8 Ağustos 2022

A Perfect Solution

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Author’s notes:

1. This is a work of fiction. The activities and practices described in this story are not necessarily either condoned or recommended. If you choose to do anything described in real life with real people you do so at your own risk.

2. All characters are fictional and any likeness to any living person is purely coincidental. The story is purely imaginary and, to the author’s knowledge, bears no relationship to any occurrence in real life.

3. Please note this is a revised version of the story in response to readers’ feedback.


Marilyn walked confidently through the impressive doors of one of the top legal firms in the city, unfazed by the size and grandeur of the reception area. As the top marketing executive for a large multinational company, she was very familiar with the trappings of quality and expected nothing less.

“Good morning Mrs Hudson,” greeted the middle-aged legal secretary/receptionist. “Humphrey told me you’d be calling in this morning and he just needs your signature on the forms here for us to proceed. If you could just sign here and here,” she pointed to the spaces marked with a small tag, “Then it will all be done.”

“I’ll need to read it all first,” replied Marilyn, “I never sign what I haven’t read.”

“Oh, alright, if you insist. Most people just sign the form and trust that it’s all legal and above board, but if you wish to read it first then feel free to do so. There’s a comfortable chair and desk over against the far wall. Can I bring you a cup of anything?”

“Thank you. Coffee please, white with no sugar.”

Marilyn left for the chair while the receptionist pressed a bell push on her desk.

As Marilyn settled into the overstuffed chair she noticed Steve had already signed the forms. She placed her hand over his signature, emotions welling up as she thought of all the other forms they’d signed together over the years. She placed the forms on the desk and took out her favorite pen, the one Steve had given her as part of a set for her last birthday a few weeks ago. She thought it ironic that she was going to be using that pen to begin divorce proceedings.

She thought back through time, how they had attended the same high school, and how gracefully he had danced with her at the graduation ball, their first date. She thought how young and carefree they’d been back then, the world at their feet, the bright endless future ahead, and compared it with how she felt now. Her eyes teared up as a young intern brought her a cup of coffee and some plain biscuits.

“Is there anything else you need, Ma’am?” she asked politely.

“Yes, do you have a box of tissues please? I seem to have a runny nose all of a sudden.”

“Yes, Ma’am,” she replied, returning a few seconds later with a small box. “You may keep these,” she informed her. No wonder legal fees were so expensive, she thought. She took one and patted her eyes gently before blowing her nose.

She remembered how they attended college together, he studying the sciences and engineering, she focussing more on people skills and social aspects, exploring what made people tick, what their motivation was for doing the sometimes idiotic things that they did. They both graduated top of their streams from college and attended the same university, he studying engineering, she psychology then marketing.

They were officially recognized as an item by their peers from the start, neither even looking at another as a potential partner. The joy in their eyes when they were together was plain for all to see. Those were wonderful days, full of interesting academic challenges, the days of carefree youth. She remembered her 18th birthday party with all her friends on the lawn of her parents’ large house on the beach, the warm breeze off the calm sea, the waves lapping on the beach as they partied the night away. Then the surprise weekend away shortly afterwards when Steve took her to a beautiful resort, in wonderful, peaceful surroundings where, on a blanket under the stars, she lost her virginity as they made love for the very first time. She relived the fear of possible pain, the relief when it was trivial and the joy of mutual love fulfilled for the first time. She remembered the glorious ache after making love again and again, five times the first night, three the second. She unconsciously hugged herself at the memories.

She remembered their marriage, again on their parents’ lawn, overflowing onto the private beach. The joy, the speeches, the commitment to each other, forever, as she became Mrs Stephen Hudson. Nobody could have been happier than Steve and Marilyn at that moment. Then their honeymoon, the beautiful Caribbean resort on the beachfront, walking along the beach, watching the moon, a few days past full, rise out of the ocean into a cloudless sky, its reflection shimmering on the water amongst the reflections of thousands of stars as wavelets lapped at their feet. They had taken a blanket with them and laid that on the kurtköy eve gelen escort sand and made love under the vast expanse of the heavens as husband and wife. Oh the joy of those blissful, carefree seven days of honeymoon.

