Game of love

“I was at a church picnic when Joe invited me to go for a walk. He was a good-looking congregation member who worked as a locksmith. He offered me his arm and the ground became slippery; I was smitten. I’d had a tough childhood so I didn’t take kindness for granted. Joe and I began dating, and when he proposed it felt like I’d won the lottery. We married and had two children, Ruby and Callum. But over time, Joe grew distant. He’d do overtime or be on the computer a lot at home. Then one day I found a women’s blouse in the wardrobe. It wasn’t my size. ‘He’s having an affair’, I thought. Then I found another…

‘Tell me what’s going on?’ I demanded.
‘I like to wear women’s clothes’, he said, calmly. ‘But I’m not gay’. I was stunned. My husband was a cross-dresser. I decided to check out the computer’s Internet history and saw he’d logged on to a dating site. I was heartbroken, but decided not to confront him. I didn’t want him to leave me. As the kids were happy, that was all that mattered …
Joe and I stopped having sex but still did things as a family. Time passed and one day the kids, then teens, asked me to play an online game called Planetarion. Joe played it too.
‘You can help us steal asteroids and destroy fleets’, Joe said, urging me to join in.
‘Okay then’, I replied. I really got into it – gaming became my escape from reality. I’d chat to other gamers around the world and forget my cares. I used a picture of Ruby for my online profile as I was too shy to put up a photo of myself. One day I contacted a fellow player, Kevin, from California, to warn him about a ‘spy’. He was grateful and, despite being 18 years younger than me, we became friends. We’d chat about our daily lives. He’d had a difficult childhood, too. One day I confessed my photo was actually of my daughter. ‘I’m sure you’re just as beautiful’, he said. ‘Send me a photo of yourself’. I got butterflies but decided not to send him a photo. Then one day I bumped into Joe in town with a young redhead. He shifted nervously before admitting the affair.

‘We’ve decided to live together’, he said. My world came crashing down. It was devastating telling the kids their dad was leaving me for someone younger and more financially secure. ‘It’s okay, Mom. We know you both love us’, Ruby said. Fortunately the kids, now grown, coped fine. I decided it was time to send Kevin my photo. If Joe found someone online, so could I.
‘You have beautiful eyes’, Kevin said.
Our romance blossomed and he flew to visit me. I was wary at first. I’d interrogate him if he was five minutes late or ask to check his phone. But he was patient with me, and we never noticed the age difference. It just felt right.
‘I want to bring your walls down’, he said. Kevin accepted a job in my town in IT, and we married with Ruby and Callum by my side. Later on I bumped into Joe but I ignored him. I should’ve thanked him – after all, he made me join the game where I met Kevin. And if he hadn’t cheated and left, I might never have had my happy ending!”

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