Fiction On Odyssey: Can

She was still dancing the Can-Can when her husband left to “take a drive.” Her daughter was laughing and dancing along side her and she’d watched, through the window, as her husband drove away from their home. She knew better than to believe him. It’s sad really, especially when one considers that it only took a phone call from a friend at a local dinner to know his secret. This was a small town after all did he really think that he could get away with something so scandalous? He either was completely oblivious or didn’t care and with his unbalanced love for painting over his family she assumed the latter.

The music stopped and so ceased their dancing both now tired from their rigorous activity. Her daughter sat on the couch and tuned the radio to her favorite show. She sat on the rickety armchair and pondered for a moment. She knows her husband is having an affair and she knows she should say something, do something. She should confront the issue but she won’t. For her children’s sake she won’t say anything. If she confronts the issue it can only end in two ways: either he leaves or she leaves and she would never want her children to live without both parents and even more she would never want her children to choose. But what know? Her husband wasn’t going to stop the affair and the children were bound to notice the pattern or worse find out from someone else. What to do?

The phone rings and she goes to answer. On the other line she hears the voice of someone she’d hadn’t seen in years. James. They had known each other growing up but hadn’t spoken since he went off to university to study medicine. She was delighted to hear from him again and was even more delighted that he was still the ambitious yet caring person he’d been when they were growing up. Once they were somewhat reacquainted with what they’d each been up to these past years he’d said

“I’d love to see you and talk more. When are you free? Maybe we could go for lunch?”

“Umm…” She paused for a moment unsure if she should make plans or no. On one hand she wanted to see him and reconnect with her old friend but on the other hand she felt strangely guilty. She hadn’t seen any man beside her husband since she was in high school. She felt as if by agreeing to meet James she would be unfaithful. That she wouldn’t be honoring her family. Her husband doesn’t know this man, her children don’t know this man, and what would people think if they saw her having lunch with someone other than her husband?

Her husband. The small voice in her head reminds her of her husband’s infidelity and she can’t shake the thought. Why should she feel guilty? Does he feel guilty? Does he feel guilty for what he does to her? Has he ever thought of her or considered her feelings when making plans to sleep with another woman? Has he ever considered his family? No. So why should she? James breaks her train of thought.

“Hello are you still there?”

“Yes!” she says quickly “Yes I’m here. I’m free Monday next week.”

“Great! I’ll see you then.” He says in a tone of genuine excitement and she smiles to herself relishing in the moment before responding with “See you then” and ending the call.

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