Marilyn remembered their graduation with masters degrees, Steve in structural engineering, herself in marketing. Then the hunt for work, the hopes, the rejections, the persistence and their support for each other. She remembered their first jobs, her working as an advertising agent for a local newspaper, him as a junior structural engineer for a construction company, both so proud to be considered worthy of even these relatively low paid positions.

She remembered how they struggled to buy a home, mortgaging themselves to the hilt, borrowing money from parents to pay for the basic furniture they needed, their biggest luxury being a large comfortable bed. She smiled as she thought of the long, lazy Sunday mornings lying in bed together, honouring and caressing each other and making love gently and sensuously several times before eating breakfast in the early afternoon.

She remembered the joy of being head-hunted by the local branch of a large multi-national corporation to lead their marketing division while Steve was appointed head of the design team at his work. Still he dreamed of being an independent consultant, but first he had to do the hard yards and gain industry experience.

“Oh Steve,” she muttered, caressing his signature on the page, “Why did you have to do it?”

Once more tears came to her eyes and she dabbed them away, realizing she hadn’t even started to read what she was supposed to sign. She pulled herself together and settled down to read, until she came to the part regarding custody. She couldn’t help it; she simply burst into tears and sobbed into a tissue. She remembered the joy she felt when Dr Mathers confirmed she was pregnant with Sally. She and Steve had gone out to celebrate with a beautiful five course meal and dancing, although being pregnant, she avoided alcohol. The pregnancy seemed to last forever, yet in retrospect it was over in a moment. She took maternity leave from work and had beautiful, healthy baby Sally, a gorgeous child who was now eight and, of course, topping her class in elementary school, just as her parents and doting grandparents would expect. On her return to work she had been told that head office wanted her to move to New York as chief executive of the international marketing team, a huge promotion.

She remembered how Steve had supported her, promising that they could return frequently to Florida to visit their parents, Sally’s grandparents. In return she’d promised Steve that her far higher salary would allow him to establish his own consulting business in New York, a huge step up for him as well. They remembered the sad farewells as they departed, taking many of their belongings, selling their first home and arranging to buy an apartment in Manhattan, a seriously poorer lifestyle in a far more crowded environment, they agreed, but a stepping stone to their dreams.

She remembered the joy of Dr Reeve confirming that she was pregnant with their second child, and the absolute devastation a few months later when she miscarried. Tears fell from her eyes at this memory, landing on Steve’s signature. She brushed them away angrily, smudging the ink in the process. The support she received from Steve, who was also devastated and very busy as he strove to establish his own business, was wonderful and made up for the lack of available support from near friends and parents.

She relived the relief and joy when confirmation of her third pregnancy came shortly afterward, with the tension of the next nine months in case the unthinkable happened yet again. The joy and relief of Brian’s birth was incredible, with both sets of parents flying up to meet their new grandchild. More tears flowed at the memory, this time tears of joy.

She sat back and drank her coffee quietly, taking a break from the memories and the emotional wringer that she was putting herself through. The receptionist had apparently been watching her closely and came over to talk with her.

“Is everything alright, Mrs Hudson?”

“Yes, fine thanks,” she said lifting her teary eyes to meet her gaze.

“Listen, dear, there is no point in putting yourself through all this, you know. Just sign the papers and we’ll do the rest. It’s easier that way. What he’s done to you is unforgivable and he deserves everything he gets.”

Inside Marilyn bristled. How would she know? Yes, he’d admitted adultery, he’d agreed to a divorce, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t contrite. It didn’t mean that he didn’t love her anymore, or any less, and it certainly didn’t make her love him any less. He was still her Steve and always would be. And who was the receptionist to judge what was forgivable and what was not?

“I’ll be the judge of that, not you,” Marilyn replied tersely.

The receptionist kurtköy genç escort retired quickly, recoiling from Marilyn’s sharp retort.

