A Tale Of Many Mistakes Ch. 07bylikegoodwine©
Thanks for grogers7 for his patient editing of the story.
I lost my body armor one piece at a time. First, the neck brace -- and it felt very good to be able to move my head unimpeded. It cracked a lot with my first few movements, but then, I felt free -- from the upper chest to my lower jaw, that is!
Then came the nose bandage a few days later. Mary screamed.
"Daddy, you look awful. Your nose... it's ...it's awful".
Eileen laughed. "It ain't that bad honey! The swelling will soon go away, and those black purplish yellow colors go very well with the dark rings under his eyes. Don't you think so, Mary?"
Mary let a little laugh. "He would be awesome in a zombie movie".
I lifted my arms in front of me and began to move my torso sideways like a zombie. But the joke was on me because pain shot through my chest, and my imitation of a zombie gargling came out as "Ow!" They both laughed which pushed the pain right away from my mind.
The next thing to come off was a real blessing. My jaw brace! At last, I would be able to talk normally. Mary was the first one to give me a careful big kiss.
"Can you talk now?" she asked.
I stretched my jaw again.
"Finally! At last, I can tell you that I have had an awful itch right in the middle of my back for the last 3 weeks," I said.
Mary's mouth gaped. "Oh Daddy I am so sorry. I..."
I started to giggle. "Just kidding, kiddo! Just kidding!"
Feigning indignation, she gently swatted my shoulder with a backhand, just like her mother. "Oh you!"
I grabbed her and planted a big kiss on her.
"Mary," I said, "the only thing I have to say for the last weeks is Thank you, Thank you, and more Thank you!" And then more kisses followed in which she took great delight.
Eileen then approached the bed. We were a bit awkward. Sensing that, Mary left the room. I reached out and took her hand. We stayed like that without uttering a word. I was overwhelmed by conflicting emotions. Guilt and gratitude were at the front of the pack. But also, a feeling I had lost was coming back in full. Free to finally speak, I didn't know what to say. I loved Eileen. I had never loved anyone as much, and probably never would.
Her hand was shaking. I squeezed it tighter for a second. Like me, tears appeared in her eyes.
"So? Lost your voice?" she finally said.
"I have too many words, and they are fighting for a chance to get out." I simply said.
"What about a Thank you to start with?" she replied.
"Not without a kiss!" I said.
She hesitated a bit then put her lips to mine. My hand went to her neck, and I kept her there so our kiss would last longer. I opened my sore jaw, and our kiss got more intense. Then I pushed her head a few inches from my face and looked in her wonderful green eyes. I had looked at them many times over the last few years but never with the same longing for her that I now felt. I had sensed the same love and need emanating from her. But all these years I had blocked it easily, as wrapped as I was in my emotional pain. I didn't want that now. I wanted to please her wonderful eyes, to have them full of life and love again.
"I love you, never stopped loving you", I said with some difficulty.
My throat was feeling as constrained as when I had the jaw brace. It wasn't exactly the result I expected, but I should have. Tears came flooding freely from her eyes, dripping on my face.
"Oh Kieran, I love you, I love you, I love you so much", she answered haltingly through her tears of joy and relief.
And she kissed me, hungrily with a passion rooted in five years of frustrations, pain, hatred, guilt, love and more pain.
I think we kissed for the next whole hour. We had five years of lost kissing to make up to. All symptoms of bodily pain left me in that hour. Five years of pain were erased in one real moment of truth.
It took a while for my body to recover, but it was way faster than Eileen and I recovered our relationship. After two months without all the casts and braces, I was ready to move back to my house. I would need crutches to move around for a few weeks, but I was far from being an invalid.
There were, however, a few problems that arose from my project to move back to my house.
First and foremost, I had no wheels. My insurance was covering the loss, but I still had to go and get a car. Even if I had accepted Eileen's offer to drive me home, it was near impossible for me to stay at the country house without a set of wheels. The day after that realization, I had a rental parked in Eileen's driveway. My departure was inevitable, and it made the atmosphere in the house at bit gloomy.
