Attack, the Best Defensebyhansbwl©
I was at the shopping mall with my best friend Mary; we had been very busy, browsing through one shop after another for a good three hours now. I suggested sitting down in the coffee shop to rest our legs and have a cup of coffee and, as most girls do, have a chat.
After having munched down our brownies and had our first sips of coffee latte, Mary looked at me and said, "It's good to see you and Tim back together, you are so perfect for each other so none of your friends understood why you moved out a while ago. What happened? Did he cheat on you? Neither of you will say anything. He has had his mouth shut as a clam and you are just as secretive. You can tell me, I won't say a word."
"Promise, not say one word to anybody, not even Frank?" I replied (Dear reader -- please understand I would not have told Mary anything about what happened in real life, she is a chatter box, but I need a medium so I can tell you. There would not be a story without telling somebody, but say nothing please -- promise, no fingers crossed.)
"Of course I will keep it to myself," she confirmed with a conspiratorial smile.
I began my tale:
"I was in St. Louis on a company seminar in May; it was at the Hilton at the ballpark. All the sales managers from all over the states met to discuss next year's program. It was only a two day event with one night away from Tim. In the same hotel there was another meeting and one of the participants in that meeting was an old friend from my college days. Well, he was more than just a friend; I had been dating him for a few months before we split up when he finished one year ahead of me. We both decided that we were good friends, but probably not in love for the long term road. We went each our own direction as friends, no hard feelings."
Mary interrupted me, "Were you lovers?"
"Yes we were," I confirmed, "he was a good and considerate lover. The problem was our interests were so different. He liked hang gliding, rock climbing and things like that. I had no understanding or wish in that direction and he was not interested in mine. Anyway, meeting him in the lobby was nice and we both wanted to rekindle old memories so we had dinner together. It was enjoyable, I had too much wine and he pushed the right buttons, to make a long story short, I ended up in his bed. The sex was good and fulfilling, as I told you he is a good lover, not better than Tim, but just as good. When I woke up the next morning, the remorse hit me as with a sledge hammer. When he wanted a morning romp, I declined, dressed and left his room. Needless to say, I had a terrible day with such a bad conscience that I felt ill."
"What's the problem?" Mary said, "What Tim doesn't know doesn't hurt."
"Well, that what I said to myself also. But the pain I felt, the shame and the feeling of letting Tim down was so bad, that I decided, never more. It's not worth it. So for the next couple of weeks I thought it was going away and that this had taught me a lesson I should never forget. The rest of my life I will walk the narrow road and not indulge in sidesteps. That's what I was thinking. But then the shit hit the fan."
"Oh, what happened?" Mary asked.
"One day George Wilson, manager of the support group that handles after sales service, came to my office. He sat down and told me he had had an after sales service in St. Louis a couple of weeks earlier. He had been at Hilton and seen me together with a man he knew for a fact was not my husband. He had been a little too curious and on top of that, he had the room next to my friend. He saw us go into my friend's room and saw me leave early next morning. No wonder he put two and two together."
"My god, what a piece of bad luck," Mary said.
"Yes wasn't it. I thought I was in the clear and then this. I asked him what he intended to do about this piece of information. Mary, you can guess what he wanted for keeping his mouth shut, can't you?"
"Of course," she said, "he wanted to fuck you I guess."
"He did not say it outright, but he suggested a long lunch once a month for the next year, to have some quality time together, as he expressed himself. I could not accept this, so I told him no. He just smiled and told me to think about it for a week and left."
"Good for you, and then you went home to Tim and confessed I suppose. He then asked you to leave for some time while he was thinking about it. Later he forgave you and wanted you back, isn't that what happened?" She asked.
"Not exactly," I replied.
"He had given me one week to think about it. I did not do as you think, confess to Tim. He would have been furious; I had to handle the situation with some shrewdness. You know, I love him so much; I needed him to love me, not only receive his forgiveness. I needed him to really want me more than anybody else. I took a big chance and it paid off."
"Now you really challenge my imagination, what did you do?" she asked. Her unrestrained curiosity showed by her raised eyebrows, one higher than the other.
"Next day I took the day off. I went out and found a small fully furnished flat and rented it for three months. I took out five thousand dollars from our joint account so I could pay the deposit and have some spending cash. By the way, the amount I took out was no way half of what we had in the account. Then I opened an account in my name in another bank. I transferred my personal stuff to the new flat, went home and made dinner for Tim. After dinner I told him we needed to talk. We sat in the living room, drinking coffee after the dinner, when I told him that I would leave him. He wanted to know why, but I told him that it would be the best for both of us. I told him I loved him, I did not love anybody else, but I had to move on. I told him that I had taken my personal stuff and five thousand dollars from our account. We could talk about practical details later. I gave him my credit card cut in two, told him I had a new cell phone number and that we could communicate by e-mail. He sat there stunned of course, almost paralyzed; I picked up my purse and left the house before he could act."
"Wow, that was cruel," Mary said.
"Yes it was, I know. But I it was all part of my strategy. Next morning when I opened my inbox at the office there were a very long mail from Tim, he was really hurt. I answered it politely without giving answers to all his questions, accept saying he had done nothing wrong and that I loved him. I also said I would do nothing towards divorce at the time being, and asked him to let me be alone for a few weeks."
"What about George Wilson and his poorly hidden threats?" she asked.
"Of course he came to my office one week later as he said he would. I told him my answer again was no and as I could not betray my husband with another betrayal, I had confessed my sins. The result of my confession was that my husband had kicked me out of our home and I now lived alone in a small flat, hoping he eventually would forgive me. There was not much George could say, but he had the decency to say 'Sorry' before he left me."
