Sarah returned home in the morning to find her daughter, Becky, waiting for her in the kitchen. She glanced at her watch and gave her a look that she’d herself received many times from her mum.
“What time do you call this? Where have you been all night? And, sit down and tell me all about it.”
She smiled and sat at the table as Becky poured her mum a coffee. Sarah asked about her husband first, she wanted to know if he’d asked about her if he knew that she hadn’t come home.
“Relax mum. I told him that you were having a lie-in. He’s fine. I’ve left him watching the recording of last night’s football, he’ll be good for another hour at least.”
Shed handed her mum her cup and leaned forward.
Sarah told her as much as she felt comfortable with. She left out the graphic details, but her daughter could see from the look in her eyes that she had enjoyed every second of it.
“Was he good mum?”
Sarah rolled her eyes.
“I’m not going to score him for you, honey?”
“No mum. What I mean was did he take care of you? It wasn’t all about him?”
Sarah sighed as she recalled their time together.
“It was perfect Becky. It was like we’d know each other for years. He knew exactly what to do and where to do it.”
Becky smiled and placed her hand on her mother’s.
“I’m so happy for you mum.”
Sarah looked over her shoulder towards the door that led to her husband’s room in the annexe. Becky watched as her mum stared.
“Mum, he doesn’t need to know. Not yet.”
Sarah looked back at her daughter.
Becky shook her head.
“But nothing mum. You don’t know where it is going. And when you do there will be a multitude of difficult decisions for you, and for Michael to make. Dad doesn’t need to know anything until you are sure what you want from this.”
Sarah nodded and sipped at her coffee. She was right, but she still felt bad about deceiving her husband. Becky probed Sarah more about Michael, and Sarah told her about his wounds.
“I looked into his eyes, Becky. Those wounds are not just physical. I can see in his eyes, he’s carrying what he witnessed with him every day honey. It’s got to be hell for him. He hasn’t told me everything, I’m not sure that he ever will. But if he wants to, I will listen.”
Becky smiled at her mum. It was clear that she was taken with this guy, and it wasn’t just the sex. She could see that her mum had already made a connection with him, she cared about him.
After her coffee, Sarah went upstairs and changed then returned and went to see her husband. She sat with him whilst his carer took a break. She talked to him, about anything but the one thing she needed to.
She held his hand and looked at him. It was his eyes, always his eyes. They told her everything that she needed to know about him, they always had. Even before the accident, he couldn’t hide his true emotions from her, his eyes would always betray him. When she looked at him, she saw that he still loved her.
There was an imperceptible change in his pupils that only she noticed whenever she walked in. And there she was, holding his hand, having just spent the night with another man. And not just any man, Michael, someone who she had grown incredibly close to in a short space of time.
She desperately wanted to say something, but she knew that her daughter was right. She had to wait. She had to see how things developed, and, what she wanted from the future. One thing that she knew for sure. No matter what happened between her and Michael, there was no way that she was leaving David, and certainly, no chance of her ever divorcing him and marrying Michael.
She sighed as she stroked her husband’s hand, ‘and the sooner Michael knows that the better.’
His career returned and she kissed him and left him. She slipped into her normal routine of cleaning, washing, her daily life. As she sat eating her lunch, she received a text message from Michael, he wanted to know when she would be coming over again? She stared at the screen, she realised that she couldn’t go over every night, David would soon realise what she was doing if she suddenly started going out at night after spending the last eighteen months virtually house-bound with him. But she desperately wanted to see him again.
She replied and told him that she’d call him tonight. She put her mobile on the kitchen table and stared at it. She had to show some self-control here, the last thing that she wanted to do was to hurt her husband. Her fingers toyed with her phone as she stared out of the window, ‘how is this going to work? Can it work? Or am I just wasting my time here?’ All valid questions, to which had no answers.
It wasn’t until later that night that she finally closed her bedroom door behind her and sat on her bed, the house was quiet, her husband was settled. She and her daughter had sat with him in the evening and watched a little TV with him and chatted.
Becky was good with him, still his little girl, I know parents aren’t meant to have favourites, but Becky is, and has always been, a daddy’s girl. She played on it a lot when she was younger, but now, it was beautiful to watch. If ever there is something that we know he won’t want to do or some difficult procedure that he won’t like. It is Becky who sits with him, holds his hand, talks to him, persuades him, or when she tells him that he has to do it. And he listens to her, and he might still moan and protest in his way, but she always gets it done.
She picked up her mobile and dialled Michael. She lay back almost as soon as she heard his voice. It sent shivers through her body as he said.
They chatted for nearly an hour, and only stopped because she almost fell asleep on him. He wanted to see her, but she told him that they’d have to wait a few days. She tried to explain that she was worried about upsetting David, but inside she was desperate to see him again.
For the rest of the week, she threw herself into caring for her husband, but Michael was never far from her mind. During the days she was the caring and devoted wife. In the evenings she was the woman, the lover, and she missed her man.
Friday arrived and Becky sat with her mother in the kitchen. Becky looked at Sarah, could see that her mother was tired, not just physically, but mentally too.
“Mum, you look beat.”
Sarah smiled and rolled her eyes, “thank you!”
“You know what I mean mum. Listen, you’ve been in this house for eighteen months now, ever since dad’s accident. You need a break.”
Sarah looked at her daughter. She knew what she was suggesting.
“Oh, Becky I couldn’t.”
Becky nodded, “yes. You could. And you should.”
Sarah glanced towards the annexe.
“What about your dad?”
“Mum. We can take care of him. You know that we can, so don’t use that as an excuse.”
Sarah lowered her head.
“But what would I tell him?”
“Listen mum. He already knows that you went to see Michael. I told you that he understood. You saw for yourself when we spoke with him. He doesn’t want you to sit here all alone.”
Sarah nodded as she recalled the conversation that they had the day before. Michael had insisted on David knowing about him before he’d ask Sarah to visit him. He didn’t want any secrets, and he certainly didn’t want to hurt David. Sarah had to stop him talking about her husband, he was genuinely interested in his situation.
“I know honey. But it’s a huge step.”
Becky smiled, “mum. All I’m suggesting is that you go away with him for a few days and be yourself again. Not a carer, a woman.”
Sarah looked at her daughter.
“I won’t lie to him.”
Becky shook her head.
“You won’t have to. We’ll tell him together mum.”