*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as told to me by a family member who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.
One day, my father brought home live crabs and instructed my mother to cook them. Then he invited the married couple from across the street over for dinner.
My mother felt surprised that my father had invited them. "I didn't even know he was friends with the neighbors," she told me. She put on a smiling face and welcomed the other couple into her kitchen, still wondering what they were doing there.
"I figured maybe your father just bought too many crabs," my mother told me. She set the table for four and set about serving the cooked crabs.
"Everything was going fine except crabs are one of the most tedious and messiest foods you can eat," she said. "The woman from across the street was sitting across from your father, and I was sitting across from her husband. I can remember thinking it made no sense."
My mother looked across the table and caught the other woman making suspicious faces at my father as she ate her crab. She quietly told the woman to cut it out, but the other woman denied doing anything wrong.
The woman's husband ignored all of it. He was busy concentrating on cracking open his crab legs.
My mother dropped a claw from her crab on the floor, and she bent down to retrieve it from beneath the table. What she saw beneath the table made her gasp.
She told me she was in shock to see the woman had her foot atop my father's foot, and my father seemed secretly pleased. "I told her to put her feet back on the floor," my mother told me. "Can you imagine the nerve she had trying to flirt with my husband in my own house?" she asked.
"That was the last time I allowed either of them into my house, not that her husband did anything wrong," my mother said. "It was only her. I just couldn't trust her after that."
It's incredible how one minor incident can sour a relationship. My mother never trusted the woman from across the street again, and it all started with something as innocuous as eating crabs together. Who would have thought that such a seemingly innocent dinner could lead to such mistrust?
It's always been interesting to me to think about what my parents went through before they had kids. I often wonder if things would have been different if they had just talked about what was happening between them.
My mother always said that she regretted not saying more to my father about his affairs. She told me that she wished she had confronted him and given him an ultimatum at least a dozen times, but for the most part, she kept quiet.
The moral of the story is to be careful who you allow into your home. You never know what they might be up to. My mother learned this lesson the hard way.