I have been waiting in the ER for an hour now. I called Lisa to inform her about Carla and she came right away.
After a while, a doctor came to see us to inform us that Carla had to rest before we can go inside and check up on her, that they had to make further analyses and when I asked about the results, the doctor remained quiet, for a short moment, frowning his eyebrows as if he was preparing himself to announce us something bad.
" What is going on with my mom, doctor? Is she going to be fine? "
Lisa's voice breaks up at the end. I wrapped my daughter's shoulders around my left arm and pulled her gently towards me as we kept waiting for the doctor's response.
" What I am about to tell you is not something easy to accept. You need to be strong. I am so sorry to inform you that Mrs. Richardson has a breast cancer and she has to be going through chemo as soon as possible. The cancer has already invaded a major part of her breast. We haven't informed her yet. We're waiting for her to wake up first, then we'll be preparing her for what is coming next. "
Carla's got cancer. No. No. No. I mean this can't be true. She can't be sick. I don't want to lose her. I don't want to lose the mother of my children. I feel so powerless.
I was so affected by the sad news that I didn't know what to think or what I should do to change that.
I hope that with chemo sessions she will be better. She will be fine.
Is that even possible after all what happened recently?
Lisa started to cry and the more I told her that her mom will fight this cancer and that she will be okay, the more she sheds tears not believing what I was telling her.
We were thunderstruck by such news, not to forget that Jason needed to be informed as soon as possible.
As for George, I won't allow none of my children to inform him that his mom was sick. He's still young and he's abroad.
I remember, that the only thing I could say was, " thank you, doctor ", before the doctor dismisses himself, leaving us in the corridor.
I asked a nurse leaving Carla's room when we could see Carla. She told us to wait for some time because Carla is still sleeping and that she will let us know when we would check up on her.
I suggested we drink a coffee or something until we are allowed to visit, but my daughter didn't want to come with me to the cafeteria. After I insisted, she finally agreed on joining me.
After we returned back from the cafeteria, a nurse came and informed us that visits are allowed to check up on the patient, but one person at a time.
Lisa went first, escorted by the nurse, then came my turn.
As I came inside a bright commonplace room, Carla looked pale and seemed weaker.
The moment she heard footsteps approaching her, she turned immediately to check on who's coming to see her. When her eyes met mine, she stiffened and let a long sigh out.
"I don't want you here. Get out Marvin "
Monotony in her tone was audible.
" I understand that I am the last person you'd like to see, Carla, and I don't blame you for that. I just needed to check up on you. "
" You don't have to pretend that now you are worried about me after knowing that I've got a breast cancer. "
" How...How did you know about it? Did Lisa tell you about that? "
" Lisa didn't inform me. I've been informed that I had cancer recently. My gynecologist informed me before my trip to Paris. "
" What? It means that you have known all that time and you didn't tell me ! Why?"
" I wanted to keep it for myself, Marvin. I can say the same thing to you, you know "
She defends herself.
" Carla ... I'm so sorry ... "
" Now leave the room Marvin.
I need to be alone."
She started to shed some tears as she turned her face quickly to the other corner of the room looking at the window, and I couldn't do anything to stop her from crying.
I was terribly sad to see her like that. I tilted my head down and left the room giving her some privacy.
After I took Lisa home, I headed immediately to the docks, informing my daughter that I still have to finish some work, left undone.
I needed to see Amy. I needed to inform her about what was going on with Carla. I was quite sure she might be worried because I haven't called her the whole morning. And I was quite sure that Lisa hasn't told her yet about Carla's discomfort.
As I approached the docks, Amy was standing not too far from Esperanza checking up her phone. When she saw me, a long line was drawn onto her mouth and shaped into a big smile.
She started to walk toward me.
" I was about to text you. I missed you Marvin "
She wrapped her arms around my neck and pulled me harder towards her.
I missed her so much. I missed her smell.
I needed to get lost in her. I missed her hazel eyes. I missed everything that is related to her. I kissed her lips gently, then looked at her tenderly.
" I missed you too baby. Come on let's go inside. "
" Are you okay Marvin?"
" Why wouldn't I be okay?" I lied.
" Because you don't seem to be fine. What's wrong?"
She kept scrutinizing my face, trying to figure out what is going on with me.
" Amy, please. Not here. Let's get inside the boat " I insisted.
She looked at me worried as we headed towards Esperanza.
