Terrance and Terry were inseparable since high school up until a few years ago and now they were back together. It was nice to see my husband so happy after all the news we’d been dealt. For the first few days, he was hopeful again that we could make another baby with the doctor’s assistance, but then around the time we started to plan for his birthday party things began to change.
One day, Terrance walked in unexpectedly and we scurried to put everything away and “act natural”. We failed miserably. If anything, we looked even more suspicious.
“Hello?” Terrance said. He placed his bag on the counter and walked a few steps into the room. His brows furrowed and his lips frowned. He didn’t verbally ask what was going on, but his body language repeated the question several times.
“Hey, T,” Terry greeted him on his way to the bathroom. Leave it to Terry to excuse himself first from this awkward situation.
“Hi, babe,” I kissed his cheek and wrapped my arms around him. He accepted my affection, but the look on his face told me he was distrusting. Only his face, never with his words. I wished he would say something so I could soothe his fears with little white lies. It wasn’t the best, but at least I would have a clue about what he was thinking.
One night he sat propped up in the bed flipping through a magazine. It was one of mine, so I knew the motion was done absently as he worked through his thoughts.
“What’s wrong, babe?” I decided to open up the conversation. I didn’t like when he was in a mood and PMS decreased my patience for beating around the bush.
“I came home for lunch today,” he started. “You weren’t home, but your car was here.”
“So…” I prompted. He needed to get to the point.
“Where were you? I called you to see if you wanted to go to lunch and you never picked up.”
“I’m sorry, babe. I was helping Terry pick out some furniture and I didn’t hear my phone ring.”
“So you were with Terry?”
“Yes, picking out furniture.” He looked at me for a moment before a quick nod and leaving the room. He didn’t come to bed until later. My answer was the truth, but it seemed he didn’t trust it.
As the days progressed, we didn’t spend much time together. It wasn’t from not trying on my part. I planned dates, but he was always busy. I stopped by the stadium, but he claimed to not have time to break for lunch. When he left for an away game, he barely called me at all. My calls went to voice mail and my messages weren’t returned.
“Terry, could you pass me the remote, babe.”
He passed it to me and sat back. Holding his head, he spoke, “Terrance.”
“Call me Terrance.”
“Okay? Any reason why?”
“It’s my name.”
“Okay,” I said shrugging my shoulders. It was a weird request, but I’d comply with it. I was doing so good until one night we were having sex.
His hands moved with such an intensity. I lost myself in the moment. His moans were like music to my ears and each kiss was sweeter than the last. When I reached my climax it was only natural to call him Terry, but as soon as the name left my lips, he pulled away.
On the day of his birthday, he had been in a mood all day. I asked him what was bothering him but he kept it bottled in. At least, he held it in until we walked to out front door.
“I’m tired of you always being at his house. No married woman should spend that much time with a man other than her husband. And why is he always here? You cooking for him too? He has enough money to hire a chef. And every time I come home, you two are huddled up together. I don’t like it. It makes me question whether there’s something going on between you two.” When he finally opened the door, I knew he had only taken a moment to catch his breath before the rant continued.
“Surprise!” everyone shouted and smiled.
Terrance’s face didn’t easily crack into a smile until his teammate and friend Keith spoke, “He’s here. Let’s eat!”
Everyone laughed and a couple of other teammates smacked Keith’s arm. He was always ready to eat for every occasion.
“You okay, girl?” Carla probed when I took a moment to breathe in the kitchen. I’m sure she saw it on my face, but I nodded anyway. “He’s just stressed. You know his contract is coming up and…”
I held up my hand. I knew all the reasons why he might be more stressed out than usual, but it didn’t soothe the ache in my chest that began when he spoke all those things to me just outside the front door. He was just so angry.
The party continued without any problems and even though I didn’t want to, I felt the need to keep my distance from Terry. His expressions asked if I was okay, but I looked away rather than answer. He knew. Carla knew. I felt like everybody knew even though I put on a smile. Leaving Terrance’s view only to check on the food and bring out the cake, I tried to keep it together.
“Thanks, babe,” Terrance told me when the last person left. “I’m…I’m sorry about earlier. I was out of line.”
I accepted his apology and kissed his lips. We made love that evening, but it was off. I had to remember to call him by his first name and not the nickname I’d used since we were dating. I had to force the feelings of hurt that were so fresh from my mind and hold on to the reasons I loved this man.
We woke up the next day and went on with our lives, but something changed in our relationship. We lost something the night before. I replayed everything he said in my mind trying to pinpoint what it was, but then I considered that maybe we had been losing something for some time now.
