A Delicate Truth

By: Zoe McKnight


“What is hidden in the snow,

comes forth in the thaw.”

-Swedish proverb


It’s amazing how much can change in a short span of time. I can clearly recall the days when just the sight of Vaughn made me sick. Days I wished I could have pushed him in front of a moving car. Days when I believed my life would be so much better if he didn’t exist. And not in a I-wish-he-had-never-been-born kind of way, more in a I-wish-he-would-die-in-a-plane-crash kind of way. My husband has many wonderful attributes. Being faithful, however, was not always one of them.

There have been a slew of random women in and out of our lives for years. According to Dr. Lane, my therapist, men cheat because they’re insecure. Vaughn is anything but. He has no reason to be. Not only is he gorgeous, but he’s magnetic. He bursts with charisma and is blessed with that indescribable, unique trait that appeals to both sexes. Women want to sleep with him and men want to have a beer with him. When he walks into a room, he owns it. People love him and I believe they would even if he were a mail man, and not a former professional football player.

“Morning, Baby.” He presses his lips against mine. It’s a deep, hard kiss. Too hard for so early in the morning—seeing as how we’ve already made love twice since the sun rose. So hard that Rosa, our cook, blushes and turns away as if she walked in on us.

Vaughn sits beside me at our kitchen table, resting his leather carryall by his feet.

“You’re traveling pretty light for a five-day trip,” I say.

“Change of plans. Postponed San Fran to next week. Have to handle a little business in Miami this afternoon, but I’ll be back in time to help set up for the party.”

Rosa rests his plate down before him, just as she’s done nearly every morning for the past eight years.

He leans over and lifts Morgan out of her high chair, then playfully tosses her six inches into the air. “How’s my baby girl?” Her face lights up, and she giggles uncontrollably. I absolutely love to watch them together; it’s the reassurance I sometimes need, to confirm I’ve done the right thing.

Children have a way of cementing relationships. And Morgan’s birth, nearly twelve months ago, did that for us. But even before Vaughn knew I was with child, he’d initiated a reconciliation. He surprised me with an impromptu trip to Turks and Caicos. Once there he indulged me: a sunset dinner cruise, luxury spa treatments and finally, a catamaran ride to a private island. It was on that stretch of mile-long beach, where he extended a heartfelt apology, asking forgiveness for all of his past transgressions. He wanted another chance. And I wanted my old husband back. So we renewed our vows, and returned to New Jersey resolved to make it work. As luck would have it, I was pregnant with Morgan then; the timing couldn’t have been better to begin anew, on a fresh slate.

“There’s not much else to do,” I say. “It’s all pretty much taken care of. I met with the caterers yesterday, the landscapers are coming on Friday to touch up the grounds. I still have to call a few stragglers who haven’t rsvp’d yet. What else…” I skim my ‘to-do’ list. “Ah, the bakery just sent me a picture of the cake design. I love it.” I scroll through the photos on my iPad and show him the three-tiered, Minnie Mouse themed cake.

“Nice,” he says, “but I think her name should be larger and maybe in a fancier script. And change the ‘happy birthday’ from pink to yellow.”

“K. I’ll tell them. Oh, and I meant to tell you,” I say as I fill Morgan’s sippy cup with apple juice. “You got a delivery yesterday.”

“It came?” He beams. “How does it look?”

“It’s beautiful, but don’t you think she’s a bit young for a set of monogrammed luggage?”

“Not at all.”

“She’s only a baby. It’s not like she goes on weekend getaways.”

“I only have one little girl.” He squeezes Morgan’s thigh. “Only the best for her.”

I agree that our daughter should have the best. But I don’t want her to become one of those spoiled little girls who believes she’s entitled to everything she wants, simply because her father—well, her parents—are rich. Now I know there are people who’ll say that I’m spoiled, and yes, I may be, but I’ve earned every diamond, vehicle, and article of clothing I own. I’ve put up with a lot these past fourteen years, more than I’d like to admit.