The Mistress: A Short Story by Felisa Daskeo
They met at the wrong time and in the wrong place. He could have rushed to her but the priest was there, preaching God’s words.
“God’s commandment says, “Thou shalt not commit adultery, but how many men and women today….”
Raphael wasn’t listening. His head was swirling.
“Why here of all places? Why only now of all the times?” He cursed.
The priest went on. “This world is full of sin. Let’s not allow ourselves to be conquered by evil.”
Melody was restless. She had a feeling somebody was watching her. For years, this church had haunted her. She has avoided it for a long time and it was only recently that she had the courage to enter the place.
Something’s wrong, she thought. She closed her eyes and prayed for concentration. She sat there, eyes closed and praying silently. Raphael still had the power to disturb her. Though time had healed the pain.
“Raphael, oh Raphael, where are you,” she whispered.
It was here in this church where they had said their goodbyes. They were head over heels in love with each other but tragedy struck and they had to part ways.
Melody flew to the States to take care of her cancer stricken father. At first, they had eliminated the distance through letters and calls but soon, Melody stopped writing. Her father’s condition had worsened and she had become too affected. When her father died, she almost didn’t want to live. For years, Raphael waited for Melody to come back to him but she didn’t until he stopped waiting.
Raphael glanced at the woman beside him. His wife was concentrated on her rosary beads. He turned his head in Melody’s direction. If only time could turn back, he thought.
Raphael let out a sigh when his wife said she was in hurry and preferred to take the taxi. He kissed her and waved goodbye. He went back inside the church and found Melody still praying. Raphael didn’t know what to do, whether to leave and forget that he ever saw her or to wait outside and talk to her. What he couldn’t figure out was why she had refused to receive his calls and answer his letters. He needed an answer.
Melody gasped at the sight of Raphael waiting outside the church. She just stood where she was, afraid to move.
“Hi,” he smiled and walked to her. How he longed to touch her face.
She just stared at him speechless.
“Could we talk? Just for a while.” He pointed to his car parked a few meters away.
She couldn’t answer. She wanted to flee. She wanted to forget all about him. But she couldn’t do it.
“Why did you do it, Melody?”
“I never meant to hurt you, Raf. But when Dad passed away, it was as if my whole world came down on me. I lost all hope of living. I thought it was better to set you free so you could find another woman strong enough for you.”
“But you shouldn’t have done that. I love you, Melody, up to now. I waited and…”
“And what?” she looked up to him.
“I don’t know how to tell you. I’m sorry, Melody.”
“Tell me. It’s all right. I understand. Are you ma---r?”
He lowered his head and couldn’t look at her. Melody touched his hand. “It’s alright, Raf. It was my fault. I still love you too but then we met again at the wrong time.” She choked as the tears rolled down her lovely face.
Raphael took her in his arms. “Come on, Melody. Don’t cry. It’s not your fault. I should have waited.”
“I was gone for a long time. Anyone could have done what you did.”
“Melody,” he held her chin up. “Look at me Melody. Do you still love me?”
“It’s not yet too late for us. Let’s make up for the lost time.”
“I can’t let you go, Melody. Please listen to me.”
“Raphael, please. I don’t want to become a mistress.”
“I’m not going to make you one. I’ll have my marriage annulled and we can start all over again.”
“Don’t do it, please. I don’t want anyone to get hurt.”
They got out of the car and stood face to face for a long time. The love was still there. But Melody had more sense. She said goodbye, kissed him on the cheek and walked away without looking back.
That night she lay down on the bed crying and praying. She couldn’t decide what to do. “God please help me,” she prayed. Finally she fell asleep. But when she woke up her heart still ached for Raphael.
For days, Melody kept praying while Raphael nervously waited. Finally she made her choice. She found herself rushing to her car and driving to their old church. She felt nervous, asking herself if she was making the right decision. As the church came nearer her heart almost stopped beating her eyes became misty blurring her vision until she saw nothing.
Raphael had been waiting for hours. When Melody failed to show up, he bowed his head and drove away. The traffic was smooth at first then suddenly he felt something wrong. The cars refused to move. They were stuck in place. He opened his car and went out to ask what had happened. A car accident? Raphael couldn’t understand why he was sweating despite the cold breeze fanning his face. He felt something wrong. My God, not Melody please, he prayed.
He found himself leaving his car and racing to the accident scene. When he reached the place, the victim was already removed from the scene and taken to the hospital. Raphael felt himself shrinking to pieces. He didn’t want to know who the woman was but the policeman was showing him Melody’s ID.
