Secrets and Lies and the Men Who Keep Them

My husband was keeping secrets from me. He was hiding things.

“You guys were in cahoots.” I yelled.

Six of us were sitting around a deck. It was high noon, late July, and the day was oddly cool, with a gentle breeze. My daughter’s boyfriends’ parents had built a dream house in Truro, and invited us to down for the weekend. Their house was secluded, and full of sun, and, on that serene beautiful afternoon, I had no reason to suspect my husband of treachery.

“Cahoots? What’s a cahoot? C’mon, Carol-Ane, you need a bit more champagne…” added my husband’s conspirator.

“Ryan, you were always my favorite.” I answered suspiciously, somewhat mollified, raising my glass in salute.

I thought back to the beginning. My innocent middle child was in junior high telling us every single detail about a terribly exciting school trip.

“And Mom!” she breathed… “the best thing …was…on the way back…I got to sit with Ryan…I don’t think he really wanted me too…but he didn’t say anything.”

We knew then that ‘it’ had started.

And it had. After that initial crush, our daughter quickly developed into a stone-cold heart breaker. She dated boys at the rate she accumulated shoes. I tried not to like any of them, because it made me wince every time they got thrown into the trash. The original Ryan, the object of her first intense schoolgirl crush, was one of the first to go. Even though he was the only reason I ever got Tracy to go to Bishop Feehan.

“Mom!” she had breathed. “I get to car-pool with Ryan!”

Alas two months after they began to date, during her freshman year, she caught him kissing Miss Maine, and quick as that, he was history.

“I never kissed Miss Maine. I don’t know what you two are talking about.” declared my husbands’ coconspirator.

“I think its’ your fault.” I accused my gracious hostess. “You kept letting the girls steal the boy’s clothing, and they imprinted.”

“Tracy still steals all my best shirts!” yelled Ryan.

“Well, they’re all soft and comfortable…” smiled Tracy.

“I’m doing this because you always told me not to…” my daughter continued. “You always said that if I married one of those wild boys, I would end up having their wild children…”

I shuddered at that. So did my hostess.

After Miss Maine, my daughter never dated Ryan. But, actually not dating did not mean not seeing. He was one of three boys, and his parents’ house was the hangout. Ryan was always a part of the mix. We took to calling him, the original Ryan to distinguish him from all the others Ryan’s our daughter dated over the years.

We kind of lost track of him during Tracy’s college years.

Tracy didn’t.

Every school vacation, Tracy would head down to the boys house, because they had the best parties. Plus, Ryan was her swing dance partner. Tracy weighs 110. Ryan is tall, broad, and very muscular. He could raise her above his head, toss her into the air, and sweep her down to the floor in one graceful dramatic move that never failed to impress everyone on the dance floor.

Meanwhile, Tracy continued to discard boyfriends at a rapid rate. We discussed them at length over the phone.

“Dark and intense?…I don’t think so.”

“Mom. Doesn’t he have a fascinating MySpace?”

“Um…kinda froufrou, froufrou…No, Tracy, he’s not the one.”

We didn’t know that she had begun to secretly date the original Ryan and I’m not sure he knew either.

But he quickly became my hero. This was because he lived in Foxboro, and bought my daughter back to us from Western New York.

And, just prior to what will be hereafter be known as ‘the weekend,’ he had dropped into my house when I wasn’t home.

“I have a couple of favors to ask.” He said, offhandedly, to my husband.

“Could I have your daughters’ hand in marriage?”

My husband slapped him on the back, shook his hand, and muttered. “Well. It took you long enough.”

“And,” Ryan asked. “Could you sneak down some champagne? I think Tracy might suspect something if I bought it down.”

So then, just after noon on ‘the weekend’ Tracy and Ryan had headed off on a scooter for a little ride.

When they returned, I was standing in the kitchen talking to Ryan’s mother.

Tracy came in, and tapped me on the arm.

“Look” she breathed. “Look what Ryan bought for me.”

Three stones glinted in the sunlight.

“Ooooh. Ooooh.” I cried. “Ooooh, they’re beautiful. Paul! Paul! Quick! Paul! Come look. Come look at your daughter’s!”

It was then that I discovered his perfidy. He had known for three long days and hadn’t told me! He and our newest family member had been in cahoots.

The jerk just smiled at me, shrugged and held out out his glass for more champagne.

This summer has held some measure of sadness and tension for my husband and myself. With illnesses on both sides of the family and some other issues, some days I think that life is a desert of tedium, and misery, punctuated by those rare moments of peace, tranquility and sheer euphoria. But, the euphoria is what you remember and that gets you through everything else.

That noon, I looked at my husband…and at my son-in-law to be.

“I guess…” I muttered grudgingly “I forgive you for keeping secrets and lies.”

My daughter looked down at her hand and gave a secret, unguarded smile. Then she met my eyes and we both smiled.

But, I winced a little, as I looked at my husband and Ryan sitting comfortably side-by-side and chatting. What other secrets are they keeping?

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