I married for love. My husband was the love of my life. The only problem was he loved someone else. When I was in my early twenties, I met two brothers–Jack, an outgoing, lovely man and his brother, Adam, who was very handsome and very charming. Jack fell in love with me but I fell in love with Adam. I went out with both of them but there came a time when I had end my relationship with one of them. Both proposed to me. I had to decide which one of them I should marry. Should I marry Jack who loved me or Adam whom I loved?
I decided to marry Adam. Jack was heartbroken. He packed up and left Seattle. I never saw nor heard from him again.
In the beginning, Adam and I were happy. We decided to wait for a year before having children. That year we traveled and just spent time getting close. The following year, we had our first child, a boy who was a splitting image of Adam. I adored him. The next year, we had twin girls. We moved to Santa Barbara and bought a beach home. Life there was very satisfying. I was happy. The kids were happy and I assumed that Adam was happy too.
One evening when I was on my way home when I decided that I would drop by Adam’s office to see if he wanted to go out for dinner. The kids were with their grandparents. We would pick them up after dinner. I got on the elevator and walked to Adam’s office. The door was closed but I could see the light under the door. Without bothering to knock, I opened the door and walked in.
I can’t tell who was more shocked—Adam for getting caught red-handed or me for seeing my husband naked and in the arms of another woman. I don’t know how long I stood there but when he moved towards me, I turned and ran out of the office. I didn’t stop running until I was out of the building and heading down the street. I frantically flagged down a taxi and scrambled into the back, the tears almost blinding me. How could he? And who was she? Was he going to throw away fifteen years of marriage for a romp in his office?
When I got home, I ran straight up to our room and took out a suitcase. I started throwing his clothes into it. I didn’t want him around. I couldn’t bear to see him. I wanted him gone and I didn’t care where he went. He could stay with her or a friend. Was this the first time? Were there other times? What kind of man was I married to?
I hauled the suitcase downstairs and put it in the foyer, beside the front door. I went into the kitchen and sat down at the table. I buried my face in my hands and wept.
An hour later, I heard the front door open and close. The kids went straight upstairs. A few minutes later, Adam walked into the kitchen. I didn’t look at him. I couldn’t. “I packed your suitcase,” I informed him. “I don’t want you here right now.”
He sighed. “Beth, I’m sorry…”
I looked at him then. “Are you sorry that you hurt me or sorry that you got caught?”
“I’m sorry that I hurt you.”
“Who is she, Adam? Some woman you picked up at a bar or someone working at the company?”
“She’s someone from my past.”
“You were in a relationship with her?”
“Yes. We were lovers.”
“She was married.”
“Yes. She’s divorced now.”
I shook my head in disgust. “Now that she’s divorced you figured that you would pick up where you left off.”
“It isn’t like that, Beth. We didn’t plan to restart our relationship, it just happened.”
“These things don’t just happen, Adam. You wanted to get back with her. You didn’t think about how this would affect the kids and me. You’re a selfish man. I wish I’d never married you.”
His face suffused with color. “You should have married Jack,” he agreed. “He loved you.”
“Why did you marry me, Adam? I know that it wasn’t because you loved me.”
“Beth, I cared about you and I believed that in time, I would grow to love you.”
“But you never did. Is she the reason? Are you in love with her?”
He sighed. “I never stopped loving her.”
My hand covered my mouth as I tried to stifle the sob that rose to my throat. Pain, jealousy and anger ripped through me. “Please get out,” I muttered tightly.
“Okay, I’ll go. I’m sorry.” He turned and walked out of the kitchen.
Minutes later the front door opened and closed. I sat there at the table for a very long time before I went upstairs to my room and locked myself in. The next morning, I told the kids that Dad was out of town. A few weeks later, I filed for a divorce. Adam and I have joint custody of the kids. He and his ex- got married.
As I stood on the beach, gazing out at the ocean, I think about Jack. He’s living in Seville and is happily married to a beautiful Spanish woman. He friended me on Facebook and sent me photos of him and his family. I’m truly happy for him. He’s a good man and he deserves to be with a good woman. There are moments when I still regret not choosing him.
As for me, I’m not ready for any relationships. My kids and my career keep me busy. I haven’t dismissed the idea of remarrying completely. Who knows, one of these days, I just might get lucky and fall in love with a man who’s in love with me.
I wrote this story for the #writephoto Prompt – Choices at Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo.