Silence is Golden
Once upon a time – A good beginning; warm and familiar you may say. Everything must have a beginning. Once upon a time; belonging to myth and fairy tales, does not seem to fit, but will have to do. This was a time when the world seemed a ‘Noah’s Ark’ society and I am the single who didn’t fit. I might have documented a case of ‘survivor syndrome’ being the survivor of a broken marriage and working full-time shift work, supporting a child. I was burdened and fragmented. Somehow, someway the pieces had to be pulled together. Burdens had to be cast off. Alone and single in a doubles world for the first time was frightening. My subconscious cried out for a partner – a rescuer – a man – a hero. I needed help to prop me up and bring what I thought would be substance to my life.
I remember a time, when the flash backs took control.
Greg was a sympathetic work mate at first. We spent long hours talking about respective spouses, my ex-husband, and his wife. Phone calls filled the time between dusk and real dark. This gave me something to do between arrival home and cooking a meal. With him as a conversational partner feeding myself and the child could be conducted in the afterglow of adult conversation. These small comforts made nights alone almost bearable.
With the same name, similar features and even similar hobbies Greg quickly became the brother I had never grieved for. He filled the dead man’s shoes, imitated sibling affection. In many respects the reincarnation was too complete. My brother Gregory had been a mechanic, loved fast racing cars, played the guitar and wore a beard; all characteristics of this live Greg.
Sibling rapport was maintained until that evening when a fireside coffee turned into love making. Sex with Greg was enjoyable, not a nuptial obligation. We experimented with gusto. Using evenings together to talk caress and then make love, clothes off or on. We played like children with new toys. Then Greg would go home to his wife.
Gossip in the workplace was rampant, it seemed the walls heard. Blind to everything but each other, we cultivated the relationship. Unending love for each other was confessed.
‘I don’t want you to be my mistress; I want you to be my wife.’ Such was his tear filled declaration. Moments were not enough to satisfy him. So he left the known world and took the new excitement full time. Experts in the workplace verbally exploded. I was the evil temptress; home wrecker; sole blame for his having thrown away a house, wife, and the good life. What was he gaining? I was, according to the gossip, an evil creature, a divorced woman looking for a second husband and stand-in father for her child. Nothing but bad would come of it, we heard the walls say. Determined to prove them wrong, promises were exchanged. We planned an escape into a perfect second marriage.
Foundations were laid for an eternity together. Carefully tended, beginnings were nurtured. A rapport was established between the new man and my daughter. Friends and family met the aspiring second husband. He was so careful, always the right things to say. Then that cataclysmic day; the announcement – “I want to give it one more try with my wife.” I cannot remember the initial reaction, but it was not shock. On the surface I was cool, as if the declaration was expected, but inwardly I fell apart. A voice said let go, push him back, that way he will be sure. I could not pull at his heart, I loved him too much. To cause him hurt would be self-injury.
My visions of perfection crashed. The prop, already leaned on, was going out of my life when I had thought it so permanent. I had thought – a perfect second marriage, like an encore performance was coming down, after only weeks alone. Now he’s taking his guitar, motor bike and going home to his wife.
Immediately the eyes firmly shut to the truth were abruptly ripped open. Money desperately saved for the pending escape he splashed on a new car. The cheating and lies began to be uncovered. I felt another emotion; hate. He shaved off that beard, exposing a weak chin to the world.
Every day I had to go to the same place, spend eight hours at work. See that face, be reminded of my gullibility. My stupidity in believing all those well-acted, tear filled, speeches was now blatantly obvious. The voices, the so-called work mates, how they kicked when I was down. Nights were no better. Tears fell unabated. Crying at the smallest reminder, a song, or phrase turned on the water-works. Strange, I’d believed in the relationship. It felt lasting, but now it was gone. No proper mourning, no conclusion, just the shattering of trust.
Another Greg died.
A small hand reaches across the dinner table to a crying adult. “It’s alright mommy, Greg will be coming back soon.”
“No,” coughing through the tears, “he’s never coming back.”
