Day 19 – The Whisper – Part 2

Haven’t read it as no time for edit!

Word count: 1658

The windscreen wipers scraped away another stratum of ice from the glass, behind which Devin was leering forward in order to see the road ahead. Fresh snow had come for the Monday morning, causing complete and utter pandemonium as hundreds of motorists attempted to use the same road to get to the office. Fortunately Devin had left the office a little later than usual; though this was not because the boss had hauled him into a meeting or because he was laden with paperwork. It was now about thirty six hours since he’d first read the card, seen the text and for thirty-six hours Devin had been unable to process anything else.

Eating was out. Drinking was only a necessity. His stomach – his entire insides – were so tense and taught that they might have snapped in two at the slightest of movements. For thirty-six hours now he’d been dwelling, thoughts sprinkled with conservative portions of reason and logic had been churning in his mind all day. He felt physically sick every time the images came back to him – the slick writing on the card, the loving text. Devin had never in his entire life felt so betrayed and yet so fragile. For all his life he’d never been cheated on. For all his life he’d never been lied to and for all his life he had imagined that he would have been a fiery monster of rage and anger and jealousy. But he wasn’t; he was just a pathetic mess of quivering emotions too indecisive enough to take control of his senses.

For the past day he’d been in a comatose. Claire didn’t return til late last night and by the time she did waltz through the front door in her woolly scarf and knitted gloves, he’d lost the frustration to talk to her. She pottered in their room for a while; he kept to the kitchen, cleaning every inch of it at least twice. Devin felt powerless. That night they slept together in complete silence. Devin couldn’t bare to even brush his skin against hers.

By morning she was already gone and his anger freshly returned with more vehemence. How could she have not noticed his apparent disdain or did she simply no longer care enough to notice? There were so many enraged questions that were screaming to be answered: how long had they been seeing each other, was it love, was it sex? Devin couldn’t fathom which one was worse. He’d naively believed in his ignorance that maybe he could forgive her if it was purely physical, but now the thought of them together sickened him. He imagined a man that was everything he was not. More successful, better looking, more caring, more giving, less demanding, more romantic. Was he really that bad, that he would drive his own wife to the clutches of some opportunistic sex driven maniac? Devin couldn’t bare the thought that he would be using her for sex, but to have him be a nice person would be the final wound that killed him.

Devin turned on to his street now and from his car he could peer in through the neighbours’ homes at their warm inviting front rooms. They all looked cosy; some with blazing fires, some with tantalizing lamps and others with simply a scattering of candles. Adding to their warmth was the sea of now near black around them – dusk was upon them and had brought another whimsical spattering of snow. They all looked happy, Devin noted, but questioned whether they too had secrets scurried away in bedside drawers and sneaky code.

He pulled up in to his driveway but remained in his car after he’d switched the engine off. From here he could make out the front windows of his house. Downstairs, the curtains were drawn but the light emanating from them was like a visual addition. Every second he looked at it, he felt a warm and cosy sensation wash over him. After a few minutes he got out the car – he could see his breath in the air from the light of the tungsten lampposts nearby. A blast of hot air ricocheted off him when he opened the front door. The wood burning fire must be on.

So she was home, then. Devin pondered whether or not to stay downstairs, talk to Claire, or to go up alone to bed and linger in the company of his own worst fears. As he passed the living room, he caught sight of her slim figure kneeling by the hearth; her smooth hazel hail sliding like silk over her cheeks.

As she saw him, she beamed. She stretched out her nail polished hands to him.

“Come, sit with me,” she requested in her sweetest voice.

Like an addiction he couldn’t quite let go of, Devin crossed the room to kneel beside her. She readjusted herself and lay on the floor; head resting on his lap.

“I’ve missed you,” she muttered, “Where have you been?”

“Work,” he replied distantly, gently beginning to stroke her hair.

His weak will had won. One second in her company and his resolve was in rubble. Where had all the fury gone; the hatred, scorn and the fight left in him? Even now, stroking her hair, he felt as if he were betraying every molecule of his masculinity. How could he be bending to so easily to her will and why did he feel he were but standing on the edge of everything and nothing.

“Are you having an affair?” he found the words leaving his lips before he’d planned them.

His question was instantly met with a turbulent silence in which the entire range of his emotions catapulted towards each other in one magnificent supernova of feeling. His heart was racing, thudding and thundering inside his ribcage; his stomach twisted into several knots and a thick clot of saliva throbbed at the back of his throat.

Claire remained calm throughout. Her body rose gently as she inhaled and, with little panic in her voice, she began to reply…

“No, Devin, I’m not,” she said simply, with barely a hint of potential elaboration.

Devin continued to stroke her hair, “I saw the card in your drawer, the message on your phone.”

Claire tore her warm body away from his and rose to her feet, facing away from her husband.

“I wish you hadn’t done that,” she said, a trace amount of anger in her tone.

Devin stared up at her and saw the crackling fire reflected in her shining hair.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t meant to. I don’t know why I did… I just did….” Devin screamed at himself for apologising. “If you’re not having an affair, though… then what is happening?”

“I wish you’d just leave my belongings alone. Please, don’t go near them…”

“Claire,” Devin, too, rose to his feet, “Tell me you haven’t, tell me I read it all wrong…”

Her words faltered, only murmurs came out.

“Claire, please, I am begging you… tell me the truth. Are you leaving me?”

Claire twisted round and grabbed his neck by her hand and kissed him tight on the lips. He could feel her body intertwine with his, feel the heat from the body, the warmth from her soul. Then, as suddenly as she’d advanced on him, she let go and walked passed him as if he was not there at all. She left the room and left Devin hanging, still absorbed in the kiss she’d just given him.

It took a moment or two for him to return to his normal self. Claire had not kissed him like that in weeks. Devin’s fury was now waned, but his temper had not grown quiet. There were still unanswered questions.

Devin chased after Claire, who was now in the kitchen, pouring herself a glass of red wine. She looked up at him as he appeared in the doorway.

“Please don’t ask me that question again,” she pleaded.

“Claire, you’re not giving me any answers, you’re leaving me hanging… I’m not a fool, Claire.”

“Devin, please. I am begging you. Do you love me?”

“Of course I do – that’s why it hurts so much!”

“Then leave it. Leave it and trust me. I can be trusted,” she abandoned the bottle of wine on the counter and took his hands and cupped them in her own. “I’m yours, I’ll always be yours.”

But her words just triggered the memory of the man’s card in Devin’s mind and his anger fermented once more.

“Claire, I don’t believe you. I can’t. Not now. Nothing makes any sense anymore,” he was barely able to form words.

Devin looked right into his wife’s eyes and tried to fumble his way through to the Claire he knew, the Claire he married. Claire was staring right back at him, not blinking and not wavering. She stroked his chin and smiled.

“Come with me, Devin,” she said, leading him out of the kitchen and down the darkly lit hall to the small downstairs bathroom they had.

Claire switched on the light and led him inside. It was bright and the tiles shone with fluorescent light. She placed both herself and Devin in front of the sink and made him look deep into her eyes.

“Look at me,” she said, “Look at me.”

He did, and his heart contorted with unyielding loss.

“I love you,” she said, tears now running silently down her cheeks.

Claire touched his chin once more, sobbing gently, and turned his face towards the sink and towards the mirror above it.

“Look…”

Devin’s words failed him as he looked deep into the mirror and saw nothing but a sheer and raw horror of reality staring right back at him…

 

 

To be continued……….

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~ by S.G. Mark on October 26, 2011.

One Response to “Day 19 – The Whisper – Part 2”

  1. ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

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