love, Ruth Nineke

He wanted her to know he was defending his reputation

Post Published: November 3, 2022

“You wanna tell me about that scratch now?” Kevin petitioned his wife. 

They’d just gotten home from his parents’ lake house. Grace was asleep and he and Michelle were between the bathroom and the bedroom, changing clothes and washing up before bed. Kevin was in the mood for some ESPN, but he knew they needed to talk about what happened earlier.

She’d come back from the super market just before noon, and stayed inside the lake house for most of the afternoon. Kevin found it unusual that every time he went inside Michelle found a reason to avoid him, but once all of the guests arrived his mother explained that she’d had an altercation with another shopper at the grocery store.

“At least that’s what she told me,” Jaclyn said. Her tone hinted at her doubt.

“I didn’t touch her,” Kevin was blown away at her silent accusation. 

“You saw us when we got here. We’re better than we’ve ever been.”

“I know,” She turned her mouth downward. “I’m sorry, Kev. I want to believe you two are working things out. But something isn’t adding up. She’s nervous, and shaky. I saw you kiss her this morning,” she admitted. “And when I spoke with her, she seemed really good, you know. But right now…” 

He looked at her expectantly.

Jaclyn shook her head. “Kevin, promise me you didn’t hit her again.”

“I…I can’t even believe this,” he put his hand on his head. 

They stood on the wooden deck. Over Jaclyn’s head Kevin could see Michelle inside the house, sitting at the table. He struggled with his facial expression, trying in vain to signal his frustration to his wife, hoping to give her indication that he needed her help. He wanted her to know he was defending his reputation – to his mother – alone. They were supposed to be a team, but Michelle failed to acknowledge him.

Kevin returned his attention to his mother.

“Mom, I swear on everything,” he said. “I didn’t hit her. You know she wouldn’t hesitate to tell you if I did.”

Jaclyn took a deep breath, and shook her head. 

“She says she doesn’t want to ruin the barbeque. She just wants to stay inside and be left alone.” His mother shrugged, “What am I supposed to think Kevin?”

“Believe me,” he answered, “because I’m your son and even though I’ve done some terrible things, I’ve never ever lied to you before.”

Kevin walked away first. He wasn’t going to waste another minute pleading for his mother’s confidence.


 

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