I don’t know where it came from or why it came but it did. A hot sensation burned across my right cheek and the sky turned white then it went dark for a split second and a piercing sting rung through my ears resonating in my bones. I had been slapped, for the first time, by someone other than my mother. I could taste the blood on my tongue that coppery taste that seems to spread from the roof of your mouth down to your throat.
When you get slapped your reaction is not immediate. The world stops and you’re in a daze of sorts. You don’t seem to know what happened – it feels like an earthquake and a hurricane hit you at the same time. You need a few seconds to gather your bearings, you need a few seconds to recollect your thoughts, you need a few seconds to let the slap sink in and then you have a few seconds to react. YOU HAVE BEEN SLAPPED! What now? What next?
Your hand will rest on your burning cheek in disbelief, your lips might be slightly parted and your eyes might have a brim of tears balancing on the lower lids waiting for the slightest movement to roll down your cheeks. You will entertain the reprieve the warm tears will have on your sore check but won’t let them fall. You will close your eyes and take a deep breath. You will look up to face the antagonist and will see the fury in her eyes burning redder than a baboons hind quarters. You will see her hand ready for another strike and you will step back. You will watch as the force of her body throws her forward almost tripping as she misses. You will clench your fists instinctively ready to hit back – but you won’t – you will steady her and wonder when she bred the monster she’s now displaying.
She knows everything all the lies you told. She knows the late nights and overtime you put in at works was really dinner with Janet from HR. She knows that ‘Ken wa rent’ is her alias. She is not stupid why would Ken thank you for dinner and a romantic night? Why would Ken send you pictures of herself in red underwear and caption it with a heart emoji? Why would Ken call at 11 PM asking about rent deposits? Banks don’t even open at 11! You don’t know how long she has known and that scares you – it scares you more than her outburst after kissing her on the lips when you came in from the office.
You want to ask her how long she has known but it won’t make things any better, she knows. You wonder if she knows that over time Ken has been many different people not just Janet. Does she know that Ken was once Mary, her colleague or Joan her sister’s best friend? Does she know the perfue you gifted her is the same Janet wears? You did it to throw her off your scent. Genius! You thought. She won’t know if you smell of another woman if she smells like the other woman.
But you figure if she knew all that she would have stabbed you, so she doesn’t know. You want to console her and hug her and tell her everything will be alright that there will be no more Ken in your life. But how can you when Ken, sorry, Janet is heavy with your child. You don’t even have one with her, your own wife – Ken has robbed her of that. Your first child will be illegitimate. You told her you weren’t ready. You told her you needed to lay a strong foundation financially and emotionally. She believed you and was the good wife supporting your ambitions and goals.
Suddenly you want to slap yourself too. When did it all go to the dogs? Were you too blind to see you had a good thing going? Was the lure of Ken’s too strong to resist? You don’t even feel like ‘the man’ you don’t want to thump your chest. What you have done is crushed a heart – there’s nothing to brag about. So you walk away. Walk away from her. Walk away from her tears. Walk away from her pleas. Walk away from her life, sorry your life. Walk away from it all. Because the monster you saw in her eyes when she slapped you was you.