When I caught sight of Orchid, I quickened my pace as I headed across the center of the park, but once I realized it was only her waiting for me, each step there after slowed until I had stopped completely only a few feet from her. Like a light bulb switching on, everything was suddenly crystal clear.
Those evening chance encounters…
The seemingly innocent touches…
I didn’t even think anything of it when I received the text that the family was having a late evening park visit. We went so often, it was a plausible notion that it was true. Which is why in no hesitation I headed straight from work to the park.
I certainly did not expect what I found.
I paused briefly unsure of what was actually happening. Many different scenarios ran through my head, all of which quickened my pulse and made it hard for me to breathe. I cleared my throat in hopes it would break free what ever was blocking my airways.
“Orchid? Where is everyone?”
“They are at home.”
“But you texted me saying you were all here.”
” I know.”
She dropped her head into her hand unable to even look at me. I felt a rush of adrenaline pulse through my system. It was exactly what the scenarios in my mind were saying it was. I reached a hand out to touch her shoulder, but in almost the same instant I pulled it back in. That was probably was not the best course of action.
“So you invited me here alone?”
“Why?” Heh why…I knew why. That was a really stupid question, but still the words flopped out of my mouth. Perhaps I thought if I actually heard it from her lips I would believe it was real.
Her face was riddled with regret and embarrassment, which only caused my anxiety to worsen.
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have asked you here. It was just…well I…I needed to tell you something.”
I just stared back at her, unable to speak or move.
She let out an exasperated sigh and turned her face away from me. “From the moment I saw you, I have loved you. It was like I found my long lost best friend, only you didn’t remember me. I have no idea where these feeling even come from, but I couldn’t go the rest of my life and not tell you. I don’t know what else to say. I love you. Plain and simple. I am not expecting anything from you. You have your wife and beautiful family, you don’t need me, but what I feel for you may have just sent me over the edge if I did not say anything. I’m sorry.”
I am not sure if what she said finally donned on her, but the moment she finished, her whole tone changed. “I…never should have come here. I should go.”
Just as quick as her confession only moments before, she hastily started to make her leave. Before I even had a chance to think I called out to her.
“There is something you deserve to know.” She stopped mid-step, but still refused to turn and face me. My throat started to close off. I was terrified of what I was about to say. Even the words seem to be enough in my mind to betray my dear Tranquil. Which was the last thing I wanted. She was my everything and nothing would change that.
“You don’t need to say anything. I know.”
“You think I am crazy. A little lost puppy.” She mimicked as she started to leave once again.
“No.” This was it. I had no other choice. I couldn’t let her live the rest of her life thinking she had lost her mind.
“I feel it too!” I sputtered.
“What?” This time she turned back to face me. Her stare ripping right through my soul.
My gaze began drooping ever so slightly. “I would be lying to you if I said I didn’t feel it. That odd connection. Its as if I have known you a 1000 lifetimes, but this lifetime… This time I am with her. I’m sorry. Thinking about hurting you fills me with a deep regret that I can’t quite escape, but the feelings of being anything but faithful to my wife are even stronger still. I hope you can understand that.”
“I understand.” She whimpered, tears starting to form in her eyes.
“I owe everything to her. She has been there when no one else was. I would be…” I realized my lengthy explanation wasn’t really going to help matters all that much, so I stopped.
“Please don’t apologize, I am the one in the wrong. I never should have said anything. I am only messing things up further. Why here! Why now?!” Her voice wavered with each syllable.
She was falling apart right before my eyes and all I could do was watch. I had an almost uncontrollable need to pull her into my arms, tell her everything was going to be OK, but that was a lie. It wasn’t going to be OK. I couldn’t give her what she was so desperately searching for. Instead I just stood there, waiting for her to give me some kind of sign she was going to be OK.
“I am leaving.”
She didn’t explain fully what she meant by that, but I understood all the same.
“I think that would be best.”
“The girls are big enough now, I think you two can handle them. I’ll be out within the week. Goodbye Granite.”
We went our separate ways, and I had a feeling she would not be coming home that night.
I headed for home, only one thing on my mind.
I pulled the car into the drive and immediately jumped out. I ran through the house till I found her in the upstairs hallway. As soon as I was close enough, I pulled her into my arms. I had never wanted to be near her so badly.
“Whoa, well hello there.”
I pressed my lips gently against hers. Each kiss more passionate the next, I was going to let her know exactly how much she meant to me. I could feel the guilt beginning to wash away in the safety of her lips. “I love you.” I breathed against her cheek.
“I love you too love.”
Looking into her sweet face, suddenly my heart was at ease. She was where I was supposed to be, there was no doubt in my mind. I pulled her into my arms again. Unable to bring her close enough, I dropped my head onto her shoulder.
I felt her arms wrap around my neck, just before she whispered in my ear. “You made the right choice. Thank you.”
The moment her words sunk in, I pulled away softly. How did she…
“I think we should go away for a while. Just you and me.”
“Oh that would be so nice, but the kids…”
“Not right away, but soon. The girls are getting older. It will be fine. What do you say?”
“Getting the chance to go away with you alone? How could I possibly refuse.”