House of cards
By: Jessica Kennedy
“Its been awhile since I spoke with you. I think I may have forgotten how.” She spoke in a whisper as she gazed up at the clear sky.
Amelia hadn’t prayed in years. Growing up the oldest daughter to an evangelical pastor, prayer used to be common place for her. She was comfortable talking to god, having conversations and feeling connected. It had always given her a sense of peace. But after she met Andrew; a boy neither of her parents approved of; she left that world behind her. She ran away and married him. She put her focus into her marriage and her charming and passionate husband. He longed for a life of luxury, spinning stories of extravagance and wealth. He brought her in and made her crave that life as well. Together they devoted their lives to their careers, Andrew as a Real Estate broker and Amelia as a Financial Service Advisor in a large firm. They let their extended families go, losing contact with them and choosing not to have a children. They had bigger dreams.
Today she was desperate. She needed to find a sense of peace that she hadn’t felt in years. She needed to come back to her roots.
“God, I feel lost. Abandoned and confused. All this time, I have been coasting on a desire for more. Forgetting that I am not invincible. Destroying all in my path. It has caught up to me . Now look where I am.”
She had just come from the office where she was about to start her day like any other, but as she was walking through the sliding doors of the modern high rise, she was shoved back out by a co-worker, Lucy.
“The feds are here. Upstairs.” She breathed in Amelia’s ear. “Turn around, get in you car and go home. Soon it will all come crashing down.”
Lucy rushed away and left Amelia motionless and astounded. She was frozen on the sidewalk. Her body language staying composed but her insides screamed another story. She realized that it was all over, she would soon be discovered for the white collar criminal that she was. She and her co workers would be prosecuted. She would lose her job, her cars,her homes and all the luxuries she had worked for. Her worldly possession would be gone, and quite possibly her relationships too. She had created a persona of high roller. A woman of taste and esteem. Once that sparkle washed away and the grime of her criminal offence came to the surface, she was certain that all who were in her life now would disappear.
This made her think of Andrew. She wondered about his loyalty. He knew nothing of her dealings in the firm, but enjoyed the benefits of being married to a highly successful woman. He was naive and uninvolved, but really never cared as long as he felt satisfied. Would he stick by her, or would he run too? She needed to compose herself and create a plan.
That is when she decided to pray more. She needed something, and everything she knew now was lost.
“God, our conversations have been lost lately. Non existent. I have distanced myself from your connection. Losing my way. But now I need you. I need the peace that comes with our relationship.”
She spoke quickly and quietly, but none the less the words got out. As she continued to pray, she began to feel a sense of calm. She could do this. She had made mistakes and needed to figure out how to deal with the natural consequences, but she knew she could do it.
She needed call Andrew. His phone would be off as he had a big meeting with a potential client today. She knew she could leave him a message.
“You have reached the personal voice mail of Andrew Weber, please leave your message after the beep.” He voice smooth and silky, travelling from the earpiece of her Iphone.
she shakily started to speak “Andrew, Its me. We need to talk. I love you, and need you today. I’ll be home in 10. call me when you can.” She was vulnerable and soft. A role she rarely took in their marriage, but today it felt right.
She left her message and shut her phone down. She needed to get home and figure a few things out. She had an odd sense that it would all be ok, she hadn’t felt this sure about anything in a long time.
She drove down the familiar winding roads to her home. A home she loved. Her heart began to tear apart as she thought about how much longer she would have in it. The art that graced her hallways, her expensive and beautifully designed furniture, her lavish linens, and her closet. Her eyes began to moisten. The pain was overtaking her.
A breath in and she shook it off, thought for a second and came to the realization that really, it would be ok. She had this sense of eerily calm. She kept repeating. “It will be ok. It will be ok.” Some how the peace she felt from her earlier prayers was strong enough to subside the sadness and panic of her situation.
Her car pulled into the drive and recognized her husbands car in front of the garage. The black camaro glistening in the sun. Beside it was parked a red corvette, small and shiny. She assumed it was the car of his new client. Still it was odd, she thought. She was certain that Andrew had told her the meeting was being held at his office downtown. She brushed it off as a change of plans and walked into her home.
