Chapter 1: We Can Fix This

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Joy

"Are you sure you want to do this?" My best friend, Tanya Clayton, asked me. "You don't have to be with him; you can take your girls and leave, there is no shame in divorcing your husband. He cheated on you."

I slowly inhaled a healing breath. I didn't want to have this conversation with her again.

"Like I already told you, keeping my family together is what's best for my girls." I said as calmly as possible.

"And what about what's best for you?" She argued.

"What about me? I'm fine!" I returned. "Rashad and I can work through this. I've seen people get through worse." I noticed the distressed look on her face. "He said it won't happen again."

"Yea, yea, yea...and that it was all a mistake." Tanya began to mock as if she wasn't convinced by his words. "As your friend I want you to know that I support any decision you make, but I feel awful for even setting this up for you." She confessed. "I can call Phillip and tell him that you changed your mind. It's not too late."

"I've already made up my mind. I'm doing this whether you support me or not." I said fiercely. "Now can you leave so I can take a shower and get myself together." I opened the door.

"Joy." She pleaded. "I don't want you to wake up tomorrow hating yourself."

"I love you, too," I responded before closing the door with finality. I leaned my weight against it. "You can do this." I tried to remind myself. I had never cheated on my husband before, but I had to do this.

A flashback of the video from my husband's phone began to play in my mind again. In the video, he was having sex with another woman, a woman that looked nothing like me. Not only did the footage crush my heart, but it played on all of my insecurities.

I had been with my husband for seven years and physically, I wasn't the woman I once was. I hadn't let myself get sloppy, but after giving birth to two beautiful little girls, my once flat stomach held what I could only describe as a pudge. Once my best feature, my legs, even now had cellulite lines that made me shy away from anything too short. Rashad told me that none of that mattered, that he loved every inch of me anyways. And I believed him, until I saw him worshipping the body of another woman.

Before seeing it, you could have never convinced me that Rashad was capable of cheating on me. I blindly believed in his love for me because he had never shown me anything else. That video destroyed my world; it ended my fairytale. If I could snap my fingers and erase the running images, I would have. I was tired of them taunting me.

I forced the ominous thoughts from my mind and walked towards my suitcase. I sifted through my bag to look for anything remotely sexy and found nothing. I had packed so frantically when leaving my home that I wasn't surprised by that either.

When I confronted Rashad with the video, he first tried to deny that it was him even though every tattoo on the man in the video matched his. When he finally admitted to the truth, it was something about the actual confession that killed me inside. I left that night and hadn't been back in a week. I made him figure out everything with our girls, while I took time to figure out what I should do moving forward. I missed my girls dearly, but they didn't need to see me like this- broken and damaged.

I spent the past week thinking about my husband, our children, and the family we had built together. Was I ready to give up on my family?

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