Man, Woman, Circumstance
To Cecille a husband was someone who knew things about herself that she didn’t. Such was Henry. Some mornings she’d wake up and find him looking at, in fact, through her. She thought and rather jokingly, better her than the ceiling. Or, God forbid, some loose woman on the internet or from next door. Her marriage was bliss and that for her was easy enough to affirm by the way his eyes looked on those mornings—there was love there, don’t ask how she could tell. She alone was supposed to. But there was something else too, something anybody, not just a woman, would have seen. He looked harmless, but also quizzical. But the well-loved wife that she was, it didn’t bother her at all. If anything, it was him keeping the passion alive. They say love is about exploring new and hidden crannies in the otherwise predictable territory of marital and civil commitment, especially one going on eight years. That way, flimsy little moments stick out and are not indiscriminately, tragically balled up into a senseless blur couples resort to to vindicate themselves during separation. That way….
The seeds of doubt are planted by the Devil. He sneaks in when one’s spiritual fortress is not strong enough. The seeds of doubt take root in one’s heart and fester there. One must beware.
On the other hand, the seeds of love flourish when nurtured with honesty and devotion. To achieve these, man has his place and the woman has hers. God made sure of that, one must remember.
I still believe in him. Whatever it was he was hiding I found it and I squashed it. As far as I am concerned it’s gone. He was ashamed of it himself, regardless of what he says now. The devil saw it and he took advantage of it. But like I said it’s gone. He told me once those mornings he’d wake up hours before me and watched me sleep were the most important in his, our life. It was an angel watching over me on those mornings, not something else. That’s why.
How do you ask a man “Why”? How do you ask a woman? People tried. Cecille, they say, was in denial; we saw him there, you know where. A matronly woman and mother of six was looking her husband in the eye when she said, “I can’t blame her. Or him either. It’s an epidemic.” “It’s common these days among the youth,” he said, and to further reassure, “It’s an epidemic.” “If it was a woman,” chipped in another, as if saying so would make Cecille or the little transparent community feel better. “How did she…,” asked a less adept busybody who was shunned out of the unspoken collective understanding that at that point everyone ought to know already. For crying out loud, if Henry wasn’t as brazen as they come. The Devil delights in preying on the young. An explanation like that was expected to make a lot of sense, to provide something akin to a resolution, but not so much with the couple who had been together-- what?-- since they were in high school. Whatever Henry had to say? The quizzical expression he once wore was afterwards found characteristic of most of his neighbors, men and women alike, who lay on the line their spiritual fortress wondering either how a handsome professional like him, and a beautiful and devoted wife like her could end up that way; or, who among them would be next.