Second, my girls! Mary was miserable when I announced my decision to move the next day. She didn't want me to move away. Taking care of me had really helped her to cope with her own divorce, to focus on something other than her own pain. I was a means to her own sanity, but I believed that she was mending quickly now. I knew Eileen would still be there for her, and she knew quite well that her Mom and I had come a long way in mending our own relationship. To see me leaving hurt her. It meant a return to our previous estrangement, and perhaps, animosity. I had to reassure her when Eileen wasn't around.
"Listen Baby, over the last few months I realized two things: One is that I always loved your Mom, but my wounds were too great to overcome and let that love back to the surface. I know you understand now that the pain of her betrayal will always be there, at least as a memory. I will never forget that. And I don't know if I can forgive her. My home is not here anymore, and your Mom is not part of my home either. I don't know what will come of the peace we made, but it feels good to be at peace with your Mom. I cherish it as much as I cherish the time I spent with you."
I must have been convincing because she didn't say a word and simply jumped in my arms, sobbing and hugging me real hard.
"Goodbye then, if you must go! But I know she loves you very much", she hiccupped to me.
It wasn't as easy with Eileen. We were really ill at ease with each other. I waited for Mary to go to bed before I had a quiet talk with Eileen. Like every evening, she was the consummate nurse asking about my different body signals, "using her expertise as a way to touch my body all over", I quipped. We had reached a compromise in our conflicted feelings, and little sexual innuendos were part of it. She smiled, but she kept silent while continuing her ministrations. Finally, her lovely green eyes full of sadness, she turned to me and broached the subject.
"So you leave tomorrow." It was a quiet statement, not a question. "What... what will happen to us?" I sensed she wanted to say more, to express her own desires on the matter, but she didn't.
We let the silence grow between us.
I wasn't all that sure what I wanted to say. I had to think a bit more about the concept of "Us". I knew she meant her and me, and Mary.
"Is there an 'us', Kieran?" she finally asked, breaking the silence.
"Not now. There is no 'us', now. That's broken! It's been broken for the last 7 years." She winced when I answered her.
"Can 'we' be mended?" she asked, almost in a whisper.
"I don't have the answer to that."
"But isn't there love again?" she said, finally looking at me
"Yes there is, but there is more: There is still pain and fear." I said after a few seconds of silence.
"Fear?" she asked
"Yes, pain and fear of betrayal and lies. Lies hurt more, way more. The betrayal was in all the lies that lasted so long. I still hurt from them. The sex didn't matter as much. We had sex with another couple. We didn't go very far, but we had sex. But we did it together, in the open, without lying. It was a mistake, but a common mistake."
"Yeah. I agree. It makes a difference."
"Can a liar be trusted again?"
"But what if the liar is really ashamed? Repentant?"
"How can someone believe that?" I said with a bit of rancor.
"Would you believe it if she told you that she was faithful all these years without you? Waiting for you!"
"Would it be a lie?"
She shrugged. "Can't prove it, can't disprove it."
"But there is love! It has always been there from me, and I think you love me again." Eileen softly stated, her look full of hope.
"Yes, I love you, and I know you love me" I agreed.
Tentatively, she slid closer to me on the couch, her hand taking mine, and her head resting on my shoulder.
"Can't deny that anymore!" I finally added.
"What else do we need? Forgiveness?"
"Is it possible? Forgive what?" I asked.
"The sex or the lies?" she countered.
"The betrayal and the lies." I finally said. "Can they be forgiven? Can the loss of five years be forgiven? Five years when I hurt everyday. Five years when I felt less than a man. Five years when only my kids kept me going."
We stayed silent for a while.
"I would have a hard time forgiving it." Eileen finally said. "Neither can it be forgotten."
"But to love each other, isn't that a beginning?"
I took a few moments to ponder the question. "A beginning to what?"
"To a second chance!"
"What kind of second chance would that be, without forgiveness, without any chance to forget? We would simply return to the possibility of lies again! Love was there, strong and fulfilling, to protect us, I thought. Then came the lies! Why trust love again?"
"Can you live without it?" Eileen asked.
"Yes, but it's a shitty life!" I had to admit.
