‘How could he?’ I whisper. The words almost choke in my throat. I shiver to the point of convulsions. Matt snores in response. There’s a quick clearing of his throat, a rumble in his chest and he settles back into John’s chest. He presses his back lovingly against my husband’s stomach.
I freeze against the wall. My life disappears in the view of their naked love together. They hold each other tight, their skin flushing together as puzzle pieces. They belong together like this. I twitch back to reality, realising my next steps will be crucial. My mind swirls into a daze. The life I have built with my husband, the home we have created, the animals we care for could all be gone with this single act.
Was it a single act? I think to myself. They could have done this before. Many times. They weren’t expecting me home until tomorrow night. The surprise of arriving home early from the conference had become that, a true surprise, and one that I’m not happy to have to witness. My thoughts flash back to our engagement, Matt’s shirt pressed tight against his muscular chest as he rubbed John’s back in congratulations. Their champagne flutes tinkered, their laughter was hearty and harmonious. I smiled at them, knowing that our relationship was secure and celebrated. The image of Matt rubbing his hand down John’s back takes over my memories. The soft whisper into John’s ear taints my thoughts of our party. Were they planning it then?
I shake the thought of our engagement from my mind, pushing the memories into the abyss that will soon be the history of our relationship. There’s a rustle in the bed sheets. John’s leg slides out. He’s dreaming, I think, recognising the movements of the man I’ve come to study as a partner, husband and lover. I smile down at him, the happiness on his face warms the frozen chunks inside of me. Next to him Matt snores again. The chortle in his throat ruffles him into a toss. He shuffles about, releasing himself from the spoon and turning to face John. Each of their breaths smack each other in the face without a hint of complaint. I spot a hand movement. A sleek motion, teasing the sheets out of the way and sliding in front of John’s groin. A dreamy smirk rises on John’s face as a satisfaction in his dreams is reached.
It’s all his fault. Matt wanted this all along. Hatred rises within me. The pointed ache in my chest evaporates at the sight of Matt groping and leading my husband to his own desires. I am nothing in this room. Matt shuffles closer, always wanting to be number one in John’s life. He’s always wanted him, my thoughts hiss. Heat fills my chest, driving my memories back to the day I met Matt. The concern in his eyes at the sight of me penetrated through my being. He glared down at me, assessing my worth and ability to be all that John needed. He was right, resignation fills me. I was never enough for John.
I start pacing the room at the end of the bed. Insecurities flood through me. My stomach tenses, my chest heaves through sudden failure to breathe. It’s all my fault. If I wasn’t away as much this wouldn’t have happened. I shouldn’t have spent so much time away from the relationship. I drove him into his best friend’s arms. The thoughts vibrate through me, tempting me into the darkness of depression. I can’t shake it off. My role in their affair penetrates through me. I should have been more.
A hunger for justice shoves the doubt off me. I stand firm, feet planted at the end of the bed, glaring over the happy lovers. I could photograph them, I think. Post it and shame them into confessing. This thought is quickly dismissed, my own shame dominates my ability to expose what is happening in my home. A lump grows in my throat. I can’t leave, everything I have is in this house, with John.
I drop onto the mattress, the crackling of the sheet snaps into the air.
‘Mmm,’ John groans, his hips grinding into Matt. ‘Good morning you.’ My heart skips a beat, the direction of the comment not clear.
‘Good morning,’ Matt whispers back. With his eyes shut he searches forward, his lips pressing onto John’s.
‘Well good morning,’ I say. Their eyes bolt open. ‘Come here often?’