Everybody cheats. Nobody is 100% honest. Unless they’re Jesus. But sometimes, when people cheat they cut a little deeper than a gym rat who skipped leg day. They break relationships. They unravel trust built over years. When they set foot in that other person’s bed, they shatter your heart.
But when you find out, you don’t react. You don’t become hysterical. You are numb to it all. Everyone else is outraged on your behalf. Your mother wants you to leave. Your mother-in-law begs you to forgive. You only sit there, going through your wedding album. How happy you were. How hopeful. How untouched. Almost virginal. But you were not that untouched. There was that time in the car. And that time in Mama’s guest room. You shed a tear as you see how your family grew over the years.
You look at the pictures of your babies. Mwangi who is two. Wanja who is four. They would never understand what it means to cheat. Or why you would leave because of it. They are happy at home. With both mummy and daddy.
You put away the albums. Standing, you hear your bones creak. You’re not having car sex any time soon. You look around the home you built together. Where would you even go? How do you start over so suddenly? Who gets the dog? Who gets the cat? Who remains with the chameleon no one wanted in the first place? Who gets the OLED screen? Who keeps the bed? Who remains with the house?
You can’t even begin to think about it. You walk outside. The sprawling landscape beckons. The endless green, meandering hills that stretch until where they kiss the sky. You’re tempted to follow them. Perhaps if you leave, it will all go away. But you can’t leave. What lies out there?
You hear a car pull up. Your partner jumps out and immediately knows that you know. Knees hit the gravel, hands are pulled up in supplication.
“Please forgive me, I don’t know what I was thinking.”
You don’t know what to say. What to do. You turn to leave but there’s one thing you have to know.
“Was it that one time?”
You don’t want to show your relief. You turn and make it clear you don’t want to be followed.
You go round the house and decide to take a walk. You begin to wonder what happened. What did you do wrong? But you stop yourself. You’re not the one who cheated. And the few times you entertained it, you didn’t act on it. You are loyal, disciplined and respectful. You didn’t deserve this. Should you get a divorce? Try a separation? But if you do that, what about all that time together? Was that a waste of a life?
You keep going round in circles. You look to the sky in prayer but your God mocks you with silence. Clouds roll slowly against the sapphire backdrop. A calm contrast to your chaotic life. You collapse onto the ground. You have no clue what to do.
You don’t know how long you stayed there. You are roused by the excited yip of a dog and the cheerful chatter of children. Your children. And you sit up and watch. They can’t see you. But you stare as they run around. Your partner joins them. The love is evident. Your name is called out. Your children want you there too. You rise from your crouch and join them. You and your partner lock eyes. And they don’t change. And you know for a while, you’re not going anywhere.