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Three is a crowd: Diane loses more ground to Julie

(Continued from last issue)

David and Diane have been married for years; then there is Julie, the young secretary whose axis collides with the couple’s in ways none of them saw coming.

JULIE

When David texted me to let me know he would not be coming to the apartment right after work after all, my initial feeling was one of irritation.

I had spent the entire day racing around to get everything ready for him; so, for him to now so casually postpone that, felt not just inconsiderate, but disrespectful too.

Furthermore, I did not believe that once he got to the main house, his wife would let him leave again without causing a scene; so, now despite his text saying he would come ‘later’, I was no longer sure he was going to come at all.

My irritation was quickly replaced by a sense of deflation, an anti-climax to the feeling of anticipation I had had all day. The only silver lining to David’s text was that after how busy I had been all day, I now had the time to relax and take care of myself for a change.

Then again, when you have an active eleven-month-old baby, and no extra pair of hands to help look after him, you never really have the time to relax or look after yourself as long as they are awake. Junior had woken up from his nap almost two hours ago, and while I was exhausted and craving a long leisurely bath to relax and soothe my worn-out body, he was freshly rested, and full of energy.

I reflexively found myself thinking that if Sandra were around, she would have watched him for me, but her betrayal was still too raw for me to miss her yet. As I resignedly sat down on the living room carpet to play with Junior and his building blocks, my mind went from Sandra to David.

Since I took care of Junior fulltime, this should have been his time with our son, but instead he was with his wife and other children, and if he showed up at all tonight – which I doubted – it would no doubt be long after Junior had gone to sleep.

Sitting there on the living room floor with just Junior as the sun began to set, betrayed by my sister, pretty much estranged from my mother, and casually shoved aside by David, I felt incredibly alone.

DAVID

I got to the house a little before six, and found the girls watching TV, and Diane working on her laptop at the dining room table – there was no sign of Daniel.

As soon as they saw me, the girls scrambled to their feet and ran to hug and welcome me back like I had been gone for days, and I felt a pinch of guilt at their almost exuberant reception – maybe I really had let my problems with Diane affect the amount of time I spent with them.

It was a sobering thought and one that yet again reminded me of the balance I needed to find in my life. Ignoring Diane, I focused on the girls.

“What have you two munchkins been up to?” I asked, while ruffling their hair fondly.
“Just watching TV.”
“Where’s your brother?”
“In his room on the computer,” Samantha reported.
“Have you had your evening tea yet?”
“No; Mummy said you were coming; so, we were waiting for you,” Stacey chirped in.

“Well, I’m here now; so, let’s go freshen up, wash our hands and have tea,” I instructed cheerily, and then ushered them towards the staircase. Neither Diane, nor I, had said a word to each other.

As the girls went on into the bathroom, I stopped at Daniel’s room.

“Hello Daniel,” I greeted him, as I pushed the partially open door the rest of the way, interrupting him from his focus on his computer screen.

“Hello, Daddy,” he looked up in surprise.
“So, you no longer welcome me back when I come home, and it’s me to come and greet you?” I remarked questioningly.
“I didn’t know you were back.”

I knew that was a lie; if he had not heard my car come up the driveway, there was no way he could have missed the sound of the girls’ excited yells when I walked in. I, however, didn’t push the matter.

“Go wash up with your sisters and come downstairs for tea,” I instructed instead.

He hesitated for a moment like he was going to object, then apparently thought better of it, and sighing resignedly, turned off the computer and stood up. Leaving him to it, I moved on to the master bedroom to freshen up myself.

DIANE

Although David was acting like I was invisible, not even looking at me, let alone speaking to me, he was being more hands-on with the children – even Daniel – than he had been in months.

He asked them about their readiness and preparedness for the upcoming term, looked at their holiday packages, and after dinner, even supervised the girls’ bath and bedtime routine which was yet another thing that he had not done in months.

With how involved he was being with the children, I was reassured that even though our marriage was on the rocks, he was still committed to our family, and if nothing else did, our children would always bring him back.

I, however, wanted more than that; I did not just want the father of my children back, I wanted my husband and partner back too. I had tried to recreate what our marriage looked like in better days, serving the evening tea and dinner – although the maid had done the actual preparation and cooking, I had supervised and more importantly served it, which was really all that counted; and while we were not talking, at least we were not arguing either.

With how well the evening had gone, I allowed myself to believe there was hope for David and I to fix our marriage, that the worst of our problems were behind us, and that things would only get better from here – until I followed him upstairs to our room after the children had gone to bed, and found him packing a suitcase!

For a few seconds I just stared at him in shocked silence, before finally managing to gasp; “You’re leaving!”

“Yes – for the night, that is,” he answered casually, like it was perfectly normal for a husband to inform his wife that he was going to be spending the night out.

“Why?” I breathed brokenly; it had all been going so well, and now this!

He paused from his packing for a second, and then turned to face me.

“You know why, so let’s not pretend; it’s not like we’re sleeping in the same bed anyway, so what difference does it make to you where I spend the night?”

“Maybe I was hoping we would share a bed again.”

He sighed in frustration, and then latched up his case.

“Not tonight,” he answered firmly, then, like he had done so often in the past few days, walked past and away from me without another word, or even so much as a backward glance.

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