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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/2178521
Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Family · #2178521
Is it possible to save a marriage after adultery?
"This past year has been difficult," He said.

"I'll bet, Frank, and I don't know how you are dealing with it," said Phillip.

"I don't have a choice," said Frank, "I was the one in the wrong."

"Yes, but it was just a friendship, right Frank? Nothing serious?"

"No, Philip, it's not easy to explain away. I'm a married man. I had no reason having a female friend that my wife was not aware of, much less someone that she did not like."

"But," said Philip, "it's not like you did anything. You said that you only spent time with her at work, right?"

"Philip, I can't play games with this. I knew I was doing wrong and that it could hurt Susan, and I continued anyway."

Philip glanced at the frown lines on Frank's face. He knew the separation from his wife had taken a toll on his friend.
I wish that I could do something for him, but I can't think of anything. I tried talking to Susan, but she refused to see me because I am Frank's friend.

"Have you heard from her?"

"No, Philip, not for several months."

"At least you are able to see the kids?"

"Yes, she drops them off at her sister's house and I visit with them weekly. It really broke my heart the first time, when I saw how much they missed me and that it was my fault. By the way, Cindy said to say hi to her uncle Philip. She is always more talkative than her older brother, Billy, who is still angry at me."

"It must be very hard for them but they'll pull through, they are strong kids."

"I wish words were enough to fix what they're going through, but I have been working at it. I spend more time with them now than I ever did before. For example, a couple of months ago I met with Cindy's homeroom teacher and volunteered to help out in whatever manner she thought that I may be useful. The teacher seemed to appreciate it, I know Cindy did."

"Hey!" said Philip, "What about that camping weekend where you took your son to the lake? That turned out pretty good, right?"

"You know, it did. Billy was much angrier with me before then, since then we are getting along better. That was something I should've done a long time ago."

"Hey Frank, changing the subject here, I just heard this new joke…"

"Sorry," said Frank, "I have to go. I have a counselor's appointment, and those sessions are helping me a lot. I don't want to be late. See you."

Those sessions have helped. The counselor has helped me see things from a perspective that has not crossed my mind before. I can now see I was using my low self-esteem as an excuse to cheat on my wife. I won't play that game again.

***


After the counseling session, Frank headed to his children's school. He had promised Mrs. Chappell that he would come by during the final class of the day and help with a special event that she had been planning for the kids.

Frank sat in one corner with his "assigned" students. The class had been divided into four groups and were situated at each corner of the room. Mrs. Chappell sat with her group, as well as two other volunteer parents with their group. The firemen did their thing in the center of the room.

"The fire department has agreed to come and do some minor "show and tell" projects with the kids," the teacher had told Frank, "While nothing they will be doing is dangerous, they still want the kids to sit away from the activity."

The Fire Department personnel spoke about safety, demonstrated some of their life-saving techniques used during fires, and answered the kid's questions.

Unbeknownst to Frank, his wife had also been invited. She showed up but stayed outside the class looking in through the window in the door.

He is so different now. He would never have done this before. He was always too busy. Too busy with her!

She felt her body stiffen at the thought of the other woman.

Relax girl, I know that he is not seeing her anymore because he quit his job and got another one at a new company. And, he has made a lot of effort to spend time with the kids. I mean, look at him.

Susan leaned in closer to the window to get a better look.

He really is enjoying himself being with Cindy.

She noticed the firemen and women putting up their gear.

I'd better go. I am not ready to encounter Frank today.

***


After school, Frank took both of the kids to McDonald's for a bite.

"How was it?"

"It was great, Billy," said Cindy. Her hands moved widely through the air as she explained all that had happened.

"Wow," said Billy, "What was the best part?"

"The best part was that dad was with me."

Frank just listened to his kids speaking and smiled.

***


That evening before sleeping, Frank got on his knees and prayed.

"It's been a long time since I have come to You in prayer," he said, "I actually feel like a hypocrite even thinking of praying to You. I have hurt my family and I think my wife is going to divorce me."

As the last words slipped from his mouth, Franks tears formed large pools in his eyes.

"I deserve for Susan to divorce me," he said with trembling lips, "I knew I was doing wrong and didn't let it phase me that I might hurt my family."

He let his head fall to the bed beside which he knelt; his tears wetting the bed cover.

"L-Lord," he stammered, "I am sorry I sinned against my family and You."

***


The elevator seemed to take forever for Frank.

3, 4, 5. Oh, please hurry!

Susan had asked Frank to meet her at her place of employment to discuss some issues with the separation. She had set the meeting for 4:00 pm, and it was 3:44 pm on Frank's watch.

Susan doesn't appreciate people being late for meetings.

The elevator doors finally opened and Frank briskly walked to Susan's office.

I am not sure what to expect, but she will probably have her lawyer there.

When Frank found out that Susan had been to a lawyer about filing the divorce, he had also decided not to hire one of his own.

"I deserve whatever happens to me," was his conclusion at the time.

"It's open," said Susan's voice from inside the office as Frank knocked on the door.

"Oh, you are alone," said Frank, as he entered and glanced around the room.

"Were you expecting someone else?"

"No, Susan, I just thought you didn't want to be alone with me," said Frank with a frown appearing on his brow.

"I have something to say to you and I don't need anyone else present for that," she said.

Susan indicated a chair with a glance of her eyes, and Frank understood she wanted him to sit.

"You may not know this," Susan began, "but I have been paying attention to you and what you have been doing."

"I haven't seen or spoken with ...," Frank started protesting.

"No," responded Susan with her palm up, "It has nothing to do with that."

Susan's brow also frowned and then, just as suddenly, it was replaced with a small smile.

"What I mean is that I have heard, learned, and seen all that you have been doing to change and try to save our marriage."

"Seen?" he said.

"For example, I was there at the school when the fire personnel showed up. I saw you with Cindy."

"I didn't see …"

"I was at the door. Outside looking in."

Frank's right eyebrow went up as he tried to remember if he had seen Susan at the school that day.

"I left before the class was released."

"Oh," said Frank.

"Look, Frank, I asked you to come because I have been giving our separation a lot of thought. I have to admit that I have seen a lot of change in you for the good. I can tell that you are truly sorry for what you did. In my counseling sessions, I have come to realize that it takes two people to ruin a marriage, just as it takes two people to make it work. Besides expecting you to make changes, I have had to work on myself as well."

"No," said Frank, "none of this was your fault. I…"

Raising her palm Susan shook her head.

"Yes, you were at fault," she said, "but the truth is that I had a part in all of that. While I was not responsible for the decisions you made and the actions that you took, I see where I contributed to our problems.

Frank's eyebrows moved up a bit, but he remained silent.

"What I want to say," said Susan, "is that I'm willing to give our marriage a chance if you are."

Tears formed trails down Frank's face as Susan stood up and walked around the desk to where he was sitting. She took his hand in hers and gestured for him to stand.

"I'm Sorry, said Frank, standing up.

"I know," said Susan as she moved up on her tiptoes and kissed him.
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