This is a piece of autobiographical fiction. Space and time have been rearranged to suit the convenience of the book, and with the exception of public figures, any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental. The opinions expressed are those of the characters and should not be confused with the author’s.
This story is written as an example to anyone who wants to believe that we are more than the patriarchy deems us to be, more than our limitations, and more than our fears.
From the eye of an unassuming stranger, Gideon and I look like any other married couple – comfortable with each other, not touchy probably because we are way past the honeymoon stage but still lovingly aware of each other. In the way that he would still offer to buy us breakfast, automatically knowing my go-to choices – steamed buns with two eggs on the side and black coffee with no sugar – while I grab us seats.
The airport is rather quiet, we’re catching a red-eye flight after all. I look around briefly and catch the eye of a 6-year-old boy with blonde hair and blue eyes. He’s excitedly pulling his parents towards the departure gate and I somehow imagine him having a lot of fun at Universal Studios Singapore.
Changi airport is a true gem of Singapore. I mean, we literally renamed Terminal 1 as Jewel. Our airport was one of the first real prides of Singapore’s – symbolic of being a strong and wealthy, mighty little nation.
When Gideon comes back to the table, I notice a brown stain on his white SuperDry t-shirt. Instinctively, I dab a napkin with water and try to rub it off. He doesn’t move away from me, but he also hesitated to let me touch him, not because he was protecting himself, but more as if he was embarrassed of the stain.
I take a closer look at it, “Oh what’s this?” I naively ask. He doesn’t answer but just looks at me pitifully, with those cowardly eyes that I would come to see repeatedly the next week.
“Oh………it’s foundation. Her foundation. From………” I put two and two together in that awkward moment, and look away quickly, focusing on my breakfast. By then, I had lost all appetite, but I couldn’t start to crumble, not right there, not yet. Hang in there, Jane. Just get your butt to Mexico.
The countdown in my mind starts – 8 days.
I don’t know if it’s because we’re at the airport. But I think about the last time I was counting down to something. Our honeymoon to Sicily.
It was 2 years after getting married, and we had put off our honeymoon because the weddings, new house and car had emptied out our bank accounts. One of my good friends was getting married in England, and there was my chance. I proposed for us to take a detour and go to Italy for our long overdue honeymoon. “I can use my miles to get us business class tickets dear,” he had offered.
At that time, I thought it was really kind of him to do that. Although, that was really all he did for the honeymoon. I planned everything else and organized all of it. Just like I did for our wedding, just like I did for our house, and just like I did for just about everything he wasn’t interested to do. He had always used work for an excuse, and I always just took it as a default that things at home were my responsibility. I had always felt guilty for not doing enough, not helping enough, not being enough.
Yet, I sometimes can’t help but ask myself, is that his doing or mine?
It’s been an hour since the plane took off. Our cats are settled down, they’re in individual carriers in front of us, underneath the seats of the passengers in front of us. Coco was a little fidgety, but Peanut was calm and fast asleep by the time the stewardess comes around to serve us drinks.
Gideon asks for a rum and coke while I ask for a double gin & tonic.
He has been on his phone non-stop since we took off. I guess he got wifi so he could continue messaging Marianne.
I’m flipping through the channels, looking for a movie to watch, when I finally give in to temptation and glance at his phone. Beside her name, he has put 2 emojis – 1 heart and 1 ring.
He noticed me looking and said, “Sorry. I have to message her every 15 minutes.”
“She’s feeling a little insecure and she thinks we’re going to be having airplane sex. So I have to reassure her every 15 minutes that we’re not.”
Oh honey…………..15 minutes? Try 5 – I think in my mind. But no, that’s not a healthy thought – and I push it out of my mind.
The fact that they’ve been sleeping together is tearing me apart.
I end up choosing an episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S and desperately wait till the gin lulls me into another precious few hours of sleep. Away from this, away from ALL of this.
After 22 hours of being on that torturous journey from Singapore to Idaho, I was looking forward to respite. In the car on the way to the hotel, I start wondering if we would still be sleeping on the same bed, and just as that thought appeared, Gideon broke the silence.
“She doesn’t want us sharing the same room so….I had to book us separate rooms, I’m sorry.”
My face starts heating up in anger and I refused his request. “You know I’m afraid of sleeping in hotel rooms alone, can we not sleep in separate rooms please?” I can’t even summon up the energy to go into an argument. I choose the easier route – to appeal to his better side.
He relents and requests for me to stand outside the room while he video-calls her.
It is -5 degrees in Mountain home, Idaho and I’m only dressed in jeans and a thin jacket. Yet, I allow myself to stand there in the freezing weather, watching my husband video call his mistress and give her a false reassurance that he wasn’t sleeping in the same room as his wife. My mind registers this fact for a minute but before I can even react with any emotion, it instinctively pushes the thought away for me.
After a few grueling minutes of watching him show her around the room and even ducking once out of view, I hear him say the few words he usually tells me “I love you baby, sweet dreams and I miss you.”
Fuck. Fuck me. What the fuck in the flying fuck is happening?