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The Lover







By Valerie Byron








Some day he'll come along,

The man I love

And he'll be big and strong,

The man I love

And when he comes my way

I'll do my best to make him stay.

He'll look at me and smile

I'll understand;

And in a little while,

He'll take my hand;

And though it seems absurd,

I know we both won't say a word

(George Gershwin)


Madison paced nervously through the living room into the kitchen, peering through the window into the darkness. It was getting late, really late, and he still hadn't arrived. Her anxiety grew as the seconds ticked away, and she wondered if she had made a terrible mistake. Would her body be found, battered and torn, days later?


Pushing negative thoughts aside, she raced once more upstairs to her bathroom. Staring critically at her reflection in the mirror, she brushed her teeth again and re-applied her lipstick. Pulling down her low-cut sweater, and admiring the swell of her breasts above her new push-up bra, she once again checked her make-up, making sure no new wrinkles had appeared in the last five minutes.


The whole thing was ridiculous, thought Madison. She had been alone and celibate for seven long years, ever since Jack had left her. His cheating had come as a shock, especially since they had been married for so long. Of course she couldn’t blame him. Their sex life was sadly lacking, and neither had attempted to do anything about it. Oh well, she thought grimly, at least I had all those years of sexual activity before I got married. That should last me for the rest of my life.


The phone rang, breaking the silence.


“Hi. It’s me. I’m not too far away. Should be there in about an hour.”


“Oh, okay, fine. Call me when you get closer and I’ll come out to meet you.”


There was another hour to kill before he arrived. She looked at herself in the full length mirror that covered the entire living room wall. Not bad for an old dame, she thought, turning sideways, to check her profile. Her black slacks hugged her body, giving her a sexy look. The blue sweater was soft, cashmere, and showed off her cleavage. She patted her flat stomach, as though to reassure herself that nothing was bulging, and glanced around the living room.


The flames from the gas fireplace gave off a warm, seductive glow. The Christmas tree twinkled in the corner of the living room, and various mobiles hung from the ceiling. A baby grand piano took pride of place in the adjoining dining room, covered with the requisite photos of family and friends. It was a cozy, inviting home that showed off her creativeness and love of color. She turned the stereo on low, and the mournful love songs of Michael Feinstein filled the air.


All she had to do now was wait.


As she stood in front of the Christmas tree, waiting for him to arrive, her thoughts wandered back to the beginning, seven years prior.


DECEMBER 26, 2000


Madison remembered lying on her bed on a Sunday afternoon, and opening her library book. Jack was in the den, watching television, and she was looking forward to a quiet hour to relax with her book.


As she opened it, a white piece of paper dropped out. Curious, she picked it up and glanced at the words written in a woman’s hand – a love note. “Oh no,” she thought, “not again.” Jack had cheated on her once before, twenty years prior, when their daughter was a baby. She had forgiven him because she knew it was mostly her own fault for not giving him the sex life he yearned for. The physical attraction was just not there for her, and Jack was not the most skilful of lovers. They had stayed together and tried again, had another baby, and seemed to be quite happy. Madison felt their family life, laughter, friendship and good times certainly made up for the lack of sensuality and passion in their lives.


But apparently Jack had not been able to stay faithful, and as Madison looked at the love note, her heart sank.


“Jack”, she called out. “Come here, I need to talk to you.” Her husband, ten years her senior, entered the room with a questioning look on his face. Madison thrust the note out in front of her. “What is this?” she demanded.


His face paled, and he turned away. “Who is it, Jack? You have to tell me.”


And so he confessed to having an affair with a married woman in his church choir. It had been going on for a while and he refused to give her up.


“I don’t believe this.

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