I tried to hate him, I tried harder than I’ve ever tried at anything to hate that man. As I lay alone with nothing but a bathrobe and a small blanket for comfort I tried again. I closed my eyes and visualised his soft, gentle hands on her body and bit my lip to stop myself from wailing in agony. It hurt to think about them together, not psychical pain but emotional. When I thought about them I just wanted to cry.
I’m sure she has some kind of disease, which explains why he did it. It was probably just out of pity, it might have been her last time. Again I’m making excuses for him and I know I shouldn’t. They aren’t even good excuses. They don’t even make sense. He wouldn’t make excuses for me if I had done that to him, I like to pretend he would but I know he wouldn’t.
I didn’t see them, I didn’t have to because he told me. He said he was awfully sorry and that it wouldn’t happen again so I just nodded and carried on preparing breakfast. It was her job to do breakfast, she’s the maid so should have been busy but I’d imagine she was upstairs in bed. Our bed. I heard them the night before as I came in from drinks with a friend and decided to sleep on the sofa downstairs. I didn’t want to walk in and see them because that would make it real so I stayed downstairs and pretended.
After breakfast I played outside with the children for a few minutes before leaving them with the nanny so she could take them to school while I went to work. “Are you okay Madam?” She asked after sending the children to go and get their coats. I nodded and she nodded back at me. “I’m sorry.” She said quietly, I smiled in thanks and walked towards the car with my handbag on my shoulder, wondering who else knew about my husband’s blatant indiscretions. Rachel, our nanny, was the closest thing I had to a friend, and I was certain she was only my friend because we paid her.
I kept it together for the entire day, I stayed quiet at the office and kept to myself as usual. David would have been pleased. For a man who socialised with any woman who took his fancy, he had a lot of ideas of who I should be talking to. Namely, nobody but those in our isolated existence. My work wasn’t even mine. I had always been aware that he had set up my job with a friend, and that I was constantly being watched. Sometimes, I wasn’t even sure what my workplace purpose was. He probably just wanted me out of the house, so he could have more time with whoever he liked this week.
We all ate together that night, David sat at one end of the table and I at the other, the children sat together on one side and Rachel sat on the other. Mary had dinner in her bedroom because she was ill. I spat in her soup.
It was when the children went to bed that things got worse, David went up to check on Mary and Rachel went to read the children a story. I just sat in the kitchen looking into space not knowing what to do with myself. It had occurred to me during my dull work day of doing nothing but staying out of my husband’s way that beyond staying out of my husband’s way, I didn’t actually do anything. I had no friends. I had no hobbies. I only played with the children to give David some space.
After a few minutes of soaking in existential despair, I walked, almost robotic to my bedroom, fully aware of my husband’s voice behind Mary’s door, but also fully aware that I’d be doing absolutely nothing about it.
David’s tie was lying on the foot of the bed, I pushed it to the floor and began removing my clothes. I stood in front of the mirror in nothing but my underwear and took a moment to evaluate myself. I was acceptable. I always had been. More than that, I was beautiful. In my pain, and his rejection, I was beautiful. I took a moment to fantasise about a future without David. Taking the children to school myself, getting to know the mother’s at the gate, getting to know myself, maybe finding someone new, or not, it didn’t matter, just as long as he wasn’t there.
I took my bathrobe from the top of the door and wrapped it around myself, squashing the flames of my rebellion. The bed, as treacherous as it had been for keeping secrets, welcomed me and I wrapped myself up in the duvet.
I heard footsteps approaching and closed my eyes, desperate to escape, or even to find the bravery to consider the idea. “Kate.” David called as he pushed open the door, I didn’t open my eyes and simply lay still, unable to face him. “Kate are you sleeping?” I stirred slightly but kept my eyes firmly shut, I couldn’t bare to look at him.
“No.” I felt the bed dip a little as he laid upon the bed next to me, his breath was warm against my skin and his hand crept up my leg and under my bathrobe. I didn’t push it away because it was all I wanted. I wanted him to hold me so desperately, despite my earlier desperation for anything but.
“I’ll always love you Kate.”
I opened my eyes and laid in silence for a few moments. “Ok.”
I suppose it hurt his feelings when I ignored him, I just couldn’t handle telling him I loved him back. I did and we both knew that but he didn’t deserve to hear it from my lips. I rolled over and fell asleep hoping I would wake up from the nightmare the next day and it would simply have been a dream.
I awoke the next day with his arms around me, Mary was gone and everything seemed back to normal. He had made his choice and I suppose his decision was final, for a whole day all I wanted was for Mary to be gone so I had David all to myself but now I wished she had kept him. I didn’t want to be trapped any longer. If it wasn’t her, it would be someone else, and I’d be sat in that God forsaken house, screaming at the walls and my own lack of a spine.
I sat up in bed and heard his voice, it was hushed but just about audible. “I love you Kate.”
“Ok.” I said quietly as I took a step off the bed towards my old life.