Her hands tremble as she scrolls through her husband’s Facebook page. Adrenaline screams through her veins. Her heart pulses out of her chest.
All she can do is stare teary-eyed at the screen. Should she call him? Demand an explanation? Because if that photo was what she thought it was, there would be hell to pay.
As a housewife, Lola spent most of her days alone in their four-bedroom home in Seattle, waiting for husband Matthew to get back from work. She liked the simple life and could spend hours gazing out of her bedroom window, watching the birds in the tree.
Matthew was a good man and worked hard to provide a comfortable life for his doting wife and would often shower her with gifts. But Lola had no idea of the surprise Matthew had in store.
One evening, Matthew came home with a bunch of Lola’s favorite flowers. She was delighted, but knew there was something bad coming. He only bought her flowers when he had to apologize, like when he forgot her birthday because of an “important meeting.”
So what had he done this time? “Baby, there’s something you need to know…” Matthew began.
“Texas?!” Lola proclaimed. “They want you to go to Texas?” Lola’s heart raced at the thought of her soulmate being hundreds of miles away. “It’s only for a month,” Matthew replied, rubbing her shoulders and kissing her forehead.
Lola understood the pressure he was under and Matthew insisted that everything would be fine. But as Lola would soon discover, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Lola woke with a start when her phone rang. She got butterflies in her stomach when she saw Matthew’s name and profile picture on the screen. “Hi, baby!” she said, excitedly.
“Oh… Hi, Lola…” Matthew stuttered. “I was… er, just calling to say ‘hi’.” Lola’s joy quickly turned to suspicion. He seemed surprised to hear her voice. Had he meant to call someone else? Who was he trying to get hold of at three in the morning?
The next morning, Lola stared out of the window. She used to enjoy the view from her bedroom, but today she felt really low.
What was he doing in Texas? Should she go out there to see him? Was this really a work thing? Her paranoia was getting to her. She needed a big distraction. Lola decided it was time for a spring clean. But what she found during the clear-out would make her even more anxious.
While clearing out their shared wardrobe, a grey leather notebook fell into Lola’s lap. She had never seen it before, but when she opened it, she instantly recognized Matthew’s handwriting.
Written on the inside back cover, Lola discovered a series of passwords and login information: bank account, work email, Facebook account… and a phone number with “Maria” written next to it. She knew she shouldn’t, but Lola couldn’t help herself.
Lola fired up her laptop and opened Facebook. She stared at the login page for a few minutes before typing in Matthew’s username and password. Her finger hovered over the mouse button.
What was she doing? What would Matthew say if he knew what she was up to? But her curiosity got the better of her and she clicked the button to log in. There was no turning back now.
Lola went straight for his messages. Nothing suspicious there. Then to his recent searches: no results. Eventually, she saw the notification for tagged photos. Matthew had five pending to approve.
“Probably just some snaps from a work event,” Lola thought. She clicked the notification. And there it was, the image that would flip her world upside down.
It was a picture of a woman, about the same age as Lola – and she had her arm around Matthew.
Sure, Lola was suspicious, but it could have been a perfectly innocent photo. Then she spotted something in the background that made this particular image somewhat incriminating. She would have some serious questions for her husband when he got home.
A few days before Matthew was due to get home, Lola was pacing up and down the kitchen rehearsing the almighty argument she was about to unleash upon her husband.
After what she’d seen, she could no longer dismiss her suspicions as simple paranoia. Who was Maria? Who was the other man in her photos? And why had Matthew taken a photo with her in their own bedroom?
Lola would recognize the view anywhere. The woman posing in front of her own bedroom window must have been the same “Maria” from his notebook.
Before she knew it, Lola was dialing the number. “Hello?” said the voice on the other end. Lola was shaking. She really hadn’t thought this through and had no idea what to say.
“Who are you and why do you have a picture of you and my husband on your Facebook page?” Lola blurted out in one go. She surprised herself with how forthright she’d been.
“Oh, wow. I knew he had to be married,” Maria replied. “I suppose Matthew hasn’t mentioned me.” Caught off guard, Lola repeated her opening question, but Maria refused to answer. “I really think you should hear it from him,” said Maria.
Matthew would finally be home from his trip the next day. How was she going to tell him that she knows? She called an emergency meeting with her best friend for some much-needed advice.
When she heard his key turn in the front door the next day, Lola took a deep breath. She didn’t meet him at the door as she usually would, so when Matthew walked into the kitchen, he knew something was up. “Who’s Maria?” Lola fired right at him the second they locked eyes.
“OK, don’t be mad,” Matthew started, but Lola was already primed to hit the roof. “How could you do this to me?!” she exploded.
Matthew put down his suitcase and got it all off his chest. He confessed everything with tears in his eyes. Lola was not prepared for what her husband had to say.
Matthew explained that it was a one-time thing, that she was married, but Maria stopped listening at this point. The whole time between seeing the photo, see thought there might be some crazy explanation for all of this.
Could she forgive him for an isolated indiscretion? Or was this the end for their seemingly perfect relationship? Lola had an important question to ask him.
“Will this ever happen again?” she asked him. Matthew told her it wouldn’t. That he loved her and that he would never betray her again.
Lola calmed down a little bit. But every question she asked him led to more doubt about how much she could trust him. “What were you really doing in Texas?”
Matthew said he had been traveling for work, but while he was there he visited some old friends to confide in them about how to tell Lola the truth.
After getting over the initial shock, Lola needed some space to think. She got up from the table and went up to their bedroom to lie down. What she saw made her mind up for her.
When Lola saw the view from her bedroom that she’d recognised from the Facebook photo, all the feeling of distrust and paranoia came rushing to the surface.
How could she ever trust him again? How could she even be in her own bedroom with that view staring her in the face every morning when she opened her eyes? Lola knew what she had to do.
Lola walked into the kitchen, picked up Matthew’s suitcase, and handed it back to him. “You’re already packed. Please don’t make this any harder than it already is.”
It later emerged that this hadn’t been a “one-time” thing at all and Matthew had been taking her for a fool for years. Imagine if she hadn’t found that photo!