Once inside the boat, I grabbed her by the waist and kept looking at her beautiful eyes.
" Marvin, you're hiding something from me. I know that from the look in your eyes. So I am going to ask you another time, is everything okay? "
Still searching in my blue eyes, for an answer.
" Tell me about your day. I know, I know I should have called you in the morning, but I got really busy with...you know work. "
I lied again to me. I had rl change the subject. At least, for now.
" Yeah, I got it. But I started to get worried somehow. It's not of your habits to not text me at all. Unless, something bad happened. "
" Hey baby, remember. I am still waiting for you to tell me about your day. "
" I am not dumb, Marvin. You're hiding something from me and you'd better tell me before... "
" I will. I promise. You go first, Amy. " Reassurance in my voice.
"Hmm. So it's true there's something going on. Okay. I'll go first, so guess what. I met with Mr. Johnson during lunchtime, I mean with my father and we went to Gustavo's ! "
" You were with Philip so! Good to know that "
I smiled to her and grabbed a thin strand of her sandy hair to play with.
" Yes, I am happy to spend some time with him. We've started to get to know each other."
"Great, Amy. I am really happy for you."
" Now, your turn Marvin. Tell me all about it. I am all ears."
I dropped the strand of her hair and kept looking into her hazel eyes admiring how much love this woman was giving me.
I felt myself totally uncomfortable at the idea of telling her, even the thought of being unable to look again at those hazel eyes were unbearable, unacceptable to believe that I won't be touching her again, feeling her again in my arms, looking at her eyes again.
How am I supposed to tell her the truth?
How am I supposed to tell the woman I love so fucking much that I was about to let her go?
Just like that. So simply go out of my life without being able to do anything about it because my place was somewhere else, now. Next to another woman. Near Carla, not Amy. Carla needed me the most. She might die soon and I couldn't let this happen.
Because she was the mother of my children and I had to be there for her. For my children. For my family. Because she still is my family whether I like it or not.
Whether I like it or not, she is still my wife and I had to be there for her.
She kept looking at me trying to dig up into my eyes as to understand what was going on with me, inside my head.
" Is everything alright, baby? You seem very confused ! Please, tell me, you're making me~"
Stop Amy. Please. It's so fucking hard to tell you what I am about to tell you. To let this out of my chest. Yeah. It is so fucking hard, baby. I can't keep it up.
" Oh Amy ... You can't imagine how much you mean to me ..."
I finally said, running my fingers nervously through my straight dark hair.
" Marvin, you're scaring the hell out of me ! Tell me what is going on? What is it?" she raised her voice up a bit as she stiffened, fright readable in her eyes.
" It's Carla !" I sighed.
" She knows about us?" her eyes widened in terror and disbelief.
" Yes, she does. She followed us to the guest part yesterday after we came back from the beach... "
" What are we going to do now?
I am sorry Marvin, I didn't want to put you in such situation! "
"Do not say that. You don't have to blame yourself. After all, that day has to come. The day when she had to know the truth about us. Either way, she would have known, through me or through someone else ! It is not that the problem !"
" I don't get it ..."
" Amy ... I don't know how to say that ! Believe me ! it's the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life."
" Are you breaking up with me?
Is that what you're trying to tell me"
" Amy, listen to me, please ... it's not that simple !"
" I knew you would stay with her after all we've been sharing together. I knew it. How could I be so idiot !? How could I believe you, believe every word you told me !?"
" All I told you was the truth, Amy. I didn't lie to you. I didn't lie to you about what I feel for you. I still love you, I swear ..."
" Don't say that ! Marvin ! don't say that you love me ..."
" I do, I do Amy. I do love you ... believe me. It's just that the situation is ..."
"More than you can imagine Amy!"
" Enlighten me then. I guess I have to understand after all ! You owe me that, don't you? "
" Carla is sick. She's got cancer."
She looked at me in disbelief. She didn't know what to say. I took her in my arms and hugged her tightly. That was all I needed~ to feel her against me.
I wanted that moment to last forever. I wanted that moment to never come to an end.
She whispered in my ear, her voice so comforting in spite of the pain she was feeling inside herself, yet so filled up with sadness as if she was preparing me for something I could not know by now.
" Everything will be alright ... Marvin ... I love you ..."
I still remember her words as if it was yesterday. I still remember how she held me that day in her arms as we stood embraced for a while. I didn't want to leave her arms, and neither did she.
