Melinda discovered two plane tickets in her husband’s briefcase, one with his name and the other with an unknown woman’s name, making her suspicious for the first time in her marriage. But she never expected what happened when she arrived at their destination.
“I’m so sorry, sweetheart. I know I promised that this weekend would be solely for us, but I have to leave again. It was completely unexpected. I couldn’t say no to my boss,” David told Melinda when he arrived home Friday night. Melinda’s shoulders shrugged in defeat as she sat in the kitchen.
She had been so excited about their plans to walk around the beach in their town of Westport, Washington, especially because her husband traveled so much for work. She missed him terribly, but she had to understand him. She also had a career, but it was much stabler involving no work trips.
“It’s okay, darling. Next time, I guess,” she answered, approaching to give him a kiss.
David grabbed her arms, urging her to shush and let him explain. But Melinda finally yelled, “TELL ME THE TRUTH RIGHT HERE AND NOW!”
“I’m going to pack my bag and briefcase for tomorrow,” David said, returning the kiss.
“You want me to do that?”
“No, I can do it. You’ve already worked so much making our dinner. It smells wonderful, by the way. I’m going to pack, take a shower, and we can eat and talk. Alright?” he said and walked to their bedroom.
Melinda agreed. Her food smelled terrific, and at least they could have a nice time while eating. She was disappointed, but there was nothing they could do about it.
As she heard the shower in the bathroom start, she decided to check his briefcase because he tended to forget things all the time. She made sure that his wallet was there and rearranged the rest of the contents of the briefcase. That’s when something caught her eye.
There was a plane ticket peeking out of the side pocket. She grabbed it to place it over the rest of his things so it wouldn’t get lost, but to her complete shock, there were two tickets. One had his name: David Sherburne, but the other featured a woman’s name: Annamarie Simmons.
Melinda froze with the tickets in her hand as all kinds of feelings went through her system. She read further and saw that these tickets were to Miami, Florida.
What kind of business did David have in Miami? Who was this woman? He usually traveled alone, or at least, that’s what he always told her. Why were there two tickets? Why did he lie to her? But the worst question that passed through her mind was: Was he cheating on her?
Suddenly, the shower stopped in the bathroom, and Melinda unfroze from her spot. She placed the tickets back where she found them in the briefcase and exited the bedroom. When her husband came out for dinner, she acted like nothing was wrong, but the wheels in her mind were turning. She had to do something about this situation. But what?
Sunday morning in Miami, Florida.
Melinda arrived in Miami not knowing exactly what her plan would be. David left early Saturday morning, and she had spent the entire day thinking about the situation. Finally, she searched through his Google history and email – she knew it was wrong to spy on him, but she was desperate – and discovered that he had booked a room at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
Her suspicions had gotten even worse. David could be cheating; perhaps, he had been cheating all along. His business trips might have been a ruse this entire time.
“No, I can’t think like that,” she told herself, but still, she booked herself a ticket to Miami, reserved a room at the same hotel, and hoped to find David there. She needed to see the truth for herself.
The taxi left her at the hotel, and she checked in as quickly as possible. She had no idea what room David had been given, but she decided to visit the pool area and possibly walk around the beach, hoping to catch him in the act – so to speak.
After a few hours, she had yet to spot him and he was starting to lose hope. “Maybe I should return and wait for him there. I should’ve asked him last Friday night,” she told herself quietly as she walked from the beach to the hotel. But suddenly, she saw David, and just like she had imagined, a woman had her arm around him.
However, the situation was not what Melinda had imagined at all. The woman had to be 80 or older. Was David cheating on her with an older woman? That didn’t make sense. David’s mother died many years ago, and this older lady could be another relative, right?
In any case, she had to know, so she quickened her pace and caught up to them. David’s forehead furrowed and his eyes almost jumped when he spotted her.
“David! What is the meaning of this? What kind of business trip are you having? Who is this woman?” she started, getting more hysterical as the questions kept coming out.
Other hotel patrons turned to them, and David grabbed her arms, urging her to calm down and let him explain. But Melinda finally yelled, “TELL ME THE TRUTH RIGHT HERE AND NOW!”
“This is Brandon’s mother!” he blurted quickly before she could scream some more.
“Brandon’s mother?” Melinda asked, her hysteria completely dissipating. Brandon had been David’s best friend since childhood. He died in a terrible accident years ago before Melinda and David met. But she knew how important he had been to him.
“Yes, Melinda, this is Annamarie,” David introduced her to the older woman, and Melinda wiped her sweaty hands to shake the older woman’s.
“It’s nice to meet you, dear,” Annamarie smiled quizzically.
“You too, ma’am. I’m so sorry about my earlier outburst,” Melinda added, embarrassed.
“Oh, don’t be ashamed. It seems that David here has either lied or not been completely truthful. I’m going back to the room, so you two can talk,” Annamarie suggested. She patted David’s arm while shaking her head, then walked away.
When they were alone, David explained everything. On Brandon’s deathbed, he promised to care for his mother, which he did for years. But Annamarie had had some health scares lately, and apparently, she always dreamed of seeing Miami firsthand. David impulsively bought the tickets, but he didn’t think Melinda would understand this situation.
“Why didn’t you trust me?” she wondered, her eyes showing how hurt she was at the lie.
“You’ve been begging me for a weekend for just us, and I just bought the tickets without thinking. I felt bad. I thought you would be mad, so I said it was a work trip because you never complain in those cases,” David explained, but his shoulders shrugged, knowing how lame his reasoning sounded.
“I would’ve understood. Hell, I could’ve come with you guys,” Melinda added, her hands gesturing wildly around her, right outside a beautiful hotel on the coast of one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. “This place is amazing. I would’ve loved to meet Annamarie under better circumstances. I know what Brandon meant to you. Why didn’t you ever tell me about her?”
“I honestly don’t know,” he continued, his shoulders still sagging.
“Okay, so we have to work on our communication, and I think couple’s therapy is our solution. But I’m going to let this issue go for now. I don’t want to spoil this trip for Annamarie, or you, for that matter. Can I stay?” she asked, looking at her husband from beneath her eyelashes.
“Really? You want to stay and have fun? The three of us?” David replied, a smile forming on his face. “Thank you! Thank you, sweetheart! And I’m SO sorry. I promise to work on our communication. I will NEVER ever lie to you again, not even by omission.”
“Alright,” Melinda responded and took a deep breath. She grabbed his arm and led him toward the hotel. “Let’s go find Annamarie.”
They found the older woman at the hotel bar and decided to sightsee. They had the best time and returned to Westport on Tuesday.
When they got home, David finally asked how Melinda had found out about the trip, and she explained with chagrin about seeing the tickets and checking his email. Fortunately, he took it in stride.
The couple went to therapy, and David never broke his promise again. Melinda invited Annamarie to their house often, and she cried terribly when the older woman died a few months later.
“No matter what happened before, I’m so glad you took her to Miami,” she told David after the funeral. David only nodded with watery eyes and hugged his wife tightly.
What can we learn from this story?
Communication is essential in a relationship. Every couple has to work on their communication to make things last. Luckily, Melinda and David got over their issues with the help of therapy.
It’s best not to jump to conclusions before discovering the truth. After finding the plane tickets, Melinda thought the worst of David, so she took drastic measures. She should’ve just asked and given him a chance to tell her the truth.
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