It was months later when my husband and I laid under the stars awaiting the meteor shower. Chilly mist crept from the grass onto our toes, so we snuggled under a blanket for warmth. We there for hours before we saw anything so we drank wine and made small talk until well past midnight. Finally, meteors began to blaze across the sky. We looked up in awe as a silence fell between us.
When I spoke again, my voice was almost a whisper. The question just came out and surprised me. “Did you love her?” As soon as the words slipped out, I instinctively held my breath. For him to lie at that moment would be a grave injustice.
His lengthy pause gave me the answer, but he also quietly said, “Yes….yes I did.”
I had suspected that they loved each other even though him and I had never talked about it. We allowed for the possibility and then didn’t revisit the conversation when things got rocky. There was actually a moment months before when I caught a glimpse of him and Amy staring deeply into each other’s eyes. They had just stayed the night at our place in what would be our final overnight before I ended things. Brad and I were cooking breakfast in the kitchen and chatting lightheartedly about the world. As Brad buttered the toast, I glanced outside to the deck where Amy and my husband were at. She was straddling his legs to face him. Her hands cusped his chin as if to beckon his gaze. Previously when she did that it was always during the evening and a prelude to the bedroom. But the intensity of making that eye contact in the daylight in our patio chairs meant something had shifted between them. So when I asked my husband if he loved Amy, deep down I already knew because I saw him looking at her with the same gentleness that he has with me. However, hearing him say out loud to the world it felt more momentous somehow.
The cicadas seemed to pause with his reluctant admission as if they also heard the heaviness in his voice. Shooting stars danced across the sky innocently, completely unaware of the significant moment down below. Internally, I felt an emotional shift like a mudslide rearranging the earth. My heart filled with both sadness and empathy for my husband. I had taken that away from him – his second love – and there was no pleasure or satisfaction in knowing that. I rolled onto my side and embraced him while he continued to watch the celestial show. He let out a deep sigh and I shared the pain that filled the space between my arms.