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Three is a crowd: Julie still in the lead, to Diane’s chagrin

(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.

DAVID

The maid Diane’s mother had sent for eventually arrived, and they moved in a few days later, with Diane’s mother wasting no time in turning the house into some sort of boot camp for her new recruit, ‘training’ her from as early as five thirty in the morning till as late as ten in the night.

I felt sorry for the poor girl who could not have been more than eighteen at most, but appreciated that while Diane’s mother was so focused on her, she did not pay too much attention to me or what time I got back, which was usually between nine and ten each night.

Julie was responsible for that, reminding me in different ways each day of why I had fallen in love with her and why my attraction to her remained so strong, from the way she constantly strove to please me, to the way she responded to our lovemaking, making me feel like a ‘real man’.

Junior was the other reason I spent as much time at the apartment as I did; even though he was still a baby, the more time I spent with him, the more of me I saw in him.

Besides the undeniable fact that he was literally my photocopy physically, just like me, he was strong-willed, stubborn and determined, the kind of son who would no doubt grow up to achieve anything he set his mind to – the kind of son Daniel was not.

I knew it was wrong to compare the two, but it was impossible not to. Unlike Junior, Diane had spoiled Daniel and he was soft and weak, and never seemed to strive for anything, finding it easier to give up than try a little harder.

When I thought of how privileged he was because of all that I had provided, the thought of his weak nature became even more frustrating, and once again I found myself comparing him to Junior, this time not in terms of character or looks but, rather, how much I spent on each of them, and how wrong the disparity was.

Although I provided everything Junior needed as well, there was no denying that my children with Diane enjoyed finer luxuries and privileges than Junior did.

While he was a baby, I could get away with it, but I knew that would change as he got older, and in the moments when I was not basking in the pleasures of my relationship with Julie, I considered the more sobering reality of how much it was going to cost to raise both my sons with equal privileges and standards of living.

DIANE

Although I was far from fully recovered, I finally managed to convince my doctor to discharge me less than two weeks after the accident. My mother had at this point been in the house for about a week, and although she said the new maid had learned most of the ropes, she had offered to stay for a few more days after I got back just to ensure I was managing alright.

While I was thrilled to be back, and the children were clearly overjoyed to have me back as well, the only person who did not seem quite as pleased was David. On the surface, he acted like he was, doing all the right things like taking time off work to pick me up in person, then helping me up the stairs to our room when we got to house, his smile did not reach his eyes and his words sounded hollow.

I wondered if he was seeing that whore again; something seemed off and my antennae were definitely buzzing. My mother, however, clearly thought things were going great, and regularly commented on what a caring and attentive husband David was, simply because he had his dinner up in the room with me (the stairs were still a challenge for me, so I was pretty much confined upstairs).

While I appreciated the gesture, even when he was with me, he felt distant and distracted, so while it should have been reassuring, it was not. At the same time, I wondered if perhaps I was seeing things; for, if I were totally honest with myself, I was not exactly in the best frame of mind at the moment.

Because I was still so dependent on everyone around me, I felt weak and helpless, and maybe those feelings of dependency were just manifesting themselves as insecurity and suspicion. While admitted, I had thought that once I was discharged and back home, everything would go back to normal, but I was quickly finding out how wrong I had been, and it was a scary realization.

JULIE

Even though David never told me about his wife’s accident or subsequent admission, I knew exactly when she was discharged, from the sudden and drastic change in his routine.

For starters, he did not show up at all that day, and when he returned on the next, he was not as comfortable and relaxed as he usually was, constantly checked the time, and did not stay for dinner. However, it was not just his routine that changed, it was his entire persona too; although he was still affectionate, he was tenser and did not make any moves towards us being intimate.

I figured it was because he did not want to go back to her either freshly showered, or carrying my scent, and that bit was understandable, but what was not just as clear, was why the light in his eyes appeared to have died, and why he smiled and laughed less.

I tried not to judge his marriage, but could not help but wonder what the point of being married was if you were happier when your wife was away than when she was home. I did not want to appear to be prying, or complaining either, but after the third day of him leaving early, I could not help but remark on the changes.

“You’re always in a hurry these days; is everything alright?” I asked kindly, my tone more concerned than annoyed.
“Everything’s fine; work’s just pretty crazy of late; so, I like to turn in early so I can get an early start in the morning,” he explained casually.

I knew he was lying, but did not want to make too big a deal of it and risk giving away that I knew about his wife’s accident; so, I let it go.

“Alright, but don’t work too hard.”

From the way he smiled back at me, almost gratefully, I knew I had picked the right response, especially when he followed it up with, “I know things have gotten a bit hectic of late, but give me a bit of time for things to settle down and I promise I’ll make it up to you.”

It was an unusual response from David, who I had never known to feel the need to ‘make up’ for anything to anyone, especially me, but I would bide my time and see where this went.

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