Life and General Fiction StoriesSeries

Comfort in Affliction (Part 3)

Continued from last part…
“Because I want a divorce, Chris. And you’re going to give it to me, or the video of your little fun night gets played in court.”

Divorce! That was what all this… this extremity was for? But it didn’t make sense.

“You wanted a divorce and you set me up? Why didn’t you just tell me? Why do you even want a divorce?”

“Because we don’t have a marriage anymore. We’re just two people held together in an alliance that is no longer workable. We don’t even talk anymore Chris!”

“I…I…I don’t—” I stuttered as she cut me off.

“I admit, eight years ago, I made an unforgivable mistake and it lead to the death of our son. It killed me to realize what my forgetfulness caused me, caused us. I saw what the loss of Chika did to you, and I tried to make it up to you. Over the years, I’ve silently given you everything to make sure you forgave me, but you were to focused on your own grief to notice mine.”

Her words cut through me like a hot knife on butter. There was something else she said that struck me as odd. “You gave me everything? What do you mean?”

“Yes, Chris. Everything. When you lost your job and almost immediately got another one with benefits ten times the former one, who do you think made that possible? All the promotions you’ve had in the past years have been products of my influence,” she said, as she stood up and walked about the room. There was this sense of shared grief and loss they seemed to hang in the air above us. Her burly friend, sensing that she wanted to say something very sensitive, quietly left the room. I stared after him, and later at the battered door hanging by just two hinges.

A minute later, I said, “Explain what you mean about getting a job for me.”

“It’s not important anymore…but on a second thought, since we have all night, I might as well tell you everything.” She sighed, went to the minibar, and took out a bottle of McDowells. She poured a generous half-bottle and downed it in one gulp. When did she start drinking, and to this extent? Then she looked at me, and my heart got stuck in my throat. As I looked into her misty eyes, I realized something. Something that further confused me.

She still loved me.

But why then does she want a divorce? She then continued.

“Two years after our wedding, I ran into the guy I dated before you. As I told you when we started dating, we never had any problem between us. He had left for Austria, and for three years, we didn’t have any form of contact. Gradually, my love for him waned. That was when you came into the picture, and we got involved.

“When I later met him after our marriage, he still wanted me, even after I told him that I was married. It took six months of refusal to finally make him realize that I was now in love with you. But we still kept in touch. He had told me that he owned a tech firm and was in need of a good financial analyst; so when you lost your job, I had called him, and he said the space was still vacant. That was how you got the job.”

“I never knew you did all this. I’m—” I said, before she interjected.

“But you still couldn’t forgive me. Instead, things became worse. You stopped talking to me, stopped looking at me, you ate my food out of the necessity to survive, you even stopped sleeping in the same room with me. Was I that disgusting?”

“No-no. It wasn’t you…it was me. I couldn’t let go,” I replied, seeing my wife in a new light, seeing and feeling the guilt, the shame, and the grief that must have engulfed her for the past eight years.

“You couldn’t let go? He was four years old, younger than the number of years you’ve alienated me.”

“I know. I’m sorry.”

“Let’s get to the end of the story, shall we?” Then her eyes were filled with an emotion I couldn’t quite put my finger on. “When it was obvious that nothing would ever make you to forgive me and look at me in the same way you used to, Frank—that’s my ex—advised me to get a divorce. At first, I was against it, but then you soon convinced me of the need for us to get out of this toxic marriage. I told him about your strong views against divorce and together, we came up with the plan of making you break your marital vows. That way, the court would rule in my favour.

“Since he was the owner of your company, it wasn’t hard to manipulate some figures to make it look like a real problem presented itself. Then you were called to handle the breach. The girl was also planted to facilitate the whole process. She was to seduce you and have a recording of the whole scene as evidence. But then, I still couldn’t allow everything to go as planned. Because despite everything, in some inexplicable way, I still love you. ”

“I love—”

“I later contacted Nancy, and had another arrangement with her, one that would enable me to be here before you made love to her. I had already made friends with the receptionist, so coming up to your room wasn’t a problem.”

After her tale, I was at loss for words. What do I say? “I don’t know what to say Mandy. I’ve made a lot of mistakes which I’ve realized just now. But I want to ask you for just one thing… Let’s try again, let’s love ourselves again. Divorce shouldn’t be an option.”

“For years, I’d wanted to hear these words, but they never came. Until now. Only that it came too late. I’ve already processed the divorce papers. I’m sorry.”

“So, we do not stand a chance at staying together? Not at all?” I asked with tears and my heart in my eyes. I loved this woman, and it would kill me if I lost her.

“Well, I never said that.” She went to her bag, brought out some papers, and looked longingly at them. “These are the papers, papers that would set me free. But…” She then did the unexpected, she tore the papers into two and then threw them into the trash can. “…as I said before, I still love you. That’s why I’m staying. Let’s love again, Chris.”

Five months later, and things have turned around dramatically. For the better, of course. Firstly, Mandy was pregnant again, thanks to the modern science of artificial insemination and hormonal therapy. At forty-eight, it was a miracle that she could conceive. The events at the hotel had taught me, taught us, many things which we would never forgot. Not in this lifetime.
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