Micaela writes a fun message on her husband as she sends him on his way to his Christmas party, but when he gets home, intoxicated, she finds a reply. Who wrote it, and what does it mean?
Remote working means that I don’t get to do the office Christmas parties involving all the drunk employees finally revealing what they think of each other. Thank goodness. But my husband, Travis, wasn’t so lucky — so I sent him on his way with a note written on his chest.
Don’t judge me — Travis is a lightweight when it comes to his alcohol.
We’ve been married for five years, so trusting Travis is second nature. But it started as a joke because I had the marker in my hand while he was getting dressed anyway.
This is my husband — touch him, and you’ll pay- M, I wrote.
“Micaela,” he said as he was leaving. “I’m just going for a few drinks. I’ll be back home early.”
Travis left, and I began to put up the Christmas tree and decorate our living room because neither of us had the time to do it otherwise. But as I put the stockings onto the mantel, Travis dragged himself into the house.
I took one look at him and knew that he was intoxicated. I walked him to our bedroom, ready to get him undressed and put him to bed. But while helping him undress, I found a reply to my smudged message.
Keep the change, it said.
I laughed at it, not thinking anything about the situation. But as the night went on and I stayed up watching old Christmas movies, the message constantly flashed in my mind.
When Travis woke up the following day, I asked him about the party.
He said that they started at his office, then went to a bar for karaoke, and finally ended up at a club for a few hours. I asked him about the message, and he looked confused.
“One of the guys probably wrote it,” he said. “There was a lot to drink, and you know how the guys get.”
Still, it bugged me. So, I went to my Mom for advice. I confided in her, asking her how to deal with unease and distrust in my marriage — something that had never come up in the last five years.
Mom’s solution was to bug Travis’ car with a GPS tracker. Now, I’m not one to snoop around, and I didn’t really want to do it. But I needed this nagging feeling to be silenced. So, I agreed. But I knew if Trav ever found it, he would feel so betrayed.
Anyway, in the last week before his Christmas break, I watched his movements on my laptop, tracking his to-and-from work commutes. But then, one evening, he called me and said he needed to stay late and complete some work before signing off for the holidays.
I believed him — I was facing deadlines as well.
But while he spoke, I opened the app on my laptop again and saw that his car was on the move. The car was moving in the opposite direction of home instead of taking me to the suburbs of mansions and fancy cars.
Naturally, I got into my car and followed along — having also downloaded the tracking app to my phone. My heart pounded as I parked across the road from where his car was parked in the driveway of a stunning house.
I sat in the car, texting my mother and updating her about my Friday night activity. About two hours later, Travis emerged from the house, beaming from ear to ear. I sat up a little straighter, trying to see everything.
To my shock, a woman followed closely behind him. She reached for his arm when he turned around to face her. She embraced him with a kiss on the lips. My heart sank, and the knots in my stomach finally unraveled because the root of unease looked me in the face.
The world seemed to pause momentarily as I grappled with the reality unfolding before me. In an impulsive surge of adrenaline, I snapped some photos of them together, capturing the undeniable evidence of the moment my marriage ended.
I swiped through them on my phone, realizing that sitting in the car wouldn’t help me.
I walked up to the house, and Travis saw me first. He was too shocked to respond. He just stood there, watching me walk toward them.
“So, you’re the woman who left a message on my husband?” I asked.
But to my astonishment, her reply wasn’t what I expected. Instead of cowering or denying any of it, she boldly asserted that I deserved better.
“Husbands like this deserve to be treated like spare change,” she said, glancing at Travis.
He, red-faced from anger and embarrassment, exclaimed, “How dare you?”
But it didn’t matter. The woman had already closed the door. I left Travis standing there and returned to my car, ignoring him. And when I got back to the car, there was a text from my Mom and the number for a divorce lawyer.
It was the heartbreaking Christmas present I gave myself, instead of the Christmas celebration I thought we would have. Instead, I face a new beginning — a New Year of rebuilding, rediscovery, and pursuing happiness on my terms.
Life is clearly unpredictable, that’s for sure — especially five years into a marriage.
Here’s another story for you: Concerned about her husband’s suspicious behavior for some weeks, a loving wife arranges for a caring cab driver to drive her in pursuit, whatever the cost and wherever it leads. But everything is not as it seems when she eventually uncovers the truth and exposes a long-hidden secret.