don’t.”
“Wow. This is all hard to take in Mommy. I mean…” Tears filled Merlinda’s eyes as she folded her arms and rested her back against her new sofa.
“Aww, I’m so sorry sweetheart. I wish that it didn’t have to be this way, but it does.”
“No, it doesn’t Mommy. Marriage is supposed to be for better or for worse. You guys have worked through everything else. Why not this time?”
“Yes, we did honey. We did it for twenty-three years and even today, we are still dealing with some of the same issues.”
“The same issues? What issues, Mom?”
“Sweetheart, our issues are between your father and me.” Merlinda didn’t respond to that because she knows how much her parents believe in not involving their daughters in their marital problems.
“So where will you stay?”
“I have a six-month lease on an apartment for now.”
“Six months? Then what?”
“I’m not sure Merlinda. I’m thinking of moving down south. I have to see if my job can find me a position first.”
“Down south? Mommy, you’re doing too much. You come over here, tell me that you’re leaving Daddy and now you want to tell me that you’re moving down south. Down south where Mommy?”
“I don’t know yet Merlinda honey. Maybe North Carolina, maybe Georgia. It’s six in one hand, half a dozen in the other at this point because I have close friends in both Charlotte and Atlanta. Here, take this.” She handed Merlinda a tissue and gave her a long hug, gingerly rocking her from left to right while rubbing her back. Merlinda sniffed, blew her nose and dried her eyes with a few more tissues.
“Well, I want you to be happy Mommy, so I will support you. But, poor Daddy! What is he going to do now?”
“I know, I know honey, but your daddy is very resilient.” She smiled and stared off into nowhere as if she were envisioning something from the past. She chuckled and took a deep breath. “That’s one of the things I admire most about A.J. He’ll be okay.”
“What about Daphne and Rachael?”
“You’re the oldest so I wanted to tell you first.”
“You know that Rachael is going to take it really hard.”
“Yes, I know. I dread having to tell her.”
“Mommy, maybe I should be the one to tell my sisters.”
“Thanks, but no. This is my cross to bear so I should tell them myself.”
“No, believe me Mommy, I know my sisters. It’ll be easier for them hearing it from me first. Especially Rachael Mommy.”
“I don’t know Merlinda…”
“Mommy, please. Just let me tell them.”
“Do you really think it will make it easier?”
“Yes, ma’am. I really do.”
“Okay. You tell them and let me know as soon as you do. Okay?”
“Okay, Mommy I will. I love you.”
“And I love you, more sweetheart.”
‘Ding dong’. ‘Ding dong’. The doorbell rang, waking A.J. from his sleep. He climbed off the bed and went to see who was at the door.
“May I help you?”
“Mr. Ak’Shun James Jackson?” A well-dressed man wearing an expensive suit asked.
“Yes. I’m Ak’Shun Jackson. How may I help you sir?”
The gentleman handed him a large yellow envelope, “you’ve been served.”, then abruptly turned and quickly walked away. A.J. watched him as he stepped into his white Range Rover and pulled off. He opened the envelope and read the large letters on the top of the first page out loud.
“Petition for Divorce.”
Tune in next time for the continuation of SinCinnati Soaps
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