This moment, I thought, was what perfect happiness felt like. It
was a warm, beautiful summer day and I lay on the blanket, still
holding Kat in my arms. Everything felt right. Like this was
exactly how things were supposed to be from the beginning. It was
as if I captured that feeling of a good stretch in the morning,
and held on to it for hours.
Kat's hair smelled of roses and sunshine and I never wanted to
stop pressing kisses to her neck and lips and forehead, or
caressing her creamy skin as I traced the clusters of freckles
across her shoulders and down her back with my fingertips.
I thought about how fortunate it was that we had this place. It
would be our escape. We could come here to be together. Maybe not
every day, or even a few times a week, but definitely sometimes.
Maybe on Saturdays.
My mind was occupied, coming up with scenarios and details of how
it would work, and I was taken off guard when Kat sat up. She
shrugged her clothes back on, and her hands trembled as she
worked the buttons and brushed dirt and grass from her skirt.
Pushing myself up, I noticed the tears beginning to stream down
her face. When I touched her shoulder, she began sobbing
violently. I tried to pull her into my arms again, but she
lurched away, covering her face with her hands, continuing to
I sat for several minutes, unsure of what to do while she cried.
When she spoke, her words made my stomach drop.
"This was a horrible mistake," she mumbled into her hands.
"Kat..." I tried. How could she even think that? It had been the
best experience of my life, and I was sure it was the same for
She turned her reddened, tear stained face to me. "It should
never have happened, John. You're my sister's husband."
"I love you, Kat. Tell me you regret that," I said. "That what we
"It doesn't matter, John!" she insisted. "It was wrong!"
Wrong? My entire marriage was wrong. That's the thing that should
have never happened. Even at the best of times with Jenny, it had
never been like this.
"Tell me you don't love me," I demanded. Couldn't she see how
wonderful this was? It was because we loved each other the way we
did that made it so amazing. I understood that now.
"Alright." She raised her chin stubbornly. "If that's what you
need to hear, I don't love you. I hate you."
"You were never a good liar, Kat," I said, flatly. I knew it
wasn't the truth, but the words still felt like a knife.
She shook her head. "How we feel doesn't matter, John. This is
the end of it. It shouldn't have happened."
Regret? What that all she was feeling now? I sighed, looking down
at my hands. If only things had been different.
"If I could just go back all those years ago..."
"But we can't." She was crying again. "We've got to move forward
and we've got to put this behind us."
Put it behind us. Never speak of it or repeat it. How was that
even going to be possible? I wanted to argue, and I would just as
soon as I could organize my thoughts.
She couldn't really mean it, could she?
"If you truly love me, you'll let me go," she whispered.
Let her go? Did she feel trapped and like she wouldn't have a
choice if I didn't agree?
I searched her face as she stared back at me, pleading. I knew
that she understood I'd never force her to do anything, but she
was worried that she wouldn't be strong enough to resist if I
tried to persuade her. If I fought her on this and won, she'd
regret it, like she did now. Only it would be worse every single
time. Eventually she'd hate herself and me for it.
I knew I could never do that to her.
"Alright," I said quietly. The word burned on the way out.
Seeming both relieved and wounded, she buried her face in her
hands again, crying.
Watching her, I despised myself. As always, Kat was going to
blame herself the most, and I knew that she would never forgive
herself for this.