UKArchive ID: 17179Not what you think by chrissytotoro
Originally published on September 4, 2006 in Fiction    

Another monologue. Blame sirat he got me hooked on monologues.

I loath the term housewife. It's so diminishing. Homemaker's just as bad. And yet I prefer wife or husband to partner.
Housewife literally means married to the house and that's not what it's all about.
Whenever I have to fill in forms and it asks for my occupation, I put unwaged, that's the new one. Unwaged, I like that. It can mean anything. It could mean you're an unemployed layabout who doesn't want a job or some one like me who works thirty hours a week for a charity.
What do words matter? Words, names, labels, categories they're not worth bothering with, that's other people's business, not mine.
I could be anybody sitting here on this bench with my good shoulder bag and my old shoes. I could be a fortunate bag lady, a spy, a bored housewife meeting her afternoon lover but I'm not. I'm just a middle aged woman trying to come to terms with a piece of information she thought she would never hear.
But I have heard it and what's more I went out of my way to hear it, paid good money to hear it. How stupid is that?
I've never believed women who say that they didn't know their husbands were having affairs. If you know some one really well, it doesn't matter how careful they are, how discreet, you have to pick up on it. Perhaps women who say they didn't know maybe didn't know their husbands very well.
I always thought David would never do this to me, would never even look at another woman but I knew there was something wrong. All right, so I thought for a start it was problems with the business. I do still keep an eye on things and maybe the work hadn't been as good as he'd led me to believe. Then I had a horrible time of thinking he was desperately ill and didn't want me to find out. That was the worst time of my life, thinking that he was suffering and not able to tell me.
His father died of cancer when he was sixty seven. David's nearly sixty. I so wanted to ask him, 'are you all right? Are you pushing me away because you think that if I don't love you I won't be so hurt when you die?' It's insane, I know but you think these things, well I did.
It didn't even occur to me that there could be some other woman.
Oh, I've said it now and I feel sick, really sick to my stomach.
Thirty years. That's how long we've been married, thirty years next month. I was twenty three, David was twenty nine. It was a lovely day. Gorgeous weather for late September. Everything looked so golden and warm. Even now, when I look back at the photographs, I can see and feel the warmth, the love. It was a wonderful day.
I do remember my sister turning up late. She had a black eye. She's three years older than me but she married very young, she must have been about eighteen. Oh she was so full of herself when she hooked her husband. He spent money on her like it was going out of fashion, big house, holidays all over the world. He was Mr. Perfect, good looks, money in the bank, a good career and a more than useful right hand after a couple of years.
I will never understand women who stay with violent men, never. If David had ever so much as raised a hand to me, I would have been out of the door quicker than ... Oh, I don't know, something that's very quick.
Why am I thinking of the good things about him? Like he never forgets our anniversary or my birthday or like he's never left me a penny short even in the early days when we were just starting the business. He's always been good to me, to our sons, made sure that they had a brilliant education and a lovely home to live in 'till they got married .... But he's screwing another woman so all of that means... What? Nothing?
Oh, I wish, I wish, I wish .... I wish I'd never noticed the changes, never wondered what was wrong. I wish I could just forget it all. But I can't.
It's like wanting to find something, something you think you desperately need and you search and search and finally you come to a drawer that's stuck but you're thinking that it must be in there so you pull and pull at the drawer until finally it comes out and everything spills out of it all over the floor and sometimes what you wanted isn't there or sometimes it is and it smashes on the floor and all you've got is pieces.
I'm looking across at the building I've just left, the investigator's office. His name's Simon. Simon Kern. He's only about thirty. I got him out of the yellow pages. He was ever so businesslike, but nice. He told what he was going to do and roughly how much it would cost and he said he would start doing it straight away but it could take time. And then he said, and I thought this was really nice of him, he said I could stop him whenever I wanted.
I didn't stop him though. Oh no, not me. Get to the bottom of it. There's something wrong and I have to know what it is.
That's the real problem. I did want to know. I wanted to know that it was something to do with money or his health or anything that I could contribute to solving or making easier. I didn't want to know he was screwing some other woman.
She's in her mid thirties, according to Simon. He had some pictures, her and David in a pub. They looked like they were having a good time.
She's quite tall, slim, elegant and she's got long blonde hair. She looks like an actress or something.
I was expecting some one younger. When Simon first told me, said that it was another woman scenario, I was expecting some one quite young and frothy. Not that that's David's type at all, well, I don't know, do I? I thought I was his type.
I wonder if it's my fault? I really haven't let myself go. I know a lot women my age who have stopped caring about themselves but I haven't.
When we first started the business I was very active, seeing clients, doing all the office work I've done just about everything. Of course when the boys came along I wasn't quite so 'out there' but I didn't let myself go. I know I'm not glamorous. I never have been but I weigh now only about six or seven pounds more than I did when we got married. My hair isn't grey and I don't colour it and I've still got all my own teeth.
I've always dressed nicely. I'm not a fashion slave. I'm not very tall you see and some fashions don't suit the not very tall but I've always been smart, not slopping around in old trousers and baggy jumpers.
I thought our sex life was all right as well. I mean we've never been that adventurous but I thought it was good.
Oh, what have I done to make him do this to me?
I've tried so hard to be interesting, to maintain an interest in life. I'm up on the news and politics and I like art and music. Admittedly I'm not too interested in sport but then David isn't, except golf. He does like golf. I'm not particularly fond of it but no two people like exactly the same things, do they? And he's never complained. I always go with him to the functions and I never make him ashamed.
Maybe it's just an age thing. I mean his age. Sometimes men his age get fancies for younger women or so they say. Or maybe it's my age. Maybe we've just been together too long.
You know they say the average length of a marriage that ends in divorce is eleven and a half years. That's hardly trying very hard, is it? Don't people take the commitment seriously any more? Maybe they should change the wedding vows, take out 'till death do us part' and put in— I don't know — 'till you get too fat and frumpy or 'till I get too fed up with you coming home pissed or maybe 'till life gets too hard.
David and I, we've had our problems but we've worked through it. We've come through our troubles or I thought we had.
Oh, this is just so confusing.
I have to decide now ... Big decision I face him with it and wipe away thirty years of marriage. That's what it would mean. I couldn't just accept that it would be over and a never to be repeated thing. That's if he would admit to it and say that it was over. Maybe he would want to be with her.
I could, of course say nothing, pretend that I don't know, just let things go on the way they are but that would still mean our marriage was over, for me it would anyway. I couldn't .. Well it wouldn't be the same.
So, I'll go home and I'll think some more and then I'll come to a decision, one way or the other.

