We were on a break
“The waiter placed another large glass of wine in front of me. ‘Thanks’, I said, smiling weakly. It was my first Friday night without the kids so I was treating myself. But I didn’t feel much like celebrating. My husband, Michael, and I had decided to separate a few weeks before and I missed him terribly. We were childhood sweethearts and had married in our early 20s, before battling for many years to have children. We conceived Ruby, six, through IVF, then Poppy had completely surprised us and came naturally a couple of years later. They say IVF puts strain on a couple, but we’d managed well. Then, out of the blue, Michael announced he wanted a break.
‘We spent so many years trying for kids that I feel like I missed out on my youth’, he admitted.
‘So you want to sow you wild oats?’ I raged. I was furious with Michael and demanded he move out. We agreed he’d have the kids every second weekend. Sipping my wine now, I felt tears prick my eyes. How had things ended up like this? Just then, one of Michael’s work colleagues, Grant, walked into the bar. I tried to hide, but he saw me and walked right up to me.
‘Mind if I join you?’ he asked. Reluctantly, I nodded. All I wanted to do was drown my sorrows, not spend my night with Michael’s colleagues. But Grant was surprisingly good company. We were soon laughing and he ordered me another drink. I found out he’d recently split from his wife and it was his first weekend alone, too.
‘I don’t know how Michael could leave you’, he said, a few drinks later. ‘You’re gorgeous’.
I couldn’t help but feel flattered. At least someone wanted me! Later, when Grant asked me to go back to his place, I agreed. If Michael was off sowing his wild oats, why shouldn’t I?
Back at his house, Grant and I had sex. But the next morning, along with a thudding headache, came the huge enormity of what I’d just done.
‘This never happened’, I said to Grant, hurriedly getting dressed. ‘I won’t breathe a word’, he promised. At home that afternoon, I looked at all the things that reminded me of Michael and couldn’t stop crying. Suddenly, a knock on the door pulled me out of my funk. It was Michael and the kids. ‘One night with the girls brought me to my senses’, he said. ‘Please take me back’. I was stunned. I wanted us to get back together so badly, but I’d just betrayed him in the worst way…and with someone he worked with. We hugged and I agreed we should try and make it work.
‘I met a girl at a bar but I couldn’t go through with it’, he admitted, after the girls had gone to bed. ‘I don’t need any other woman when I’ve got you’.
I smiled, yet guilt burned inside me. Grant moved company not long afterwards, and Michael and I are still together and happier than ever. I try not to let the guilt overwhelm me. After all, we were on a break.”