I remember that she left my house the following day, informing Lisa that she had to visit her mom in Phoenix, because she missed her very much, then go back to campus before time, and that she has to stop her training at Philip's and finish the work that has to be done via teleworking.
Lisa was somehow upset and never understood why her friend insisted out of a sudden to go to Phoenix.
But I did. I knew why she did it. And I couldn't blame her for that.
It was her decision. A very hard decision she had to take after what she's just known.
And I couldn't stop her. I never approved the fact that she had to put an end to her training at Philip as she was left with few weeks before her plans for Phenix and later on heading towards campus.
I remember that the first day without her was the hardest moment I have ever experienced in my life. I had to get used to live in a place where she no longer existed. Only memories of her persisted.
I had to get used to live without her love. Her eyes. Her arms. Her kisses. Her glances. Her jokes. Her voice. Her.
Yes I had to get used to live without her. The hardest thing to do so far.
I couldn't say the words to make her understand that she has to let me go. I couldn't say those words that I forbade myself from saying. I couldn't and I didn't want to.
Those words were very hard to utter. I couldn't ask her to leave me. She did it naturally. She understood that she had to leave me by herself because I had to take care of my wife.
Amy decided to leave me because the situation could never be the same after that day. Never.
She left me because she understood that I could not leave Carla alone after being informed that she was sick.
Amy wasn't selfish. She was mature for her age.
She could have claimed me for herself and did her best to keep me with her, but she didn't do that. On the contrary, she was strong enough to let it go.
To let me go ... go away from her ... and her away from me ... in spite of all the moments we had shared ever since she came to my villa ... in spite of all the efforts we made to come closer to each other and to fall in love with each other ... she left me in this world where I was feeling myself already alone.
I have never felt this way before. It was only after Amy's departure that I felt myself lost, wandering aimlessly for a reason to exist. A terrible feeling I have never experienced so far. I have never thought that I could feel as such. It happened to me though.
That feeling was ripping out my soul into pieces and I had to watch myself being devastated without having enough courage to cease that horrible process.
I missed her so much ... much than she could ever imagine ...
I missed her presence in my life ... and I could not get rid of her image out of my mind even though I tried to do that many times, but each time I did, I failed.
I couldn't deny that she was within me every day of my life ever since the day she left me, left my house to go in her own way.
I wished Carla had never come back from Paris. I wished Carla had never been cursed with that cancer. I wished I had never known Carla.
I kept wishing and wishing, living in an illusion of no turning point.
After a week, Carla came back home, and so we decided not to tell Lisa the truth about Amy. About my affair.
She was about to leave for university in less than a week.
As for me, my days were very busy. I worked from home.
I didn't go to my company because I didn't find time, so I delegated some of the work to Philip and my assistants.
I had to take care of Carla and go with her to her chemo sessions.
At the beginning she didn't want me to be by her side, but with time she started to get used to.
We didn't talk about my affair another time. I had to spend the days taking care of her and helping her enjoying life in every possible way. Jason came from time to time home to visit and check up on her and she felt herself so overwhelmed with love and affection.
Carla didn't talk about her sickness to anybody. She informed her team that she needed to go on a leave for some time. She wanted to keep it secret.
The only person who knew about that was Philip. I had to speak about my problems to a close friend. I couldn't keep that for myself.
In the meantime, Philip didn't approve the fact that his daughter put an end to her training and decided to go to Phoenix to visit her mother.
He was against his decision, but could not do anything to stop her.
He also told me that he informed Lauren and later the boys about Amy. Lauren went crazy for a few days, to finally accept to invite Amy over for dinner one night, but it didn't go well.
And this is how I knew that after Amy left my house, and Philip's company, she came back to spend two days here in Santa Barbara to see her father, without letting me know. Without letting Lisa know. Without calling me back.
And I must say that I was disappointed.
Lauren didn't like having her around with the boys and she couldn't accept her, this is what Philip confessed to me.
Amy had to come back to Phoenix and after she left, Lauren threatened Philip that she would leave him if he had the intention to see his daughter another time.
He told me that he speaks to his daughter on the phone once a week.
It was the only possibility for him to keep her in his life.
He told me that the boys didn't like the idea of having a half-sister and didn't like to have her around either.
