Month: November 2014

8. The Visitor

I was on the same sun lounger, beneath a large umbrella with children’s toys and towels and swimming things strewn around. Day three of me sitting here, thinking and trying to eat something through my misery, while the children played in the kids pool happily for hours.

If I wanted to escape – this was a pretty damn good place to do it. I didn’t have to lift a finger and nothing was too much trouble for the staff to arrange in my five star paradise.

The suite I booked came with a butler, who would knock on the door a few times a day to see if there was anything he could do.

‘Madam, would you like me to run you a bath? Madam, do you need anything ironed? Madam, do you need anything laundered? Madam, have you filled out your breakfast order? Madam, is everything to your satisfaction?’

‘Yes thank you, everything is to my satisfaction’ I say politely, inside thinking ‘except for my lying, cheating, rat of a husband.’

‘No, there are no problems with my suite, thank you’ I say politely thinking, ‘the only problem in this suite is my massively broken heart.’

‘Yes, thank you everything in the resort is wonderful’ I say politely thinking, ‘except for the entire place being occupied by people on honeymoon!’

I had no idea Mauritius was such a popular destination for couples. Holding hands, kissing over bottles of champagne, gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes. I wasn’t sure how much more of it I could take. And every skinny brunette made me think of Caterina, then of Italy, then my blood would boil and I’d feel angry at the entire country and every person in it. It really was not satisfactory, not at all.

My phone rang, it was my mother in America, she had phoned twice already. I picked it up.

‘Hi Mom, this phone call will be very expensive, we’ve gone away last minute for the half term break. ’

‘Oh, we were wondering when we tried to skype you last night, how lovely honey. Where are you?’

‘In Mauritius.’

‘Mauritius? Is that in Spain?’

‘Umm, no Mom, it’s not in Spain. Mauritius is an island in the Indian Ocean. East of Madagascar.’ My 70 year old mother’s knowledge of geography clearly needed a refresh.

‘That sounds exotic. When did you get there?’

‘Umm, three days, yes, we left on Friday and arrived on Saturday morning. So it’s Monday today. It’s very beautiful and relaxing.’

‘How fabulous darling! Oh isn’t it great for Tom to take a break from work. Isn’t that fabulous.’

My mother loved Tom. She was so happy when I married him. In many ways, I felt she liked him more than me. He was solid, good with money, worked hard, had an MBA, had his own business. All the things my mother rated.

I on the other hand, didn’t follow all the rules growing up. I’m what my mother used to say a ‘free spirit’ and I’ve followed my heart and emotions and not always followed my head and done what my parents expected. I travelled half the world when I was 30. An age when my parents expected me to have a mortgage and a marriage.

Instead of being settled, which I found quite dull and I still do, I was in Nepal teaching English in a small village high in the Himalayas. And trekking around Indonesia, meeting other travellers and staying with local families. And scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef and camping in the rainforest.

I think my parents secretly loved my taste for adventure and were proud of the many things I’d done but they were delighted when I fell in love with Tom and we got engaged. They wanted nothing more than to know their youngest child would have stability and someone to look after her.

There was no way I was ready to tell my parents about Tom’s affair. I just couldn’t say Tom wasn’t with us and why. My parents had put Tom so high on a pedestal. I knew it was a very long way to fall. I couldn’t contemplate how they would take the news.

‘Well this call will cost about $20 a minute as it’s been diverted to Mauritius. Let’s hang up and I’ll skype you Sunday when I’m back in London.’

‘Have a great time darling!’ shouted my parents as I hung up.

I walked over to the children’s pool and sat down in the foot of water, watching the girls paddle in the little spray that shot out of a fountain. They saw me and screamed and came over and started climbing on me. Unconditional love, I thought to myself.

‘Excuse me madam’ came a voice from behind me.

‘I’m sorry to disturb you madam but I have something for you’ said a waiter from the bar.

I looked up to see a silver tray in his hand. I stood up and walked out of the pool.

‘What is it?’ I asked.

‘This is from a gentleman in the bar.’

