Gary was alone in a house where his wife, therapist and company was nowhere in sight. He needed to use the bathroom. Sheryl left the house about ten minutes ago to shop for food. His cellphone was in the bedroom, while he’s down the hall sitting on the wheelchair in the middle of his office. He couldn’t stand up. He couldn’t roll the chair down the hall, especially when he mistakenly sat on the chair with the brakes on the back wheel, which he couldn’t reach. Idiot, he thought. He couldn’t be the independent man he desperately needed and wanted to be.
Every single day he felt sorry for himself. For the first time, he blamed himself for his losses. He lost the right to be independent. He lost control of the business, which was falling apart because of his non-involvement. He lost the trust of the woman he loved. The woman he would only fight for even though everything else was crumbling down.
He threw himself on the ground, impatiently, thinking about Sheryl. Even though he couldn’t walk, he was going to drag his body with his arms down the hall. It was time to put his therapy to work. He no longer cared for the pain. He groaned and moaned with each movement. His motivation was more than to reach his phone. His motivation was to get his wife back. He thought about the pain he caused her. He thought about the emotional distress he caused. He placed his thoughts into her shoes, looking at the situation through her eyes.
For the first time, he empathized. How can a man take advantage of a good woman? How can a man savage a somewhat decade long relationship for a floozy? Where’s the floozy now? She left him. She didn’t once call to check up on him. She didn’t attempt to apologize or repair the damage she caused. The money that he invested in the project was all for what? Better yet, for who?
Through sweat and tears, he angrily dragged himself. He deserved the humiliation. He deserved the karma. Growing up he learned about the reason for a man to cheat but never thought he wouldn’t learn the lessons of past infidelities. Gary would always ask, why do we cheat, and his buddies would answer: a sense of adventure. But look at what the adventure has done to him. It led him to hell. It led him to his defeat. What did his enemy win? A chance to see a man suffer. A reason to break a marriage. A way to turn someone’s life upside down, so that the enemy can have the opportunity to rise.
A friend of him once said, “If you’re going to replace someone for another, make sure you upgrade.” Karolyn definitely wasn’t an upgrade. He understood that now. Karolyn only fed ideas towards the company that would benefit her. Ideas that quickly overridden his judgment. Sheryl catered to her husband. Karolyn catered to the money. Sheryl chased dreams. Karolyn valued wealth.
It seemed like forever before he could reach the bedroom. A sense of relief he felt when he heard the front door opened. It was Mark. He walked in with a bouquet of flowers and chocolate and bags from department stores. Mark quickly aided his friend up from the floor.
Grabbing the wheelchair from Gary’s bedroom. “Are you crazy?” Mark grabbed his arms from behind to carry him onto the wheelchair.
“Crazy for Sheryl. I deserve this man,” he confessed. “I did this to myself. I have no one else to blame,” he rambled. The tears were real. His emotion was valid. Mark has never seen his friend like this before. “I want her back. I need her. One day she will walk out my life for good and then I won’t have anybody. I don’t want to be like you. Living with regrets and shame. I know that now. I realize what I can lose.”
Mark shook his head, feeling sorry. His heart melted as he stopped midway before Gary could sit on the chair. “This is what you need to tell her. She needs to hear this. Not me.” Finally, he placed Gary on to the chair.
Gary looked at the flowers and chocolates. “You got them for me. Man, I appreciate it. You have no idea.”
Mark nodded. He handed him keys. “This is to the Audi that’s parked outside for her in the driveway.” He got into the bags and pulled out a jewelry box. “This is the diamond necklace that you told me belonged to her grandmother. I got the words you told me to engrave…I did that for you.” Then, Mark pulled out a ring. “Here’s the ring.”
Gary looked at the ring. “I don’t deserve a woman like her, but I am going to make it up to her.”
Mark laughed and begin to walk out the door. “Damn. I wonder how interesting you could make her life when you’re stuck to a chair, possibly for life. How’s that fair to her? You might as well give her permission to satisfy herself by another man because you clearly can’t stand up.” He laughed. “But good luck. Call me if you need me…” Mark looked outside. “And she’s back.”
During dinner, the bouquet of flowers that Gary have given Sheryl was sitting on the table. It was a quiet afternoon. Too quiet, Gary thought. “Baby…Will you give me a second chance?”
Sheryl drank her wine. “Gary, I love you. I really love you. But I am not happy. I love that you’re alive, but our love for each other isn’t the same. You’re bound to a wheelchair, not because of a tragic accident, but because you were thrown with fate. Our marriage wasn’t tested, it was overturned. My love for you altered because you betrayed my trust. You betrayed me.
“I gave you my all. I gave you respect. I treated you like a king. But like many, you looked for trouble in paradises that didn’t need an invasion. You let an infestation wrecked our home. For what? So that you can have some variety?
“What will this ring represent since you violated our vows? What will this second chance provide? More pain. I will always take care of you, but I look at this house and all I smell is another woman. You shared our home with someone else. You let someone else lay in my bed. You let someone else sat in my throne. Imagine if she had your child. What would be ending to our story?
“But no…I can’t remarry you or renew our vows. Because I am no longer in love with you. That’s not fair to you or to me.”
Sheryl got up from the table and walked away. Gary couldn’t believe the words from her mouth. He couldn’t imagine it. His world was crashing. At that moment, nothing crushed him than to hear the light of his world was no longer going to shine. Walking in darkness was the life he must imagine himself to be in.
Presently, Gary awaken. He looked around his office, then looked at Karolyn, who sat in front of him. He dreamed of everything that could go wrong if he allowed this woman to sidetrack him. His dream was more real than he could ever imagine. From that moment on, he vowed to never spend a late night with any woman other than his wife
Gary read her body language. He foreshadowed everything that could possibly go wrong if he took the wrong road. What Karolyn attempted, he stopped. “I think you need to button your top. Your cleavage is showing,” he said. He looked at the time. “I need to get home to my wife. It’s getting late.”
Karolyn seemed confused. she quickly buttoned her top. “Wait. I am confused. I thought you wanted to go over these numbers tonight?”
Gary looked at the time, grabbing his briefcase. “Well, my family is more important. Dinner is waiting for me at home. Have a good night.” Gary walked out the door.
Sheryl smiled at the sight of her husband as he walked through the front door of their house. “I have some news for you,” she said excitedly.
Gary’s dream altered his thoughts. He looked at his wife and had a sense of realization that she was the perfect wife. The woman of his dreams. The woman he invested and wanted to spend his life with. Sheryl was his world. His everything. He embraced her and kissed her passionately like he never had before. Those were his lips. “Baby I love you.”
Sheryl looked confused. “I love you too.” She was concerned. “Are you okay?”
“I don’t think I’ve ever told you how much I appreciate the things you do for me. You cook. You clean. You make sure that I’m good. I promise you, from now on, I’ll make sure that you’re good. I promise to be more spontaneous. I want to cater to a queen who’s catered to me. I am what I am because of you.”
“You found out, didn’t you?”
Confused. “About what.”
“Who told you that I was pregnant?” she asked excitedly. Gary was speechless but excited. He was going to have a family. Then he thought about his lucid dream, was a trick worth losing what he could possibly have? Now he knew. And he will never find out.