I blame him. Why didn't he see? Surely there were enough clues. At first, in the beginning, we were so close. Soul mates! What a ridiculous description especially as I do not believe in the soul. We are here live our lives and then sooner, but hopefully later, we leave and go nowhere. I was always envious of those with faith who saw a beginning not an end in death. He had beliefs but most of them about himself and his own abilities. But I am rambling, avoiding the point and purpose of this confession, not sure if that is the correct word maybe explanation is a better choice.
Please excuse the clichés and platitudes, although real life is full of these, but we were childhood sweethearts, many said we were meant for each other. And so at the tender age of eighteen we married. We were happy enough enjoyed being together and planning our future, maybe children would have made a difference. His reaction to this was 'it was just not meant to be'. Another cliché I am afraid. Gradually we grew apart, he had his interests, mainly football and sports, I had mine, reading, visiting galleries and nice restaurants. But we stayed together. It was easy. Why upset the apple cart.
We occasionally tried to deflect the boredom. I would buy a new blouse or dress and he would agree to go out to a nice restaurant. But these phases were short lived and he would return to the sofa and I would try to lose myself in a good book. Many people are happy with this comfortable existence, I wanted more.
And then, this was the make or break time, he did something completely out of character. It was my birthday and for years we had given up buying presents that we knew our partner would enjoy, it became token gifts of money or perfume or wine. But this birthday, and I suppose it was a special one, he had breakfast ready and had even picked a rose from the garden and put it in a vase on the table.
Why hadn't he tried harder sooner?
'Happy birthday darling.' He smiled at me, that old smile that I used to love so much.
'Go on. Open your cards.'
As usual there was a pile from friends and relatives, with one from him, To my Darling Wife. He really was trying.
'And here is your birthday present.'
The smile now was even bigger as he handed me a gold envelope. My heart sank, it would be the usual, money, a gift voucher. Why couldn't he be more imaginative. I put it down and began to drink my coffee.
'Open it!' a slight disappointment in his voice. I tried to look pleased and slid my finger under the flap. Inside a thick piece of quality card with gold, inked spidery writing.
'An appointment has been arranged for you at the Star Gallery for a photo shoot. Make up, hair, all part of the experience.'
I was bewildered.
'You've seemed so down, I thought it might cheer you up.'
I suppose I could have taken this as meaning I had let myself go and needed a makeover but I did take it as it was meant, an unusual, considerate gesture. I thanked him and kissed him and said I would arrange an appointment. Smiling widely he returned to his coffee and newspaper. Job done!
It was some weeks before I made the appointment and I was completely captivated by the whole experience. A facial with make up professionally applied, and tips on how to do it myself, a hair restyle and carefully posed photographs taken. Nothing tacky or plastic glamour model type poses just ones showing me at my best. I must admit to having various admiring glances as I left.
He was quite impressed and for a while some of the old magic returned.
But human nature being what it is we both reverted to type, he slouching in front of the television and me becoming more and more discontent.
Then everything changed.
'The lads have arranged a long weekend away to watch the footy. You don't mind do you?'
Of course I didn't, peace quiet and the house to myself. I planned on a nice bottle of wine together with a luxury box of chocolates and maybe combining them with a bubble bath.
'Why don't you phone up Cathy and go to that spa for the weekend?' were his parting words.
And that was it, the die was cast. Cathy couldn't manage the weekend but, uncharacteristically, I decided to go on my own. It was bliss. Pampering during the day, and then the evening!
I applied the make up as I had been shown at the photo shoot, curled and teased my hair to frame my face and dressed in a simple but becoming blouse and trousers. I smiled at my image in the mirror, a new person, one I barely recognised, and went down for dinner.
He was sitting at the bar. Nothing remarkable about him, but the eyes and smile. Here come the clichés again, one thing led to another we had a drink together sat talking for hours and then went to my room. There were no promises to meet again, one night was enough for both of us.
That was the first time, the beginning. I felt myself becoming what I was meant to be. I did not feel guilty, it was almost as though it was someone else seducing and being seduced.
At home I became the other woman, the one I had been for so many years and he did not suspect, did not notice. And I waited, waited for the times when I could become someone else. I invented excuses, pretended I was seeing Cathy or my mother or my sister.
Sometimes I would just sit in a bar and drink a cocktail, at other times there would be a man and we would spend some time together.
Did I feel guilty? Sometimes, especially when he did something nice or seemed to notice me. But most of the time when the make up was just so and the hair was framing my face in perfectly it felt just right.
After all it was his fault.