Marriage Confessions

Marriage Confessions

by Kynan Patram

WHEN SOPHIA HAD FINISHED piling the last of her belongings into the packed car, she raced back to the doorstep and threw her arms around Mr. Banks’ neck. “I’ll miss you, Daddy,” she sobbed.

“I’ll miss you, too, sweetheart,” he responded, clutching her tightly around the waist. She was finally leaving the nest and heading off to college. He knew the day would come.

Sophia then turned to Mrs. Banks and hugged her too. “Bye, Mom.” She pecked her mother on the cheek.

“Remember to call when you get there,” Mrs. Banks called after her as she raced to the car.

“I will, Mom!” Sophia called back over her shoulder. She waved as she slipped into the driver seat, before slamming the door and backing down the driveway.

After Mr. Banks had watched her disappear around the corner, Mrs. Banks turned solemnly to him, and said, “She’s not yours.”

What?” he said, furrowing his eyebrows as he turned sharply to his wife.

“Sophia – she’s not your daughter.”

“What do you mean, she’s not my daughter?” croaked Mr. Banks.

“Exactly that. You’re not her father.”

Mr. Banks’ jaw dropped. “Well, who the hell is?” he bellowed.

“Remember Luke McMasters?”

“Yeah,” Mr. Banks grunted, shuddering. He hated Luke, and had always considered him a douchebag. Perhaps the biggest he’d ever met.

“Well, he’s her father.”

Mr. Banks’ shook lividly and his fists tightened until they turned white at the knuckles. “That dirty ... rotten ... b-stard!”

Mrs. Banks bit her lip.

After an awkward silence, Mr. Banks added, “Does ... she ... know?”

Mrs. Banks shook her head.

“And you’re telling me now! Why now?” snarled Mr. Banks, taking a step away from his wife.

Mrs. Banks looked at the ground and kicked at her feet.

“Oh, let me guess,” Mr. Banks began hoarsely, “you needed someone to provide for you ... and her ... because, oh, we all know Luke isn’t the type of guy to stick around. Fern, you deceived me, and you used me! Dammit, woman!” He glared at her.

“What would you expect me to do? Imagine yourself in my position, George. You got pregnant by a man who can’t commit to tying his own shoelaces, for God’s sake. And then you were around, practically begging me to marry you. It’s tough for a mother to raise a kid by herself, you know that? Just look at Nancy. I don’t know how she does it. What would you have done?”

“I’ll tell you what I would have done,” Mr. Banks roared. “I wouldn’t have slept with some no-good scoundrel! And that’s for starters. Besides, your sister gets along just fine. But Luke ... dammit, woman!”

“He was charming,” Mrs. Banks protested. “You have no idea what it’s like for a woman to be around a charming man like him, do you? How could you?”

Mr. Banks’ chest seized up. He felt like his heart might explode. “Ooooh, so I’m not charming – is that what you’re saying?”

Mrs. Banks shook her head. “But George ... you aren’t charming.”

“Oh, so this is all my fault now, is it?” Mr. Banks roared, thumping himself in the chest. “You cheating on me and getting pregnant, then deceiving me into believing she was my kid ... for eighteen f-cking years! ... and that’s my fault? All because you think I’m not charming?” He waved a stubby finger in her face.

“Honey, calm down.”

“Don’t honey me, dammit!” Then he took several massive strides forward and began pacing back and forth, stroking his square jaw aggressively.

“What are you thinking?” Mrs. Banks asked at last.

Mr. Banks suddenly planted his feet firmly on the ground and glared at her. “I had an affair, Fern. Three years ago, I slept with another woman.”

“You did what?” Mrs. Banks shrieked, throwing up her hands.

“You heard me ... I slept with another woman, dammit.”

“How could you do that to me?” Mrs. Banks cried, her eyes welling up.

“Look who’s talking ... Mrs. Perfect over there. You were so caught up writing your novel. And well, I found myself alone quite a bit. She kept popping up in my life, and kept making passes at me. It had been awhile since I’d felt that way ... like I was desirable to a woman. So it just happened.”

“Who was she?” Mrs. Banks demanded at once.

Mr. Banks broke his gaze and started pacing back and forth again, shaking his head and muttering to himself. This was turning into one screwed up day.

“George! Who was she?”

“You don’t want to know,” Mr. Banks muttered, not taking his gaze off the ground as he continued to pace. Sweat was now dripping down his temples, and he felt a mixture of faintness and agitation.

“Tell me, George. Who was she?”

But still Mr. Banks said nothing.

“Goddammit, George! I asked you a question!” She stepped forward.

“YOUR SISTER!” Mr. Banks exploded, wheeling around on his toes to face her. “It was your sister, okay? I slept with Nancy!”

Mrs. Banks eyes began to water, then a tear slid down the side of her cheek. “How – could – you?” she wailed. Then she hid her face in her hands and darted into the house, slamming the door behind her.

Mr. Banks spun around and kicked a stone, sending it sailing across the street. That’s when he noticed a head quickly disappear behind a curtain in the neighbor’s window across the street. But before he could react, he heard the door shoot open behind him.

“Three years ago!” Mrs. Banks screamed from the porch, her arms flailing above her head in disarray. “Three years ago? Cassie was born two years and three months ago!”

“So what?”

Mrs. Banks straightened up. “So what? So ... Nancy told me she was seeing someone special right before she got pregnant, but she refused to tell me who he was.” Her hands shot to her hips. “That would have been you, right?”

Mr. Banks’ lips tightened. “I-I-I suppose so,” he stammered. “So what are you saying – Cassie’s my daughter?”

“Oh, I think you know perfectly well what I’m saying, you pr-ck!” And she slammed the door again, this time much harder, causing the shutters to shake on the front of the house.

Mr. Banks heaved a sigh, then noticed a car had turned onto their driveway. He recognized Nancy in the driver seat instantly. A small head bobbed up and down in the booster seat in the back.

He raced up to the open rear window. “Hi Cassie!”

 

 

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