THE OTHER WOMAN


It was Sunday.   Time to sit back relax, read a good book, maybe clean the house, see if there was a good movie playing or a friend she could call to visit.   Sundays although welcome were very long bring up feeling of loneliness.     Perhaps the loneliness was a letdown after the busy week of work with disturbed families.   Many times the pain of the family was hard to leave behind although she had worked on being able to detach from situations where there nothing more to be done.      And yet, she did take it home and worry about the families and particularly the children who were at the mercy of families that were neglectful and abusive.     She was lonely, they were lonely, she was sometimes depressed and they were frequently depressed.   She had very little money to spend they had even less.   
Church attendance didn’t interest her as she could not  buy into the “better life” that was promised.  
   So today, clean the house, bake some bread and read a good book.   Build a fire in the fireplace and pretend you are in the midst of a family or have good company. She dozed and awakened by the door bell.   Rarely anyone visited her, especially on the weekend.   She opened the door to a man standing there who looked familiiar but she wasn’t sure where she had met him and did not remember his name.   Hello, he said, I’m Tom, the doctor at the clinic you visited last week.   Oh, of course, she said, now I remember.   Is something wrong?  And so the affair began. 
  In the following days he called repeatedly and sometimes she refused to talk with him.   He was married and she was definitely not interested in an involvement with a married man.   She had been very direct with him about those feelings.   He continued to persist, said that “it was love at first sight” and he couldn’t stay away.   He refused to stop calling until she agreed to see him and hear his side of the story about his marriage.  His marriage was dead according to him.  He had two children and he and his wife were well know in the community social scene.    He talked about the boredom and the resentment in the relationship.   Two intelligent people who had grown apart and now  were unhappy.     They met on weekends when he had medical meetings.   They met in hotels near where he did night shifts at an outpatient clinic.   He always called his wife to check in at regular times.   “How are the children, is everything ok?   I’ll see you tomorrow morning”.  
She was an intellectual person who had been thru the pain of an unfaithful spouse and young enough to be almost demolished by the betrayal.   Having grown up believing that if you made a promise and commitment you kept your word.    She wasn’t naive. She knew many friends and acquaintances who had had affairs and some of the men had long term mistresses.   She also knew that for her involving herself in a relationship with a married man   would ultimately bring more pain .   She knew there would be no “happy ending”.  He was married and his marriage was not wonderful, but she was no fool.    She knew he would value the solidity of marriage and his place in the community to a love affair with a woman who had no status.    She was like one of those people she denigrated who went to church hoping to find “happiness”.    She matched every lie he told her with an even bigger lie to herself.   “Maybe this time I will not be alone”.  
  So many months of promises broken he wavering about separating and divorcing the wife, the intimacy waning because of the broken promises and diminished trust. His reality was that he wanted to be married and have status in the community and yet at the same time follow his heart with no negative consequences either to his wife or the other woman.  He meant no harm.  Her reality was that she had a childlike belief that someone would love only her permanently.  What she didn’t want to face was that love and physical attraction are not permanent.   They move along like clouds in the sky.   Here one moment and then gone.  She had no excuses for the choice she had made.   Maybe this time, she had told herself, I can be in love and it will last.
   She was depressed, looked wane and unhappy.   Constant wanting with no satisfaction of the need to be safe and loved.    The people at her work asked what wals wrong.   They knew a man called her every day at work and talked for a long time.   Being a small town some knew he was married and some felt sorry for her, some judged her for being the “other woman”. 
  It is Sunday.  She is crawling up the stairs, emotion ally drained, barely able to hold her head up she feels  so shattered.    She had told him “no more”, now she was paying the price of having an emotional limb cut off, the emptiness of a soothing voice  and promises of love, the physical presence of a man that wanted her.   She could feel his body, smell his cologne and hear the sound of his voice.   Never again would she allow someone to hurt her this much.   She would harden, the wound would scar over.    Only time and grandchildren would soften her, but never again would she dip her foot in the pool of love.  
  Peggy

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