The Color Of Forever(4)

By: Julianne MacLean

“There’s really no point in discussing this,” he said, raising his hand in my face and turning away, moving toward the door. “It’s over, Katelyn. There’s nothing you can do to change it. It’s better to make a clean, swift break, because I just don’t want to be married anymore.”

He opened the door and walked out, leaving me speechless and gasping in the front hall, unable to do anything but rush to the open doorway and stare as he drove away.

What I didn’t know at the time was that he had driven straight to Mariah’s apartment, where he’d already begun the paperwork for a legal separation. I received the documents not long after that.

Chapter Four

“I can’t believe it,” I said to my best friend, Bailey, the moment she walked through my front door. “How could I not have known? Was I that oblivious to what was going on around me? Am I really that stupid? Or self-absorbed?”

I had called Bailey earlier to tell her what I’d just learned—that Mark had been unhappy in our marriage for over a year, and was having an affair with Mariah, the young clerk at his office.

Bailey had been my best friend since kindergarten, and there was no one in the world I trusted more than her. It came as no surprise when she immediately hopped in the car and drove over.

“I’m a cliché,” I continued as I ushered her in and closed the door behind her. “He called a few times a week to say he had to work late, and I always believed him. I never questioned or suspected a thing. But every time he went to the gym, he was really working out with her. No wonder he spent so many hours there.”

“You’re not stupid or self-absorbed,” Bailey replied as she removed her jacket and tossed it onto the upholstered bench next to the stairs. She walked with me to the kitchen where I’d already opened a bottle of wine. “He’s just a really good liar.”

I poured Bailey a glass and handed it to her. We regarded each other intensely for a moment before raising our glasses and clinking them together.

“To your freedom from a total jerk,” Bailey said, then took the first sip.

I let out a heavy sigh and covered my eyes with a hand. Normally, I wasn’t the crying type, but I felt like I’d been hit by a truck. Blindsided. My whole world was collapsing around me, but worst of all, the man I trusted had betrayed me, and he didn’t love me anymore. He felt no desire for me, nor did he care about my feelings. It didn’t matter to him that I was emotionally devastated and crying myself to sleep every night in our empty king-sized bed. I meant nothing to him.

I let out a small hiccup as I tried to suppress my tears. Bailey set down her glass and wrapped her arms around me.

“It’s going to take some time,” she gently said, “but you’ll soon realize that you’re better off without him. He wasn’t the one for you.”

“But he was so perfect,” I replied, recalling the early years of our relationship, when we were head over heels in love. “At least I thought he was. He was everything a woman could ever want. He was unbelievably handsome and devoted—at first—not to mention that he made buckets of money. He was charming and funny and he drove a great car.”

“He did look pretty good on paper,” Bailey replied, stepping back and picking up her wine again.

“When we first started dating,” I said, “I remember ticking off all those little boxes on the Great Husband Material List and believing I’d hit the jackpot, but now everything feels so superficial. What does all of that matter if you don’t really know somebody? If you’re not truly connected—in here—like you should be?” I held my fist over my heart.

“He wasn’t the one for you,” she said, a second time.

“But is there really such a thing as the one?” I argued. “God, the world’s such a big place. How do you ever find that one person, and how do you know they’re it? I thought Mark was the one for me, but most of the time, I had no idea what was going on inside his head, and he didn’t know what was going on inside of mine. I thought that was normal, because no one’s a mind reader, right? You live together, you get to know each other pretty well, but you’re still two separate people.”

We moved into the living room and sat down on the sofa, facing each other from opposite ends.

“But the whole time,” I continued, “it was like we were playing house, pretending to be each other’s one and only, but we weren’t really connected at all. We couldn’t have been, or I would have known he wasn’t happy.” I sat forward and set my wineglass on the coffee table.

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