Chapter Eight

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Martha Albert was seated alone with her daughter, Theresa, at the dining table as they had dinner. Her daughter had been sullen for the past few days and this disturbed her. She had tried probing her about it, but, all her efforts haf been futile. She was about to ask her again when Theresa looked up;

"Mommy?"

"Yes honey?"

"Why does Daddy always come home when it's very late?"

So, this was it. Martha had suspected this all along. Jack always came home late at night, and by the time he came, Theresa was usually asleep. She hardly ever saw her father.

"Daddy is very busy, honey. He has a lot of work to do."

"Would it be okay if I start following him to work?"

Martha was filled with ruth for her daughter's sadness.

"That won't be possible sweetie. You have school to go to, and he needs to concentrate on his work."

"Okay." Tessy nodded.

It hurt Martha to see Tessy sad. She wished she could take all her sadness upon herself, just so she could be happy.

"You know Daddy loves you, right?"

"I don't think so." Tessy began playing with her spoon.

Martha knew her daughter enough to know that she was at the verge of tears. She took one of Tessy's hands in her both hands.

"Honey, your Daddy loves you so much. I'm very sure of that. Do you know he gives you a goodnight kiss every night while you're sleeping. He always does that before he goes to bed."

"He does?" Theresa smiled.

"Of course, he does. He loves you so much. So, cheer up, honey. And eat up, before your food gets cold."

Tessy continued eating. Her smile didn't go unnoticed by Martha, and this gladdened Martha's heart.

"Mommy, I have something to show you." Tessy said just as she finished eating.

"What's that, honey?"

"I'll go get it." She said, as she ran in the direction of her bedroom.

Martha began clearing the table where thay had just ate. She sighed at the sight of Jacks untouched food. Martha couldn't remember the last time Jack had dinner with his family. He always arrived home late and by that time, Martha and Tessy would have long eaten and Tessy would be sleeping.

Martha had started noticing this over a month ago, after their big arguement. The argument where she had failed to control her tongue. After that argument, she expected things to come back to normal as usual. But, this one was so different. Things never came back to normal.

Martha was filled with a great sense of regret. She couldn't blame Jack at all, because, she realized the gravity of what she had said. If only she could turn back the hands of time, she would do things a lot differently. Now, her inability to tame her tongue was resulting in her crumbling marriage.

Martha couldn't count the number of times she had pleaded with Jack to forgive her. But, Jack always said that he wasn't holding any grudge against her. But, how was she supposed to belive that when Jack had become a completely different person from the man she had married. She fought back tears as she recalled those times when they were best of friends. There was hardly anything they couldn't talk about. But, now they could hardly engage eachother in a conversation. They had fallen back to the level of 'hello' and 'hi' and this grieved Martha's heart.

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