Excerpt from my novella, Twist of Fate:
Avery sat at her desk, cramming her skull for different key phrases for the best possible glimpse into her open heart, and spoke each one out loud: “I’m a single woman. No, I’m a single white female. No, that sounds creepy. I’m a single woman in need of a caring, beautiful man. No soap star looks need apply. I am looking for love.”
She liked the way men looked at her sometimes, and after her first marriage crumbled into an oblivion wake, she liked men looking at her more than ever. The only problem was that she didn’t feel as sexy as she did 5 years before. She trained herself to believe that it was good to be single, and her single friends sometimes took her out for martinis, male revues, and movies. Her life became a series of m’s…mmm that coffee and those cigarettes taste good together…mmm…I guess I have to go to work again and sift through all of this money that isn’t mine. mmm…I’m glad I’m not married anymore. Or am I?
She was ultimately better off not being married; at least to the person she was for 5 years. The torture didn’t start until the third year, in1973. The honeymoon phase was officially over and their money supply started to dwindle. Then, he brought up the word mortgage, an m word she was not used to. He was almost done working on his PHD, when he flashed the word mortgage and there was a hint of storm in his normally tepid tone. She shook her head and said, “No.” She didn’t feel the storm crashing through, though it was definitely starting to flood in through the windows of their apartment. She leafed through an issue of Vogue, and sipped some champagne, the last of their wedding presents. One minute she was reading about “how to wear the right lipstick shade” and the next she felt the cold sting of his wedding band across her cheek.
“You’re having an affair aren’t you?!” Kevin, her husband, howled. The tone of his voice was nothing she had heard before.
She was so shocked, she couldn’t move and the magazine became a blur through her watering eyes. “What? Why did you do that?”
He darted across the room and picked up a letter from her old college friend Steve and swung the paper in her face, almost giving her a paper cut as well. “Don’t think I don’t know who Steve is! You had sex with him, didn’t you?!”
“What? Why are you bringing up old news. Yes I did. I happened to have sex with him, but that was long ago and you know it. We were never meant to be in a relationship and you know that. I told you all of this already. What is wrong with you?” The sting from his solid slap started to creep into her stomach.
“I always knew you were a slut. But I never wanted to say anything because I loved you. I was so in love, and we got married. But that’s what happens when you’re married. Love subsides.”
Avery was speechless, and her eyes sank into the champagne rings on the glass table, another wedding present. She focused on the rings and couldn’t comprehend how something could be as eternal and perfect as they were.
She would have never cheated on him, and Kevin knew this deep down. The anger shot down considerably after that day, and their love stirred once more, though more sheepishly. She compromised and got a condo, and they both made payments. She justified his anger as immense stress and tried to move on from the episode. -H. Arneson