Parkbench Perspectives – V

This series of prose imagines the world as seen through different people’s eyes – each sitting on the same park bench at different times and with different life stories.

Park Bench Perspective #5

I always imagined that this would be the bench where we would sit and contemplate the world when we were old and grey. There would be no need to say anything. It would be enough that we were together, relaxed in each other’s presence, basking in the sun of happy memories, still in love after so many years. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I am such a fool. My naïve belief in fairytale endings blinded me. There is no “happily ever after”. In real life, this is how it ends: one person is always left alone on the bench, their heart ripped out, their life in shreds.

I wish the initial numbness had lasted. Now all I feel this seething, writhing, bubbling anger. I want to scream, to smash this bench, to set fire to our bed, to hunt him down, to make her sorry for what she did. How could she!? How could sixteen years together mean so little? How could she do it, knowing how much it would hurt me? I wouldn’t wish this pain on my worst enemy. So what does that make me? I thought I knew her. I thought we were in love. I thought we would always be together. What planet of self-delusion have I been living on?

I have always said that people fall in love, and they can just as easily fall out of love. And I still believe that. But I never believed it would happen to me, to us. How could I not have seen it coming? How could I have felt that our love was growing deeper, when she was really drifting further and further away? What about my poems? What about all my declarations of love? Did they mean nothing to her? What about the “love forever” that she wrote in all the cards?

I should have listened to my instincts – all those times I felt jealous. It’s my own fault, for trusting her. And yet what is a marriage without trust? Ever since she cheated the first time, I have never felt secure. My biggest fear has always been that I would lose her. But I convinced myself that I was just being paranoid. I allowed her reassurances – her lies – to placate me. So many lies! How could she deceive me? Repeatedly! She was living a lie, with me right there. Did I deserve that? It can only mean that she had no respect for me whatsoever. And yet, how is that possible?

And how can I respect her now? She will always be tainted in my eyes. Not only was she prepared to deceive me, to inflict pain knowingly, to plan our demise consciously, but she shows no remorse, no inclination to stop. I feel so sorry for his wife, for his kids, living under the shadow of a lie. When they find out – when, not if, because they will find out, sooner or later – the pain will be so much greater. How can she continue this affair? I just don’t understand it. How does she sleep at night? Has she no shred of moral fibre in her body? Is this the same person I married?

I know I must let go and move on. But it has all happened so quickly. Two weeks is all it’s taken to go from blissfully in love to painfully estranged, from together to apart, from married to separated. How could she throw it all away so easily? What about everything we’ve shared? Everything we’ve gone through? Both the good times and the bad. Do those memories mean nothing to her? She has degraded our past by what she’s done, and it sickens me. She’s made us less. How am I ever going to be able to forgive her?

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