Amy should have been devastated. Philip seemed to be so attached to her that he was searching for the best way to stay in touch with her. He told me how important Amy was to him and that he wasn't ready to lose her again. That he didn't care about what his wife thinks of her, that he is willing to keep his relationship with his daughter last no matter what it takes.
That he started to get to know her better through the days.
I tried to contact Amy many times, but she never responded to my calls. I left her many voice messages. No response either.
I had to find a way to move on with my life, but I couldn't.
I didn't want to think about her. I was preoccupied by work and Carla.
These were all the things I did for the past few months. Each time I thought about Amy, I felt myself drowning into agony and despair. I had to focus on my wife and my work.
Lisa visited us on winter holidays. Jason came to see us during weekends and George came back after Lisa left for university.
We didn't want to inform him in the first place, but after a few days, he understood what was going on with his mother.
Carla lost her hair and got thinner. She bought a few wigs that she wore each time she started a new day. She wanted to look beautiful each time she looked at herself in the mirror.
She was fighting that cancer. She didn't want to die. She wanted to live which was thoroughly opposite to what I was feeling at that time. I was soulless and I wished I could stop breathing because I couldn't endure more.
It was so hard to live without Amy. I missed her so much and I needed her back in my life ... to me.
After about six months, Carla was feeling herself better. She started to overcome the illness and so we started to be close again. I think after all this time, Carla decided to forgive me for what I did to her and I ended up thinking that Amy will never get back to me, and that what we feel for each other will remain in
these moments we had shared together during last summer, even though I keep hoping to see her another time. I keep hoping we'll be together again.
As for Carla and me, well ... we decided to have sexual intercourses regularly.
Two times a week.
As I was feeling myself psychologically weak at that time, I liked the idea to fuck Carla again and let her satisfy my needs, thinking I could save my marriage and give it another try.
I couldn't refuse to make love to her. I wanted to make her feel loved. I wanted to try to find the man I used to be before Amy came into my life.
I wanted to be that man I used to be before I fell in love with another woman other than my wife.
I wanted to give myself a second chance to save my marriage and go on with my life. I wanted to try to fall in love with my wife another time like we used to be before Amy came into our lives.
We started to have sexual intercourses and I must say that I was enjoying myself with her even though it wasn't the same as before. I made efforts to focus on her and only her. I wanted to give Carla a chance to seduce me and find a way to win me back.
I had to. I was obliged to. It was the only way for me to escape that memory of Amy in my head.
I started to get used to that routine until one day before going to bed she looked at me while she was combing her hair and said,
" I've never had the courage to tell you that Marvin. I think time has come for you to know what I truly did a few years ago ... "
" I still remember her. I still remember her fragrance when she used to spend time in my villa with Lisa. I still remember the beauty of her face. I still remember myself dreaming of her ... running through a dim forest wearing a long white dress spotted by mud ... her hair was wet ... her eyes were weeping ... as she was calling my name.
I was running after her, but I couldn't reach her. She was running too fast. She seemed to be terrified by someone. Each time I reached her she disappeared... until the night I had the same dream of her again, a dream I was having for so many nights now, but that time she was not alone. We were not alone. There was someone else with us. A man in black, standing still in that forest looking at her. She begged me to protect her. She begged me to help her. She begged me not to let him reach her. I tried to go toward him, but when I reached him and tried to look at him in the eye ... his face vanished.
I could not recognize the identity of that man. I tried to focus on who could hurt her until one day I decided to go and search for her. I felt that she might need me. After all it had been more than six months that I hadn't heard anything about her and it was time for me to check up on her."
" Why do you think it is time for you to check up on her Marvin?" the psychologist said.
" Those dreams I had of her were signs for me. I interpreted them as a call. A desperate call she was making to claim me by her side. I couldn't find another explanation. We didn't talk for a long time now. The day I decided to go and search for her was the same day my wife told me the truth about herself and made me realize that I had to take a big decision. What do I want to do with my life!? I couldn't not react and do something about it."
" Tell me what Carla told you that night, Marvin "
" I still remember that night where she was sitting on the bed combing her hair calmly and talking with me about the truth she should have told me a few years ago; a truth that she hid from me because she was too afraid to face herself with what she did.
... and memories took me back to that moment when Carla told me,
"I thought I would never have the courage to tell you that, but I think time has come for you to know. I would like to thank you Marvin for all the efforts you made to make me feel better and make me have the courage to fight cancer. It was not something easy to endure. I know those past months had been very tough for you. I know how much you tried to overcome your agony and despair after her departure ... I know that ... "
"I don't get it, Carla. Why do you want to speak about her tonight?"
