27 November 2017
She walked into the hotel lobby where he was sitting reading his newspaper and sipping his coffee. She could not help a second look at him taking in the well-groomed mustache and beard as well as the impeccable suit that seemed to be tailor-made. She could imagine the lean and firm muscles beneath. Just yesterday night they had been making love but today they were supposed to act as strangers. She had been upset when he had told her that she must leave his hotel room and come back the next day. What had upset her more was that he had then mentioned that his wife was about to come and they should therefore act as strangers if they were to meet in the lobby.
She realised now why he had made her come to his room on her own after their dinner in a restaurant which was not the hotel restaurant. She had thought at the time that it was to protect her reputation and was so happy he was considerate. She realised now that it was actually to protect his own reputation and make sure his wife did not realise he had cheated on her during her absence. She gritted her teeth while she seated herself at one of the lobby chairs trying not to take a third glance at him as she knew that she might then falter and go talk to him.
From the corner of her eye she could see that someone had walked up to him. It was a woman and from his response she gathered it was his wife. She gritted her teeth again trying not to feel that sinking feeling that she usually felt when someone she cared for betrayed her. They had been dating for only two weeks so she wondered why she had fallen so deeply for him. Not once in those two weeks had he ever mentioned being married and they had visited several places in the gulf together.
Thinking back to those excursions she realised that he had always made sure they had two separate rooms even though they ultimately slept in the same room. He had mentioned it was to be on the safe side as they were unmarried and in the gulf which was after all a Muslim region but she realised now that it was so that there would be no trace of him ever having stayed at a hotel with a woman in his room.
She rose from where she was seated and clicked her heels together to gather some courage. She strode right up to him and offered her hand to shake.
- Hello William, she said
- Hello Astrid, he responded
- How are you today and who is this lovely lady
- It is my wife, Rosaline
- Hello Rosaline
- Hello Astrid
The wife had a fake smile plastered on her lips as she saluted Astrid and this latter realised that the wife knew. William was probably good at this sort of thing because this was something he did repeatedly. Astrid looked at him again and in that glance passed all her yearning and all her disappointment. He glanced back and she could recognise a sort of repentance and what seemed to be a shadow of yearning too. She shook hands with the two of them again, bade them goodbye and left them with a last glance towards William. Years later William wrote to her saying that glance had haunted him for a long time like he had said so months after their encounter over the phone. She had hung up then before he could draw her back to him. She never responded to his letter.
Tristeria – Sisyphus