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The Flip Side of Love

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Their love story had all the makings of an old-style romance novel. Star crossed lovers who caught each other’s eye across a crowded room and both knew in that instant that they were destined to be together. Fiona was the beautiful heroine trapped in marriage that she no longer desired to be in. And Devon was the handsome successful business tycoon, who after taking just one look at her knew that his life would never be the same. But this story wouldn’t have the same kind of happy ending that stories that start in such a way usually do. I would devote my life to making sure that it didn’t, because Fiona the beautiful heroine was my wife. The crowed room my company Christmas party and Devon the handsome business tycoon is my boss.

Up until the moment when I caught the glance that passed between them I had foolishly believed that Fiona and I were living out our own fairy tale romance; Fiona my beautiful bride had all the looks of a fairy tale princess. In fact she was the most beautiful woman that I had ever seen, demure and dainty behind her cascade of golden curls, eyes that always seemed to be smiling. I had known the moment that I had looked into her sparkling sapphire eyes, that I would never have eyes for another. We had been married less than a year after that first look.

I was used to men looking at my wife, after all she was a gorgeous woman, what I wasn’t used to was Fiona looking back.

“I only have eyes for you silly,” she would tease me when I would complain that maybe some of her admirer’s looks had lasted just a little too long. But this time I didn’t say anything on our silent car ride home. This time there was no teasing between us the words stuck in my throat, turning to bitter bile. All through the long, long night that kept me tossing and turning, images of the two of them together, plotting and planning their secret rendezvous behind my back. I could picture them kissing I could hear her deep, sexy laugh as Devon moved his lips down her long white throat.  I imagine her soft shapely body that fit so perfectly in my arms, moving into his embrace and I knew that the flip side of love is not hate, but deep searing pain.

I never ask her where she goes, or whom she sees no matter how late she returns to our bed. I act as if that I don’t smell the lingering of his expensive after shave in her hair, when I hold her in my arms at night. I mask the pain of my knowledge behind smiles and teasing, impromptu picnics and bouquets of wildflowers, Bergamot and Black eyed Susan’s Daisies, Bachelor Buttons, Myrtle and Lady Slippers that are the color of her eyes.

And when I tell her that Devon my boss has taken an unexpected business trip, and that nobody seems to know where he has gone or when he will be returning, I watch her eyes for clouds when I mention his name. And when I see them and feel her stiffen at the mention of his name, I once again pretend that I don’t notice.

What I don’t tell her is that Devon at least what is left of him will in all likely hood never be heard from again.

At night I tuck her cozily into our couch and bring her camomile tea, laden with honey and cream and laced with just the tiniest drop strychnine. The strychnine gives her a stomach ache, so I make her more tea with just a tiny drop more. Night after night this is our routine, until the last night, until tonight.

“I don’t deserve you,” she whispers,” grasping her tea cup for her final sip of tea. “I don’t deserve you.” She weeps, as tears of guilt stream unashamedly out of the corners of her once bright blue eyes.   Then clutching her stomach in pain she turns her face away from me and takes her final breath.

“No,” I answer, long after she could have heard my answer. “No,” I say it again, as I sit holding her lifeless hand. Sipping my Camomile tea and waiting for my own pain to subside.

 

End

 

Bio Of all the things that I do and have done, titles that I have had, it is writing that most defines me, because only with my words can I most be myself and yet at the same time be someone so unlike myself.

 

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