The Other WomanbyAzPilot©
I was well married with 6 children and an Irish wife. She was short with a marvelous figure topped with curly black hair and sparkling eyes. We were living in a nice home and I was making a good living as a contractor in the Southeast, having recently moved there from the western desert area. We had experienced some ups and downs but life was not only good now, it was excellent. I kept the business small by choice enjoying the work and challenges on a daily basis. I knew that if I expanded too much, I would be working for my employees, doing bookwork and finding new contracts to keep them busy. I enjoyed the challenges of coming up with solutions for the problems that present themselves to business and homeowners. I could also charge more if I could solve problems that others could not.
I was in my early forties, my wife was two years younger and our children ranged from the youngest in kindergarten to the oldest, a freshman in college. At 5'10" in height, I was average in weight, size and looks. My wife enjoyed staying at home to look after the two youngest children and keeping our house in order, against the mayhem six kids can cause.
I became known for my solutions for knotty problems of design and/or construction. I even designed, and built, a curved door for a restaurant that had a round room and needed a door to match. One large company liked my work and started giving me a lot of jobs. This required that I stop by their office frequently, often on a daily basis.
One of the office workers was a very pretty young woman, in her late twenties. It turned out that she was divorced, with two small daughters, and was supporting them with this job. She was slender with light brown hair in a medium length style. I noticed a quick smile on a pretty face and a very nice figure, not looking for long as I was very happy at home. I did notice that some of the other small contractors had her type things for them occasionally and paid her for it to help her survive.
As I said before, my company was small and I had no real bookkeeper or typist. To help this young lady out, I paid her, on the side, to type out my invoices and billings as well. It was a big help to me and I'm sure that it was a benefit to her.
Betty and I became friends over the several years of our acquaintance. We had Betty and her children over to our house several times and the two families got to know each other a bit. Life was a struggle for her and we tried to help some, now and then, as well as paying for the typing she did for me.
Things changed some for me. The humid weather in the Southeast was getting to my wife and I, especially me. You could hear my knees creak as I went up the stairs of our two story house. I decided to sell out and move back out West where it was warm and dry.
We had sent some money and a power of attorney to my mother-in-law, in the West, and asked her to buy a house for us as an investment. She was experienced at this and had purchased a nice house for us and had renters in it. After about a year, the renters sent us a letter notifying us that they would be moving at the end of their lease, leaving the house empty. My wife and I talked about it and decided to fill it with us. There was a gap of a couple of months while we waited for school to let out, then we packed and moved.
I had sold my business to a bright young man and had worked with him for a while to get him used to type of work I specialized in. He was convinced that it would work out for him. In checking back, a few years later, that had proved to be true.
We moved and our lives went on. Our children grew up, married and had families of their own, some staying nearby and some moving to other states.
My wife and I lived and loved as we had done for years. We formed new friends and had great lives. We traveled a lot, from camping in the West to visiting Mexico many times. She liked to go to Ireland every couple of years to visit family, aunts, uncles and cousins galore. We traveled together to England, France and Spain, too.
Our lives went on and we got older. After the children left the home, we only had each other, but that was enough. We were friends and lovers as well as husband and wife. She was a brilliant woman and knew bookkeeping so she got a job to occupy her time. Fine. I encouraged her. She took up some hobbies. Fine. I encouraged her.
I enjoyed exploring the West, but as she aged, she did not like the rigors of making camp, saying that she preferred to make reservations, instead. She did, however, encourage me to continue which I did, often taking a grandchild with me. River rafting and exploring the West.
She stayed home and "did lunch". She and her lady friends had lunch often. They knew that while the big hotels and resorts had expensive dinners, lunches were not costly; the food was just as good and the service was excellent, as was the ambiance. So she did lunch.
Time went on and we aged more. Many of our friends died. We had lunch together often and still enjoyed each others company. We could talk for hours and yet be interested. As I said, she was a brilliant lady. Both words applied to her; she was brilliant and also a lady. Now older and heavier, snow white hair that was naturally curly, she still had a sly, sharp wit that was a delight. True Irish heritage.
