Photo by Sue Vincent
For visually challenged writers, the image shows a rather oriental red bridge over a pool covered with waterlilies and surrounded by trees.
by Teresa Smeigh May 2020
Caroline stared wistfully at the lovely painted bridge she had just crossed over. She had never been here before, and she would have thought she was in the wrong spot if Robert hadn’t mentioned the lovely red bridge crossing over the stream and leading to a lush wooded spot.
She stared at the lovely, colorful butterflies flitting around the flowers and bushes. Occasionally a pretty hummingbird would enter the area and fly around. The stream sparkled and glittered with the occasional sunshine that made it through the dense area surrounding this open spot.
She wondered why they were here. Usually, they went to more secluded spots. She assumed that they were going to talk. She always hated it when Robert would want to have a conversation as they usually had to do with their relationship, and she knew it was not supposed to be a long term affair. He had been looking for someone to see outside his marriage, and sometimes things got a little uncomfortable for him, and they had to talk about it. She wondered what she had done this time.
He was late, and she was getting tired of standing. She looked for somewhere to sit, but other than the lush green grass, there wasn’t anywhere to sit. So she gingerly sat down and tried to pull her skirt up so she could bend her legs to sit on the grass.
She had been seeing Robert for over five years now, and she never expected this relationship to last that long. He knew she was looking for more than a casual fling, but so far, she hadn’t tried to force the issue. He made himself clear that he had no intention of leaving his wife. She had agreed to that and tried not to let it bother her. She had made the mistake of falling in love with a man she knew wasn’t looking for love, just a fling. That wasn’t his fault. She could only blame herself.
Caroline heard the lilting sound of voices coming closer. She was about to have company, but it wouldn’t be Robert as he came alone unless he ran into someone on the path coming in here. Her car was in the parking lot, and it was a slightly longer hike than normal. Anxiously she watched the opening to the bridge.
Much to her surprise, it was Robert, and he was with a woman. Watching them cross the red bridge, she thought she saw a resemblance to his wife in the woman’s face. She had seen pictures of her. Surely he wouldn’t have brought his wife along.
She stood up and waited for them to approach where she was standing. She didn’t move to greet them.
“Caroline,” Robert began and stopped. He looked very uncomfortable, and she could imagine he was.
The woman was watching her carefully, saying nothing at first, but her expression said she wasn’t happy. “Robert, let’s get this over with, I have to get back to work. I have no idea what you were thinking, but this ends here or else.”
“Caroline, I’m sorry, she caught me leaving this morning as she came home to get something she forgot for work. I didn’t plan for this to happen. She found your birthday present, and it was kind of obvious since it is not her birthday yet, not to mention that the present wouldn’t suit her. Samantha wouldn’t be caught dead in sexy lingerie, and I have never bought her any.”
Samantha opened her tote bag and tossed a sexy teddy at Caroline, smacking her in the face with it. Next came the birthday card addressed to Caroline. Caroline ducked this time and backed up.
“I don’t know what you think you are doing with someone else’s husband, but it won’t be mine. If I find out he’s been sniffing around you again, I will kill you both, and I am not kidding. My daddy won’t put up with this kind of thing. Robert is mine, or he’s history, and if it is you he is with, you are history too. Do you understand me? Speak up, girl. I can’t hear you.”
“Yes, ma’am, and I’m so sorry. I will never set my eyes on him again.” Caroline picked up her purse and left, practically running across the red bridge.
Advocate for mental health and invisible illnesses
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