"Woody's Dad" In Watercolor Gets Us Back To Day 5 In The #IllustrationADay Challenge

I love this guy.

His name is Bill Barnes. He's 56 years old and he lives in El Segundo, California, where he practices law and teaches at the local community college. He drinks a bit too much and cries a bit more frequently than a grown man ought to, but you probably would too if you were in his shoes. 

He had everything a man could ever want and he lost it all, and it wasn't even his fault.

He was once a professor at a fairly renowned little law school in New England. His wife– Teresa– stayed home with the kids, Woodrow and Matilda. They were both smart, sporty, and popular. Easy kids to like.

They would go to a small, lake-side town every year for Labor Day. They'd stay for a week–the last week of summer– and they would live off barbeque and bathe in the lake.

Then one day, while the kids and Tess were out for ice cream, Diana Briggs pulled up. She told Bill that she had gotten into a terrible fight with her husband, Dan (a friend of Bill's from college). She said that she'd been suspicious of Dan for a while, so she looked in his phone and found a series of explicit text messages from Teresa. She confronted him about it. He apologized, and told her that he was leaving her. He said that he and Teresa were in love, and that she was going to leave Dan as well. As soon as they got back from vacation, but Diana just felt like Bill deserved to know.

Then she drove away.

Bill pulled the family's little green canoe out of the shed and dragged it down to the water. He rowed it out to a small lake island and stayed until dark. Bill's heart was broken.

He paddled back after the kids had gone to bed. He climbed into bed with Teresa. She was wide awake and teary eyed. She must have gotten a call from Dan. She tried to say something to him in a trembling whisper, but he turned away and closed his eyes.

He woke up early the next day and made the family a pancake breakfast like you'd find in a logging camp. A towering stack of golden buttery flapjacks, slathered in authentic Maine maple syrup with fresh local berries, and even a small scoop of vanilla ice cream. He took the kids out to ride go-karts while Teresa stayed in to catch up on some reading. They got hotdogs for lunch and stopped at a local butcher on the way home. He got 4 juicy t-bone steaks to take home and throw on the grill. After dinner, he built a little campfire on the beach and played a little guitar. The next day, he packed the family up and took them home. Summer was over, the kids were starting school the next day.

It was the first year that Woody had his drivers license, and he could drop-off and pick-up Matilda at the elementary school. Bill gave Woody some gas-money and waved goodbye as they pulled out of the driveway. When he walked back inside, Teresa was already sitting at the kitchen table, crying.

"How could you do this to me? I loved you with everything I had and you've thrown it all away."

She didn't make any excuses. She told him that she was in love with Dan. She said that she wanted to take the kids and move in with Dan. Soon, they would get married. 

"I hate your fucking guts, you god-damned bitch!"

He never used that kind of language. He'd never said a harsh word to her, his beloved wife. He never used the word "bitch" and rarely ever used the word "hate". He was a gentle, well-tempered, loving man. And it wasn't even true, but it was the only way for him to express the horrible hurting that was in his heart, so she didn't fire back. She just said "I know" and "I'm sorry", over and over.

"If you ever loved me, you'll be honest with me now: Did you fuck Dan in our bed? In my own home, in my our marital bed?"

"I did." She answered him honestly, because she did once love him very deeply.

"I'll be gone in a week." He said, and he was.