By: Mia L. Hazlett
I watched the look of concern sweep across her face as she rushed to be by her lover’s side. She just stood there as if she didn’t even care. Their hands reached out for each other to give them both the sense of security that everything would be alright. I couldn’t even tell if she was touching him or if he even knew she was there. A tear welled in the corner, but was very cautious not to fall. I couldn’t tell if her emotionless expression was to show her strength or to suppress her pain. She caressed his hand to let him know she would not let anything happen to him. How could she just stand there as if nothing had happened?
My fascination with their love was not in their entwined hands, her concerned brow or his instant relief at having her enter the room. It was the look that both of them shared. A look that needed no words. A look that offered comfort in a time of emergency. A look that said, I love you, I love you, I love you….don’t leave me, I need you here by my side. As the nurse forced their departure, that cautious tear finally streamed down her cheek. She let herself look back one more time with that look…that look.
I could tell by her poise, her refusal to look at him, and that he reached for me and not her, that whatever they had was now gone. She offered no love to anyone that came in the room. She stood off to the side allowing people to shuffle through without so much as a glance. I couldn’t tell if he was looking for me or her, but when he called her name, she gave him a look. A look of disgust. A look of why am I even here. A look that said, die, die, just die…I don’t love you or want to be by your side. But as the nurse forced my departure, she gave me that look…that look.
I sat alone in the steel wheeled chair. If not for his brothers, I wouldn’t have been able to take a step. The nonchalant smile of the nurse offered little comfort. His brother’s arms supported me and offered me comfort in my time of need. If only he had come home tonight. If only we had stayed in tonight. We could have talked about our problems and we wouldn’t be here. He would be deep inside me right now and not laying alone. I would tell him that it was going to be alright and we could start over. I could almost feel the rhythmic rocking of his hips, taste his mouth, and feel his breath. But now we may never have that chance. But the reality is I may never touch him again. He may never hold our children again. He may never hold me again. We could lose him forever. I could lose him forever.
How can I go home? How can I go home? What will I tell his family, what will I tell my family, what will I tell our babies; because I don’t know what happened. There is everything there to remind me of him: his clothes carelessly strewn across the floor, our pictures that highlight every room, the smell of him on my sheets. Lord Jesus, give me strength for You are my rock. I want to pray to God to bring him back to me, but then there goes his wife with that look…that look.
That’s right, I’m his wife. I watched her concerned look, their entwined fingers, and that look. I couldn’t move, couldn’t speak, couldn’t be; because in the union of he and I, the odd one out was me. In that one moment, I wanted to be her. I wanted that look. I wanted him to know I would make everything alright. I wanted him to see my tears did not have to be cautious. I wanted him to need me there by his side.
His brothers promised to take care of me, but they chose her. In the house of the Lord they smiled at me, but in the streets with the devil they honored her. They left me alone with no ride home. They left me alone and cared for her. They left me alone and didn’t care. But when he asked them to take care of me, that old familiar church smile came back, and they said, “No problem.” But that’s okay; because little did I know He did not leave me alone. He got me a ride home. He took care of me. He carried me through.
That’s right, I’m his mistress. I should be her. I’m the one he really wants to be with. If only she knew who I was, she wouldn’t have so cordially introduced herself and shaken my hand. She would have screamed when I caressed his hands or cried at his relief when I entered the room. She would have crumbled if she knew of our secret love affair. Wouldn’t she? Because no wife would allow the other women to love her husband right in front of her…or would she? Because when she passed me, she gave me that look…that look.