Horrible Morning

Allyssa - Old Hickory, Tennessee
Entered on November 27, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: change
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I had a really bad morning once.

This particular morning actually started out pretty good. I got to sleep in longer than a regular school day because I had an orthodontist appointment.

Once I woke up, I went through my normal morning routine by showering, brushing my teeth, applying my makeup, drying and straightening my hair, and finally picking out my outfit and getting dressed. Afterward, I hopped into my car and made my way to Castle Dental. Once I got to the orthodontist, I signed in, and sat in one of the uncomfortable red chairs and waited to get called back.

I was bored just sitting there so I started looking through my new phone. Well, it wasn’t exactly a new phone. I had recently dropped my brand new iphone and shattered it into pieces. Since it was still under warranty, Apple was graciously sending me a new one within the next couple weeks. For the mean time, my mom leant me her red palm Treo.

So technically, I was looking through my mom’s old phone. I got to this one screen that said personal emails, and I began to read.

That was a mistake.

There were about sixteen emails.

Between my mom and Jerry.

The first one read: “Jerry, I can’t wait to see you this weekend. Let’s make it better than we could ever imagine! Love, Paula”

My dad’s name is Ernie.

There were so many thoughts running through my head, but all I could do was keep reading.

Some emails were worse than others. A few were very dirty, and not anything you would ever want to hear out of your mother’s mouth or see that she had written it. Others were just letters of hope and anxiousness to see each other. Then there were pictures.

“Allyssa, you can come back now.”

Tears were welling up in my eyes as I followed Dr. Harris down the narrow, never-ending white hallway to the small, blue colored, box shaped room. I sat in the chair that every dentist has and just closed my eyes. That was the longest orthodontist appointment I have ever been to in my life. I couldn’t think straight.

She finally finished, and I got up to leave even though I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to deal with what I had just found out.

I walked to my car, and got in. I sat there. I tried to not look at the phone, but I couldn’t help it. I went back to the screen that said personal emails, and started to read some more.

“Jerry, I love you. I have told my friends this. I have to tell Ernie. I can’t go on like this. You fulfill my every fantasy. I know this is complicated, but we can do it. We could make it work. I don’t think I can hide this anymore. We were meant for each other. I love you. I really do. I know this is blunt and very straight forward, but I got to know how you feel. Love, Paula”

Tears start to stream down my face. I open the next one.

“Paula, I do have very strong feelings for you, but I do love my wife and kids. I told you this in the beginning. You know how I feel about it, but I do need to tell you something. I told you that I had cheated on my wife one other time with a woman that I had met on a business trip. However, I have not cheated on my wife just once, not just twice, but many times. I know this may hurt you, but remember we did just say this was an affair. I know that sounds awful. I do like you a lot Paula, but I can’t do this to my wife and kids again. I just can’t. We will talk about this tomorrow. Goodnight, Jerry”

Tears were falling like a torrential downpour at this point. I almost felt sad for my mom after reading that.


I was angry at my mom. Very angry. I didn’t know what to think of her anymore. She has been my role model since I was born.

My mom had me when she was only eighteen, and I never met my real dad. She was married soon after and had my sister, Emily, when I was five years old. Emily’s father got caught up in drugs without my mom knowing about any of it, and they ended up getting divorced. My mom met Ernie when I was eight years old and married soon after. He adopted me and Emily, and we treated him as our dad.

I finally started my car and began to drive. I didn’t know where to go. I didn’t want to go to school. I was too upset. I didn’t want to go home. My dad was there.

I just drove around Rivergate for about 15 minutes, and ended up in the Goodlettsville Kmart parking lot. I sat there and cried. I just couldn’t pull it together.

I pulled out my phone and began to look at the messages again. They dated back to September 20th. That’s my birthday. I cried some more. It was February. This had been going on for at least five months.

How could I have not known? I could not contain my tears. I think I cried more that morning than ever in my life. This was the most confusing, angry, sad, lonely morning ever.

For this I believe anything can happen that can change your life in just a morning’s time.