Marilyn returned to her memories, thinking of her wonderful children, now six and eight, of the beautiful home they had recently purchased beside the ocean with grounds for the children to enjoy, a peaceful haven away from the madness that was central New York. She’d met Tracy at a social event Steve’s business put on for staff and families last Christmas. Before a blazing log fire in their huge entertainment room the twenty or so staff and families talked socially. She, of course, had been hostess, tending to drinks and nibbles and mixing and mingling with everyone. Tracy was a young college graduate with a great body and reasonable intelligence, Marilyn quickly assessed. She surmised that it wasn’t just her intellectual abilities that had proved attractive to Steve, noticing the way his eyes followed her as she walked across the room. After all, she reasoned realistically, she was now in her mid-thirties, didn’t have near the sexual appetite she had even a couple of years ago, and she knew that new blood was always a lure for men, no matter what the potential costs.

However, Marilyn had been devastated to arrive home early ten days ago to prepare a surprise birthday dinner for Steve, only to follow a trail of frilly underwear to their bedroom where Steve and Tracy were doing a little more than discussing business. She had thrown Tracy out, almost literally, and given a very contrite and embarrassed Steve an earful. In the heat of the moment she’d used the D word, had moved out of their bedroom to the spare room, sobbed herself to sleep and the following day she told Steve that he had to find somewhere else to live and she wasn’t prepared to share their house with him. The result of this was she was sitting here in her attorney’s vestibule, crying like a baby over a piece of paper.

What to do, oh, what should I do, she sighed.

She looked into the possible future they had had, a bright glowing future of fun family times, laughter, joy, challenges and achievements. Of watching their children grow and flourish. Of living in a beautiful home with good friends, loving husband and family. She knew that once she signed this paper under Steve’s signature, all this would be gone. They were all there until that time. Once she signed, she was committed. To what? To loneliness, nights alone in a big bed, two children to care for alone unless Steve received custody, as he well may, in which case she had no husband and no children except for visiting days. They would need to sell the house and she may get 50% of it, then again, if he received custody, she may end up with far less and still have to pay alimony. That was a lose-lose situation as far as she was concerned. As a marketing executive, she avoided even win-lose situations like the plague and always aimed for win-win situations, encouraging her staff to seek out the best solutions to challenges. Now more than ever she needed to heed her own advice. What would a win-win outcome look like in this situation, she wondered?

Unforgivable! The word stuck in her throat. Nothing was unforgivable. The only thing stopping people from saying ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘I forgive you’ was ego. It was a fear of backing down, of appearing weak, of maybe admitting that you may be partly at fault; a fear of someone else taking advantage of you. People, especially in the big apple, avoided that at all costs. Their self-esteem was fragile enough without having to admit they may have been partly to blame and forgiving was simply unheard of. It meant that you were prepared to overlook something instead of taking all you could while you had the advantage; offer a hand of friendship and reconciliation instead of kicking your opponent while he was down, or punching him while he was on the ropes. Anyway, who was the opponent? Steve; my darling, loving and lovable husband, she realized. Tears again filled her eyes at what she was about to do to him, to her children, to her and to them all. There had to be a win-win situation and she was determined to find it.

She thought back to when she attended Sunday School and later church with her parents; remembered how the preacher had taught forgiveness and that the Bible taught people to love their enemies. Steve, an enemy? Hardly. Was Tracy the enemy? If so, should she love her? Unforgivable! The word caught in her throat. Images of loving her enemy, loving Tracy and Steve, went through her mind. She made her decision.

She took another tissue and wiped her eyes, blew her nose, replaced her pen in her handbag, picked up the piece of paper and, while looking the receptionist in the eye, tore it in half once, twice, a third time then a fourth. She left the pieces where they were and walked out without a word.

Once in the busy street, breathing deeply of what passed for fresh air in New York, she took out her phone and speed-dialled Steve. Tracy answered. kurtköy kendi evi olan escort She felt her body clench up, then with a conscious effort she relaxed.

“Good morning Tracy, Mrs Hudson here. Can I speak with Steve please.”

“I’m sorry, Mrs Hudson, he’s with a client at present. Can I take a message?”