"Your poor little thing," Mary said comfortingly, "how did you cope the next few days? Tim must have been frantic."
"Yes he was. He sent mails every day, he was hurt, angry and sad -- all the emotions you can think of. I replied every evening, without giving him comfort in answering all his questions. I did, however, write what I had done that day, who I had met etcetera. The kind of information a wife will give her husband if she is away on a business trip. I think my kind and sensitive replies somewhat calmed him down, so after a few days he started to write similar mails. He cut out his sadness and remorseful tone and gave me a rundown of the day's events. You know, the kind of information you share at the dinner table after a busy day's work."
"What was the purpose of this, what were you trying to achieve by this, could I call it, charade?" Mary asked.
"I'm coming to it in due course. First I must tell you what happened next. Every day I logged into our joint bank account. He had not changed the password. I just wanted to see the movements in the account, not withdrawing any money. The first days it was just ordinary day to day movements, but after a week, what I hoped would happen, happened. He had withdrawn three thousand dollars in cash."
"Why on earth did you wish for him to withdraw three thousand dollars? I don't understand," she asked.
"If the situation had been reversed, I would have him followed to see if he had another woman. I was expecting him to have me checked out. Those three thousand dollars was down payment to a PI was my guess. I wanted him to have me followed so I could prove there was no other man. I never went out with only one person, only in groups. I was never alone with any man, or woman for that matter. He could imagine I was in a lesbian relationship. I never had any guests in my flat; I was one hundred percent clean. He would get a report absolutely free from any suspicion. That was my goal."
"You clever girl, you are devious, what's next?" was Mary's playful remark.
"Nothing very much. The weeks went as in a pattern, our daily mails were exchanged. I knew I was under surveillance, so I continued to always being within groups. I needed his PI to have access to my telephone log, however. As I had seen a new girl in our office who I expected was a part of the surveillance team, I went into a meeting leaving my cell phone on my desk. When I came back it was not in exactly the same spot, so I knew most likely a spy program had been loaded into it. Just as I wanted, I could then send text messages I knew the PI would read. All appointments for a visit to a movie or concert, an after work drink with friends or a Sunday stroll in the park could be announced to Tim. I wondered when he would make his chance meeting with me. At one point he would approach me, I was certain of that."
Mary sat there, her coffee cold by now, looking impatient at me. "Did he? .... continue please."
"Do you remember Friday three weeks ago, when we met after work in that bar downtown?"
"Yes I do, ... oh I see. When he came up to you and asked for a dance, that was the chance meeting you were hoping for?" she asked.
"Yes it was, it took him five weeks. By then he was sure I did not see anybody else, he came to that particular bar because he knew I was there. He sat at the end of the bar in a dark corner; he saw I declined to dance with several guys who approached me. So when he came up and requested a dance 'with the most beautiful woman in the bar', I said 'yes -- with pleasure'."
"Oh so sweeeet -- and you made up, I'm so glad," she said with a sigh.
"Not exactly, he wanted to talk and ask me why I left. I told him we needed go to a more secluded place. We went into the lobby of the hotel next door and found a peaceful corner. He told me he had missed me, he loved me and wanted me to come back. I then started to tell him why I left. My indiscretion while in St. Louis. How I found it impossible to live in the same house with him, knowing what I had done, how I had violated his trust in me. At the end I said, 'Now you know why I had to leave, you cannot have a wife like me'."
"How did he react to that?" She asked.
"He sat still for a short while and he was of course not happy. What could you expect? After a short while he looked at me and asked, 'Can you truthfully answer three questions?'"
"'Of course,' I replied.
"The first question is: 'Do you love or have very strong feelings for this college friend of yours?'
"'No, I don't,' I told him, 'I only love you and have strong feelings for nobody but you.'
"The second question is: 'If you met him another time in a similar situation, would you go to bed him again?'
"'No, I certainly would not. If I met him again, I would be polite and treat him as a friend only. I would make sure of not being alone with him. Not so much for me being in doubt whether I would be able to resist a temptation -- there will not be any -- but because I would avoid any misinterpretations.'
"The last question was: 'If this situation results in a divorce and you are a free woman, would you seek him up and rekindle the friendship?'
"'No, absolutely not!' I told him."
"And then he forgave you and all was well?" Mary said with a wide grin.
"Not exactly. He wanted me to move back home, saying we could get over it. He missed me so much and yes, he said he was sure he could forgive me. But I told him he forgiving me was not the real issue. It was me forgiving myself which was the big problem. So for me to move home I needed his assurance that he would help me forgiving myself. I could not live with him unless I felt relaxed, wanted and loved, not only forgiven. It would be impossible if he interrogated me every time I had been out, if he felt he could not trust me. I did not want to risk this unlucky incident brought up in all future discussions between us. I on the other hand gave him my solemn word I would never put myself in a similar situation again and I would never lie and always keep him informed about my doings. The pain and shame had taught me a very hard lesson. Then I told him that he needed to think about it for a week. No telephone calls, no e-mails or other contact for a week. If he Friday next still wanted me, he could pick me up at my flat after work and then I gave him my address. You know, he did just that. He was waiting outside when I came home for work. And yes, you don't need to ask, my suitcases were ready."
Mary sat in her chair looking at me with aw and asked, "How could you cook up this plan of yours?"
"Have you forgotten I'm a General's daughter? All my youth we sat around our dinner table and he taught us, the children, military strategies. My father told us again and again; 'Attack is always the best defense.' And it worked."