I sit and wait for hours. My eyes are heavy, weighed down by the forces of sleep. I yawn so frequently, my mouth is permanently ajar. The grandfather clock in the hallway chimes; Ding. Dong. Ding. It’s three am, the kids and I have to be up in four hours to get ready for school.
Dear Lord, please let him show up soon.
On cue, I hear his keys rattle as he attempts to open the front door. A part of me wants to punish him and leave him at the mercy of the merciless British winter. Willing my tired muscles to co-operate, I drag myself to the door and let him in.
Our eyes meet as the door swings open and I realise he’s really gone to town this time. I make a mental note to check our bank balance as I reach forward to help him in. My weary bones crumble under the pressure of his weight and I find myself lying on the ground, his ribs crushing my lungs.
When did he get so skinny?
A now familiar stench assaults my senses, interrupting my thoughts.
“You need to get off me Tim, I can’t breathe.”
No response. Not even the drunken grunts that have become his sole method of communication.
“Tim, get off me!”
The silence accentuates the sound of his breathing and the steady rhythm tells me he has fallen asleep. Hands pressed against his heaving chest, I push as hard as I can. His eyes snap open.
“Please Tim, you need to get up,” I whisper, “The kids will be up soon, they can’t see you like this.”
After what seems like an eternity, he rolls off me and sits up, his back slamming shut the open front door.
I see the pain in his eyes and my heart breaks knowing I caused it.
“I’m so sorry Tim, so sorry. I hate myself for what I did. Please, don’t do this to yourself, I’m not worth it.”
He grunts in agreement.
“Please say something, the silence is killing me. We can’t go on like this. I’ve apologised, what else do you want me to do? Tell me and I’ll do it. Anything.”
Ignoring me, he pulls himself off the floor and staggers towards the stairs. Jumping up, I grab his hand to steady him. I’m not prepared to be flung across the hallway. As I hit the ground with a thud, I stare at him in shock.
Making his way slowly towards me, he looks me straight in the eye and spits in my face.
For the first time since he found out, I see more than pain and betrayal in his eyes. The hatred, the revulsion is unmistakeable. In that moment I realise the consequence of my indiscretion. He will never forgive me.
It’s over. It ended the day he found out I’d had an affair.