At least she had the formalities right, thought Marilyn, she hadn’t just gone to pieces as some people would. Maybe she was practiced at speaking to her lovers’ wives.

“No,” she said, her voice hardening, “What you can do is to put me through to him and make sure he answers. Do it now please.”

There was an instant’s silence, Tracy clearly wondering what to do, then she made the best choice, remembering the saying about hell’s fury and scorned women, she dialled his extension, presumably speaking with Steve before transferring the call.

“Hello, darling,” Steve’s soft voice come on the line.

“Sweetheart, I’ve just been to my attorney to sign the divorce papers. Can we please meet in an hour at our favorite café, you know, the one by Central Park?”

“Why do you want me to do that?” he asked.

“No questions, can you meet me there in an hour or can you not?”

Steve sensed she was determined and that this was important, vitally important.

“Yes, I’ll be there.”

“Thank you, darling.”

Marilyn disconnected and started walking to the café. She idly window-shopped as she walked, her mind churning with what had to be said, what had to be done, a tiny thought coming through which could just possibly, perhaps, maybe be a solution. If it was agreeable to both Steve and Tracy, she thought she may be able to accept it also. It was certainly light years better than any other idea she had.

Steve was a few minutes early, a good sign decided Marilyn, who was adept at reading people. They selected a secluded table, ordered and engaged in small talk while waiting for their meals. Once they were delivered they began to discuss the business at hand — themselves.

“I went to the attorney’s all set to sign and then got to thinking about us, about our courtship, marriage, the highs and lows, and eventually I reached a decision. Thinking through our lives together I realized we’d been through many things, many joys, many sorrows. We had come through these because we supported one another. Right now I know you need my support more than ever, just as I need yours. I decided there had to be a better way. So I tore up the paper and walked out.”

Steve looked stunned. “So you don’t want a divorce? You don’t want to kick me out, take me to the cleaners?”

Marilyn was silent for a long time, slowly eating. “Part of me does, but most of me doesn’t. And the part that doesn’t is winning. The part that does just wants to get revenge, to hurt you, regardless of how much it hurts me. It doesn’t care. It’s also called ego. What does your ego want?”

Steve did a double take. This wasn’t at all how he’d thought this meeting would go. He had expected Marilyn to be gloating about her victory over him, about legally being able to bankrupt him, to destroy his dreams, to rub his face in the dirt, yet here she was talking about herself not wanting to do this, realizing that she couldn’t hurt him without hurting herself even more. And she hadn’t even used the kids as leverage. What a question. What does my ego want, he thought.

“I guess that my ego enjoys the thrill of the chase, the adrenaline rush of the possibility that Tracy and I would be discovered. It is blind to consequences. It is prepared to hurt others for instant gratification. I’m sorry, honey, really, really sorry. I know that I hurt you, betrayed your trust, broke my wedding vows and I deserve anything and everything that you choose to do to me. However, I promise if you take me back it will never happen again.”

“Yes, I guessed as much. I wonder how much of that is just words? I wonder how much you regret being caught rather than regret your actions. It is usual, I would expect, for men to show remorse when they’ve been caught being unfaithful. It is usual for them to make promises, such as you just have. It is also usual for them to renege on those promises, especially as you admit you like the thrill of the chase and the danger of possibly being caught. However, I also believe that nothing I say or do can change you in any way; the only person I can change is me. So first I need to apologize to you. I’m sorry that I’m not as interested in sex as I was, sorry that I’m not young and nubile like all the Tracys in the world. But I was once and if you look in the mirror you’ll see that you’re not as young and virile as you once were, and your ego resents this so chases young skirt to prove you’ve still got what it takes. Darling, as far as I’m concerned, you’ll always have exactly what it takes to keep me happy.”

She watched as tears welled in his eyes. He blinked them away, his ego unwilling to allow a woman, even his wife, to see him express his emotions in this way. So how could he answer that? What should he say now, he wondered? She’d completely hit the nail on the head, had told him exactly how he felt, provided the exact reasons that he would have provided if he’d had the guts to say it, or the perception to realize it. He did the best thing possible; he remained silent, wondering where this was leading.

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