| Lust is powerful. It can drive a man to pure madness, and it can cause him to lose sight of what is cherished and significant in his life. I knew the instant I chose to cross that line that it was wrong. I understood the consequences, but the desire, the want...the need, was too strong. Once I found myself gripped tightly by the allure of it all, I lost all sense of reality.
My mind wanders as I drive this narrow, winding mountain road, a road I have traveled many times before but never like this, emotion packed and terrified wondering how this will end. Tears stream down my face as fond memories flood the recesses of my mind. Memories of Brooke, of our love for one another and the moments we have spent laughing and loving together at our lover’s retreat nestled in the quiet mountains of Tennessee.
She is the love of my life, the woman I married for better or worse. Why did I do this to us?
Yesterday, I worked up the nerve to call her. It has been a while since I told her the truth and we have not spoken since.
“Brooke,” I said trying to hold back my emotions, “I will do whatever it takes to gain your trust again. I know I screwed up and it won’t be an overnight fix, but you mean so much to me, honey, I want us to work this out.”
“Tim,” she said in a near whisper, “I want so much to forgive you but I’m finding it difficult to work through. I have been at our, I mean, the cabin since your revelation, trying to figure out what to do next.” By now, her voice had become louder and laced with anger.
“Brooke, it’s still our cabin. We really need to talk. I’ll drive up early in the morning,” I said as my emotions began to take over, “I’ve learned my lesson and am a changed man, Brooke. Please give us another chance. I’m begging you.”
“We’ll talk,” was her chilly response, and one that gave me hope.
I turn off the narrow road as I approach the lane to our sacred hideaway, a place once full of blissful memories but now forever tainted. In front of the small cabin, I park the car, cut the engine and hesitate. Wiping the tears from my eyes, I look to the right, nestled between the console and the passenger seat the gun glinted in the slanted sunlight rushing through the windshield. This is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.
Exiting the car, I pause to take in our haven, and the wooded forest that surrounds it. A thick fog lingers in the branches of the leafless trees. Tranquil, serene, simple, the way our marriage had been, the way our marriage should continue to be.
I feel I am walking the plank as I climb the stairs to the cabin. Standing at the door, my head hangs low and my body quivers in anticipation of our conversation. I say a quick prayer for guidance before I knock.
“Brooke? It’s me. Tim,” I say softly as I tapped on the door.
“Hi, Tim.” She walks out on to the porch closing the door. Her beautiful green eyes are swollen and wet and it is all I can do to keep from holding her, consoling her and kissing away her tears.
“Hi, Brooke. I, uh, I am….” I stutter and then stop when she holds up her hand.
“I thought we would talk out on the porch. Here, I made coffee and added the sugar and cream just the way you like it.” Brooke hands me the coffee mug.
“Thanks.” Wow. She thought to make coffee for me; there may be a chance after all.
This is awkward. We sit together now as near strangers on the porch. Strangers with a past, hoping for a future.
“Brooke,” I begin, “I can’t live without you…”
“Wait, Tim,” she interrupts, “I need to do the talking.”
“Okay. Go on, I’m listening.”
“Tim, you were the love of my life…”
“Brooke, don’t say…?” I stop when she glares at me.
“Please, Tim. Quit interrupting me.” I nod and she continues, “I married my best friend and planned a long, happy life with you. You were my prince and I wore the glass slipper.” Her sad eyes are rimmed with wetness as tears began to form.
“When we married, we vowed, ‘to have and to hold… for better, for worse… until death do us part,’” she said through her tears.
“I’ve thought about those words and I have tried to put myself in your shoes. If this were me begging for forgiveness, would I want you to kick me to the curb because of one mistake?” She averts her gaze from my eyes, “Well, Tim, I’ve made a decision. Since we’re being honest with one another, I need to tell you that I do understand how you feel. I’ve walked in your shoes and, a few months ago, I made the same mistake.” She turns and looks me straight in the eye.
Brooke continues, “You said it was a momentary lapse in judgment, no relationship involved, just pure lust and nothing more. It was the same for me, Tim. I knew it was wrong but I did it anyway. As I see it, this is our opportunity to wipe the slate clean and begin anew. Let’s forgive each other for our mistake and move forward. We could even plan to renew our vows and make this a fresh start?”
I am numb as I process and try to comprehend what Brooke has said. Everything is spinning and my thoughts are discombobulated, nothing connects, nothing makes sense. I am now on the receiving end and I can’t speak. Renew our vows…until death do us part? Automatically, as if on auto-pilot, my right hand finds its way to my coat pocket and grasps the handle of the gun.
Love is powerful and it can drive a man to pure madness.