John wasn’t entirely sure how his parents got to this point. He knew, and could remember vividly, that they had rarely slept in the same room since he was a boy. Now that he thought about it he couldn’t even place a memory of them hugging, kissing, smiling at each other, or laughing except when it was directed at something he had said. Did they touch? They gave John hugs. That’s about it.
His father told him the day before, with tears in his eyes. They didn’t seem to be from the divorce but rather out of concern for his son. They held it together until John graduated and adjusted to adult life, but “I, we, just cannot keep up this act anymore. I love you son; I love your mom. I just can’t stay here,” Howard explained.
It felt as though he shouldn’t be shocked, but he was; not his parents; not now. John’s idea of love wasn’t based on cartoons or big screen romance. Two people didn’t have to stay in love to stay together, to love each other, to journey through life together.
His outlook on life was suddenly falling down all around him. Despite only a passing interest in settling into marriage sometime in the next ten years it was truly something he looked forward to. After all, even if Janice and Howard didn’t cuddle they did always have each other for company, and for friendly arguments.
If they couldn’t hold it together after 30 years what hope did he have in the current culture. Nobody seemed able to make it work anymore; they had always given him hope. His future wife might not always be his best friend, but the assumption had been that she would always be there. Now he knew not what to think.
What John couldn’t have known without existing 27 years ago and an expensive pair of binoculars was that they barely held on the last 26 years to start with. Who would ever guess one of their parents had an affair? Parents don’t do that, right? They make money, have children, teach those children, show the child what love looks like done right. They don’t cheat. They don’t betray. Only, sometimes they do. She did. Janice. Did.