His blood boiled inside his veins, and his heart started galloping when he saw them together for the first time. How could she do that to him after 65 years of marriage?
But what made him even angrier was the story his wife tried to give him. And to make things worse, it wasn’t a one-time thing. He started following her, and he soon learned that she saw that same man every day. But when he looked closer, he realized something that sent a chill down his spine: he recognized that man.
To everyone who knew them, Sam and Amelia, from Florence, South Carolina, were the very image of an enduring, tender, and deep love. They married when he was 26, and she was 22, 65 years ago.
Since then, their relationship has been a haven of harmony and love. They never had a major fight, they solved their disagreements peacefully, and they seemed to be able to read each other’s minds to perfection. But what was their secret?
“We just don’t sweat the petty stuff,” they used to say to their two kids, Brenda and Mark, who had families of their own.
Sam and Amelia just had such a deep trust in each other that they didn’t interpret anything the other did in a bad light. They were assured of their mutual love and always did their best to understand and support each other through thick and thin. However, this would soon change.
One day, Sam arranged an evening out at the bar with some friends. They were men he had known since he was a youngster; despite their age, they still enjoyed hanging out around some beers to talk shop and reminisce about the good old days.
What Sam didn’t know was that this day would carry a revelation that would turn his whole world upside down.
As he put his jacket on and grabbed his wallet and keys, Sam kissed his wife goodbye and asked her for her plans for the evening. “I guess I’ll just stay home reading my book. Maybe I’ll call Brenda,” she said.
Sam walked out the door and headed to his car. But right before he opened the door and jumped in the front seat, certain thoughts popped into his mind.
He decided there was no need for him to take the car. After all, the bar where he was meeting his friends was in the neighborhood, and he could go there walking, even though it would take him a little longer.
So he got on his way, enjoying the evening breeze and the pinkish tone of the sunset. But 15 minutes into his walk, he saw something that made his stomach drop to his knees.
As he turned a corner, he spotted something going down the street: it was his car. And it was Amelia driving it! Where was she going?
From a distance, he saw the car parking on one of the streets nearby. Amelia got out and started walking. Clearly, she didn’t know Sam was watching her. The bewildered husband started following her, wondering what she could be up to.
After walking for a few minutes, Amelia entered a cafe. Sam hid behind a car, trying to peek through the window to see what his wife was doing. His heart started galloping when she saw her sitting at a table with another man.
What the heck was that? Was Amelia having an affair? Sam’s mind went blank. He could have never suspected something like that of his wife, who he thought he knew better than anyone else. Quickly, he took his phone out of his pocket and dialed a number.
He called his friends and told them he was feeling sick, so he wouldn’t go to the bar with them that night. Then, he headed home, ready to ask his wife what she had been up to.
Shortly after, Amelia came back from whatever she had been doing with that stranger. Sam didn’t think twice: he asked her what she had been up to. His wife’s response made him see red.
“Oh, I just took a drive to the park. It’s so nice outside. How about you? You came back really early,” she said, visibly nervous. It broke Sam’s heart to hear this. Why was she lying? Surely, she couldn’t be up to anything good.
“I just felt tired. I’ll go to bed now, goodnight,” he said, turning his back on her and walking up the stairs to his bedroom. When she arrived after having dinner, he pretended to be asleep. But he stayed awake the entire night, thinking about what was happening.
The following day, Amelia left the house again to get some groceries. And once again, Sam followed her. After she left the grocery store, he saw her walking to the same cafe as the other day, where she met with that man again.
Sam didn’t have the heart to keep witnessing the scene, and he just stormed back to the house. How could she do that to him? Who was that man?
The same routine continued for days; every day, Amelia would give some excuse to leave the house, get followed by Sam, and meet with that stranger again. Usually, Sam was just unable to keep looking. He didn’t know what to say to his wife either. He was just consumed by disappointment and sadness.
Until one day, Sam gathered the courage to get closer and examine that man’s face. When he realized who he was, he saw red. He became more enraged than ever before.
That man was his brother Michael. Sam hadn’t seen him in more than 40 years. After he returned from his service in Vietnam, he became a loose canon, got involved with the city’s underworld, and even did time in prison. Ever since then, they had lost contact.
What was he doing there now? Why were his wife and him meeting behind Sam’s back? He decided that this was enough. Blind with fury, he entered the cafe and stormed towards Amelia and Michael’s table. “What the heck is going on here?” he yelled. And that’s when he felt something.
Tears were running down his face for the first time in dozens of years. A moment of silence followed. Then, Michael and Amelia got up and hugged Sam. Sam pushed them away and just stared at them, his face contorted by disappointment.
“I’m so sorry, Sam. I’ll explain it to you. Please, don’t cry,” Amelia said as tears started flooding her eyes as well. “I’ve been trying to reach Michael for some months. I found a way to contact him a few weeks ago, and I decided to reach out and talk to him.”
“I know you two had your disagreements many years ago and stopped talking. But that was so long ago. You’re family at the end of the day. Life is too short to stay angry at each other after so many years, and I thought it would be nice for you and your brother to reconcile while you still have the chance.”
“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about it, but I was afraid you may still be angry at him. Please forgive me,” she sobbed. Sam was left speechless, and tears started to subside. The three of them joined in a tight hug and headed home. They had a lot to talk about. In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead are entirely coincidental.