On the tray was a folded piece of paper. I was confused. I picked it up and opened it.

Dear Lilly,

I’m in the bar.  I’ve come to Mauritius to tell you I love you. I couldn’t stay in London without you. I have to see you.    

Love, Tom  

OMG, my husband was in the bar?!? I was in shock. Tom had come to Mauritius??

My heart skipped a beat and my stomach did a somersault.


9. That’s Amore

When someone you love does something bad, you don’t stop loving them. This was precisely the position I found myself in, as I walked to the bar to see my husband. In my heart, I had already forgiven him for his affair. I couldn’t help it. I loved him.

I was wounded, I was very angry and of course in my head I hadn’t forgiven him completely for the awful terrible things he’d done. But I was a woman in love and at that moment, I couldn’t have been happier to find out he had just flown 6,000 miles to see me, because he loved me too.

I walked into the bar and there was Tom, pale and sweating in the heat, in a long sleeved shirt and long trousers, but looking beautiful to me. I walked over straight into his open arms, I couldn’t help it. We hugged and then kissed. And hugged more. And kissed more. After days of silence and pain, it was such a relief to be with him.

In my husbands arms was my place of comfort. I was happy to be in them and could have cried with relief.

‘You are here, I can’t believe it’ I said.

‘I had to come’ he replied.

‘I am so happy you did!’

‘Me too’ he kissed me.

‘But how did you get here and what about the baby?’ I asked. Tom was supposed to be looking after our son in London who didn’t have a passport.

‘I had to get three flights but I would have walked. Fiona and my Ma are looking after the baby, he is fine.’ He grabbed me and hugged me a long time, ‘I want to make a new start and I had to come, I’ve been an idiot and I love you so much.’

‘I know you do’ I replied.

‘Please tell me you forgive me. Please tell me we’ll be okay?’ he asked.

‘Yes, well, um…I’m very angry Tom, I mean, what you’ve done….but, well…I love you too.’ I said, ‘I love you so much.’ I couldn’t use the word forgive, if I said that, I couldn’t take it back. Forgiving means everything is okay and everything was not okay. I was angry. But I love Tom and in my heart that was the overwhelming emotion. Definately stronger than my anger, in that bar, at that moment.

He hugged me a long time and then Tom took my hand and led me through the hotel lobby.

‘Should I get a room, or should I?  Can I…..ummm, stay with you and the girls?’ he asked tentatively.

‘Stay with us, don’t get a room, of course not, I want you with me’ I smiled and I was happy.

We got into the lift and started to kiss passionately. I missed him. Moments after we stepped into the suite we had each other’s clothes off. I wasn’t thinking about his lying or affair, I was thinking about how much I love my husband and missed him.

Like other couples that might experience separation and reunion or who break-up temporarily, we had very good, happy and satisfying we-are-back-together sex. I looked at my husband in a different way at that moment. Tom has always been someone who has lived life by the rules and on the good and dutiful path and looking at him, I felt a strange excitement. Not in a good way, not in a bad way, just in that ‘who ARE you?’ way. I didn’t know Tom like I thought I did.

During my four year marriage, maybe I found my husband boring sometimes compared to me. I did have a wild side. And I guess, Tom does too. I wasn’t angry, I didn’t think of Caterina, I was thinking that my husband has a wild side. Like me. Yes, we have problems, some big problems, but we can work them out. I know we can. We love each other.

Tom settled into our suite and unpacked and put on summer clothes and we went to the pool to collect our daughters from the morning session at the kids club. We held hands and stopped to kiss along the way and it was nice.

That afternoon we all played on the beach together, running and digging in the sand, playing in the light surf in the crystal clear warm sea. We had lunch on the terrace overlooking the palm trees and drank wine and laughed watching our children.

In the evening we hired a babysitter and walked in the moonlight to the outdoor restaurant, it felt like a second honeymoon, I have never enjoyed my husband’s company more, we laughed, we talked and we danced and we kissed. There was no mention of Tom’s affair and I didn’t even think of it once.

