I came to my office one morning and saw a stranger sitting on the desk next to mine. She didn’t look like someone waiting to meet someone. She was comfortably seated in the chair and typing something on the computer stationed on the desk. I greeted, “Good morning and who are you?” She looked at me and smirked. “My name is Sandra,” she said, “But you can call me Sandy. You might be Francis?”
“Yeah, I’m Francis. How did you know about me?”
“I started working in this office a week ago. They told me you were on leave.”
That was the beginning of the friendship between me and Sandy. She was in her fifth year in marriage when we met. I was in my third. It was a very small office secluded from the main compound of the company. Nobody came around except the cleaners. We were in the world of our own.
Five months after Sandra’s arrival, we had a new colleague, Evans. He was assigned to our office. He too was married. Three married people trapped in a cubicle. All our conversations centered around our jobs and our married life. We discussed issues with a free mind and listened to each other with an open heart.
If last night’s sex with her husband didn’t go well, Sandy will come and discuss with us, “Can you imagine what your brother did last night? I was so tired and wanted to sleep but your brother wouldn’t let me so I opened up for him. Could you believe he lasted for only two minutes?” Sometimes we would laugh at her awful lot and tease her for a while. Evans would talk about an instance where he had the same issue with his wife and how he made amends.
It was like a support system for each of us. When the home gets tough and you couldn’t wrap your head around the happenings in the home, there was this small cubicle you could come in the morning and free your mind. I woke up every morning and couldn’t wait to get to the office because of these two friends of mine. “What are they bringing to the board this morning?” I would ask.
At some point, I realized the changing aura in the room. Evans and Sandy were getting more closer and leaving me behind. They could go for lunch together and leave me behind. The places the three of us used to go, now they go without me. They spoke in whispers more and they threw blank glances at each other. We were not fighting so that didn’t bother me. I still took part in marital discussions and had fun doing it.
It was lunchtime. I asked them if they were ready. Sandy said, “I’m not going today. I ate not too long ago.” Evans said, “I have to finish these entries and send them to the top before the next hour.” I had to go alone. I picked my wallet and cutlery and left the office.
Midway through to the canteen, I decided to go back and pick my phone. I turned the knob and the door was locked. I shook the knob several times before Evans spoke. “Who’s that?” I didn’t talk back. I kept shaking the doorknob until the door got opened. I looked at their faces. You could see a mixture of guilt and shame on their faces. They both couldn’t look at me in the face. I watched Sandy carefully, there was something wrong about her appearance.
I asked, “Since when did we start closing this door?” Nobody spoke. They were just seated with eyes fixed on their computers as if the world was crashing down on their computers. I picked my phone and left.
I started piecing the recent happenings together to form an opinion. “These two are clearly having an affair. Closed door? Speaking in whispers? Going to places without me? This is clearly an affair.”
According to the Bro Code, men don’t lie to men in such situations so I cornered Evans and asked him about it. He said, “Yeah, it started not too long ago. We realized we had a thing for each other so we decided to give it a shot.”
“You decided to give what a shot? Are you both not happily married? Did you lie when you said so in our conversations?” I asked him. He said, “It’s not as if we are both leaving our spouses to get married. It’s just a fire we are both trying to quench.” He called what they were doing “Fire” and I was glad to hear that. Fire cooks your food but when you least expect it, it burns down your house. I told him, “You too are not kids and I’m not going to pretend I’m the saint among you but remember fire burns.”
Things changed a little bit around when I came to know the truth. Sandy got to know that I was aware of what was going on between them. She also told me her version; “This is not anything serious. Evans understands and we know our limits and boundaries.” One calls it “Fire” the other calls it “Not anything serious.” I could only sit and enjoy the charade.
Some days they acted lovey-dovey around me. My presence meant nothing to them and when the flames got high, I left the cubicle for them to burn it down. I’ll return back to the cubicle and all I could smell was sex. Maybe it was my mind playing tricks on me but I can swear what I smelled on my return felt like a mixture of sweat and sex. Some days I envy them. They were happy and really having the time of their lives. Talk about work and happiness.
We started as three couples who shared stories of their journeys in marriage with each other. All we had left was a couple who enjoyed making love when their friend was gone. There were advantages and disadvantages. When they had a fight, it affected me and my work. I couldn’t get any of them to do a simple job right. But when they were happy, they brought some kind of riddance to the little cubicle.
I didn’t judge them. I was only hoping the end wouldn’t be disastrous. That was two years ago and as I write this, the two are still together getting stronger each day. During our end of year party last December, the two of them came with their spouses. I stayed back and watched them. I couldn’t help it but be amazed by the way these two seemed so in love with their spouses. They avoided each other all night and stuck with their spouses. They smiled. They danced. They were happy.
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I asked myself, “What kind of devil is making this possible? That two individuals would love their spouses so much and still cheat with each other?
But love is a strange thing. It happens differently to different people. Some people will cheat when they don’t feel the love in their marriage but here are two idiots who have it all in their marriage and still seek more outside of it. What’s their excuse and what’s their motivation?
It’s been two years already and these two look like masters of their game. So far at work, there hasn’t been any suspicion of them so they carry on. I only pray that when their end comes, it wouldn’t also end their marriages.