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Thursday, October 24, 2019

Sauce For The Goose (2)





She lay there on the floor where he’d left her, her muffled sobs breaking the silence in the room. Her breath came in quick, shallow gasps like her heart was breaking. He didn’t care.

She said it was Steve from work. It had happened just once – the week before, on Tuesday night. She had realized her mistake as soon as it was over and she had hated herself ever since. She could not stand seeing him at work anymore, reminding her every day of the wrong she’d done; worsening her guilt. She had decided then that she had to leave her job, and that she had to tell him, so she could get the weight off her chest. 

She knew he was mad, he had every right to be, but she hoped he could somehow forgive her, and maybe then she could forgive herself.
He saw a flash of lightening make a jagged path through the blackness outside the window. It would be raining soon.


      ***

He looked up as he heard her open the door to the room. She paused inside the doorway and said a detached goodnight. She was still for a moment, waiting for his response. But the words were stuck somewhere in his throat and he could not get them out – also he didn’t want to say goodnight, not like this. 

So he stood there with his mouth open, staring at her back and willing her to hear what was in his heart; the thoughts that he could not say. She was wearing that old pink nightdress he hated, but tonight he wanted to bury his face in the faded cotton. It always held her scent. He could have reached for her, they were that close; but at the same time they were ages apart. She walked into the guest room and shut the door behind her. The click of the lock was thunder in his ears. It had a disturbing note of finality to it.

 Frustration tore at him. He’d never thought he would feel this way after what he’d done. He wanted to bang on that door and make her come out. He wanted to see angry fire light up in her eyes. He wanted to shake her and make her hurl accusations so he could remind her – and himself – that it was she who had started it, she who was to blame. He unclenched his fists. Their daughter was asleep in the other room. 

He didn’t want to wake her.

He turned and walked into what had until weeks ago been their bedroom. He took off his shoes, socks and tie and went into the adjoining bathroom. There, he stood before the mirror above the sink and he stared at his reflection. After work today he’d taken some members of staff out for drinks. 

They’d just bagged some big new clients and were still reeling from the success. A celebration was in order, they had all agreed. As the night wore on they had left one after the other, until he was left alone with his very young, very female assistant. She’d moved to sit closer to him. They had talked and laughed for a while about things he could not now remember. 

When she’d asked if he’d like some more drinks at her place – with that suggestive gleam in her eyes – he had hesitated. And then he had remembered.

It had only lasted a few minutes, and as soon as it was over he could no longer stand to look at her. He had hurried out of her bed and into his clothes, all the while ignoring the longing look she had been giving him.

 She had teased him about running home to his little missus and had said they should do it again sometime. He had said nothing. He’d hoped she would accept the huge check he would give her as a no-hard-feelings gesture when he fired her tomorrow.

 He had found his car keys and dashed out of the flat. The plan had been to let his wife know of his payback in the most hurtful way possible, but as he had made his way home he’d known it wouldn’t turn out quite that way. He had felt the guilt and shame long before he stood in front of her in that doorway.

 The anger was gone now, leaving him feeling like a deflated balloon. She had stood there, somehow knowing what he had done, but saying nothing. She might never know it, but her silence had killed him a thousand times. Plus the pain he had felt since that night four weeks ago had not gone away.

He started to shed his clothes like they had suddenly caught on fire. Then he fled into the shower stall and turned on the shower. Closing his eyes, he turned up his face to the spray of hot water. That way, he could pretend not to feel the tears fall from his eyes.


 Concluded











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