“Wake up you asshole!” Jamie screamed angrily as she kicked Mark who was asleep lying in Jamie’s bed. Mark woke up abruptly as he was being pushed out of bed.

“Stop it. Stop it!” Mark said in a foggy haze.

“What the hell is this?” Jamie said looking at Mark’s phone. “You have a girl under the name ‘Babe’ sending you naked photos asking you what you think? Oh you’re such an asshole. I knew I couldn’t trust you. Now get the fuck out of my apartment!”

“What?” Marked asked still confused. Jamie threw his phone at him. “You’re acting crazy. But whatever I’m gone.” Mark grabbed some of his clothes and got dressed. He grabbed his wallet and keys and headed out her front door without saying another word. He wasn’t quite sure what was said but there was angrier yelling and crying as he got his things to leave.

It happened to be a Saturday morning and Mark had the weekend off. He made one call to a friend and decided to take a road trip north. He thought this would be a nice way to clear his head. It was only about an hour away to see his friend. As he got into the car he knew whatever had happened this morning wasn’t his fault. He couldn’t argue that there was indeed a picture of a naked girl on his phone. He couldn’t argue that his girlfriend Jamie had every right to be mad at him for it. As Mark hit the road on a clear summer’s day he knew that Jamie had jumped to conclusions just like you, the reader, have probably already jumped to having one judgement or the other of Mark. While Mark knew he still had a full 57 minutes left of driving until he reached his destination, he knew that wasn’t going to be enough time to fully explain or even understand what had happened this morning.

Therefore instead of trying to go back and explain the actions leading up to the Saturday morning debacle I’ve decided as the writer and narrator, yes that’s me, to go forward with a few questions that Mark or any other man in a similar situation might be asking himself. Then I’ll leave it up to you to decide how you feel, because that’s the point of any good story right? To either make you feel something or to make you think.

Now as Mark hit the road he asked himself many questions. He hadn’t even looked at the photo in his phone. He only looked at the contact’s name. Who was this girl? Why was she naked? While those were his initial thoughts he knew it didn’t really even matter. What did matter to him was what Jamie had said about not trusting him. They had been together for eight months. They were staying at each other’s places on a regular basis. She had a drawer at his apartment. He thought things were going well. Was there always lingering doubts that he couldn’t be trusted? What had he done to ever make her feel this way? Had this lasted the whole time they were together or was this something recent? Not only was trust something he took very serious but he had no idea that her trust in him was ever in any kind of question. Did this have to do with their differences in personalities? Mark was more outgoing and adventurous. It was not to say that he was overly trusting but he felt he had good judgement in people. Once you had earned his trust you meant a great deal to him. Jamie was on the other hand was shy and reserved. She often only liked going to places she had already known she liked or had researched online. He couldn’t deny that there were issues with their differences in personalities in the past. Mark always believed that she was a good ying to his yang. He was now questioning if she felt the same.

Jamie had called and even texted a few vengeful messages to Mark while on his drive. He decided to ignore them and focus on his drive and looking ahead. There were just some things you can’t go back from. Sometimes you just have to look forward. He also knew there was no reasoning with Jamie when she was being emotional and she felt betrayed and hurt. Mark decided to pull off the highway for a little bit. He was in no major rush to see his friend. He knew they had all weekend and he wanted to get all the ideas in his head sorted out. He filled up his gas tank and bought a burger and a milk shake at a small mom and pops restaurant nearby. He walked outside and sat on the bench. It really was a beautiful day and the skies were clear. A perfect summer’s day Mark thought as he sat there in a white tee shirt and jeans. It almost felt like a place and a moment to be shared.

For the next half hour of driving there was only one major question that Mark struggled with. Can you have any real relationship if there isn’t trust? He decided there’s not. Without trust there isn’t any respect. Without any respect then there isn’t any loyalty. Without having any trust, respect, or loyalty there really wasn’t any reason to be involved with someone. He had gotten to the age where half relationships or hookups were nothing but a pointless distraction from his life. He wanted to be surrounding himself with good people that actually cared about him. He didn’t much care for those people who could always go out and have a good time and then be forgotten about for periods of time. Those weren’t real friends. He felt his real friends knew who he was.

Mark had pulled off the highway and had been driving on some country side roads for about fifteen minutes before he found the one he had been looking for. It wasn’t a place where a GPS probably would have worked. It was a ranch out in the middle of nowhere. The last time he had been here he was pretty sure he only had cell service for half of the day. He drove down a gravel driveway about a mile long. When he pulled up to the house a few animals were wandering around.

“Hey Babe how you doing?” Mark said walking towards the door.

“I really wish you would stop calling me that. You have a dozen nicknames and a million stories for me. Can’t you just pick another one? Or actually use my name?” Victor said. He was a childhood friend of Mark’s who had always dreamed of owning his own farm one day. When Mark was younger he never quite understood the allure of it. As time went on Mark started to realize what Victor had learned many years earlier. It was peaceful out here. It was easier to enjoy the little things and forget about all the nonsense when you’re not around it.

“Yeah but you’re the only person I know who has a pet pig name Babe. How is she by the way?”

“She’s good. I think she got a little depressed when I had to put one of the dogs down. They had grown pretty close. She’s not that small cute thing you probably remember though.”

“I still think pigs are cute regardless. Call me old fashioned.”

“Here take a seat man. You want me to grab you a beer?”

