Sometimes I think it would’ve been easier if he had just slept with her.
At least I wouldn’t have to wonder if he thought about her firm body, her ample breasts or her dazzling smile every time he wrapped me in his embrace. Then it would be over between us. I could move on and pick up the pieces of my shattered life. Fitting them back together in one that doesn’t include him.
I have tried on many occasions to put our life back together. But she’s always there in the background. Lurking about like a hungry lion waiting to pounce on its prey. I know she’s there. I can feel her presence even though I don’t see her. All I want to do is ask her…no, plead with her…to leave us alone.
But I can never find her.
When I do, it’s at the most inopportune times. I beg her to leave, but she just brushes me aside as if I never uttered a sound. I know she wants to take my place and I’m not strong enough to fight her. I can only hope that my husband hears my objections. That he sees my turmoil.
But I’m not sure that he does; the look of love in his eyes betrays him. It was a look that used to be just for me. But how could he not love her? She’s confident. She’s strong. She’s beautiful.
She’s everything I’m not.
Even when she’s not around, I catch the lingering, musky odor of orange and lilies. Her scent clings to his clothes. It’s faint and alluring…teasing me with whispers of infidelity.
His heart is mine.
Her taunting tongue is always wagging in my ear. It pierces my resolve like a needle on skin – sharp and biting – my will to live slowly ebbing away.
How could he do this? We promised to love each other through good times and bad…sickness and health. I never held anything back, giving freely and unconditionally of myself. Children. A good home. My everlasting love. Things we talked about before we married. Things he said he wanted from me.
But I’m seeing that none those things ever really mattered to him. She still comes around, pushing me out of the way to get his attention. I watch him dismiss her advances, but it seems staged. He still reacts with kindness. He still shows her compassion. And he still eyes her with the look that used to be mine.
Should I be forgiving? It’s what I’m supposed to do. Seventy time seven, that’s what Jesus said.
But we’re all sinners. We all need grace and redemption. That’s what I take away from the sermons he gives every week. It’s a message of hope to the hurting masses. He spins it well and I nod my head in rote agreement. Although, I think, some need it more than others.
Truthfully though, I don’t really listen anymore; it’s become too familiar. And even if I did give it a notion, I can’t dwell on it. My thoughts are consumed by hurt. My senses are overwhelmed by her sickening stench. I can’t escape either one. They chase me wherever I go.
But he doesn’t have to fear. Not that he does. I always play the role of the perfect pastor’s wife because it’s the expectation. Dutiful. Attentive. Reserved. I know the things I should be on the outside.
For the church.
But inside…on the inside, I am at war.
Of course, he denies everything. Tells me I’m not thinking straight. Has the audacity to say that he loves me. Even tries to comfort me.
You’re a liar, I hear myself shriek. The cold steel reflecting my rage.
He cries out to God, but there is no God to hear him. Only me. An avenging angel. Confronting him with his lies. Passing judgment for his transgressions. Screaming for retribution.
An eye for an eye.
Then he leaves me. His final words are kind; enduring in the very fiber of my being.
You’ve always had my heart.
That’s all I have left. His words mixed with the occasional hint of orange and lilies as the perfume bottle sits on my dresser nestled between my empty bottle of anti-psychotics and the jar that holds my husband’s heart.
Author Bio: Steve Eastwood is a computer nerd by profession that would rather be writing. This is his first published piece (and not last, he hopes).
Steve spends most of his time doing Crossfit, reading and working on his first novel that is kicking his butt this NaNoWriMo. He has a hot wife and four awesome kids that make him look better to everyone he meets.