It had been such a busy week that I felt like I was going to end up forgetting something that I needed to do. As I packed my daughters’ lunches, I ran through my to-do list in my head: my kids’ school function coming up, laundry to fold, and grocery shopping. Nothing was helping to distract me from this upcoming Chicago trip with my boss, Mr. Brown, who had also become my older, married lover.
As I let my mind wander to him, I heard a beep from somewhere in the kitchen. I immediately assumed it was the oven, so I opened it in hopes that dinner was ready. My husband was becoming increasingly irritated with his job, and he usually brought his bitter attitude home with him. I was hoping that maybe having dinner ready when he got home would at least make things less uncomfortable. But the beep hadn’t come from the oven—I realized it was from my phone. I decided it would be best to finish up the roast and potatoes before checking my cell. My oldest daughter was setting the table when I snuck off to read my text message. It was Mr. Brown, of course, wanting to know if I was prepared for the Gala we were attending. I responded with a row of smiley faces.
He had been generous in giving me a few days off this week so that I could spend time at home before the trip. I cooked, cleaned, and performed other domestic duties around the house, and I enjoyed spending the extra time with my kids. Mr. Brown really valued family, and he always reminded me to put my children first. I knew he would have made a great father and thinking about this brought another smile to my face.
That evening, I took a chance and sat down to try and enjoy a meal with my husband, and as I looked at his face, worn with exhaustion, I felt a twinge of guilt. I was going to be spending the weekend in Chicago, where I would be wined and romanced. I would be surrounded by beautiful people in designer clothes and drinking fancy champagne, while my husband would be spending the weekend at home with the kids. It seldom happened that I was away and he was home, so I knew how much the girls would enjoy it, which helped to make me feel a little less guilty.
Later that night, I tucked the kids into bed and gave them each a kiss. Even if my husband didn’t show me the love and affection that I wanted, he always showed it to our daughters. I knew no matter what happened in our marriage, he would always be there to take care of them and me financially. This brought my thoughts back to Mr. Brown: where would this May-December relationship with him go? I started to pack my suitcase, and as I folded my shirts and slacks, I wondered about Mrs. Brown: did he feel guilty about her?
After a terrible night’s sleep, I got up and gathered my stuff for the trip. I made the kids breakfast, got big hugs from each of them, and put the oldest on the school bus. When I was finally free to go, I tried to rush for the door, but before I could get out, my husband grabbed my wrist…