She never expected anyting from him except the truth. Faithfulness was not his strength. She never asked. She knew in the back of her mind that he was cheating on her. Not just once, but, several times. She just never wanted to confront the truth. In the end, it eludes all of us, she thought. This fear we have of finding out. And, we talk to no-one about it. We just carry-on.
He died in the winter of 1989. Several people showed up at the funeral. Family, friends, former soldiers, co-workers, an ex-wife. They all came to show their final respects. She held onto an American flag. Their son placed his arm around her to give comfort. But, she was smiling the whole time. Almost laughing.
They didn’t have the guts to show up did they? she asked. Her son shook his head. The ladies. The women over the years that he carried on with, she whispered.
The boy just looked at her. The cat was out of the bag now, he thought. He held onto her tighter while the preacher man went on and on about what a fine Christian man he was. A true soldier for God Almighty. A man of virtue and moral fiber. A family man if ever there was one. The minister went on and on. The son and the mother looked at each other and smiled.
They knew the truth. Had for years. It was an unspoken in the household. Sunday lunches with women he’d carried on with. Sitting right across from mom. Holding their husband’s hands. Silent. Spoke when spoken to. That was the kind of woman the old man liked. Did he love his family? He said he did.
Love is one thing. Respect, another. Maybe he couldn’t help himself, the widow thought. Maybe he was some kind of wild animal that had these urges. Couldn’t control himself. Kind of like King David. Always wanting more, she told her son after the service. They sat having coffee and looking at the folded flag. She laughed . That flag was the only thing he was faithful to, she said. Sure wasn’t faithful to me.