When Terrance’s contract was signed, everything seemed to return to normal. He was calmer and more welcoming to Terry. He even invited him over to get the shirt he bought him while he was gone for his last away game. Terry was eager to try it on. Turning to the mirror, he took off the shirt he had on to replace it with his gift. I left the room, but I could still hear their conversation.
“What happened to your back?” Terrance asked.
“What?” Terry paused. “Oh, why are you acting like you don’t know what these are? I don’t know how many times you’ve had scratches on your back. Trying to act like your girl’s not a freak.”
“Don’t talk about my wife like that,” Terrance reprimanded.
“That wasn’t me that said it first. I’m just repeating your words.”
“Well I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t repeat them anymore.”
“Okay?” Terry said. “What happened to you man? You used to brag how she used to…”
“Stop, Terry,” Terrance insisted. His voice increased in volume as he became more irritated with the conversation. I believed the gift was intended to help smooth the relationship that had grown tense and I felt bad how the scenario played out. Entering the room, I could feel the tense energy given off by the two of them.
“You know what?” Terry pulled down the new shirt and picked up his old one. “I thank you for the shirt, but I have some stuff I need to tend to. I’ll catch you later.”
“Okay.” They shook hands, but I could tell the motion was done out of formality and habit. The shirt that was meant to help heal their relationship was reopening the wound.
The look Terrance gave me when Terry left, you’d swear he thought those scratch marks were my doing. I shook my head as I watched the clouds brood over his head again. Even with the contract signed, he was still stressing whether or not I was cheating on him with his best friend.
Once again, Terry stayed away again. I’m not sure if it was on purpose, but he took extended business trips and visited family. Terrance focused on work and I occupied my time with taking care of TJ and working out.
Peace eventually came back to our home and Terrance’s relationship with his best friend improved when he found out Terry had a girlfriend.
Terrance planned a boat trip, which was something we used to do before we had our son, TJ.
Everything was fine until Terry’s girlfriend learned she had motion sickness. Unfortunately, Dramamine didn’t work for her and she suffered for a day before deciding to fly home. Her absence created an awkward trio.
“Babe, come on let’s go to bed,” I pulled on his arm after he downed three shots of hard liquor.
“Why? We’re celebrating.”
“Terrance, you’re not celebrating. You’re getting drunk.”
“You do you, boo boo,” he slurred.
“You heard me, do you and let me be.” I narrowed my eyes at him as he poured himself another drink.
“I’m going to bed,” I told him and walked away.
Sleep was elusive, given how my thoughts ran wild considering the path my marriage was taking. There were good day and bad days. I had to watch my words and he every now and then he’d look at me like he was trying to figure something out. I loved him, but apparently he couldn’t see it. The ups and downs were exhausting. When sleep finally came, it was interrupted with cries for help.
“Vanessa! Help!!” I woke up and doubted whether or not someone called my name, but when he yelled again. I ran to the deck.
“I don’t know!”
I helped Terry pull my husband out of the water. Terrance’s wet form laid on the floor and I was scared that his chest wasn’t moving.
“Call the coast guard. I’ll do CPR.” He shook me for a moment when I didn’t move. “Vanessa, call for the coast guard.”
I snapped out of it to run to the radio and call for help. Terrance showed me long ago how to do everything. I thought he was a bit militaristic, but his training came through when I needed it. It just wasn’t enough.
He died and my world crashed. I left the bed only to use the bathroom. After the funeral, my sister stayed with me for a couple weeks. When she left, Terry tried to step in until the investigation became unbearable.
I felt like I was considered a suspect. Admitting we weren’t the happiest of couples only lead to more questions. When it came out that part of our problems stemmed from Terrance suspecting a relationships between Terry and me, the intensity of the questions became overwhelming. It was worse for Terry, but in the end any possible charges were dropped.
Sitting in front of the fireplace with the box of Terrance’s belongings left at the stadium. I opened envelopes of fan mail and decided to make a scrap book for TJ to learn about his father. The letters from fans would show him how his father touched people’s lives.
In the last envelope, I found a letter that was neither from a fan nor the team’s management. The unbroken seal meant he never read it. When I opened it, my mouth dropped when I read the information it contained. Terrance ordered a paternity test for TJ. It only confirmed what I already knew to be true and I began to wonder how long our relationship would have lasted with this level of distrust. Tossing it into the fire, I sipped my wine mixed with the tears that fell down my face.
We didn’t have parents to show us what relationships looked like over time. No one told us what to do after the feelings of falling in love were gone. We tried to keep it up, but failed miserably. There was something missing between us and now he was missing. My plan was to spend the rest of my life with my husband, but I’m afraid if death hadn’t taken him, he would have left me.
I had a plan, but I never planned for this. So what am I supposed to do now?
by Angelique Grey