Fear. A feeling aroused by impending danger, pain or distress. Fear reeks straight into the core, causing the heart beat faster, the mind, inevitably going numb, and distress…oh what a feeling, what a rush!
Amy could feel it. She could feel the fear create horrible scenarios in her head, she could see herself doing things, caught up in things she never thought she could.
She felt terrible. Here she was, worrying about things that may never happen, drifting far in thought, instead of being here, where she was needed. Being here where her best friend needed her.
Julie lay on the couch, fast asleep, tired from the day’s events. She had just lost her husband of thirty seven years, and, for the past two weeks, had been planning his funeral with family and friends.
She lay there peacefully, at ease. Almost as if she had no worries nor care in the world. But the secrets…
Amy sighed. Now that he was dead, people felt no need to protect him any more, and the truth was finally out. The truth that hurt, and caused so much fear…
He had been a family man. Always there for his family, putting them first. He loved his wife, and their four daughters. And now, it came to be that he had another family. Another woman, who had a twenty six year old son.
Now this woman, who nobody knew, had surfaced, with a list of demands. Demanding to be involved in the funeral arrangements, demanding a seat with the family at the funeral, demanding to be recognized, heard and accepted. For she too was his woman, and had been for thirty years or so.
She said that Julie’s anger and rebuke in public was a sham, that she knew about her all along. A woman, after all, always knows when her man has another woman. And for those years, she had decided to live in denial, but she knew. And now, everyone would know. They would all know that she too had lost her love.
But Julie, amidst the tears, had denied knowing this woman. She admitted that, like most marriages, they had faced hard times, times where they hated each other, but they always solved things and came back to each other. Till death, they had said, and she had kept each vow, and all this while, she thought he had too.
So when the letter came in, accompanied by a photo of the boy, she was crushed. He looked so much like her husband, they could not dispute that. Julie was confused. She called her best friend, her husband’s best friend, his wife and her lawyer. She did not know what to do, nor what to say.
Tom, his best friend, swore that he had never said anything about this woman. He was a cornered man and nobody believed him. He was still protecting his friend, his dead friend.
The lawyer however admitted to knowing her. Not directly though. He had made made various payments to her, had commissioned her house, her house that Julie’s husband had built.
He assured Julie that the woman did not want any money from her. She had written to the lawyer as well, saying that he had created a trust for her earlier and needed nothing from them. All she requested was the right to mourn him like everyone else. And if she were denied that right, she would stop the funeral.
And thus, the lawyer advised the family to let her mourn with them.
Julie was drained, and was yet to tell her daughters. She did not want them to know. The last thing she wanted to do is taint her husband’s image to their children. Especially now that they had no chance to confront him.
It could wait till morning, Amy had assured her. She had urged her friend to rest, as she was drained.
Now Amy looked at her friend, feeling sorry for her, yet admiring her bravery. She could not see it now, but she was.
Had it been her in this situation, she would have shut off completely. But Julie, went ahead with the meetings, never spoke ill of her husband who had betrayed her. She still loved him. She always would.
Amy looked out, watching her husband walking towards the house.
She wondered what secrets he had from her, and it scared her. She was afraid of ending up like Julie.
So when he walked into the house and towards her, she embraced him, tightly. Never wanting to let go. For as long as she held on to him, she would never know.