Well, I'm not sure what I believe now.
David was there when I got home, sitting in the kitchen. I went in and started straight in to doing the dinner.
He asked me where I'd been and I just said, out. Stupid thing to say I know but my mind was still so confused. I could have said something right there and then but I still hadn't made up my mind what I was going to do.
He still sat at the table and then he said; "Leave that, come and sit down, I want to talk to you."
I pretended I hadn't heard him and carried on with what I was doing, so he said it again.
I stopped what I was doing, wiped my hands and went and sat down.
I was facing him so I could see his eyes. He looked so nervous, and I thought, he's really going to tell me something I don't want to know.Even at that point I didn't want it confirmed from his own mouth.
He started talking and I suddenly understood that he wasn't saying anything about the woman. He was talking about when he was at university. I started to say that it wasn't anything to do with his time at university, that I knew what the problem was but he just went on talking. He talked about this girl he was going out with at the time and how they had a sexual relationship. I really didn't want to hear any of this, it wasn't relevant. I wanted him to talk about the woman he'd been seeing for the last six months, not some girl friend he had thirty odd years ago.
He said that they'd broken up, that she'd dropped out of university and he hadn't seen her again.
I said, I don't want to know about all of this. This was before we met, it has nothing to do with us.
He said he was going to tell me what he wanted to tell me and I wasn't going to stop him. So I just shut up and listened.
He told me that seven months ago he'd been contacted by one of those organisations that helps adopted people find their real parents. They'd had an enquiry from a woman called Hazel Best. She'd been adopted when she was a baby. She knew her real mother's name, Joy Killegan and she'd been to see her. Her mother had given her her father's name and she, Hazel had got back in touch with the agency to make the initial contact.
David said that he was sceptical to say the least but he agreed to making contact. It had been just by 'phone at first and then they'd arranged a meeting. There were more meetings, a lot more and then he said; "I'd like you to meet her." Just flat, like that, "I'd like you to meet her."
I felt so angry. More outraged than I can ever remember feeling in my life. I wanted to shout at him, say to him; 'You wouldn't like me to meet her. If that was what you really wanted I'd have met her months ago. You'd have brought her here and said "this is my daughter, Hazel, her mother and me had a fling at university and now Hazel's found me." I wouldn't have gone through what I've gone through, dredge around finding some poxy little Private Eye to follow you around and take pictures of you with your ... daughter.'
I didn't say anything. I just sat there wanting it to be the truth and yet not wanting that. Not wanting the inconvenience of his past catching up with him.
There's never been anyone else for me. I have no skeletons in my cupboards. There were no flings that resulted in a pregnancy that resulted in adoption. There's no little brown haired, blue eyed spitting image of his or her mother out there that's waiting for me.

I haven't said that I will, that I want to meet her. It's a lot to take in.
I don't know how I feel. Part of me believes him, that she is his daughter and I really don't think he would be so stupid as to bring his mistress into my house and have her pretend but part of me, a small part, still feels betrayed. I can't explain it but he ... By meeting her secretly like he did, he's betrayed me. He didn't trust me enough to tell me what was going on and that hurts.
Still, if he's being honest now and I've no reason to think he isn't, it isn't what I thought it was, he hasn't been unfaithful not to me.
She might be very nice. I mean, she took the time and trouble to find out about her real parents and maybe she only did that for herself but she did keep on seeing him.
If I do meet her, we'll have to tell the boys. They'll have an older half sister. Maybe, if she's married with kids, they'll have other relationships, nieces, nephews.
I don't know. We'll see.

© chrissytotoro (chrissy on OLD UKA)
UKArchive ID: 17179
Archived comments for Not what you think
Bradene on 04-09-2006
Not what you think
A fine Monologue Chrissy, Well thought through and written Love Val x

Author's Reply:
Thanks a lot for reading and commenting. Glad it hit the spot.

Claire on 07-09-2006
Not what you think
Hey there, this is a gripping read. I must admit, I'm a bit doubtful whether she is meant to be the 'love-child'... you've got me thinking now.

Glad sirat got you hooked on monologues.

Author's Reply:
Claire, many thanks for reading and commenting.
I wasn't sure whether I wanted the 'other woman' to be the bloke's daughter or not but I thought it was better that she should be because I didn't want the marriage to be a complete wreck if you know what I mean. It's a badly damaged marriage, yes, but not a complete basket case.
Glad you enjoyed.