Fighting back tears, she reached for the photo again and scrutinized it once more. Her heart pounded out of her chest as she came to the startling realization.
With puffy eyes and a distressed voice, Susan shoved the photo in front of her husband's face and demanded that he explain what was going on. His answer left her shocked.
It was Susan and John's 15-year anniversary. They appeared to have the kind of relationship that most people could only dream of. So, to mark the occasion, Susan decided to set up a family photoshoot to capture the life she felt so lucky to have.
Little did she know, her luck was about to run out.
THE GOOD LIFE
Susan and John lived in a respectable neighborhood in a nice house with decent careers and had wonderful children. They first met in high school and quickly became sweethearts.
Susan was studious and shy, John on the other hand was a bit of a bad boy. He had a reputation for skipping class and causing trouble. They were an unlikely match but somehow, they worked.
HEAD OVER HEELS
When Susan was finally won over by John's persistence in asking her out, she fell quickly in love.
It wasn't long after their graduation that Susan found out she was pregnant. Although the unexpected pregnancy came as a shock, they decided to rise to the challenge and build a life together.
She looked at the photo as her hands clenched into fists. She tried to fight back the tears that threatened to fall. How could he do this to her?
Their relationship wasn't easy at first. Having a child as teenagers, they were suddenly thrown into adulthood. They had no money and struggled for years to finally get the comfortable life they had now.
PASSING OF TIME
Susan couldn't believe how fast time had passed. It felt like just yesterday when John finally mustered up the courage to ask her to marry him.
Their son brought the rings to the altar as Susan stood there, pregnant with her second child. It felt like the whole universe worked to bring their family together. But soon, the opposite would happen.
MET WITH RELUCTANCE
All Susan wanted was a photo to remind her of where they were after 15 years of marriage. Why was he so against it? Come to think of it, she couldn't remember the last time they were in a photo together.
Susan ignored John's complaints and looked up photographers in their area. Why did he make taking a simple photo such a big deal?
Susan tried to forget about the odd reaction her husband had and booked a photographer for the weekend. When she told John about it, he once again told her there was no need to take a picture, he insisted that they should go out to dinner instead.
His bewildering behavior made her more determined to get a photo. Little did she know, the photo would expose exactly what John was hiding.
Susan and her husband and kids went to the park nearby to take their anniversary photos. The autumnal colors made the place look like a magazine set.
The sun was high in the sky, popping in and out between the white fluffy clouds that passed. The sky, a pale muted blue that nestled colorfully behind the green, yellow and red trees.
The photographer was waiting for them, having already decided on the perfect spot to take some family photos. Susan felt a sudden jolt of excitement.
Susan looked blissfully at her family. She was filled with so much gratitude and love but when she looked at her husband, she noticed something in his expression that didn’t match hers.
Instead of looking happy, he looked oddly nervous. He was fidgeting with his hands as he prepared to step into the photo.
When Susan asked him what was wrong, he shrugged her off and said everything was fine. But Susan could tell something was bothering him. That's when he asked the photographer a curious question.
John asked the photographer if he could send the photos to his work email. Susan said she could give him her email but John insisted his email would be easier because of his printer at work.
It wasn't like John to be very involved with these things. Suddenly, Susan began to worry and become suspicious.
SOMETHING WAS WRONG
The next day, John received the photos from the photographer and sent them to Susan while he was at work. She opened the email excited to see how they turned out. She couldn't wait to post about her husband and her family on Facebook.
But when she took a look at the photos, she realized something was very, very wrong.
Her daughter was holding her father's hand which Susan remembered was fidgeting uncontrollably that day. She zoomed into the awkward interaction to get a better look at what was happening.
Her eyes widened as she looked at the ring she gave her husband on their wedding day and the photo hit the floor.
FIGHTING BACK TEARS
Her mind raced as to why he would be wearing such a thing. She looked at the ring on her finger and observed every curve. There was no way she was mistaken about this.
Fighting back tears, she reached for the photo again and compared the two rings. Her heart pounded out of her chest as she came to the startling realization.
NOT HER RING
The ring her husband was wearing wasn't hers. But if it wasn't hers, then who did it belong to? She tried desperately to come up with a situation that would explain this, but she couldn't think of one.
The image of her husband acting strangely before the photoshoot suddenly made sense. What was he hiding from her?
Susan waited for her husband to come home from work in a mixture of anger, despair, and shock. Why wasn't he wearing her ring anymore? Whose ring was on his hand? How did she not notice until now?
When he walked through the door, she finally got her answers.
MOMENT OF TRUTH
With puffy eyes and a distressed voice, Susan shoved the photo in front of John's face and demanded he explains what was going on.
He shriveled under the conviction in her voice. The act was finally up. All these years of pretending nothing was wrong were spoiled by one single picture. A picture that led Susan to file for divorce. What did he have to say?
With his eyes cast, he told Susan everything. It happened four years ago when he went to the gym. He took off his ring to have a shower but when he got back to his locker, it was nowhere to be seen.
He didn't know how to tell her so instead, he bought another ring that looked similar. But Susan wasn't buying it.
John said he wanted to see the photos first to see if his ring was noticeable. When he saw that it was, he tried to photoshop another one in or blur his hand but it was too obvious.
When he realized he couldn't fix it, he sent it, hoping she wouldn't realize what was wrong. If she did, he was willing to finally admit to his lies. But Susan wasn't buying it.
MAKING NO SENSE
None of it made sense. If he really just lost it, why couldn't he have just told her that? For Susan, his story wasn't adding up. She continued to ask him where he got the ring.
But each time, his reply was the same. He bought it himself as a replacement. He insisted that he didn't tell her out of fear of disappointing and upset her, not because he was hiding something – or someone.
Suddenly, everything felt like a lie to Susan. Their wedding day and that ring meant so much to her. How could he just lose it and not say it to her? How could he have lied to her all this time?
She didn't believe him when he said he was telling the truth and acted out rashly; The next day, she filed for divorce. Did she make the right decision?
After some time had passed, John was relentless in trying to persuade her that he was telling the truth. Eventually, she succumbed and believed that he was telling the truth.