Unraveling – Part 51

by Elizabeth

She’d been home for two days when Paul asked, “Do you have bruises?”

“I don’t know,” Libby said casually, “I honestly didn’t check, but I doubt it; the hardest spanking he gave me was given with his hand.  It was emotionally satisfying but of nowhere near sufficient force to leave bruises.” 

The glint in Paul’s eyes was only a flash – a momentary lapse in control, but for the briefest instant he was angry.

We’re supposed to be open and honest about all of this Paul, but if I’ve said more than you’re comfortable with I understand and will be more careful of your feelings.”

We’re discussing things I will never be comfortable with Lib.  You’re having an affair, you’re sleeping with another man and he hits you, I’m never going to be comfortable with any of this.” 

She took a deep breath, determined to remain calm and focused.

“I suppose that’s fair, but it’s also infinitely more complicated than your statement suggests.”

“I’m trying to understand you, and I want you to have what you think you need, but I can’t help feeling that what you do with him is not normal; it’s sick and perverse.”

His words pierced her heart – this was a moment she’d feared all her life, this was the reason she’d lived in silence and kept her secret well hidden from the world.  She’d trusted Paul with the most sacred part of who she was and he thought her abnormal, sick and perverse.  His words were the ultimate betrayal. 

“I don’t want to have this conversation with you.  It’s one thing for you not to understand this, I don’t think anyone who wasn’t born with a sexuality that falls outside the mainstream can understand, but it is reprehensible for you to use words like abnormal, sick and perverse.”

She’d turned to walk away when he grabbed her wrist.

Elizabeth, you are fucking another man and yet you stand in our house and tell me my choices are reprehensible?”

His grip on her wrist was tight and becoming painful but she had bigger concerns; Paul’s eyes were full of rage and his posture was imposing, almost threatening; she wasn’t afraid, he’d never given her cause to fear him, but nothing about his part in this exchange was indicative of the Paul she knew – he wasn’t himself and that was clear.

Professional training had taught her how to manage people who were upset, anxious and angry, but she never thought she’d need these skills in diffusing her husband’s emotional state.  

Paul, your feelings are understandable, and I’m sorry my circumstances are causing you pain; I never meant for you to get hurt.”

He looked at her then, the anger dissipating as he let go of her wrist.

“I should not have said those things to you, I didn’t mean them.”

She knew this was a lie, but now was not the time to have that discussion with Paul.

He departed for work, leaving her alone to her thoughts.  Prone to bouts of depression and occasional anxiety, Paul had seen a therapist and psychiatrist off and on since his first year of college, perhaps in addition to the therapy sessions they took part in to keep to their marriage viable despite her sexuality and affair, Paul needed to see someone on his own.

His feelings were understandable,

Paul was deeply hurt.

But for her there was no turning back.