I was joyful and I felt a relief like I had never known in any relationship. I felt so relieved that somehow; my marriage and life were saved. Of course I was naive and I couldn’t contemplate yet that I wouldn’t feel like this all the time. I was only thinking that I had somehow, some way, through my pain and anger, forgiven Tom and that he loved me and that was enough.

Our smaller family of four stayed together in our suite and had breakfast in bed the next morning. The girls playing happily with toys on the floor while we read the newspapers in plush dressing gowns, enjoying a lovely fresh breakfast. I wandered on the balcony after breakfast looking out to sea and felt content.

It wasn’t until late afternoon on the second day that something crept up and bothered me. It was silly and minor and I never would have given it another thought in normal circumstances. But these were not normal circumstances. My husband had admitted to me only eight days earlier that he had an affair with our au pair. It was fresh and it was raw and I was hurt.

Sitting by the swimming pool an attractive woman in a bikini walked by and Tom looked at her. That was it. He looked at her and that was enough. I didn’t say anything but I suddenly felt a simmering anger in me.

I suddenly thought ‘Oh my god, he is checking her out.’ And I looked at her and suddenly thought ‘is she thinner than me, prettier than me, bigger boobs than me’ and I felt such a sinking feeling in my heart. I knew that I had lost something important. I’d lost something essential to my relationship with Tom. I’d lost my belief that my husband thought I was the most beautiful woman in the world. In his world.

‘I’m going for a walk’ I declared icily and got up grabbing my sunglasses and sarong.

‘I’ll come with you, lovely idea, let me get the girls’ and he sat up.

‘No, I want to go alone.’

‘Oh. Okay. Are you alright my love?’

‘Yes, bye then’ I walked off.

I had questions, I suddenly could think of nothing else.

What was it like to sleep with Caterina? Was it better than me? Worse than me? What did they do? Where did they do it? What did they eat and what did they drink? Did he buy her things? Did they talk about me? And if it was three times, how could that have worked when she lived in Italy? Did she fly to London? Who paid for that?

It was an intense curiosity that I couldn’t control. I have to know the answers. I need to know the how, why, where and when. Maybe other people don’t feel curious, but I did. I have two options. First is that I can push this out of my head and never think of it or speak of it again. Second, I have to discuss it with Tom.

I was never going to go for option one. It was not my character.

I’ve never swept a single thing under the carpet in my entire life and my parents and brothers and sisters still get upset with me when I bring up things we need to discuss. My mother’s famous last words ‘can’t we just leave it alone and forget about that.’ No! I can’t leave it alone. Not until I work through it, which means I must talk about it and feel it.

Heading back to the hotel I had my plan in my mind, I would speak with Tom at dinner. We had planned to have dinner on the balcony of our suite this evening, after we’d tucked our girls to bed. I thought that would be an ideal time, as it was the two of us in private and I could ask him some of these things.

I wouldn’t be angry, I’d ask calmly and we would be fine, I reassured myself.

‘You were gone a long time, is everything okay?’ asked Tom who was out on the beach with the kids waiting for me.

‘Hmmmm, it’s lovely here’ I murmured, not looking him in the eye, ‘I’m going to get up early and go for a run around that cove tomorrow morning’ I pointed out to the rocks in the distance.

‘Shall we go get the girls bathed and fed, it’s almost 5 o’clock’ said Tom.

‘Yes, okay’ and we walked back to our suite to settle our children to bed and have dinner. I was quiet and thinking of my questions I needed answering. And our second honeymoon was to be very short lived.

10. Fool Me Twice

Tom and I sat on the balcony of our suite in Mauritius having finished dinner. We were drinking the rest of the wine and I could hear the sound of a steel band playing in the distance. I didn’t want to spoil the mood but there was nagging inside me and I had to address it.

‘Tom, we haven’t talked about Caterina,’ I broke the silence.

‘What? Well we don’t have to, it’s behind us.’

‘It’s not that simple Tom. I want to talk about it.’

‘Lilly, no, I’d rather not talk about it. It meant nothing. Let’s put it behind us. I love YOU!’ he emphasised reaching for my hand.