One day she became ill and I took her to the emergency room of a nearby hospital. They kept her there for most of the day, monitoring her condition. Then they moved her to the ICU, or Intensive Care Unit. I was concerned, but not worried as a number of her family members had lived to their nineties. I was always sure that I would go first. In fact, even our children thought that, too.
Early the next morning I got a call from her doctor. He said that I should come to the hospital right away. I hung up and asked one of my kids to drive me over, as a couple of them lived in the same neighborhood. The only reason for the cryptic call was that something serious had happened and I didn't want an accident on the way there, caused by my distraction. I barely remember the ride, not taking note of anything along the way. I knew she was going, or gone.
You think you are prepared for the fact that a loved one is dead, but it still hits you hard.
The doctor explained that he was talking to her, on his morning rounds in the ICU ward, and when they finished their conversation, he had turned to go out the door of the room. That's when the monitoring alarms went off. She had died instantly when a clot blocked her heart.
All I could do when I got there was hold her cold hand while my mind raced a hundred miles an hour and went a thousand places. She was gone. It was over. It had been one Hell of a ride, as they say. Over fifty years with few arguments and a lot of joy. My best friend and lover. Gone.
I managed. Even months later, when something interesting came up on television, I would turn to her chair beside mine in the family room, to make a comment and she wasn't there. I finally had to remove the chair in an effort to drive home the point that she was gone. Wherever I drove and saw some new construction or something different, I still turned to the seat beside me, in my pickup, to make a comment. Empty. I managed with difficulty. The habit still persists, another pickup and two years later.
A while back there was an event that has given me a lot of thought. It may hound me the rest of my life. That's not the best description. I should say that it will always remain in my memory. One day, the doorbell rang and I opened the door. There was Betty. Older, of course, but still very good looking. I was astounded. Speechless. That same slender, light brown haired woman with a quick smile who had only a few tiny wrinkles to admit to any aging. She still had a great figure and sparkling eyes and she was smiling at me.
Over the years, I had heard about her, now and then. She had remarried to a very nice man and her girls had grown up and had lives of their own now, as my children had. She was doing well and still living in the Southeast. Here she was, to see me. She had taken a vacation to see Las Vegas and decided to come down to visit me, also.
In the course of our conversations for the next two days, she confessed that when we had known each other, years ago, that she had been infatuated with me. I hadn't had a clue. She may have dropped some hints, but I was so involved with my wife, I never noticed. A further shock besides her unannounced appearance. I was blindsided and extremely flattered at the same time.
I admitted to her that at the time I had no clue. As I told her, "I lived to spoil Catherine and she spoiled me for anyone else".
She admitted that she knew that, as she had met my wife, observed our relationship, and knew that she didn't have a chance. We parted as friends and correspond by e-mail often, now.
I can only speak for myself, but I have tried to play the devils advocate ever since. What would have happened if I had recognized and taken those hints, years ago? Could we have become lovers and had an affair? How long would it have lasted? Would it have been discovered and what would have been the consequences? If I had divorced my wife and married Betty, would she have picked up and moved West with me? If so, would she like it there, as she was born and raised in the Southeast and had never traveled much? There was some age difference but that didn't seem an obstacle. What would have been my children's attitude toward me had I divorced, or left their mother? What if? There are still a thousand thoughts going through my mind.
She was single then and I was happily married. Now she is happily married and I am the single one. Fate is cruel sometimes and often capricious. What to do and what to say when we meet again, and we shall, as I promised her lunch at the El Tovar, the grand old hotel on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon this spring. I know what I would like to say and do, but I won't. It wouldn't be fair, but the temptation is there.
I am tempted to put my arms around her and hold her close while I lightly caress and kiss every square inch of her lovely body until she moans with pleasure, then we'd slowly ramp it up from there, moment by exciting moment. But I won't. I will keep those pictures in my mind, though, and those pictures will keep an old man warm the rest of his remaining days. I will always wonder what she has thought all these years and further wonder why she stopped by, but I'll never ask. I shall always remember the pleasure and the compliment her statement gave me that afternoon. And the prevailing question always pops up in my mind- what if?