The familiar feeling of being home washed over her as she quietly crept through the door.She was extra quiet taking in the smells and sights of her house while trying not to disturb the meeting. She was holding it together. She was ready to talk to Andrew.
She made her way up the winding staircase to her home office. It was situated beside her bedroom. They had placed her office upstairs while Andrew’s home office was downstairs, off of the main room. She figured she would go upstairs until he was done with his client.
As she passed her bedroom door and she heard unfamiliar noises. She though it may be the cats, locked in her room. It didn’t quite sound like the cats but her mind was preoccupied, maybe she morphed the sounds a little. She placed her hand on the door knob, about to open the door to free her kitties from the jail cell of her bedroom, when she heard a voice.
“Oh, ANDREW! oh my god. You are amazing!” The breathless voice was feminine and she was obviously excited by whatever her husband was doing.
Amelia tore open the bedroom door. She was pulsing with a rage she had never experience. She was skilled in the art of holding on tight to emotion, but this rage was too much for her. It bubbled over the surface and exploded out, like vinegar and baking soda.
She saw her husband naked, in between the curved and graceful legs of a woman she did not recognize. She couldn’t even describe the womans face. She just kept picturing the legs of another woman draped over the shoulders of her husband. It fuelled Amelia’s anger and sent her into a fit. Her whole focus was on her rage.
“GET THE FUCK OUT! NOW! NOW! NOW! Andrew, get her the fuck out of my bed.” Amelia screamed in a voice she did not recognize.
She torn off the sheets while the embarrassed two shuffled and ran out of the room. She screamed, the cursed, and she destroyed the tainted room. As she spun around the room in a tailspin of disgust, anger and betrayal; Andrew got his mistress out before anything worse could happen.
Exhausted, Amelia collapsed into a heap on the floor in her walk in closet. Tears streaming down her face. Her heart was tearing open. Raw and painful.
He was her everything. She created this life for his dreams. She committed a crime to keep their lifestyle up to his standards. She left her family for him. She lost her connection with herself and god, to please him. Everything was for him.
“Melia, honey, where are you?” His sheepish voice travelled from the bedroom. He had returned from dismissing her unwanted house guest.
“Baby, it was mistake, I am so sorry. It will never happen again. I promise.” he said as he walked into the closet. He had found her, vulnerable and raw.
He stood over top of her and pleaded. “It is just that you have been busy and distracted for so long. I was feeling neglected. You know how sexual I am. You know how much I need it. I got caught up in the flirting. I am sorry. I never meant to hurt you. I love you. Can you forgive me, Baby?!”
He was begging. Amelia was disgusted. She was broken and hurt. She had come home to tell him about her dilemm, confide in him and connect with the love of her life. She had come home praying he could see that everything would be ok and that their commitment to one another would make it all work out.
This discovery shattered any of her previous thoughts about how this would play out.
“Fuck you Andrew, I can’t even look at you. You broke my heart when I needed you the most. I lost everything today. My job, our house, my freedom. Our firm had been laundering money from clients for years and today the feds were in our office. It won’t be long before everything I have is shattered. This life we know is gone. Today I needed you the most. But you were here, with whoever that was. Giving all you have to her.” She was shaking as she spoke. The rage was gone but the exhaustion made her quiet and soft.
“I loved you. I changed my whole being to please you. To create a life you dreamed of. You wove me into the dream, but now I see, I was interchangeable, as long as you got what you wanted. I see how little I meant to you. It was more what I could give you that mattered. I see that now” The truth lifting her up a little bit. “Goodbye Andrew, good luck, we will both need it.” She stood up and walked past him.
His face was frozen. In an expression of disbelief. “Wait, you mean…the money is gone?…” His sense of loyalty disappeared and was replaced with superficial panic of his material life.
Amelia didn’t even answer. No words could describe what she wanted to say to him. She just kept walking out of the house towards her car.
Her house of cards came shattering down. She prayed that someday she could look back at this as a turning point to her new life. A faint smile spread across her lips as she drove back to her office to face what was waiting for her. She had never felt lighter.