Christmas is a strange time when you’ve been rejected by a lover. Carols are sad. Friends ask, “Where’s your man?” and are shocked at the news that he is happy back in the arms of the woman who has the ‘till death us do part contract. It was a life lesson learned the hard way. I had been exposed to the perils of the single’s world. I had tasted insincere utterances of ‘I love you’; known lies whispered in the heat of passion.
Into the gap strolled the competitor. He was tall, tanned, surf boat oarsman with a body reflecting his attitude of dominance over femininity. His were classic male lines; small, narrow hips, broad shoulders, strong legs. I admire from a distance. Then decide to take action with a small note left in his towel; ‘my membership expires soon, maybe we could have lunch together rather than do aerobics….’a message that was blunt but effective. The phone in the work place responded within an hour. Arrangements are being made for a week hence.
Lunch is at a swish, expensive restaurant, very impressive. The competitor really made his presence felt. Dressing to an image and playing by his rules. Flashing business cards and opulence; the entertainment begins. He is careful in playing this role; never eat too much, never drink too much and bring sex into the conversation. I can almost feel the water being tested. He quickly admits to unavailability. “You realize I am married with three kids.” Without waiting for a reply, he continues, “but it’s alright, we are separated, she just lives in the same house as my housekeeper and for child care.” Wife apparently happily accepts this. He declared a need for his own life and girlfriends if he so desires.
The pursuit lasts weeks. The competitor becomes a hunter; powerful overbearing embraces, rubbing his body on mine. Gifts, outings and phone calls galore are parts of the romance. Like stalked prey I flit just beyond grasp, enticing the chase further.
When he takes me to the beach, I am presented with the man in his element and admit to liking the spectacle. That gladiatorial figure Speedo clad. His has a psyche that could have inspired an after shot for the ‘no-one will kick sand in his face’ advertising piece.
Eventually the prey is cornered. Nervous about performance, the result is less than perfect. Even before we get as far as the bedroom the competition is well under way. It’s the, ‘are we going to or not’ stakes. Is she going to resist insisted embraces, or does he have to carry her off? Winners and losers continue between the sheets.
‘You didn’t catch the train. Get a ticket next time.’
‘Ha ha, beat you’ or ‘this time it’s my turn’.
Risks seem to be part of the game. Openly he conducts his affair. I believe his wife is fully aware of what is happening. She allows him to screw his ‘floozy’, removing her responsibility to commit time to nuptial privileges. A meeting takes place, set up by the husband, or is it merely co-incidental? In the familiar health club, I see her, she sees me. Approval is granted for the affair to continue. So on it goes. Body hairs, sweat and semen stain my sheets.
Conversations become cryptic, ‘you seem distracted tonight’, means I am not exciting him. ‘I am going to behave myself tonight’, is his cryptic refusal.
Other conquests come and go. I seem to be Monday and Thursday nights, beginning to feel like a commodity. Do I deserve to be a twice weekly fuck? Then the regularity fades. One excuse for an absence was that he was in hospital. When I checked it was Attadale; a maternity hospital!
Flexing new muscles, I feel strong. The competitor begins to slip. I am the winner in a no-win situation. Power surges to me. I feel no pain as I sprint past the winner. Even burning bridges is competitive. ‘I won’t ring you if you don’t ring me’, ‘you can ignore me but I won’t go away’. Part of me knows I have to stick with ending it. I am not a convenience, to see him again might mean forced sex, not rape, but by fanning the flame and kindling desire. I can be stronger; flame will not penetrate steel doors.
A lesson is learned here too: Self-esteem grows. Life has been improved I have a better job. Sometimes the grip slips, but I know it’s me at the wheel, ruling the direction.
Memories of my victory over the competitor excite.
I have begun to enjoy life when I meet Sasha, the dancer. His is a seduction so subtle I didn’t even notice. Before I realized I’ve seen those legs, denuded of tights, reclining. Sasha throws away the rule book. Is there such a creature as a book of rules for a love affair? Perhaps I could write it. Sasha is totally unpredictable. Surprises come when I seem to need them most. Sasha’s affair has twists each holding something excitedly new.
Once when I shouted from my metaphorical roof tops, “it’s over! No more married men, never, never, never!” My sister says, “Until the next time”.
Perhaps I will never change.