"Is there another love waiting somewhere?" she inquired.
"Probably, but the chances of finding a love as deep as ours are slim." I said, deflated.
"I don't know if we can start over? If we can find the same passion?"
"Can we rekindle that great spark? Or is it too much to ask, Kieran? It may be too much, but can we live happily without each other? I can't!"
"Can we start slow?" Eileen asked.
"Like just friends? And see what develops?" I pondered a few seconds. "It's possible, I guess!"
"It's not as fulfilling, but I could live with that, Kieran -- if it means that you can be still a part of my life, even if I destroyed what we had. I would never give up on any chance of being with you. But... But I love you so much, can you deal with that?"
"I need it!"
"What kind of friends share kids between them?"
"Close friends! Friends with history"
"Like fuck friends?"
"That's where we started."
"What if I made good on that offer?"
"I've been waiting for so long."
And we made love; gingerly because my ribs were still hurting, but with a longing anchored in five long years of frustrations. And it helped that I believed in five years of Eileen's faithfulness, five years without a lover.
I moved back to my house. I still have a few contracts with my former employer, but I am now officially retired. Mary and Eileen were frequent visitors, especially at the beginning because of my limited mobility. At first, they stayed in the guest bedrooms, but after many visits, Eileen would always wake up in my bed. And then she started to share my bed. That delighted Mary, and led to no end of teasing from her.
We took it easy at first. To be forthright, I took a while to revert to who I was before her betrayal. Part of me wanted to bask in our renewed love, and another part constantly rebelled, unable to forget the pain. Day after day, week after week, and month after month, Eileen had to cope with my mood swings. One moment I was the loving boyfriend, and the next I reverted to a cold untrusting mate. Eileen took it all in stride.
I knew that her unshakable faith in me was her way to apologize and repent for her prior unfaithfulness, a behavior anchored in shame.
Many times we ended up crying together without need of explanation, knowing that we were both hurting from the time lost and the love we were trying to reclaim.
Many times, I was close to quitting and calling off our renewed relationship. A few times, I even chased her out of the house, then called her back and apologized. Her answer was always the same: "No apology needed!"
For instance, one Friday evening we had agreed that Eileen would come over right after work to spend the weekend. Caught in a rush at the hospital, she arrived 90 minutes later than expected. I was a wreck. Too many bad memories came rushing back, and I was on a short fuse. Eileen responded with her usual loving patience and delicate attention to my mood. Her love put me back in a good mood until later, when I found myself with my face inches from her pussy. As hard as I was, and as much as I wanted to, I was unable to lick her. I lost my erection. We didn't make love. She cried in my arms.
We were trying not to complicate things, but when Mary finally moved in with a new boyfriend (Hey girl! Try him out before you decide to go further), Eileen asked me if she could sell her house and move in permanently with me. I said no.
A few months later, I changed my mind.
With part of the proceeds from the sale of her house we built the garage for her studio, and it is real good to know that Eileen is up there creating a new painting. She also retired, and we often travel around the country and the world to find new inspirations for Eileen's art. And that's the way it was suppose to be.
I have to admit that our love never totally recovered. It's a shadow of what it was. I love her, but I am not in love with her. However, the love we share now is strong and much better than anything we could have found elsewhere, if at all. I don't know if the future will change that, but I think it might. Eileen is trying hard to rekindle it. Sometimes I will fake a response when I see her despair that we can regain some of our passion -- even if, deep inside I feel it is still broken.
Guess what? It becomes easier to fake and enjoy the moment with the passage of time. Those moments when the sight of Eileen leaves me breathless and happy to be with her are getting more frequent. Her expressions of love and passion are more and more welcome. I feel there is some hope.
Yes, I did apologize to Granny for my argument with Hike when he revealed his cancer, but she and Eileen had already agreed that it was not my intent to actually wish him dead. She made it easy for me by saying "I always knew you two would get back together. You are too good a man for me to think otherwise. I helped her to have faith in you, even after that evening."
Eileen and I haven't remarried. What's the meaning of a piece of paper? We love each other, we live together and we are growing old together. In the end, that's all I ever wanted!