Broken Vows

I always gave little thought to the potential of losing my husband. Standing here in this moment, the thought became overwhelming as I stared out that patio window, my fingers clenched tightly around my husband’s wedding ring. 

            The year was 1976, and we were living in a quaint little town in upstate New York; the kind of town that never changes. We knew all our neighbors, and they knew us as well. The whole place had a very strong feeling of community and family. Nothing could go wrong, and if it did, you’d better believe that everyone would be there to help. 

            My husband and I were happy. We owned a lovely little house on Ruth Drive, and had a beautiful little Yorkshire Terrier puppy, whom we named Ronald. Mr. Burtson and I rarely fought, for we agreed on most everything. That was the reason we were married; we got along effortlessly. 

            One night stood out among the rest of them, and it occurred just this past Wednesday. Mr. Burtson and I got into an argument that I couldn’t have prevented even if I had tried.

            “Amelia, how do you expect me to just be okay with this? We’ve been married for six years already.”

            “We can still be happy without children, Adam. It’s not my fault that I haven’t been able to fall pregnant yet. We’ve tried so hard!”

            “I think we may need a break. This is something I need to think about for some time.”

            Mr. Burtson left that evening; he left me alone with Ronald and his wedding ring. I haven’t been able to put the damned thing down since. I sat in my bedroom for three days, dwelling on my prized husband leaving me over something so out of my control. 

            This morning was different. I needed to get him back. I sat down at my kitchen table with his wedding ring still clutched in my fingers and my phone book next to me. I began dialing the number for every motel in the area. I asked 3 motels if an Adam Burtson was staying there and was let down. Nearly ready to give up with tears in my eyes, I dialed the number for the one remaining motel in the area. 

            “Hello! This is Motel 74. How may I help you?”

            “I’m looking for an Adam Burtson. He’s had a family emergency and I was hoping that you could let me know his room number.”

            “Absolutely ma’am. It looks like he is staying is room 19.”

            I hung up the phone and shoved the wedding ring into my pocket. Since Mr. Burtson had taken the family car, I set off walking. I walked for what felt like days before I finally arrived at the motel. I checked the door to see if it was locked and found that it swung open effortlessly.

            I dug through my purse and pulled Adam’s wedding ring out. I held it tight as I stood in the doorway, staring through the room. He wasn’t there. I moved into the room farther and noticed movement behind the patio window.  

            Adam sat at a table on the patio, smiling and holding hands with a woman that sat across the table from him. My heart sank, as I stood there, wishing so desperately that I could be that woman. 

            I’d never experienced the feeling of jealousy before, as I’d always had what I wanted. I am sure, now, that this is what it feels like to be jealous of another person. To wish so desperately that I could have what they possess. I want my husband back, and I want to take him back from this vile woman. How dare she steal what is mine!

            My body began to tremble moments before, and it continues as I am walked up to the window. Raising a hand to the glass, I must keep myself contained. I must act rationally. Oh, but it is so very hard to do so. 

            I tap my finger against the glass, alerting my husband and the adulteress that I am there. Adam stands to walk to me, but I stand in the way of the door.

            “No, Adam. She deserves to know, just like I deserved to know.”

            I walk out to the patio table where the woman sits, a look of shock mixed with horror now plastered across her face. I hold my hand above the woman’s drink and let Adam’s wedding ring slip from my fingers.



  hours  minutes  seconds


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