" I am selfish. I know deep down myself that you don't love me anymore, or at least not like the way you used to. So I have to let this out of my chest. You have to know the truth Marvin !"
" What truth are you talking about Carla? I don't get it "
" The truth that you are still in love with her. Don't deny what you feel for her. You still love her. I can feel it in your eyes."
I kept looking at Carla in astonishment. I had never thought that she could say something like that to me.
I was surprised at how she was speaking to me that night. She was calm and seemed to contain her feeling as much as she could.
" It is very hard for me to admit it", she said, "to admit that my own husband is in love with another woman, but after all ... I do not blame you Marvin. Yes, it may seem unexpected to say that but it is true. We have been married very young. We thought we were in love at that time, which was true. We were in love with each other, but after years our love didn't survive what we have been through. All those years were tough for you and for me. We didn't fight enough for each other. We were so busy raising our children. We were stuck for long nights at work working and working. We had always been good friends though. And tonight as your own friend, I have something to confess to you."
" What is it Carla? "
" Please, promise me to listen to what I've got to tell you without interrupting me."
" I promise. What is it? "
" I was unfaithful to you, too.
I cheated on you twice with two different men each time. The first time it was in Paris, I drank too much that night in a bar and ended up with a stranger. It happened eleven years ago. The second time, in New York during the international fashion show, four years ago. It was different though. I had been seeing the guy for about five months after what happened in New York, then I was the one who decided to break up with him as things got serious between us, and didn't want to lose you. "
I looked at her puzzled by what she was telling me. I didn't expect my wife cheating on me before.
" Tell me why ! I just need to understand why you did that to me Carla and never had the guts to tell me !"
" It was because you didn't have time for us. Each time I tried to show you that I still cared about you, you didn't notice the efforts I was making to keep our couple steady. So I did what I had to do. I needed to feel myself desirable through other men's eyes and I needed to have sex with them. It was purely physical, Marvin. "
"No need to go through further details Carla !"
"No, you will listen to what I have to say to you Marvin. If you're really my friend, listen to what I have to say."
I came closer and sat on the bed nodding my head so that she kept confessing to me what she did by then.
She looked at me and added
" It wasn't easy for me to let other men touch me, but I needed to do it because I wanted to feel myself loved by someone, by a man other than my husband. This was the same you felt with that girl, wasn't it? You needed to go and search for love through another woman's body ... other than your own wife !" she shed some tears that she wiped immediately, trying to pull herself together.
"Carla, please, stop saying that !"
"No. I won't stop. Let me tell the truth Marvin once and for all. I know that you chose to stay by my side because you had pity on me and wanted to take care of me ... that's all!"
"If I chose to stay by your side, it was because you are my wife and I made the vow to take care of you ..."
I was about to finish my sentence when she interrupted me saying,
" but you broke another vow, the one of loving me and staying faithful to me your entire life."
Her tone filled up with pain, then carried on,
"I broke that vow too. I wasn't faithful to you Marvin. I was the first to break that vow. The first. I want you to forgive me for what I did to you. I want you to understand that your place is not with me. Your place is with her or another woman. We no longer belong together Marvin. We've been lying to each other and even to ourselves, for believing that we can still save our couple, but no. It's over. What we used to share is over. So no need to stay with me. I am well now and
I want you to leave. We'd better ..."
"Divorce. Is that what you want?"
" Yes. I think it is the suitable solution for both of us after what we've been trying to do to save our couple. Do you want that too?"
I remained silent and didn't say a word as I tried to comprehend what was going on inside my head, digesting all the information I have been listening to.
" There is no much to say then. I know you want that too. "
" Yes. I want to divorce Carla. "
We stayed there for a moment looking at each other without saying a word, before she left the room giving me some time to pack my belongings.
I grabbed one of my suitcases and put some clothes in it, after that I headed to my office where I collected some important files that I have to take with me.
Before leaving the house, I felt the need to go to George's room and check up on him. He was on his desk playing online.
When I came into his room, he smiled and invited me to join him. I sat next to him and told him that I was going to be absent for some days.
He asked me why and I told him that I was going on a business trip and didn't know when I will be back. I kissed his forehead, wished him a good night, then left the house.
When I started the car, I knew exactly where I had to go.