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.
The word rings loudly and echoes in my mind. Fuck I shouldn’t have drunk so much gin, I can’t concentrate now.
“Omg” was all I could utter.
We walk outside and I see my parents sitting across Gideon, him on the sofa and them on our 2 stools – the stools we bought so our friends could sit on when they come over for game nights. I’m glad my parents’ backs were facing the photographs above the television. This conversation was already going to hurt them enough.
” So what are you saying son?” My mother asks. Marianne and I have obviously interrupted an ongoing conversation. She takes a seat besides Gideon, while I sit on the floor next to my parents, in between all of them. My husband and his mistress on my left, Daddy and Mummy on my right.
“I’m saying that Jane left me with alot of financial responsibilities when she quit her job. I had to suffer and pay for many things in the house for the last 2 years. It’s been very taxing on me. Also, I never wanted to date anyone else, Jane was the one who suggested we take a break from the marriage and see other people”
I couldn’t look up at my mother. What was this emotion I was feeling? Embarrassment? Shame? Guilt? Anger? Maybe all rolled up in one like a bowl of fried rice?
“I didn’t know…..I didn’t know you were having so many difficulties. I’m sorry. I should have never quit my job. I thought that you were supportive of me. I didn’t know you were suffering. I’m so sorry.” I said, my voice breaking up.
“Why did you suggest to date other people, Jane? You can’t do this in a marriage.” My mother asks me.
“I…..I….I was desperate mum. I didn’t know what else to do. We… we were,” I can’t tell her the truth yet, I’m still too embarrassed to talk about, especially not when Marianne is in the room.
“Son, you know that with family around, everything can be solved, any argument, any fight can be resolved. Are you sure you want to leave Jane for this woman?” My Dad looks at Gideon right in eyes.
For this, I look up from my hands. I’d been digging my nails into my fingertips but for this, I look up at my husband. I want to see it. I want to see him say the words.
“Yes Dad. I’m leaving your daughter for Marianne.” His eyes don’t blink, and his shoulders are relaxed. His composure is so……………eerily calm, so unfamiliar. He doesn’t show a single strand of remorse at all.
I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who felt this because I see only shock on my parents’ faces, my mum’s lips tightly shut while my dad’s mouth gaping slightly ajar. No one can process the amount of shock in this room.
I can’t take my eyes off Gideon, who doesn’t dare look at me. Instead, his firm gaze locked onto my dad’s is broken when we all hear a soft sob, someone crying.
It’s not me crying but Marianne. “I’m so sorry everyone…Gideon, are you sure about this? You have to reconsider. Marriage is sacred, it’s not a game. Are you sure you want me?”
“Yes, I’m very very sure. ” He replied.
“You told me that you would tell her, you told me that you would leave her. But yet I find out that you never told her about me. Are you going to keep lying to me?”
“No, I will never lie to you again, I’m sorry I didn’t tell her sooner, I will never lie to you again.”
I turn to my parents and I said, “I’m sorry daddy and mummy, I’m so sorry. But Gideon and I cannot stay together anymore, Marianne might be pregnant”
I hate that I dropped them another bombshell, but I couldn’t stand listening to their declarations of love to each other in my marital house, sitting on the sofa we bought together, sitting in the house we built together, breathing the same air as my parents who have only ever considered him as their son, never someone who would hurt their daughter this much.
“Just promise me, before you two decide on anything else, sleep on it. Don’t make anymore rash decisions. Okay?” my mother said, as she stood up, a clear sign of ‘Fuck this, i’ve had enough tonight, I’m going home to sleep.’
My parents leave and I realize I’ll be left alone with Gideon and Marianne so I tell him to take her home. He looks at me with pitiful eyes and before he can even say anything, I said, “It’s okay. Just go”
I pour myself another big girl glass of gin, tilt my head backwards and let all of the alcohol wash the pain down my throat. I let the gin swirl around with my pain, and feel it sit in my stomach. There, 18 months later, my pain still sits – like an unwanted guest that came in the middle of the night, robbing away all that I had in my life.