(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.
I arrived at the hotel Mark had selected 15 minutes later than I had said I would be there. I wanted him to wait and wonder if I was actually going to show up; I wanted to see the relief and delight in his eyes when I eventually did.
I saw both when I walked into the hotel’s gardens where he was waiting, and he spotted me almost immediately, like he had been watching the entrance.
“Hi, sorry I’m late, I got held up at the boutique,” I apologized, taking the seat he had stood to pull out for me.
“No problem, I just got here a short while ago myself. The traffic was awful as usual,” he lied.
I knew he was lying, because the beer in front of him was almost done, and there were two bottle tops on the table, but I let it slide as I knew it was born out of pride. That was alright; I like a proud man.
While I had already made up my mind to agree to bed Mark that afternoon, he did not know this yet, and so while I was calm and collected, I could tell he was nervously wondering if this was the day he ‘got lucky’.
I wanted it to be clear to him that if he intended for anything physical to happen between us this afternoon, he did not have to beat around the bush about it; so, when the waiter arrived with the menu, I asked what would take the shortest time to prepare, then added pointedly to Mark: “I don’t have a lot of time.”
Fortunately, he immediately got the message; “In that case, why don’t we relocate to one of the rooms? They can bring your order up there,” he suggested. “Why?” I teased him.
In response, he looked me straight in the eye, bit his lower lip for a moment, before answering; “You’ll see.” He was playing along now, and it excited me.
“Alright,” I agreed quietly.
I had not seen Kenneth since our last disastrous meeting, mainly out of shame, but when my antenatal visit date came up, I knew I could not put it off any longer. At the hospital, he smiled when he saw me in the waiting area, but didn’t show any other further sign of recognition.
There were still three patients ahead of me. When it was finally my turn, he called me in, but did not say anything else until I was in his consultation room with the door closed behind us.
“It’s good to see you again; I was afraid you might have found another doctor.” “Why would I do that?” I asked in honest surprise.
Although I was embarrassed about how our last meeting had gone, I was confident Kenneth was a good doctor and I felt safe in his care.
“I don’t know; I guess I thought that after how our last meeting ended, you would be uncomfortable, or that your ‘friend’ would insist on it,” he shrugged.
“Well, he didn’t; I don’t think he really cares about details like that,” I answered quietly as I thought of how long it had been since I had heard from David.
“I guess I should be pleased to hear that, but I’m not – if I were the baby’s father, I would care. I’m sorry if I’m out of line, but each time I’ve seen you with him, he hasn’t exactly been kind and loving, and I think you deserve better. You deserve a man who is crazy about you and shows it, someone who makes you smile and laugh, and not cry. You’re an amazing woman, and I think you deserve that.”
Kenneth was saying all the right things, but they were being said by the wrong person; I wanted David to be the man who was crazy about me and showed it, I wanted him to be the man who made me smile and laugh.
Once upon a time, he had been that man; so, I knew he was capable of being all that Kenneth described – I didn’t want better, I wanted David.
“I don’t want to talk about it – can we talk about my latest tests and scan; does everything look alright?” I pointedly changed the subject.
Kenneth was crossing the line, and I was reminding him of what I expected of our relationship – a professional doctor-patient one. His face fell at my words, but thankfully he respected the line I had just drawn and picked up my file: “Let’s see what they say.”
I was getting increasingly frustrated by Diane’s strange behaviour and was not sure how much more of it I could stand. I had continued to be the model husband as I forced myself to stay away from Julie and focus on her and the children, but it felt like no matter how hard I tried, I could not earn her approval or appreciation.
She continued to give me a hard time getting any sex from her and this is where my real frustration lay. When I thought of what a willing partner I always had in Julie, and remembered her crushed look when I had walked away after our last encounter, it only made Diane’s iciness more infuriating.
I had tried to be patient with her, continuing to hope that she would eventually thaw from the warmth of my good behaviour, but that had not happened and, if anything, she had grown even more distant and more adamant in her refusals of my sexual advances each night.
I knew that if she kept this up much longer, one of two things would happen; either I would take it by force with or without her consent, or I would go and get it from Julie.
I did not want either to happen; the first, because I was not that sort of man, and preferred a willing partner in bed, and the second, because I did not want to go back down that path and give Julie the false hope that I was back, only to leave again.
That meant something would definitely have to change; I decided it was time I sat down with Diane and had a serious talk with her – if I was being the perfect husband, she needed to be not even a perfect wife, but at least one who gave me my conjugal rights. Surely, was that too much to ask?