“You better make it a whiskey. I need something stronger. I need to talk to you about something.”

“You’re not taking Babe back are you?”

“I’ll never take Babe away from you Victor. I have no place for her in the city. Grab those drinks and we’ll talk.” Victor went inside the house and came back outside with two glasses of whiskey straight. He brought the bottle just in case. There were two rocking chairs sitting on his front porch. They both sat down and looked out towards the ranch.

“So what’s on your mind buddy?” Victor asked.

“I think me and Jamie are over man. I think it we have to call it quits.”

“I’m sorry to hear that man. Did something happen?”

“Oh you could say that. You know that picture you sent me last night? The naked girl” Victor smiled.

“Oh yeah. What a hottie right?”

“Well Jamie saw it.”

“So? It’s a girl I hooked up with. I sent it to you. I didn’t send it to her. You can’t look at naked girls? That sounds a bit over protective.”

“You’re saved in my phone under ‘Babe.’ She thinks I cheated on her with the girl that you sent me a picture of.”

“I’m confused.” Victor said. Mark handed him his phone with the screen opened to the text message he sent him. “Oh! Yeah that looks really bad. What did she say?”

“She kicked me out, called me an asshole, and said she knew she couldn’t trust me.”   

“What did you say?”

“I was half asleep. I didn’t really say anything. I just left.”

“Have you called her at all? Tried to explain the situation to her? This is all just a stupid misunderstanding. Bro I’m really sorry. I had no idea it would put you in this situation. I just thought you’d get a giggle over the girl I hooked up with.”

“It just happened this morning man. I just got in my car and drove here. I’ve just been thinking the whole drive here. I don’t think she’s even calmed down enough to talk to. She can get pretty emotional.”

“I know I’ve only met her a few times but do you want me to call her and explain the whole situation? Here I can screenshot the text message I sent you. It’ll have your name and the time stamp and everything. It’s not like that can be faked this fast. I can send it to her.”

“Is it even worth it man? I can’t help but getting caught up on the fact that she said she knew she couldn’t trust me. I have no clue what I ever did to make her think that way. Was there always this insecurity with her that one day I’d cheat on her or something? I don’t get how all the women I come across all seem to have this fear that whoever they date will just eventually cheat on them. I’m not sure I can marry a woman who thinks like that.”

“Buddy… I know you’re smart. You’re very smart actually, but I think you may be over thinking this whole thing. She saw your phone. She rushed to the conclusion that you were sexting with some girl. Which we both know is completely wrong. But that made her angry and emotional. She could hardly be thinking completely straight. What if the words just flew out of her mouth? What if she didn’t mean it? Are you willing to throw this all away over it?”

“Yes. She texted me a few times after she kicked me out. I didn’t respond. It was just vengeful hurtful things. I don’t think this is something you can go back from. Once that doubt creeps in it’s always there. Once that trust is being questioned it mine as well be gone. There’s always going to be that elephant in the room of if she really trusts me or not. Then I’m only going to force myself to try and prove it to her and create stress and anxiety. That peace is now gone for me.”

“I get what you’re saying but maybe you’re being a little emotional yourself?”

“Maybe I am, but am I wrong? We’ve had our issues in the past. Issues that I don’t feel like we ever really figured out we just put them on the back burner. Maybe I’m finally thinking clearly and realizing that things don’t always figure themselves out. I mean don’t you think if things were meant to be it would just seem easier?”

“Look I’m not a relationship expert. I’m divorced so everything I say can be taken with an asterisk. I don’t think any relationship is ever easy. I think they’re all hard. I do agree with you though. Things should be simple. If it’s meant to be there should be that love that doesn’t fade. You should know where you stand. You should be able to trust one another and be able to communicate, even if its things that isn’t easy to discuss. If you don’t feel like you have that then you should get out before it hurts you anymore.”

“That’s kind of the conclusion I was coming to myself.” Mark said taking a sip.

“But I still think she needs to know the truth. I think she needs to know she pushed you away.”

“What’s really the point anyways?”

“Well I think she’ll feel better that you didn’t cheat on her initially. She’ll try to win you back. Which yes will be awkward, but I hope she learns that she’s also the one who pushed you away. You’re a unicorn man. No person in their right mind who really knows you would accept that fact that you ever cheated on a woman. You were raised by a woman. You’ve treated every girl you’ve ever dated over the last thirty years I’ve known you with the utmost respect. When you’re with someone you don’t even look at another girl. Even when they throw themselves at you, trust me I’ve seen it. You’re completely invested in the person you’re with. I don’t want you to feel bad thinking you screwed this up. You didn’t. She didn’t have faith in you. You have the right to walk away.”

“Thanks man. I guess I’m also feeling more insecure these days. I’m 32 and I still haven’t found the one. I don’t want to end up alone.”

“You won’t. At the worst you still have me and Babe to hang out with. Plus I also want to see what this chick says once I text her this screenshot of our conversation. She’s going to flip out and call you I bet.”

“I don’t think I could even talk to her right now.”

“That’s fine. You don’t have to. But I want to clear some things up for her. She can chat with me. Even if she hates me in the end I have to clear your name. Just remember one thing though Mark… you didn’t do anything wrong. You don’t deserve to be with someone who can’t trust you. That’s her issue to figure out. And from now on… I’ll remember not to text you naked photos of females I hooked up with. I’ll just email you.

Published by Brian Argetsinger