Short Story: The Swing

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The story is now revised to include an intriguing Louisiana setting with the most unusual ending and is part of four stories available now in Amazon:

They said 1965 was going to be a rather eventful year and I guess those old bastards at the diner were right. Come to think of it, many things had already happened with Malcolm X gone in February initiating a rise in civil unrests and if I got my stories right, it was the same year when national issues began to make their most unlikely impact in the international arena beginning with the Vietnam War. I remember how hot the news got when 25,000 protesters did the SDS march expressing resentment at the American bombing of North Vietnam. Yup, the memories weren’t all too sweet and to be true, they weren't so on the personal front as well.

You may wonder why, so I will tell you. 1965 was also the same year when my wife Emily decided that life without me would be the way to go. It blew my life apart. You see, my wife wasted no time throwing dirt back at me when she said walking out on me was the best thing she ever did in her entire life.

When she handed me the papers that would seal our lives completely apart just a couple of weeks ago, three weeks to be exact, I had pondered over the matter rather deeply. I had invested ten years of my life into this woman, providing and loving her every step of the way, and giving her just about anything she wanted from this world. But now, she decided that it was not what she wanted anymore and that she was bored. But what she eventually chose was something I never quite understood. It was the one man she claimed to have loved all these years. And that man was to be my best friend. Like a fool I believed in both of them not knowing the web of deception they had already sewn for me. It was a double blow as you can well imagine!

Of course I had never expected to face betrayal at the hands of my own best friend, Charles O’Hara. I had known him since I was a kid when we were schoolboys at Kirk’s Elementary School, much longer than I ever knew Emily. The thought of having been betrayed by someone you trusted all your life, produced a rather conflictual feeling indeed when all feelings come into question and you wonder if you had perhaps been responsible in propagating that effect at all.

When I recall every bit of conversation and every glance that Emily gave Charles, I knew I should have been more vigilant. Because if I had been the husband who never believed in trust, I would have been quick to catch the way her eyes had doted upon him and the times when she would smile and seek a personal joint with him. And the high phone bills should have told me more because if I had just done my homework, I would have found out that the long bills were ascribed to only one phone number - the number to the residence of one Charles O'Hara.

Like a fool, I had remembered telling Charles many a time to guard my wife while I was away on my business trips. It began with me asking him to make a phone call or two then when I thought I could trust him for more, the biddings went on to include making sure Emily took her diabetic pills. You see, she suffered terrible fainting spells if she missed them and I had asked Charlie to watch her lest she went into one again. The tasks then just went on from there on to even getting the groceries for Emily if my trip stretched two weeks of more.

Little did I realize that the old coot had other plans and my neighbor, old Mrs. Worthington, had later commented she even saw the man kiss Emily on the lips, a long French kiss that stopped when she had knocked on the window wanting some sugar to bake a pound cake. I was outraged of course! Who wouldn’t be but then my mother told me, I had really created the capacity for their own little world to mold the way it did. She told me with the old round glasses perched on her big nose, the same nose I got born with in the end, that it was wrong to have left them alone together like that for days on end. Mom was right. It was my mistake indeed! I should not have any one else to blame not even Charlie for that.