The Catalyst ~ PR Spates

The Catalyst
by PR Spates
Image by PR Spates

She kept her eyes on the red taillights ahead of them. Looking at him would do nothing but make her cry. After a while, she closed her eyes; the medication was finally starting to kick in. Just in time, too.

“I think this getaway is just what you- what we need, honey,” he said. “Yep, it’s exactly what we need.”

She ignored him and glanced down at her phone. There was a buffet of missed calls, text messages and social media notifications. Her voicemail box was stuffed with sympathy calls, requests for interviews and Lord knows what else. Sure, the getaway was a good idea, but it couldn’t hide the fact that twenty-four hours ago, Megan tried to kill herself.

“Are you okay, honey?” he asked. Megan nodded as she looked at her phone again. “Don’t worry about the press,” he said. “T-They think they know what happened, but they don’t. You’ve been working yourself to the bone, and I can’t imagine.”

As he continued to speak, his words turned to a steady hum in the back of her mind. Megan unlocked her cellphone screen, accessed her text messages and scrolled to the name HER.

HER: Hi Megan.
MEGAN: Who is this?
HER: Your husband’s girlfriend.

The mysterious woman began sending messages to Megan over six months ago, alleging an affair that was nearly two years old. She didn’t want to believe that her husband was sleeping around, but technology allowed her and the world an inside scoop of all of his wrongdoings, whether she wanted to know it or not. From photos to screenshots and actual video, Megan saw her husband in a brand new light. The sweet nerd of a graphic designer was a closet S&M addict who enjoyed his fair share of roleplaying. In addition to that, Megan noticed he was grooming himself more; he even switched out his wire-rimmed glasses for a modern, bold frame. T-shirts were replaced with button ups and V-necks, and no name shoes were replaced with Timberlands and Vlados.

Their joint accounts were dwindling, too. Three years’ salary shrunk down to just a few months’ worth of income. His paper trail was sloppy, too: sushi dinners after hours, lingerie that she never saw, and hotel stays in town when he told her that he was out of town. The signs were there, but Megan kept her blinders on and continued to live her life as if it was perfect.

Until a week ago.

It had been a month or two since she heard from the other woman, and her husband seemed to be on his husband like behavior, so Megan took on a photoshoot in Chicago. While prepping in makeup, a delivery man showed up looking for her.

“Megan Reese,” he called.

“Over here,” she said. The delivery man handed her a padded envelope, smiled then walked off. She examined the package; there was no return address, just her name and the address to the building. A rush of excitement filled her as she thought maybe he was finally being romantic, but when she opened the package, that excitement was replaced with disgust.

It was ultrasound with a clear message written in silver Sharpie:

IT’S A BOY! OUR LIFE IS COMPLETE.

Megan looked at him again, the catalyst to her breakdown. He was still rambling on about something when she pulled herself back to reality. “I mean, I think that maybe we should move.”

“Move?” she asked. “Why?’

He shrugged. “I just think it’s time for us to relocate. Plant our feet someplace else. I mean we don’t have any ties here.”

Ties. Her, no but he did, which could have explained his sudden desire to just up and leave. She couldn’t just let this situation die out like nothing happened. The truth had to come to light.

“Michael,” she said his name softly, but he didn’t respond. “Michael!”

He paused and looked at her. “Honey.”

Megan searched her purse as she spoke. “In the ten years that we have been together, I thought I knew you. I thought I really knew who you were from the inside out, but in these past months, I realized something. You’re a liar.”

“Megan?”

She shook her head. “You know, in the last six months, I have tried to kill myself nearly five times.”

“Honey.”

Megan stopped him again. “I’ve been depressed and so unsure of exactly who I am now. I have spent so much of my life in a spotlight that when I met you, I felt like I was safe. I was free to be me and just…” She sighed. “Then you went and did the one thing that I never believed, let alone thought, you could do.”

“Honey, let me pull over and we can talk.”

“We are talking,” she said. “We’re talking about you cheating on me and having children with another woman.”

“Megan.” His head snapped back and forth from the road to her and back again. “Honey.” He pulled over to the side along a snowbank. “Megan, I can explain this.”

Her fingers grasped the contents of her purse as she laughed. “What can you explain, Michael? That you’ve been messing around with this woman for over two years? That you and her have a child together and you’ve been using our money- my money to support them?”

“Megan.”

She shrugged off his attempt to touch her. “I can’t believe I thought your life was more important than mine.”

“Baby, please. Let’s talk about this.”

Megan shook her head. “It’s a good thing you made him your namesake, too.”

“Baby.”

A shot fired and Michael’s body fell onto the steering wheel. Megan stuffed the .45 caliber back into her purse then pulled out a family photo of Michael, her and their two kids. She set the photo on the dashboard then snapped a picture of it with her phone.

She attached the photo to a text message to HER:

MEGAN: I dare you to come and find me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *