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"Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people of the world, I mean everybody. No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside, inside them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands maybe" ~ Neil Gaiman (A Game of You)

5.14.2010

Mistaken

I knew it was a mistake the moment it was over.

I had wanted to show him that I was all right now.  I had moved on.  I was whole again.  I admit to a touch of curiosity.  I had only caught a glimpse of her the few times she waited in the car when he came to pick up the kids.  I wanted to see them together, to see if he treated her the way he treated me in the beginning.  I wanted to find cracks, warning signs that I had missed.

I knew that I looked fantastic.  I'd lost all the weight I put on while we were married.  Time at the gym toned my muscles.  I looked strong.  I felt strong.  I turned heads when I walked into the room. 

I waved to my ex in-laws.  Doris smiled back and Ed gave me a quick hug and a kiss on my cheek.  They were distracted and left me with a pat on the hand.  "I'm glad you were able to make it."

I mingled with mutual friends and met some new faces.  I sparkled.  I was witty.  I made people laugh.

I took my place in the reception line.  My heart didn't race; I didn't panic.  She smiled at me and took my offered hand.  Her voice was warm and gracious.  "Thank you for coming."  She turned to the next in line.

But he didn't dismiss me so quickly.  I recognized the glint in his eyes as he roamed my face, my body.  After I had moved through the line, I watched for awhile.  Other pretty girls stepped up to congratulate him.  Each received his intimate smile, his approving glances.  Sometimes he squeezed a little too tightly when giving a hug.

I left with a heaviness in my chest.  Maybe she's a sweet, stupid girl, and I should run back in and warn her.  Maybe she knows and turns away from seeing.

I shouldn't have come.  I accomplished what I came for, but a shadow fell on my satisfaction.  The picture of that beautiful girl on her wedding day would haunt me.

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To play along, visit Write Anything's [Fiction] Friday.

16 comments:

Debra Erfert said...

You've done a good job reinforcing the old saying, ‘Once a cheater, always a cheater,’ huh? Good piece of fiction. I hope you weren't drawing from personal experience, though.

Walt said...

You really hooked me with this piece, I was eager for more when you closed it out.

Good work

Joan Sowards said...

I read it several times. Good job.

afullnessinbrevity said...

A good exploration of the dynamics in relationships. Nicely told.
Adam

Kathy said...

A well written piece. I loved waiting for the end.

Laura Rachel Fox said...

Great window into a life. You write with experience and knowing and it comes across beautifully in this short piece. I have a genuine feeling of dread for this new bride. Well done.

Renee said...

This is really good, Shelli....

Shelli said...

Thank you so much for your comments! I appreciate that you took the time to come and read.

What is really flattering is that this did not come from personal experience at all. Hubs and I have been happily married for over 21 years with no infidelity whatsoever. The thought originated because my sister went to her ex's wedding reception and hated it. The rest was pure imagination.

Laura Rachel Fox said...

It's great to hear that all was imagined. You must have a great imagination. It's awesome that you're able to tap into feelings that you've never experienced.

John said...

You had me thinking the whole time she was at a wake for her dead ex. I was hooked till the end. Good job!

http://johnpender.net/2010/05/fiction-friday-155/

Susan G. Haws said...

I enjoyed it. I especially appreciated the way you demonstrated she had truely moved on and regained her self esteem without loosing her kindness.

Shelli said...

Laura -- Thank you! And whew, huh? I've been hearing from people who have been through that, and it is really devastating. Makes me appreciate my husband so much more.

John -- I like how your mind works! I'm thinking of a whole new story now. Thank you!

Susan -- Isn't that the ultimate empowerment, to hold onto your kindness in spite of all the pain? Thanks for your comment.

Elizabeth Able said...

I believed your character completely. That first line from the prompt drew me in. I was looking for signals about which part you knew was a mistake, and added each new signal to the next as I went along.

Shelli said...

Thank you, Elizabeth! I really liked this prompt, because there were so many ways to go with it. It's been fun to see what others have done, too. I'm so glad you stopped by to read!

kim said...

Also I think it's cool you're getting comments. I have 88 feeds, get around a thousand hits a month and only a few comments a month. LOL!!!! Oh well, at least they're reading. :)))

Shelli said...

Kim -- two things I do to encourage comments: First, I visit the other participants in the Fiction Friday and blogfest events and leave comments on their work. I try to be specific and helpful. Second, I try to respond to comments individually, because I really appreciate people coming by and sharing their opinions. I think it's been helpful.