‘I’m sorry, but it isn’t that simple. I need to talk about it. Let’s just talk honey, please.’

‘Well I don’t want to talk about it.’

‘Well I DOOO! It is hard for me Tom, are you thinking about how I must be feeling?’

‘It’s hard for me Lilly, are you thinking about how I must be feeling? The guilt I’ve been carrying around. Come on! Think about me and try to understand – I feel awful. I haven’t been able to do anything at home. I haven’t been able to work. I can’t eat. I’ve lost weight.’

‘So YOU are feeling bad, wow, I’m sorry Tom. Poor you!’ I said sarcastically.

‘Why are you doing this Lilly? Why? We are having a brilliant time. Let’s keep having a brilliant time. It’s much better now that you know, so let’s move on.’

‘What?? Well, I’m angry now! Because you are telling me it is hard for you. And it’s better now that I know. Better for who Tom? I want to know why you did this and if something needs fixing with us, we can fix it. I can’t understand how you could lie like that to me, over and over. I want to know when you saw her!’

‘Lilly, nothing needs fixing with us, okay. I was an idiot. It happened, it meant nothing. That’s it.’

‘That’s not just it Tom! Seriously, you say it meant nothing but it must have meant something to you! And I want to know how it happened. And where and what you did with her, that stuff, I need to know that.’

‘For Christ sakes Lilly, I don’t want to discuss it! We have had a great few days! Why do you have to spoil it? And bring things up that don’t need bringing up?’

‘Oh, so it’s my fault! You slept with our au pair, now it’s MY fault because I don’t want to bury my head in the sand and pretend it didn’t happen! We can’t do that. I can’t do that. We have to talk about why this happened. Why? And we need to make sure it doesn’t happen again!’

‘Well it won’t happen again, I can tell you that, it won’t! Ever! I’m not going through this again, too stressful!’

Tom grabbed the wine bottle from the ice bucket and filled his glass to the brim and took a big swig and set his glass down loudly. He was looking at me with angry eyes. He was angry because I wasn’t going to let him get his way. Often I did let him get his way; that did make life easier.

Tom continued ‘I’m not doing this Lilly, I’m not analysing this situation. Like you want to. Always wanting to analyse everything. It happened and I am going to forget it and move on.’

‘So I can’t talk about this, because you have DECIDED to move on. Just like that, you have decided? Great that you just decide things without talking to me!’

‘Well you decided to go on this fucking expensive holiday without discussing it with me Lilly, you have blown a huge amount of money. Money that we need for really important things. And you’ve blown it, just like that, because you’re a bit angry!’

‘A BIT ANGRY!?! A BIT ANGRY!? Yes, you could say that I’m a bit angry Tom. You have slept with another woman. What about our marriage vows? What about our children? I’m more than just a BIT angry.’

I stood up, grabbed my wine glass and guzzled the rest of the wine in it, slamming the glass down on the table. I marched inside and went over to the mini-bar, opened the fridge and grabbed several miniatures of gin and vodka and took them outside to the table and loudly dropped them on the table by my plate. I went back to the mini bar and grabbed several bottles of juice, not caring what kind and dropped those by the gin and vodka.

Sitting back down, I opened the vodka and poured the entire contents into my wine glass. I opened an orange juice and poured half in with the vodka. I dipped my hand in the ice bucket and grabbed a few ice cubes, threw them in the glass with a clunk and then drank half the cocktail down.

‘Oh brilliant Lilly, just brilliant, now you’re going to get hammered. Well that’s mature.’

‘Sleeping with our au pair who is half your age, well that’s mature!’ I snapped back.

I took another long sip and opened up another bottle of spirits and poured half of that on top of my drink. I took another long sip and loudly put my glass on the table. I picked up the empty gin miniature and held it up to Tom.

‘I guess you don’t want me drinking these huh?? Because they are too EXPENSIVE!’ I shouted.

‘God Lilly, keep your voice down the kids are asleep. Calm down.’

