Romance

The House Manager II-By Edward Maroncha

(Continued from The House Manager I)

After taking tea, Mercy decides to go to bed and rest. She is tired, and understandably so. She decides that she will wake up after two hours, by which time she is sure she will have rested enough to go and prepare dinner with Ruth. Resting now will also help her to be fresh enough to read later on at night after Robert and the kids have gone to bed, unless Robert has other ideas. Mercy and Robert have a healthy love life, eight years after tying the knot. Mercy is not feeling the urge today, but if her husband is in need, she will gladly jump into bed with him. There are days when he is the one who is bone tired, but if she is in need, he will usually forget tiredness and carry her to bed. That is how it has been for eight years, and that is why their marriage is so strong.

Of course, besides sex there are other reasons why their marriage gets stronger by the day. For a start, they are completely honest with each other. At the beginning, though, trust was easier for Robert than for Mercy. Robert’s parents have been married for over forty years, and you can still feel the positive currents between them whenever you are in their presence. They are not just spouses, but they are best friends in the truest sense of the word. Robert and his siblings therefore grew up under the cover of love and trust, and for them that is how it should be. That would explain why he so easily took Mercy to college even before he married her. He trusts very easily.

A man such as Robert could easily have been swindled by a conniving woman. But he is fortunate that before he met Mercy, he only survived a couple of heartbreaks.  His first girlfriend went to Australia to study, and the relationship fizzled out with time. The long distance, coupled with conflicting time zones, killed off the romance. Robert’s second girlfriend dumped him for another man, but she had the decency to sit him down and tell him that she wanted to move on. He was heartbroken, but after the initial emotions had died down, he came to respect the fact that she had been frank with him.

Both women are still his friends, but they do not make Mercy insecure for two reasons. First, over the years, Robert has proven his trustworthiness. Second, the two women are respectable ladies, and they are Mercy’s regular customers. The first one, Daisy, returned from Australia as a medical doctor and started her own clinic. She was married in Australia but got divorced, and came back to the country with two children. The other one, Daniela, married the guy she left Robert for and they are still happily married. She is a civil servant and works in the department of fisheries.

The journey of trusting a spouse was not as easy for Mercy as it was for Robert. Her parents have been married for thirty nine years, but although they are still married, that marriage is as good as dead. Her father is a serial womanizer, and Mercy grew up knowing that every man cheats; at least that is how her mother used to justify her father’s behavior. Mercy brought all the insecurity and suspicion that she had piled up in her childhood into her marriage. With another man, her marriage would probably not have worked. But Robert is one of a kind.

Mercy used to secretly check all his messages and go through his call logs looking for anything suspicious. Finding none, she started checking his social media accounts and his emails. Like most people, Robert does not log out of social media and email on his phone, so she could easily access them by clicking the apps. She found that several girls had been texting him on Messenger, but all of them had been ignored. That made her even more suspicious, and she became even more obsessed with snooping.

But then one day Robert caught her snooping, and instead of getting angry, he suggested that they swap phones for a week. Embarrassed, she resisted the idea. But Robert insisted. So for a week, they carried each other’s phones to work. He told her to direct all his callers to her number. Mercy has two phones, one of which she uses to handle clients. Robert carried her private phone to work, and directed all her callers to her work phone.

At the end of the week he sat her down for a conversation. He didn’t speak to her angrily but he was firm.

“Are you now satisfied that I am not cheating, darling?” he asked her.

She nodded, but he could see that she had questions.

“I can see that you are not satisfied. Tell me, what is the problem? What makes you doubt me? Is it something I have done?”

Mercy stared at the floor for a while before responding.

“Why don’t you have a mistress?” she asked finally.

“Should I have one?” Robert asked.

“Every man has a mistress, Rob. Tell me, why don’t you have one?”

“Be careful what you are asking for darling, because you just might get it. I don’t have a mistress because I have a beautiful and loving wife. But a marriage cannot be built on suspicion and mistrust. If you continue to treat me like a cheat, then this marriage will not last. I will not cheat, I will just walk away.”

That rattled Mercy. Did he say he would leave her?

“My mother has always told me that all men cheat. And I could see it was true because my father did not even hide the fact that he was sleeping around. Mother always told me that it is good to know your rivals, because that makes it easier to handle your man. I didn’t like the fact that I didn’t know who you were sleeping with, because I assumed you had a mistress out there.”

Mercy remembers this conversation like it happened yesterday. That day they had talked until late at night, and she had been forced to confront the demons of her upbringing. And she did, although it took some time to heal. Over time she came to trust Robert, and by the time his ex-girlfriends Daisy and Daniela came around, she had overcome her insecurities. Robert is such a fine gentleman. Mercy knows that by marrying her, he broke the hearts of several female teachers in his school; yet when he chose her when she was an uneducated tailor. Perhaps the feeling of inadequacy was also fueling her insecurities, but over the years she has grown into a confident woman. She no longer questions why he loves her, she just allows herself to be loved. She and Robert have come a long way, and now their marriage is very stable.

She is thinking about him as she goes to bed. Even if he comes now and says he wants to make love to her, she would summon her reserve energies for him. But she knows he can tell when she is tired, so he would not ask in the first place. She should go and rest so that she can give him and the children better attention in the evening.

                                                                           *             

Mercy wakes up with a splitting headache. She doesn’t understand it. When she went to sleep, she was feeling drowsy and tired, but there was no headache. She tries to rise but her head is pounding furiously, so she falls back on the pillow. This is probably the worst headache she has ever experienced in her life.

After a few minutes, she is attacked by a wave of nausea. The thought of vomiting on the bed causes her to rise up from the bed. She must get to the sink. Fortunately, the master bedroom is ensuite, so she does have to walk far to get to the sink. Getting out of bed is an ordeal. She is attacked by wave after wave of pain. Every part of her body seems to be on fire.

She takes a few steps towards the sink, but a powerful wave of nausea attacks her and she vomits on the floor. The effort of vomiting weakens her body, and her legs become jelly. She collapses onto the floor. She tries scream so that Ruth can hear her, but she has no energy left. She cannot call on the phone because her phone is on the bed. Tears start rolling down her cheeks. They are tears of pain and helplessness.

She can feel life slipping out of her body, and she has no energy to fight it. So she closes her eyes and surrenders. As she feels her spirit ebbing away, she thinks about Robert and the boys. She knows that if she dies, her husband will take good care of the boys. She only wishes she was given a chance to say goodbye. Slowly, the pain goes away as everything turns black.

(To be continued on Tuesday)                                                                 

Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/photos/coffee-beverage-drink-cup-caffeine-5589038/                                                                         

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 –Edward.

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