Meeting Lizbeth - Chapter Five
“It's over John, all finished.”
The doctor's words repeated in John's mind throughout the years. His vasectomy was over, no more children. It was a simple procedure and no one knew he had it done. There was no reason to tell anyone his private business. When Matilda told him she was pregnant for Jared, he knew it wasn't his, obviously. He knew too that Andrew was the father. Andrew, always around Matilda like a moth to a flame. They really thought they put one over on him, or so they thought. He wasn't born last night and he wasn't blind.
They thought he didn't notice how they looked at each other, like two lovesick cows. Two people not married to each other, but not caring about anyone else. It made him sick. They never tried to hide it from him. They could have each other. He really didn't mind so much for himself, he'd always been a loner, but poor Sophie. She was such a lady in every sense of the word. She was dignified and treated everyone with the same caring gentleness. She was even good to Matilda and treated Matilda like an equal. She was the reason he never told Matilda he knew the truth. He didn't want to see Sophie suffer. She didn't deserve that. Of course it didn't stop when Sophie passed, it got more intense and Andrew was around more often. Then he thought, why bother telling them now?
The Little Guy
He never took it out on the little guy, after all it wasn't his fault. He didn't want that boy but what could he do? More or less he was stuck with him. He tried to act like a father and spend time with the boy over the years, but it just wasn't easy. He now had two children he didn't want and one of them wasn't even his. The boy looked a lot like Andrew's boy, Tom. That made him kinda hard to look at. When he watched his little Maddy fussin and carin for the little guy, he found himself slipping further away from both of them. He felt like Maddy was a traitor too, his own girl.
He thought when Jared started rebelling, that the boy had found out something. He had no idea how or why it was just a feeling in his gut. Jared started carousing and going out with a different girl every night. He was a good looking boy and though he couldn't seem to hold a job he always had money. Maybe it came from his Poppa, Andrew. When he took off at twenty-nine, John told Matilda he was a man and wanted a life of his own. It was time for him to leave. She was broken hearted and sure enough Andrew came around to cheer her up. John withdrew just a little bit more. He cared less and less.
Matilda was now totally devoted to John's care. She felt she owed him that and there was still love left there. Andrew came to visit daily which certainly helped her bear the burden. They had loved their respective spouses and knew with John still here, he was now their responsibility.
The new medication the doctor had given John for his Alzheimer's seemed to help some. He actually had lucid moments when he knew what was going on around him. He could hold a conversation and recognize ordinary things. Matilda was happy for that. It gave Maddy some hope. Though other times he lived totally in the past or his mind seemed to be gone completely.
He knew Maddy and Matilda were suffering more from his illness than he was. When his mind shut down, technically he was not affected. Now, with this new medication, he was more aware of what was going on around him. John didn't know how much longer his mind could rally, even with the medication. He really didn't care anymore. He remembered his life and he remembered Jared's parentage. The betrayal glared at him. Should he tell Matilda? He wondered if it would make it easier or harder on her, but then, what did it matter? He was on his way out, but Andrew was still here and healthy. Let them live with the truth like he did. Let them think about what they did, not just to him but to the children.
Matilda had never been cruel to him, it was he who distanced himself. Who could blame him though? His wife was having an affair right under his nose, but he never knew until she got pregnant. What a slap in the face that was! So what if she wasn't cruel? She had a guilty conscience.
“Oh John, we're going to have another baby.”
He remembered she appeared to be nervous when she told him. If she knew the truth about him she would've been more than nervous. He smiled to himself. After thinking about it for what he considered a long time, he decided to tell her the truth now. Why not share the news?
One afternoon when they were alone and his mind was clear, he looked at her and said,
“Matilda, there's something I have to tell you. I've thought about it long and hard, and before my mind is gone I want you to know the truth. It's going to surprise you.”
“Oh John, nothing you can say can be that terrible. You look so upset dear.”
“Just listen before it's too late now. I never really wanted children. I never liked them and didn't want any of my own. I didn't have the nerve to tell you before we were married and after it was too late. When you got pregnant for Maddy I knew that was all I could handle.”
“Why are you telling me this now John?”
Matilda had tears in her eyes and a new found pain in her heart. She couldn't believe he never wanted children. How could he keep that a secret? Why didn't he tell her before they got married?
John cleared his throat and continued,
“While you were pregnant I went and had a vasectomy.”
“You did what?”
“I had a vasectomy. I didn't want any more children so I thought it was for the best.”
“How dare you? How dare you do something like that without telling me? Something that affected both our lives so drastically.”
As her voice rose so did her realization. All these years John knew Jared was not his son. He knew Andrew was the father of her child. Matilda felt faint and sick to her stomach. Who started this horrible cycle between them? John had never been a fun loving, overly affectionate kind of guy, but he was a good man who worked hard. He had always seemed devoted, in his own way and they had a good life. How on earth did this happen? How did she fall in love with Andrew?
“Oh John, you knew.”
“Of course I knew. How do you think I felt watching you and Andrew cozying up in my own house? It wasn't easy Matilda. Then a baby, a baby that was his! Matilda, is that your name? Yes, I believe it is.”
John was slipping away again. Matilda took his hand and began to cry. Tears streamed down her face for the pain they had both inflicted on each other. John looked at her with that blank stare. She didn't know how long they sat like that. That is how Andrew found them when he came for his afternoon visit.
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