“Noooo” Raphael shouted.
The policemen all looked at him. “Do you know her?”
They took the mobile car and rushed to the hospital.
Melody was declared out of danger after an hour. She had a fracture in the legs and her body was covered with cuts and bruises but she was alive. When she opened her eyes, Raphael was there beside her, washing away the fears and doubt planted in her heart.
He smiled and held her hands. “You’re okay. Out of danger.”
“I’m alive?” She said in disbelief.
“Yes, very much alive. God saved you for me.”
“Raphael, I don’t know what to say.”
“Then don’t say anything. Just take a rest and I’ll take you home when you get better.”
There wasn’t a time when Melody didn’t think of Raphael. To save herself from further torture she accepted Raphael’s offer. It was against her will but her heart dictated that she go to him.
They were both very happy together, stealing moments and consuming every little time they could take. Melody never complained if Raphael didn’t show up as promised. There were times when Raphael was out for three days and she spent her time alone, feeling lost. Yet, she understood the situation and accepted everything. When she agreed to the arrangement she already knew the consequences. She has to be strong and tough to face the realities she’d soon be facing.
In church when they knelt down to pray, Melody felt herself melting in shame and guilt. Even when they were with friends, she couldn’t help feeling guilty. Once she thought of giving up and ending the relationship but her love for Raphael took over and she changed her mind.
“Is something wrong, sweetheart?” it was Raphael. He was home early that day. And she knew why. He would be leaving her alone again in order to go home to his wife.
“Yes, something’s bothering me. There are lots of things that I don’t understand.”
“Like what?” he went to embrace her from the back.
“The usual feeling of the other woman in love.”
“What’s that suppose to mean?”
“There are times when I can’t accept the situation.”
“But we’re both very happy and we love each other.”
“yeah, I know that but it’s not only love that we are talking about. It’s about life. A fulfillment. A principle. And later on a family.”
“What’s wrong with that? Of course, a family comes next. Besides I’m determined to have my marriage annulled.”
Melody turned to face him. “And what would be your grounds for annulment?”
Raphael couldn’t answer. Melody was right. His wife is a good wife. She was never unfaithful to him. He didn’t love her as much as he loved Melody but what would his reason be for an annulment?
Melody walked to the window. She looked out and her sight was blocked by the tall condominium standing just beside the condo unit she was living in. she missed the view from her window. It was only at that moment that she felt suffocated in that lovely condominium given to her by Raphael.
He went to her. “Melody, please don’t leave me. I’ll do anything for you. I’ll find ways for us to be together.”
She looked at him, pity eating up her heart, but if she let things slip away again, she doubted if they could ever be free from the chain binding them.
“Raphael, it’s enough that we have proven that we love each other and we have tasted the joys together. But it isn’t right. You aren’t free now and we’re both committing a sin. If we don’t stop now, God will never forgive us.”
“Please, Melody. Don’t do this to me. I’ve been tortured for years and now that I’ve found you, I couldn’t set you free. Please, don’t.” He begged.
“Give me time, Raphael. If you seen me in church on Sunday, it means I’m coming back to you. If I don’t then you know that I’ll be gone forever. I love you but we met at the wrong time.”
Melody packed her things and went home. She locked in her room and cried for hours. The next day she drove her car around town trying to find the right answer to her problem. She passed by a day care center and stopped her car. The children were playing outside. She watched them for ten minutes as they played. She hasn’t bothered asking Raphael if he had children. They were both too busy doing things together that other things weren’t discussed.
What if he had kids? Could she allow them to suffer because of her? How about his wife? All these thoughts suddenly cleared her mind.
On Sunday morning, Raphael was in church praying for Melody to arrive. Suddenly he felt a light tap on his shoulder. When he looked up, his wife and two kids were smiling at him. He marveled at their lovely sight. His knees became weak and he knelt down again asking God to enlighten his mind. When he looked up again, nobody was there. He blinked his eyes several times and looked around but they were nowhere to be seen. Was it only his imagination?
Forgetting Melody, he ran to his car and raced home. He found his family waiting for him. The food on the table was starting to get cold.
He kissed the kids, went to his wife and hugged her tightly. “Come on, let’s eat.”
At the day care center that Sunday morning, Melody was talking to the directress. “Can I start tomorrow then?”
“Sure, Melody. We really need volunteer teachers here. These lovely kids have no parents. They need to have mothers like you.”
Melody looked at the rising sun. She prayed that Raphael was with his family that morning and not in the church waiting for her.
© 2018 Felisa Daskeo