Caroline sat on her porch looking with distaste at her neighbour’s house, identical layout, and suddenly wanted to shrug off all that was tormenting her mind. The couch he sat on so often and the bar that he used in the sitting room, all were places she did not want to see. She had loved Justin, her lover and friend she had thought. Caroline walked in to get herself a cup of tea, her husband had just suffered a heart attack and was recouping in the room upstairs. To her, it seemed Matty, her hubby. was stressed out at what his darling princess daughter had done.

“Uh! The tea tastes horrible!” She kept the cup and tried to pop in a mouthful of roasted peanuts to change her taste. But that did not work either. Walking up  to Matty’s room, she could not but feel the strange surge of hatred at the shadows that seemed to have been cast on the house. Wasn’t she supposed to feel happy at Sarah’s happiness? Her daughter, a ravishing beauty, the prom queen, the talented doctor, who did all things right, except for the fact that she somehow perpetually managed to get her mum on the wrong foot. They loved each other, but could not see eye to eye on many issues. Sarah avoided all confrontations, respected her parents, but always did her own thing. Caroline wondered where did the parenting go wrong.

The eyes that sent waves of passion erupt in her whole being had looked away when Sarah announced her engagement to her mother’s lover.

The house seemed to bite her, she wanted to run away. The persistent pall of distrust had overtaken her whole being. She could not stay here in this house. Her husband had got this place for her as a gift on her forty-fifth birthday. He had no time for her and now he was ill. She went towards the bar, poured herself a stiff drink and sat down thinking. Hating the chair Justin would sit on and talk for hours, she wondered when had this turn of events taken place. How could she never guess? How blind was she in her own adoration for the man that she could not see his affinities towards her daughter. She wanted to throw the glass and shatter it to pieces like her heart was, but she controlled the urge, there was nothing she could do. She had to feign happiness. The kitchen where he held her when she cooked, helped her clean the dishes, so much happiness! His presence had always made her contented. He had infused her with the love she thought she had never experienced. She never gave infidelity a thought. Never thought that she was two timing her husband. The love was pure and it had to happen. Their lives had to cross paths.

Making the chicken soup and stir fry veggies for her ailing husband, she looked at that kitchen that bore testimony to their passion for each other. She had to shut him out. Would she be able to? Did her daughter know about them? She wanted to run away from all this madness that was killing her.

“Caroline!  Caroline! ! ” She heard her husband call out to her. She rushed up the stairs two at a time. She saw him writhing in pain, clutching his chest with a blank look in his eyes. She called emergency, and on the way to the hospital, prayed fervently for him to survive this attack. He was all she had after all.

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