Michela Walters’s Picture Choice: Both
Title: Two Lives
“We can’t keep doing this, Ramón.” Claudia mumbled, her discouraged voice barely carrying across the windswept patio.
His thick Catalan accent replied tersely from across their table. “Of course we can. Once you get rid of that-- how do you say-- idiot of a husband, you could come be with me all the time in Barcelona.”
Once again, her lover had oversimplified their situation. It was one thing to causally hook up at conferences, like the first time they’d met four years ago and an entirely other thing to actually plan to meet in Turkey when she alone was here for business. The guilt of her subversive actions had been taking its toll on her ever since Ramón had stepped up his courting from monthly to weekly. Her husband was beginning to wonder why her work was dragging her away from dinner and their movie nights. Claudia couldn’t tell him “oh that’s just the tall, dark and handsome man I met at a conference. The one who I’ve been fucking all over the globe for the last four years.” Yeah, she didn’t think that would go over well. Things had been so casual for years. It was merely a discreet tryst when they’d both happen to be in the same city for trade shows or conferences they regularly attended. The situation had oddly ramped up in the last six months with Ramón seeking her out more often, culminating in the trip to Turkey where he had no business being.
“Claudia, look at me.”
She finally turned away from the sea to look into his expressive eyes. “You know why I can’t. I have a life in Miami, my family, friends. You’re a great lover, but I vowed to never move for a man, and I refuse to do that now.” Claudia winced at the utter shock littering Ramón’s face. It was as if she wielded a sword and sliced him in two.
Standing, he withdrew from her touch as she tried to reach out to soothe him. “If that is all I am to you, then I think you’re right. We shouldn’t keep doing this, as my heart is invested far too much.
The wind picked up, blowing her hair in front of her eyes, shielding her from having to witness this man. This amazing specimen of sexy machismo that drew her in like no one ever had. Blinding her from having to see him be vulnerable and depressed. It was more than she could bear, yet she also knew it had to end. She loved her life in Miami, her job running the global marketing division of Beleza Cosmetics. Her fling with Ramón added a splash of adventure that had been missing in her, ships passing in the night, marriage. It was never meant to last as long as it did and the guilt was consuming her. When Mario and her had finally had a week straight of being home at the same time, they’d talked, reconnected and even spoke about starting a family. Something she couldn’t do without cutting the cord of her relationship with her lover.
“I’m married.” She exhaled as if admitting it was hard work. “You’ve always known that, and I never offered anything more than what we have.”
Ramón took two steps towards the door, before pausing as if carefully considering his last words. “That is your choice, love. But once I’m done, I’m done -- so be confident in your decision before I leave -- for I won’t look back.” He started for the exit and Claudia let him walk out of her life, hoping she wouldn’t someday regret it.
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Michela Walters is a wife, mother and book enthusiast. She is currently attempting her hand at writing her first romantic fiction novella. You can read her other stories on her blog: michelawalters.wordpress.com