Friday, April 29, 2016

Chapter 39: Justification

I was watching television this evening when caught I end of a cheesy romance on some cable station. The male lead proposed to the female, promising to make her life wonderful. The huge diamond he slid on her finger promised "happily ever after." I wondered then, at marriages where husbands and wives met with others, secretly and in the dark. I wondered if they were failing their marriage or if their marriage had failed them.

When I wonder, it's not about the marriages entered into lightly by those who had no intention of honoring those vows. I wonder, instead, of those who said "I do" with their souls but then found themselves having the audacity to change along the way. They are the ones who still love their spouses and cannot understand for the life of them why what was once enough isn't nearly. Or is it a failing on our part? For refusing to change along with them -- or did we refuse to not change?

When we're the ones in the dark, saying a very different "I do" to someone whose wedding band does not match ours, are we selfish or desperate? At what point does an affair -- either sexual or emotional -- becomes less an act of deception and more an act of survival?

What can I say that would, in most people's eyes, justify what I have done? I'm not going to try, to be honest. I just know that I've spent too much of my life being Little Miss Perfect. It never quite got me anywhere.

Somewhere along the way, I changed; I took a path quite different from the one anticipated. It's hard for me to view that as wrong. Liam, too, failed to remain who he was. We sat side-by-side in an office, sharing space for nine months before daring to acknowledge let alone touch. For nine months the others in the office pushed us together, dumping us into an un-official couple based on our mutual youth. Old enough to be our parents, they found him maddening and me mercurial.

And so the youngsters were sent off to play.

Most mornings I'd fix his collar after he tied his necktie. He dubbed me his "office wife." We learned how to read each other's expressions. We laughed until we were breathless. Secret notes were passed back and forth, much like two sixth graders. He listened to me. He didn't dismiss me.

How could nothing happen?