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.
January 2020 – Singapore
I first got acquainted with Scarlett because she used to date Kelvin, Gideon’s brother.
Back then, I was a different person. I had different habits, goals, priorities and a different outlook in life.
I was a judgmental person. I wouldn’t judge everyone and I tried not to do it but when it came to gossip – I would indulge in it and believe third party stories of other people.
Kelvin used to tell us stories about his then girlfriend Scarlett. She lived down the street from us and even owned an apartment 4 floors above Gideon and me. She had bought it with her ex-fiance before breaking up with him. Soon after, she got together with Kelvin.
Although Kelvin was infatuated with her, he would also tell us things that he didn’t like about her – like how she would boss him around, make him fetch her from work to home and home to outings with friends. He would also complain to us about her constant interactions with her ex-fiance.
“They’re going on a trip together to Bangkok and I have to help her look after her dogs.” He told us one day.
“She’s going on a trip with her ex-fiance??” we would ask, bewildered by why and how and what??
“She bought a puppy on impulse and she wants me to take care of it with her.” He would tell us.
“She’s making me pick her up from work to go meet her friends and then pick her up again after that.” He would lament to us.
Because Kelvin is Gideon’s brother, I always sided with him. I was a people-pleaser back then, and I wanted Kelvin to know that I was his family no matter what.
A few months into my traveling last year, Scarlett approached me on Instagram and we started chatting. She told me of the stories Kelvin told her about me – I told her of the stories he told me about her. We exchanged information and found out that the two brothers had exchanged so many stories about us, all painting us in a negative way – never them.
Kelvin would tell Scarlett that I was a gold digger who always used his brother’s car (even though we were already married) and that I wouldn’t let him drive it.
Kelvin would tell us that Scarlett was unreasonable and always controlled him.
I never heard Scarlett’s side of the story – until we became friends.
After months of messaging and keeping in touch, we finally met up in Singapore when I went back for 2 months.
Over a round of drinks, we hashed everything out. She told me her side of things and I told her mine.
Then – she dropped another bomb on me.
“Jane, I have to tell you something.” Her tone becomes very serious all of a sudden.
” When I was dating Kelvin, we used to have to rush home from wherever we were to clear apps and data on Gideon’s Ipad before you came over. I can’t confirm this because I didn’t see this for myself…….but Kelvin tells me that Gideon and his friends used to visit prostitutes.” She touches my hand as she tells me this.
My heart sank to my gut. Prostitutes?
Gideon had told me of girls he slept with in Thailand before. He told me that he used to have a girlfriend in Thailand that he would visit whenever he went there for work. But he always said they meant nothing to him – that they were just girls he slept around with for fun. He never mentioned sleeping with any prostitutes.
“Was he seeing them while he was married to me?” I ask her, bracing myself for her answer.
“I don’t know but even before you were married he was already doing this. His friends would cheat on their girlfriends with those prostitutes.” She tells me. She apologizes for not reaching out earlier.
“To be honest, I believed whatever Kelvin told me about you. I thought you were very fake and stuck up. But I changed my opinion of you once I started realizing that your posts on Instagram all sound very genuine. I’m really glad I took a chance and got to know you in person. ” I can hear her tell me these words but my mind registers none of them.
Scarlett buys me the next round of drinks and eventually I let this slip away, after all, I wasn’t that innocent myself.
August, 2019 – Singapore
I had first met him in a bar with 2 other of his friends. All of them were charming and handsome, but he caught my eye because of his sheepish grin and kind eyes.
We start talking as friends but soon, we develop feelings for each other. He has a girlfriend and I am married. It’s despicable, it’s forbidden but all the more irresistible. Over the next few weeks, we meet up as friends. First, in groups and then later on just the two of us.
Once when we all went out to party, Joshua and I kiss in the club. It’s a passionate one and anyone could have seen us – but we don’t care. We’re drunk, we’re in love and all we want is each other’s bodies. I go back to his place that day and we fall asleep side by side.
October, 2019 – Singapore
“Technically, the agreement with Gideon includes being able to sleep with other people……” I tell Joshua.
He doesn’t wait any longer and pulls me close to him. For the first time in a long time, I feel wanted. I feel needed. I feel attractive to someone. For the first time in so long, someone is seeing me and wanting me. I let him explore any part of my body. I let myself be enveloped in this affair. It’s wrong in so many ways but how does it feel so right?
December, 2019 – Singapore
Joshua and I don’t talk anymore. After sleeping together, I realized that what we felt for each other wasn’t love. It was infatuation. How could we be in love when we’ve only just met? Still, it didn’t stop me from writing him a love letter and saying goodbye to the moments we shared.
I’ve decided I want to work on my marriage – no matter how hard it was. I love Gideon so much. I’ve never loved anyone as much as I do him. That’s why all of his actions have hurt so much. That’s why all of his lies have hurt so much. I know that Gideon loves me too. He has always said that as long as we love each other – anything can be fixed.
May, 2021 – Croatia
Therapy with Beth
“You’ve told me about your guilt regarding Joshua. Are you still angry with yourself for that?” Beth asks me.
“Not anymore. I’ve forgiven myself over the last 1.5 years. After all, he’s already gotten his revenge by leaving our marriage.
But I want to understand why? Why do I keep falling for men who are emotionally unavailable? Why do I keep falling for men who just keep disappointing me? Why do I always fall for men I have to fix?” I ask her, tears rolling down my eyes out of frustration.
Marco and I were now getting very serious with each other. I was so afraid that I was falling for the wrong person again. I didn’t trust myself. What if Marco turns out to be just like Gideon?
“Are you finally ready to dig deep?” Beth asks.
“Yes, I think so.” I say, in between sobs.
She takes a deep breath and signals me to follow after her
“Then let’s get started.”