Sunday, January 04, 2009

Her Moral Affair

"If he touches me again, I'll kill him." Her chest was heaving with anger as she drove the familiar route back to the house. Wrapped in an up-model SUV, a cold mid-winter light shone through the tempered glass giving the surrounding world a surreal patina. It disoriented her, feeling as though she drove through a stranger's neighborhoods. But the closer she got to that garage door that would open and swallow her inside, the more she fumed and bristled. "I don't want you touching me anymore. I abhor you! This whole fake marriage thing is over. Do NOT fucking touch me again!"

This from a woman who never cussed.

It's been said that the punishment for criminals is derived from mimicking the hearts of the judgers. One particularly cruel Asian sentence was to be pulled apart by oxen, your very being ripped in two. The oxen now were full bore on her outstretched limbs as the leather crinkled under her seat. Part of her wished she'd finally be torn apart once and for all, never to feel anything ever again - and that very well could happen. Yes, she was driving the usual way back to her abode, but she certainly had lost her way home. No wonder she felt so lost.

Her secret was the dirtiest of the dirty. The faith broken; the ultimate crime perpetrated. She'd passed through the door to do The One Thing That Must Never Be Done: to open her eyes. Seeing life's true offer made the tragedy of her choices all too clear. With the long forgotten taste of living on her lips, buried desires sprang to life anew, inflaming her with passions not to be denied. "What a fool I've been." Going back to the non-life, the pretending, the suffocation of safety - THAT was the new insanity. She mustn't go back to that. Never...never.

To live, they always scolded, was dangerous. Honor, duty and obedience were the words ingrained in her. Follow that holy troika and praise will be yours her betrayers assured. But now she had to decide on a final break. "If it's right to live, why do I feel so guilty?" Here was a man who believed in her, who carried the true faith of love. It wasn't some "deal", or a "good idea" to be a "great team". But it scared her to think of a marriage based on what she created instead of what she got out of it. This was a union, two becoming one. This was the dream she always said her marriage was. Maybe that's why she felt the guilt - she too had acted a liar.

The sleek SUV pulled into the garage as it had done countless times before. Bible quotes from childhood ran mocking through her head, speaking of clean spirits and dirty ones. And now, sitting in this stranger's garage, it was her turn to come clean, to claim the holiness to which she aspired. But whispering in her ear were devil's doubts. Who are you to break the oath of marriage? What future do you have really? Will the passion last? You've lied this many years, why not just go on backsliding and keep your money and safety and security? Who are you?

Gnawing questions for a woman who has never lived alone - and now feared it more than death itself.

What she didn't know here on the eve of her twentieth wedding anniversary was that her husband too had strayed with heart-pounding sex to relieve his yearning needs. He could share thoughts there his wife would never understand. And he ached to dump that wife who so slowly over the years turned into an albatross of denial. Yes, he'd leave her high and dry for not taking care of him. Thusly, what his wife did not realize was that if she didn't commit to the new life she found, she'd end up with neither.

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