Torrid AffairBy: Callie Anderson
The life I have lived for the past ten years is built solely on lies and secrets.
But I can’t help myself.
I’m in love with two different men. And one of them is my brother-in-law.
He’s my drug. My fire. My addiction.
But he’s married to my best friend. And I’m married to my husband.
I’m not ashamed. I have no guilt.
I’m not only fucked. I’m a fucked up person.
This is the story of how I ruined my life.
And the life of the one I love most.
My life was a black hole.
Trapped in a loveless marriage, I was empty, numb. Oblivious to it all.
He was the spark that brought me back from the abyss. He was my fire.
But our love was forbidden.
Between the lies, that fire began to take over my soul. That need to feel wanted had me escaping my life, running toward him no matter the consequences.
They say you shouldn’t play with fire.
But I needed to feel the burn.
I sit on my king-size bed and stare at the dull white wall. It’s the only surface in my bedroom I haven’t decided what to do with. When we moved into this apartment, Julian and I couldn't agree what to put there. At the time, I thought it was a perfect spot for a bassinet. Now I shake my head at the memory. Eight years have passed. Ten since he first knocked on my door.
I draw up my legs and rest my chin on my knee, the empty wine glass held up by my fingertips. My gaze is still glued to the two coats of eggshell paint that cover the drywall. My throat suddenly tightens and I blink as a lone tear falls down my cheek.
The sad part is that I don’t have to look at the clock. I know it's past midnight. I feel it deep in my gut. Something is off. Something's always wrong when he’s late.
My heart races as I contemplate all the places he could be at this very moment, but the fading purple bruises on my arms and the scar on my left cheek remind me why I no longer let my mind go there.
I learned not to ask questions.
I glance down at my large diamond engagement ring that sits next to my wedding band and I lower my chin to my chest, swallowing back a sob. How is this a better life?
He came back for me. He was here when I needed him most. And I made a vow. So I look at my blank wall. It's a reminder of what I am. Empty and alone. Perhaps that’s the reason I choose not to do anything to it. It’s depressing, like my life.
Misery loves company.
My stomach churns. I’m desperate to know the time, so I pull my gaze away from the wall and over to my clock.
It's a quarter to one.
I pour myself another glass of Sauvignon Blanc.
My phone vibrates under the down comforter. The alcohol swooshes through my body and I’m woozy. The bright light blurs my vision and I squint at the screen.
Julian: I’m running late. I’ll be home soon.
I scoff and toss my phone. He texts me now? It’s almost two in the morning. I reach toward my nightstand for the bottle of wine.
I don’t cry because I hate my life.
I don’t cry because I no longer know the person who stares back at me in the mirror.
I cry because I realize the wine bottle is empty.
I fall to the floor and let out a guttural scream as tears cloud my vision. I don’t deserve this. I wanted a different life. I had dreams!
I push myself off the floor and walk through the cold house. Reaching the bar, I open the bottle of Jameson and chug it back, letting the burn soothe my hurt. Anything to escape my reality.
Anything to make me feel numb.
I brush my lips with the back of my hand and focus on the art supplies I abandoned in the corner. After dinner I played with the canvas I was working on since Julian didn’t come home. A faint smirk touches my mouth.
Oh, how different my life was meant to be. I wanted to be an artist. The dream of majoring in art and moving to Europe to intern at the Louvre was also snatched away from me. I wanted to see the world. Instead, I worked at a local paint supply store where I, on occasion, painted wall murals in nurseries.
If I could go back and find that one crack, that first chip, the one that ultimately broke us . . .
Not a what, but a who. He shattered my heart and my soul.
He shattered me.