Peter and his wife Jesse were walking up the walkway to a large house full of people. Music could be heard from the street and every light was on. The party looked well on its way.
Despite trying to look her best and wearing her nicest blue dress, Jesse was still nervous.
“Are you sure you want to go to this thing?” she asked.
“Hon,” he said, “the boss throws this party every year. It’s about time we went. Besides, they’ve never met you and some of the guys are starting to think I’ve just made you up.”
“OK, just remember I don’t know them either, so don’t you leave me.”
“Don’t worry,” Peter said reassuringly as he took her hand. “I love you and I won’t leave your side. Even if Conan the Barbarian asks if he can dance with you, I’ll whip him,” he said with a wink.
She laughed as they walked up the steps to the front door and let him know that fighting wouldn’t be necessary. “Besides, what would the boss think?”
“What if it is the boss?” he said in shock. She laughed again; he could always make her laugh.
“Stop making me laugh, you know I need to go to the bathroom when we get in there.”
The front door was opened by Peter’s co-worker, Steve and the two of them were quickly surrounded by the ongoing festivities.
“Hon, the bathroom’s over there. I’ll get us something to drink out by the pool.”
Peter goes and gets something to drink over at the punchbowl in the backyard when suddenly a voice calls his name. “Peter! Glad you could make it,” said his boss.
“Walk with me a minute would you.”
“Uh, sure thing.”
A few minutes later Jesse came outside looking for Peter and she couldn’t see him. Where is he, she thought to herself. Just as she turned to look somewhere else, she slipped in her new shoes and fell. Jesse’s knee took the brunt of the fall and it started to bleed. She fought back a few tears and looked around hoping no one had noticed. She saw a few stares and glances from some of the other women at the party. As Jesse started to get up, a man stepping away from the drinks didn’t see her and bumped her so hard that she fell into the pool.
Across the way, Peter’s boss heard the ruckus and turned to see what had happened. Seeing a woman getting helped out of the pool, he turned to Peter and shook his head. “That didn’t take long… every year someone has too much to drink and falls into the pool.”
When Peter turned to look the first thing he noticed was a blue dress. “Oh no.”
“Do you recognize that woman Peter?” his boss asked.
“No sir I don’t. I have no idea who she is. Excuse me though, I need to go find my wife.”
“Oh she’s here? Well, be sure and introduce me to her later.”
“Sure thing,” Peter said hurrying away.
By the time Peter made it back around to the punch bowl, Jesse was nowhere to be found. This evening was not going like he had planned. A few high fashioned ladies had been eyeing Peter as he came up. “Are you looking for that woman who fell in the pool?”, one of them asked. “How embarrassing,” said another.
“No, no, no. What makes you think I know who that was?”
As Peter was trying to push his way through the party and into the house, all he could think of was getting away. If only we could make a quiet exit.
But before he could make it to the house, he was grabbed on the shoulder by his co-worker Steve. “Well, it looks like you won the office pool after all… literally, right Peter! This guy is a genius—first he bets that someone would fall into the pool before 9, but the really great part,” Steve said turning to more of their friends, “it was Peter’s wife who did it!” Laughter began to ring out from his friends.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about Steve,” said Peter.
“Dude, I opened the door to let you in remember? I saw you with her.”
Peter turned around and put his finger into Steve’s face. “Hey look, just give me the money I won and drop it. Whoever that crazy lady was, she isn’t my wife” he said, raising his voice.
Hoping to get away from his co-workers, Peter spun around to go back to the house. Less than a step later, Peter jerked backwards to avoid running into his boss, who was helping Jesse find her husband. Jesse looked straight into Peter’s eyes and he knew she had heard every word.
Peter hurried out of the party and drove away crying.
Peter did not see Jesse for 3 days. He was too embarrassed to go home and he was convinced she had left him. I know I would, he thought to himself. I must be the worst man on the planet.
Finally, Peter got a call. He recognized Jesse’s number, but he was afraid to answer it. When the voicemail came through, Peter told Steve, “I can’t listen to it. What if she tells me it’s over? What if she never wants to see me again?”
“Let me see your phone,” said Steve. “It says that she’s home.”
Immediately Peter jumped into his car and started making his way back to their house at full speed. Running up to the door, Peter fumbled with the keys, then stopped, suddenly fearful—would she take him back? How could he know for sure. But when he arrived, she was gone again. The only thing he found was the dress Jesse was wearing hanging on the back of the couch.
“What do I do now? How can she ever trust me or love me again?”
Over the next several days, Peter and Jesse ran into each other—but usually when
other people were around. They were never alone to talk about what had happened.
Peter’s anxiety grew and grew. Over a week later, they finally had a chance to talk alone.
How do you think that conversation went?
How would you feel if you were Jesse, hearing your husband deny he even knew you?
Do you think Jesse should “take Peter back”? Why or why not?
If she did take him back, how would you describe Jesse’s love for her husband?
What would it take for Peter to be right with Jesse again?
What kind of marriage would they have?
If you were Peter’s boss, what would you think of him after hearing this story?