Athena -main character - Married to Mason
Rome - main character- Married to Esme
I pick my nails and hold my silence.
“Are you okay with the decision, Athena?” The eyes remain on me as the ball is tossed on my court.
My head hanging low focusing on my hands, a shiny diamond ring rest on my finger. The symbol of eternity. Till death do us apart.
I steal a glance of his hands, they are big, his fingers twice mine but very soft like he has never worked a day. The same hands that cuddle me through the night and partly in the morning. But now they are stained, they have held someone else.
My arm moves and brushes past his, seeking for a reaction, an acknowledgement of my presence. A sign that he feels the same way as i do about the whole charade. The feel of his skin on mine is always mesmerizing. Two different tones, texture; a mixture that combusts into something unexplainably magical.
His little finger dance before he it eventually rest back on his thigh. I want him to look into my eyes, to see if he is okay with this outrageous thing. ‘You and me till the end.’ It is our slogan, a reminder, no matter what, at the end of the day, there is somewhere warm to lay our heads.
“How can you all be okay with such an outrageous pact?” I half shout with disgust directed at my dearest husband.
He looks over to his mother.
Sometimes I forget, Mama knows best.
Every damn time!
“He’s your husband don’t forget that when talking to him.” His mother comments on my tone.
Story of my life, it is my faults those drive Mason to do the things he does....and sadly, sometimes i believe that.
I shake my head restraining myself from clicking in front of the elders who think wife swap is a cure to infidelity and learn to appreciate each other. It is like tossing a marriage into a cleaner and come out squeaky clean.
“Rome, you are very quiet, any thoughts?” My mother in law asks momentarily forgetting i have not answered.
Rome and Mason have been childhood bestfriends. Their parents describe their bond as something special. They are so alike when together yet so different when apart. But that bond is broken now and after Mason found about the affair, blows were exchanged and both are nursing serious bruises.
“He has had my wife, it is only fair i have his.” He answers nonchalantly leaning back and crossing his leg over the other.
‘Hey, you see these green things on my skin they symbolize i am a human with blood flowing through them and not some commodity to be traded.’ I want to scream at him.
“I am not going to be swapped like a good in a trade market.” I say instead.
“I think it is a good idea.” Esme, Rome’s wife and my husband’s mistress agree.
“Of course you would agree, it will just validate your illegitimate relationship.” I snap at her.
“Hey, it was a mistake. ” She carelessly says with a tone that implies that i should get over it. She leans back to her husband.
“It is spilled milk.” Rome comments.
His laid back attitude is starting to get irritating. How can he sit there and just make these statements, unbothered... Does he not have a heart? Was he not hurt by the betrayal? How can he not want answers instead he is like rewarding them.
I don’t know why i am troubling my head taking pain killers for someone else headache. Esme has always had the upper hand and seemed like Rome was a dog on a leash, sniffing behind her ass.
The thought of staying with him for two months is revolting.
Finally Mason turns to me, “This has not been working for a while and you know that. I am committed to us but i think we should heed to what our elders says. It was a common practice with our ancestors and it worked for a reason.” He says calmly.
Committed is a word he often uses when talking about our relationship. A week ago he told me, I love someone else but i am committed to you.
His stare burn through my eyes as it dawns how serious he is. It is a war i will lose but a battle i can win.
“Alright...” I sigh with defeat.
“Is two weeks enough?” My father in law asks.
“Two weeks is not enough, two months should do.” Rome’s mother says. She is a calm collected woman and i can see where he gets it from. I have to wonder how she agreed to be part of this nonsense.
Rome’s father is seated beside his wife, distracted and only becomes aware of the present when his wife speaks and has to act supportive.
The four parents all agree with the two months.
“If you want to destroy a society, ruin the family structure.” My father in law, adds his unsolicited opinion. “You all took vows and you can’t throw your families away for a mistake that can be forgiven."
He has always openly spoke about a single parent family with conversancy. Making passive aggressive comments about how i was not good for his son.
I zone out as they all talk. I feel so out of touch with life. The betrayal comes in different tides. Some days i feel i can fight through. Other days, i am so over it. And the rare occasions i numb it with my alter ego. A secret i keep.
I only catch the part where, i am suppose to meet with Esme tomorrow to set out our rules during the two months period.
After packing my bag. I leave with Rome to catch a bus to his place as his parents go back to their hotel and says they will check in tomorrow.
I just wanted to be away from Mason. I cast a side look at Rome, he is on his phone. I have never had a conversation with him. Our interactions are usually, ‘Is Mason around?‘, 'Mason asked me to pick such and such’ and my response is usually a nod or one word, ‘Yes’ ‘Here’.
“You are free to see other people, don’t expect anything from me.” He states as soon as we get into his house.
"Excuse me?" i find myself saying.
"I just saved you." He says and heads towards a direction i assume is his bedroom.