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Three is a crowd: Kenneth, the ever-present cog, lingers

(Continued from last issue)

David and Diane have been married for years; then there is Julie, the young secretary whose axis collides with the couple’s in ways none of them saw coming.


Time with Kenneth flew by so fast and before I knew it, it was late afternoon and he was saying he should be leaving.

Although I had initially been nervous about him coming, now that he was leaving, I was actually sad to see him go; we had talked about everything from his work, to my family and relationship with David, played with Junior and even cooked together.

I could not remember feeling so comfortable and at ease with anyone else in a long time. That is not to say I did not enjoy my time with David, for I did; but I always felt like I was ‘serving’ or ‘attending to’ him when he was here.

His visits, while looked forward to, always meant extra cooking and cleaning, not to mention the added pressure of making myself attractive and ‘presentable’ to him, as well as ‘available’ and ‘in the mood’ when he had the time to get intimate. It was like being on call and on duty fulltime when he was around, making sure that he was comfortable, and like some sort of psychic or mind reader, giving him whatever he wanted without him even having to ask for it.

It was the way my mother had taught me to look after a man, and the way she had looked after my father before his death, but I did not have that pressure with Kenneth. For one, because of the boundaries I had set, our relationship was not sexual; so, there wasn’t the pressure to ‘please’ or even seduce him by ensuring I looked a certain way, and besides, Kenneth was naturally very ‘hands- on’ and independent, and just preferred to work alongside me, rather than having me ‘serve’ him; so, chores were not duties or responsibilities but, rather, shared activities and quality time spent together.

As if clinging on to and drawing out every last second together, I walked him down to his car.

“Thanks for a lovely day,” I said honestly.
“Thank you; I’ve had a lovely time. Next time, you should come visit me,” he added with a forced casualness in his tone, though I could hear the hope and suggestion in his voice. I hesitated, and then smiled.

“Maybe,” I answered softly.

I knew that in all likelihood, I never would, and deep down, he probably knew that too – but it still felt right saying it.


Tracy and I found a corner table at what had always been our favourite café/pub, and once our drinks had arrived and we had toasted to my new car, I immediately changed the subject and told her about what I had seen on my drive home.

“Are you sure it was her?” she asked, her eyes widened in disbelief.
“Of course I’m sure it was her, and I’m sure the guy was that doctor – it’s confirmed, she’s cheating on David! Can you believe the irony of it?”

“It’s crazy, but serves him right; what goes around, comes around,” she smiled with a satisfied nod.
“Exactly what I was thinking, but the point is, he doesn’t know that, since he doesn’t know she’s cheating on him!”

“Oh no, I can sense a ‘Diane plan’ coming on, so let’s hear it; what are you thinking?” she asked warily.
She knew me too well.

“I need to make sure he finds out, but that’s about as far as I’ve gotten. With everything going on, and everything in the past, he’d never believe me if I just came out and told him; so, how do I let him know?”

“Hmm, it’s a tricky one; let me have a few more of these,” she indicated her glass. “And hopefully that will help me think of something.”

I took the subtle hint and dropped the subject – for then – and we talked about the boutique, and our goals for it, our children, and our goals for them, and for the next few hours, we did not discuss David.

I was, however, determined that I would have a plan by the end of the night and after we had exhausted all other subjects, I returned to it.

“Okay, you’ve had a few more drinks now; have they helped you think of how I can let David know his whore is as much of a cheat as he is?”

“Actually they have; it might sound a bit crazy in the beginning, but hear me out to the end and it’ll all make sense; okay?”
“Okay,” I nodded eagerly.

She took a deep breath for effect, then began. “You act like everything is fine, no snide comments, no arguing, nothing; eventually, he’ll get lulled into thinking everything is okay between you two, and like every straight man across the globe, it will just be a matter of time before he’s trying to get ‘some’ – and that’s when you strike! Tell him you can’t have sex without a condom, and when he asks why, that’s when you tell him. The fact that you hadn’t raised it, and are only bringing it up to ask him to use protection, will force him to believe you; voila, mission accomplished,” she concluded triumphantly, clearly proud of her plan.

I mulled over it for a minute, mentally looking for a flaw, and then a smile slowly spread across my face. It was perfect!


It was just after eleven when I finally heard the sound of a car come up the driveway, and then the sound of Diane’s voice, then Tracy’s, as the two of them waved their goodbye’s with the cheeriness and louder-than- necessary volume that was the hallmark of a tipsy woman, and I gritted my teeth in fresh irritation.

What kind of self-respecting wife and woman left her husband with their children, to go out drinking with friends and return home high at this time?

Since I was the aggrieved party tonight, I had felt emboldened enough to return to our bedroom, and was propped up on the pillows in bed going through some emails on my laptop when she waltzed in with a slight stagger a few minutes after the car had left.

She stopped short when she saw me, like she was surprised I was there, but quickly collected herself.

“Hi,” she greeted me airily, like there was nothing wrong with this scenario and she didn’t have a care in the world.
“Why didn’t you tell me you were going out?” I asked coldly, ignoring her greeting.

“I wasn’t aware I needed to,” she shrugged, and then just stood there like she was challenging me to contradict her.

I considered doing so for a second, before I realized I couldn’t be bothered.

“You’re drunk; go take a cold shower,” I answered dryly, and then turned back to my laptop dismissively.

Diane was not one to take being dismissed lightly, especially when she had had a few drinks, and when she did not immediately stalk off, I presumed she was gearing for a comeback to start a fight.

But after a few tense moments, she surprised me by wordlessly moving on to the bathroom. She did not even slam the door
behind her.



0 #1 Henry 2024-05-14 11:08
It's getting hot in here.
Merci Margaret
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