Category Archives: Marriage

January Smiles

The night that I knew that my wife was cheating was not the nicest of nights.

She vanished from me a long time ago, back in January, when she stopped smiling. The smile that says I love you, the secret shared look that no-one else sees.

The intimate milisecond when eyes might meet and everything you’ve ever shared is there.

She faded out of my life in the last few months, reappearing like a shadow of herself, emotionally somewhere else with someone else, likely staring into his eyes.

And how, I wonder, did the two of them smile?

She came home late night after night, went on trips with flimsy excuses and for a while I thought to myself: Most men would think she was cheating, but M wouldn’t do that, she’d never do that…

Yes, life can be so ironic! And how trusting is a fool.

And now a moment, if I may, to add an extra layer: He’s married. Married, with two young children.

Dear M,

I wish you ill and I wish you well and I don’t know where I am. I wish you’d been less cowardly and ended us in January.  And I wish I’d hugged you more, and kissed you more because I won’t, anymore. And I can’t imagine doing so with anyone else.

The words that told me M was in the arms of someone else were conveyed via text: “Staying at a friends house tonight”.

Prosaic, brutal, cold.

But if I was smarter, more intuitive or less human I might have known from the wan smile in the restaurant in January. The one that said, “I’m smiling because I ought to smile but I don’t want to be here with you.”

And now you aren’t here with me, and I’m not smiling, but I can conceive of a time in the far future when I might. Had I done what you have done, I’d feel undeserving of ever curling my lips upward again.

“I can imagine no more comfortable frame of mind for the

conduct of life than a humorous resignation”

~W. Somerset Maugham~


Eritrea and Being Alone

Is it weakness or kindness to feel compassion when someone has hurt you?

M called round this evening to collect some things. She wanted to know what my parents and sister, whom I’d just recently told about the infidelity and seperation, had to say.

I can’t deny a certain spiteful glee at unleashing the words theat they used. To expose her to them was unkind, but her reaction was perhaps kharma dealing me a fair hand. I felt no pleasure, only regret, at the way she crumpled and cried.

I hugged her as she did so, but it wasn’t comfortable. I hugged her in the way I imagine Prince Philip of England would hug someone. He’s no doubt familiar with the concept and has a rudimentary familiarity with the dynamics involved, but his execution would, as was mine, be somewhat awkward and stilted.

Tonight was another evening out, a leaving party for a friend due to departs this City. We attended an event celebrating Eritrean culture as the only two non-Eritreans to begin. My knowledge of Eritrea was sadly quite lacking but I can now confidently expouse the virtues of their cuisine, and dancing.

I also made a friend. A five year old who found the funniest thing in the World to be bouncing a balloon against my head. You can only envy someone who hasn’t yet been distracted by all the nonsense. He seemed to enjoy my exaggerated, comedic responses to his repeated inflatable attacks. He might not have enjoyed it as much as me. If only life were as easy as being hit by a balloon.

Dear M,

I wonder where you were tonight. You would have enjoyed it.


Place in matter and in flesh the least of the values, for these are things that hold death and must pass away. Discover in all things that which shines and is beyond corruption

~William Saroyan~

Olivia A. Cole

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