Charging the BatteriesbyAdfer©
The Mediterranean break had been good for me but come Saturday I was missing Ted and the kids terribly, I was so looking forward to being home. Marje felt the same way.
It was on the flight home that Sunday morning: "Mandy, what are you gonna tell Ted?" Marje asked me.
"I asked him if he wasn't worried I'd be naughty while I was away. He said 'Do whatever it takes to enjoy yourself and come back with your batteries charged'."
Marje looked impressed. "Does that mean what I think it means?"
"Well, he'd hardly tell me to go and get fucked, would he?"
Marje laughed. "I think I'll tell Bob I was just a little bit naughty and see how he reacts."
"You gonna tell him about the nudist beach?"
"Hmm. I'll have to, I suppose. He'll see my tan."
"And the two guys who picked us up and took us back to their cabin?"
"I'm not so sure about that," Marje said. "Maybe I should tell him that when mine couldn't get what he wanted I had to give him a hand job."
Knowing what really happened I had to laugh. "That's what I call being faithful, Marje."
"That would be while you and Carlos went missing for several nights."
"Yes. Ted will love hearing about that. I enjoyed it at the time."
"Well, it has been a darn good break though Mandy. Now I'm looking forward to my family again. I just hope Bob doesn't get too upset about the naughty bits."
"I intend to get Ted nude when I tell him."
"Does that help?"
"Yes. You can see how he's reacting and adjust your story accordingly."
"You are wicked."
I put on mock indignation. "That's not wicked. That's just being a good wife; keeping my man happy. Or at least, not upsetting him."
It was chilly and overcast with a light drizzle when we got off the plane, in stark contrast to the warmth and sun which we'd so recently left.
It was lovely to see Ted waiting at the terminal. We hugged and kissed. "Welcome back to the real world," he said. It wasn't really the real world: I was so pleased to be back with him that I felt the same heady, fairy-tale love for him that I'd had on our wedding day.
Marje and Bob looked like they were pleased to be together again too.
On the drive home I bored the pants off Ted. I nattered on about the week's holiday: the things we'd done, the sights we'd seen, what we'd worn and what we'd eaten. Ted must have known I was holding back a few details but he refrained from asking.
We collected the kids from my mum. They were happy to see me and enjoyed telling me about their week and how granny and grand dad had done lots of exciting things with them. Oh how I loved us all being together again.
When I came out of the kids' bedroom after tucking them in and giving them their good night kiss I was suddenly overwhelmed by how beautiful and wonderful my life really was. I burst into tears and had to repair my face before going downstairs for some private time with my husband.
I tried to make him see what I had just discovered. How what we had as a family was so special. Before my break my life had been a boring routine of home, work and kids; just deadly dull drudgery to be endured. I now realised it was a wonderful gift which I should appreciate to the full.
Ted looked pleased with what I told him. It occurred to me that Ted had already been aware of it. "Sometimes we need a break so that we are able to see life for what it is; get another perspective on it," he said. "You were run down and fed up before you had your break. I think you needed it."
That was true and I said so to Ted. I realised we could so easily have descended into quarrelling and blaming that could have destroyed our marriage. Ted smiled. "Okay, now let's stop being so serious. I want to hear how you recharged your batteries."
Oh dear! What was I going to tell him? "Let's go upstairs Ted. We'll get an early night."
In the bedroom, when Ted had stripped off, his ever truthful flagpole told me he was ready to hear the full account. I realised that I was about to put some charge in his batteries. Well, fair's fair. I told all in embarrassing detail. Ted wasn't upset with me. He just said it was what I needed to see my life as it really was. And he could see that it had done me a world of good.
+ + + + +
I had thought that was the happy ending to my tale and it was as far as Ted and I were concerned. However, I ran into Marje on the following Wednesday and she looked troubled. Bob had got jealous when he heard her censored account of the holiday. Things were not warm and cosy in their household.
"He called me a slut and he suspects me of cheating on him," Marje told me. "He got so upset that I went nude on the beach I never told him anything else. All I wanted him to do was admire my tan and share in the pleasure it gave me. Say something nice about it."
I thought it was just as well that Marje had censored her account to Bob. If he got that upset about simply going nude on a nudist beach he certainly wouldn't have handled a full account from Marje. I felt so sorry for her. I compared her marriage with mine which was about as good as life on earth can be. Ted had welcomed me home full of love and understanding. He shared in the pleasures of my holiday. He knew they were no threat to him and was just happy for me and pleased for the benefit they had given me.
Poor Marje! When I told Ted about it he said "Invite them round for afternoon tea and let me have a chat with Bob."
I did so. It was obvious that things were not good between Bob and Marje from the moment they arrived. Ted's idea of afternoon tea had little to do with tea. He and Bob disappeared outside to cook sausages on the barbecue and empty a number of cans between them.
How I would have loved to eavesdrop on their conversation. They were nattering away to each other quite seriously to begin but then they lightened up and were laughing and joking.
Indoors Marje and I drank tea and wondered what the heck they were on about. Marje was actually fearful for the future of her marriage. And she had two young kids to worry about. Right then they were playing upstairs with our two.
"Okay. It's ready."
We were going to eat outside in the late afternoon sunshine. We joined the men. To my delight I saw Bob take Marje's hand and give it a squeeze. He gave her a loving kiss on the cheek too. Ted produced a bottle of red wine for Marje and me. Our men were pouring beer down their throats. We ate our way through sausages in buttered bread rolls. The kids all trooped out and ate their rolls sitting on the lawn. I got a blanket for them to sit on but they preferred the grass in any case. They weren't a bit concerned about damp.
It was getting dark by the time we'd degreased the kids and Marje and Bob left. It seemed to me that things were much better between them than when they arrived. I got the kids in to bed, overcoming their protests, and went downstairs to find out what Ted had said to Bob to mend their marriage.
"I told him that what really mattered was to maintain a loving and happy relationship with his wife," Ted explained to me. "To bear in mind that a good woman, and Marje is a good woman, goes out to work, unhesitatingly gives her time and love for him and the kids and runs the house. And what she needs in return is appreciation and love and support from her husband. Not insults and arguments. Scoring points over who's to blame is harmful to the relationship and is bad for both of you. So are words aimed to hurt. And the husband carries the major responsibility for maintaining a good vibe in the house.
"Both you and Marje had worked yourselves into the ground for your families and needed a break. You both needed some time away to recharge and to be your own persons for a while as opposed to being wives and mothers. And if that meant getting an all over tan on the beach then good luck to both of you." Ted paused and grinned as he added: "I didn't say anything about doing more than that by the way. I thought he wouldn't be able to handle it.
"I told him that what he should have done was to compliment Marje on her tan and tell her that it suited her. That you were so pleased with your tan and I'm sure Marje was with hers."
Ted stopped talking for a moment then added: "And a bit more in that vein. I think I convinced him."
Ted didn't normally open up with his thoughts. I was impressed by his depth of thinking. And so pleased that he understood all that. Ted was an even better man than I had realised. And he was all mine. Never mind recharging the batteries from now on I was all his. Just that it took that holiday and a little light adultery to make me see that.