Once I found the team, I began to count the rows behind them. My knees buckled like someone kicked me from behind and I gripped the banana-colored metal railing for support. For about ten seconds."That f*cker." Her tone was menacingly quiet."Oh my god." I rasped"I will kill him." Melissa continued."I can't believe this is happening.""I will slash the tires on his car."The half-time buzzer shrilled through my body, slamming me back to reality."Meet me at the top of his row.""Holy sh*t! " Melissa was ringing her hands anxiously."I'm going to let him know I see him. Within minutes, I was barreling up his front steps. I rocketed through the side gate, into his backyard. The only light was the ghostly pall the digital microwave cast on the kitchen that lay just beyond the sliding glass door. I could see that he was holding his requisite three fingers of scotch in his right hand."You." I growled. I see him here with his wife and I see him for the lying, no good, worthless asshole that he really is."Before she could stop me, I was stumbling down the stairs. Two years later, I was pushing 23 and still pushing for my 'boyfriend' to get a divorce. The car door slammed behind Melissa and I was left to my own nervous devices. " concern played across Melissa's graceful features. If his Jaguar is there, he's taken the shuttle to the Utah Jazz game. I could see his briefcase nestled on the buttery leather passenger seat. Maybe he had a quick business meeting with Jenna and her dad, then went to the Jazz game on his own. I scuttled back to Melissa and broke the news."Drive to the Delta Center," I commanded. "I leaned against the refrigerator and slumped slowly to the floor."I just can't take it anymore. You withhold information to keep me from getting upset, but discovering the truth is worse. Ryan had moved out of his family home and he and his wife were officially separated, but there was no divorce on the horizon. The adrenaline rocketing through my body caused my right leg to jitter up and down. I did a quick scan for feminine items: lip gloss, a purse, a jacket, something a wife would leave behind. My voice sounded harsh, like the manual pencil sharpeners from elementary school that chewed the ends of yellow number twos. Ryan was above me, chatting amiably to the man and woman seated next to him. Once home (and a few shots of Jagermeister to calm my frazzled nerves later), excruciatingly painful sobs tore out of my chest and ripped upward through my throat. As I got closer, I could hear him discussing the game with the couple in the two seats between his and the stairway. My appearance at the Jazz games he had shared with his wife for nearly fifteen years was so out of context he could only grimace uncertainly. I curled into a fetal position, clutched my stomach and buried my face into my pillow to drown the howling. I skittered drunkenly for the bathroom and spewed the contents of my stomach into the toilet. It felt good and I did it again."You deserve that you stupid b*tch." I slurred at myself. A quick look in Jenna's direction confirmed she was chattering away obliviously with a group of women. The couple he was conversing with smiled politely my way and continued chatting to each other, allowing Ryan to catch up with a woman they assumed was an old acquaintance or coworker."Ryyyann..." I chirped in the strange falsetto that was bursting from my throat. I flushed, draped my arms across the toilet seat and dropped my feverish head across them. I dragged my fingernails down my cheek, inspiring puffy, red welts.
My rage exploded out of my mouth like bullets from a machine gun."Ryyyannn! ""You really might be able to see us, we sit exactly 14 rows behind the Jazz players." He had replied. 14 rows."Just stay quiet and agree with whatever I say,” I whispered to Melissa as we approached one of the entries."Good evening Miss, can I see your ticket please? He won't be here, I comforted myself, and if he is, he'll be with friends. Years spent telling friends "no" so I could wait around at home on the off-chance Ryan would be able to sneak away. I walked directly in front of him, my body quivering with rage. I slapped the glass of amber colored Glenlivet from his grasp. Blood was spurting from the center of my hand where my palm had connected with the glass, leaving behind a torn flap of skin."Oh, Monica." Ryan was crying now. Still, he clung to my hand, pulling me to the kitchen where he wrapped a dish towel around the bloody mess, pressing the damp cloth into my palm. Once he left, she and I were walking out of the restaurant together when we ran into our old group of friends who go to the Jazz games. Before you think anything about anything let me just say this: I know. I'd finally escaped the Mormon bubble and was puffed with pride over my bona fide college student status. I could babysit my beloved 2-year-old in the morning, attend college classes in the afternoon, then head to the office.I know it's not the best thing in the world to be dating a guy twice your age. I answered an ad in the classifieds and nabbed employment as a nanny (rich folk term for babysitter) of a cherubic-faced 2-year-old. At the time, my boyfriend, Cody, was in the thick of pledging a fraternity. He owned a company and was in need of a "file girl,” who could hang around the office for a couple of hours every afternoon. After babysitting for the family for a few months, Ryan approached me with an offer.I like about 200, I want to be able to know everybody' I say you are so stinking selfish," argued Stanley."You care nothing about the next generation. You don't care about your kids, anybody else's kids."Stanley's comments garnered controversy, with sites like Pulpit & Pen criticizing Stanley's calls for larger churches as missing other important considerations for joining a church."Nevermind if the church is doctrinally sound, nevermind if your kids hear the Gospel preached from the pulpit.