Thursday, June 22, 2006

One

My breath came out in little puffs of steam. I sat curled in the front seat of my car, which was at this moment parked strategically outside of the bowling alley where Scott worked. It was mid-March which might indicate the approach of spring in some parts of the country, but in Minnesota, the winter was not finished slapping me in the face. The temperature was in the teens, and I had turned my car off hours before in order to draw less attention to myself. I was across the street from the bowling alley and partially obscured by other parked vehicles, but from this vantage point I could see both the rear exit of the kitchen as well as part of the bar area inside the building. I glanced at the clock on the dash - it was 12:30 am - late for a work night. I was going to be exhausted the next morning when my alarm went off at 5am. But I didn't care. Right now, all I cared about was keeping an eye on my boyfriend, whom I was sure was cheating on me with a slut named Kristin. She also worked at the bowling alley, and I knew that Scott had been staying very late each night to bowl with Kristin after work. I also knew third-hand from my girlfriend, whose husband told her that Scott had told him Kristin was the hottest chick he had ever seen. Also, he was drinking quite a bit, which while not unusual, was not a positive indicator for continued monogamy. Almost every night since he had begun cooking in the kitchen of said bowling alley, Scott had come home between 1 and 4am, intoxicated but denying it, and saying he had stayed late to bowl. I myself went to bed every night before 9pm, but woke at 1am without fail to sit up and worry. Where was he? Did he get in an accident on the way home? It was only about a mile drive home from the bowling alley, but I'd heard from my dad that 90% of motor vehicle accidents happen within 10 miles of home. Did he get pulled over by a Belle Plaine cop? If so, he was probably sitting in the county jail at this moment, tryin to decide if he should call me to pick him up or if he should call his slut Kristin, who no doubt would be far more understanding and less angry to receive such a call in the middle of the night. After all, he had just been bowling with her - maybe more? - so he would know she was awake. What if he went home with her? They could be in her apartment at this very moment, fucking like rabbits, laughing at me for being so stupid as to think he really loved me and would never even think of another woman that way.
The stress of the midnight panic attacks over Scott's well being and his fidelity had been taking quite a toll on my nerves. I was jumpy, irritable, and resentful all of the time. On the nights when he didn't work, I would say I was tired and go to bed early. If he tried to make a move, I'd whine and say maybe tomorrow. The truth was, I was just too angry to be intimate. I probably would have gotten off more from an explosive argument than from 15 minutes of rolling around in the dark. After I was in bed, I'd lie awake thinking that he sitting in the living room and pretending to watch TV while he jerked off the sound of Kristin's voice on his cell phone and wished that he wasn't stuck with a crabby bitch like me. God, if I could only find a way to get rid of her, he would say. She would give a commiserative sigh and make a joke about my big nose, and they would laugh and talk into the night.
So here I was, at half past twelve on a Monday night, sitting in my freezing cold car and waiting to catch them in the act. I was sure he would leave with her in her car, or follow her to her place, and then I'd have my proof. What would I do then, I wondered? Well, it would depend on what he said when I confronted him with. Or maybe I should bang on her door after they've gone in, and punch her lights out when she answered the door. Except that I didn't like to fight, and she seemed like someone who had more experience than I, so I was pretty sure I'd be the one who got my ass kicked instead of dishing it out. Or what if I didn't wait long enough before banging on the door, and they hadn't gotten naked and started screwing yet? Maybe they would be watching a movie and then I would feel like a phycho and I still wouldn't have my proof. Well, I would worry about what to do once I had the truth.
I could see Scott inside every ten minutes or so. He was obviously still working because he was wearing an apron and carrying hotel pans and other items around from the bar to the kitchen. Also, he came out the back door once to throw a few garbage bags into the dumpster. After a long time, I saw him appear at the bar sans apron and order a beer. He proceeded to talk and laugh, although I couldn't see who with and I hadn't seen Kristen at any point during the night. Maybe it was her night off and he was waiting for her to show up so they could go back to her place. As I glanced at the clock again, I saw movement in my rearview mirror and was startled by it. It was a car, driving slowly up beside me. It was a police car. Great, like this is going to be easily explained. I frantically searched for a reasonable explanation to give the police officer when he walked over to my window to ask why the hell I was sitting in my car, in the cold, dark night, staring in the windows of the building across the street. I couldn't think. I was in total panic mode. I knew I wasn't really breaking the law, but I couldn't reason away the anxiety. I glanced again in the rearview. The cruiser was fast approaching on the driver's side where I sat. Was I breaking the law? Was this considered loitering? It was almost 1:30 in the morning after all...