Tom was looking over the balcony at a couple strolling back to their room below us in the gardens. I knew he cared if someone heard. I didn’t. I picked up my drink and another miniature of spirits and walked into the suite. Tom followed me.

‘I want to know, tell me, what was it like sleeping with her?! What was she like?? Was she like me?!’

‘Of course not, it wasn’t anything like sleeping with you Lilly, I love you. I don’t love her. Entirely different.’

‘Oh so it was just sex then, just sex. No strings attached. Nice. Classy.’ I said.

‘This conversation is over!’ insisted my husband and he walked over to the desk and picked up his phone and came back and sat on the sofa looking at it intently. He was trying to send a signal to me, a signal of ‘I’m done talking’ and he stared at his phone and he was silent. I started to pace back and forth in front of him, feeling like an erupting volcano. I was angry and was starting to feel the effects of the booze.

‘I might just divorce you’ I suddenly blurted out threatening ‘I probably might just do that Tom. You don’t seem to understand how upset I am. I want you to tell me about what you did.’

Tom put his phone down in front of him on the coffee table and looked at me bemused. ‘Oh really Lilly, you might divorce me, really? With three young children and the lifestyle we have, you are going to throw that away? I don’t think so. I think you’re drunk!’

He was mocking me. And he looked like he was rolling his eyes.

‘When was the last time you talked to her? I demanded.

‘I don’t know. A long time.’

‘When?? I want to know whennn?’ I slurred.

‘Lilly, I am not going to be able to remember that but it has been like a year. Over a year.’

Over a year I thought. Really, over a year? That email had said ‘shall we speak’ and I suddenly felt my heart beating through me. He is lying!  I looked down at his phone he had set on the table and I walked over and picked it up.

‘So Tom, I guess then if it’s been about a year, I won’t find Caterina on your phone??’ I said, glaring angrily at him and holding his phone up.

‘Give me that!!’ he shouted and stood up looking angry.

‘No!! I am NOT giving it to you. Is she on this phone?!?’

Tom took a step towards me. I stepped backwards.

‘Tom, do NOT get any closer to me! I swear, I with throw this phone right out that balcony door and as far as I can throw it, if you come any closer,’ I took a step towards the balcony and motioned towards the wide open balcony door with my arm holding the phone. I was much closer to it than he was and I could see that he didn’t doubt me.

‘Lilly, right, don’t do that!’ he sat down.

‘Tell meeee!! Is her number on this phone!?!’

‘No, she is not on my phone, NO!!’

He looked wide eyed at me. And it was happening again. I could see the lie coming out between his teeth and the sweat on his forehead. I just knew, I just knew.

‘God damn you Tom, go to hell. I’m going to throw this phone, right now,’ and I darted onto the balcony, holding the phone over the railing.

‘Lilly, come inside.’ Tom hissed.

‘Tell me the truth, RIGHT NOW!’ I screamed.

‘Okay, okay, calm down Lilly, okay, calm down. I’ll tell you. Right, yes, ummm, yes, her number is on that phone. Only because I spoke with her. I had to tell her, that ah, you had found out. So yes, it is on there. I didn’t want to tell you because I knew you’d get upset.’

‘UPSET, you didn’t tell me because…where??’ I looked at the contacts, ‘where is her number??’ I was scrolling through the contacts.

‘It’s ummm, well it’s under Edward. It’s under Edward C.’

I looked and sure enough, there was the name Edward C. I couldn’t believe it. He had hidden Caterina under this bogus name!

With intense anger bubbling inside me, I walked quickly and calmly across the suite and into the bathroom before Tom could stop me. I slammed the door closed, and locked it. I heard Tom’s footsteps across the suite, outside the door, he was shouting.

‘Lilly, what are you doing?? Open the door, open this!’ And he was knocking. I ignored him. I walked over and sat on the edge of the bath, looking at the name and number, Edward C. It had a mobile number I didn’t know, but the familiar country code of Italy before it.

I had no plan of what I would say but I wanted to call her, so I pushed the call button and waited. It took awhile and I heard several rings, before the voice of our former au pair answered with a cheerful ‘Pronto Tom.’

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