Broken Pot


It was the darkest day in Jerry’s Life. He never admitted to pain before even in his younger days, but now, he did. He felt like his heart is bleeding as he reads a part of Melanie’s letter that says:
…I’ve been following you in secret to see how well you have been handling this affair with that woman. Hoping that one day, everything will come to an end. Quietly, I tried to do everything I could to win back your attention again. But in vain, I guess. Because until now, you still go out with her. After seeing the two of you together again yesterday afternoon, I have decided to give up the fight. I will leave. I couldn’t stand the pain of losing you gradually. I couldn’t accept the fact that you don’t love me anymore…

“You shouldn’t have left,” Jerry uttered as he closes the letter with shaking hands, “it’s not what you’re thinking, Melanie. I could have explained things to you if only you had stayed. I love you very much…”

“He suddenly found himself grabbing the phone and dialing some phone numbers that belong to Melanie’s friends and relatives; a thing he hasn’t done before. Unfortunately, none of them can tell him her whereabouts. She left with Lantel, their two year old son. He knows he can only blame himself for what has happened.

“She’s a very pretty lady,” Melanie exclaimed while preparing his breakfast.

“Lady? Who?”

“I’m talking about the picture in your wallet.”

Surprised, Jerry almost blew out the coffee from his mouth. Melanie has found out about Jessica’s picture. He started to perspire.

“Hey, it seems you’ve been checking my wallet without my knowledge.”

“Of course not. It was an accident. It fell open while I’m preparing the laundry a while ago. Why? Is there any problem?”

“None. Actually, that woman is our new sales secretary. She gave that picture to me as a remembrance.”

“And what for?”

“I don’t know. It might be because she finds me charming,” Jerry said while laughing. Hoping that it could shake off any suspicion in his wife’s mind.

“But you were still keeping it. You even placed it beside my photo. Why? Is she that special?”

“No. Of course not. I just forgot to remove it. She gave it to me just yesterday. I don’t really want to take it but I don’t want to offend her. Come on, Darling. It’s not a big deal.”

He was lying! Actually, he has been keeping that picture for several weeks now.

“You shouldn’t do such a thing. You might make her feel like you also have interest in her. Don’t be too much of a gentleman.”

“Okay, sorry about that. I’ll take your advice.”

Then, he gave out a sigh of relief. It seems, his tactics to mislead her was a big success.

Jessica and him started having an affair almost three months ago. She’s new in the office and since her first day, she would keep on throwing glances at him. She continued doing that for days even if she knows that he was already married. After several days, she started talking to him in manners so sweet, asking him to help her with some things she can’t understand about the operation. 

Day by day, she keeps on finding ways to get near him. He knows she’s flirting. He easily sensed the danger but no matter how hard he's tried to avoid being caught, it seems, this woman is crafty enough in getting what she wanted. So, he finally gave in. He was ensnared. Days passed and they began playing some kind of an unwanted game together.

“I’ll be late for dinner. I have an appointment with a client tonight.”

“But why at night?”

“Why do you ask that kind of question? I’m a salesman. It’s part of my job.”

“But you don’t usually meet with your clients at night.”

“Well, I’m afraid there has been some changes in the office. Things like this will happen frequently.”

Scenes and conversations such as this one became usual in the house ever since his relationship with Jessica began. There has been so much changes. So much lying. Sometimes, he wonders if Melanie could notice. She is always the quiet type. She doesn’t talk too much, doesn’t say a lot of words and keeps things to herself most of the time.

“Have you noticed my hair?” Melanie asked him one evening while they were having dinner.

Actually, it wasn’t just her hair that he took notice of. Gosh! She had a complete makeover.

“Oh, yeah! You look great. I wonder how much of our budget was spent for that fascinating transformation…”

He was joking here, of course.

“Almost half of it. Just to get you sending me flowers again.”

Now, he wasn’t sure if Melanie is joking. But those words were a slap to his face. Is she insinuating that he has been neglecting her?

Oh yes, there has been so many changes in her, too. He would often catch her staring nowhere. There has also been times of unusual quietness in her. She is often absent-minded. Like that morning, she fried eggs without salting them. Then, one of the plates fell asunder to the floor when she washed the dishes. And what’s the worst? She accidentally burnt his favorite shirt when she ironed it. But he can’t be angry with her. He just can’t. Knowing that what he’s been doing in secret is a lot worse. She should burn him to death!

One morning, when he woke up, he saw Melanie from the window of their room. She was at the garden, kneeling on the ground in front of a broken pot where her orchids were planted. She was crying, sobbing and not noticing him coming. He knelt beside her and watched her gather bit by bit the broken pieces of the pot.

“What happened?” he asked her. His voice surprised her.

“It fell. I don’t know why. I looked after it. I took good care of it. But after all, it fell…”

By instinct, he drew her near him and closed his arms around her. When he did so, she cried all the more. His heart was prickled while hearing her sobs. He felt he was the one she was referring to when she said those things. Melanie is a very good wife. Devoted…hardworking…too good to be true. And yet, he has managed to cheat on her. He wanted to slap his thick face and say to his numb conscience, “You should have been fair to her. If not faithful, at least, fair!”

He noticed the blood on her hands. Maybe they were cut by some of the broken pieces of the pot. Cut by the very thing that she has treasured and taken care of.

“Let’s go inside. I’ll take care of your wounds,” he said while helping her get up.

That day, he couldn’t concentrate in the office. As usual, Jessica, that devil in disguise, was there. But he hardly noticed her presence no matter how she tried to connect with him. He can’t explain why all of a sudden, he completely lost interest in her. All day, it was Melanie on his mind...his poor wife. He left the office at 3:00 p.m.

On his way home, he was thinking of making-up with her. He was planning to take her out for a dinner so she'll start feeling again that she is very important. That she is very much loved. Yet, he felt his heart beating fast when he reached the house. There is no one inside. No Melanie. No Lantel. And there was an unfolded letter on the center table of the living room. It was from Melanie. After reading it, he felt shattered. Broken into pieces just like that orchid pot in the garden.

“If you only know, I’m about to put an end to this craziness. I just need enough time,” he mumbled.

After making so much of those unsuccessful phone calls, he stood up and went inside their room. It was so meaningless to look at without his family around. Without hearing the laughter of his son and seeing the smile from the face of his wife. So, it was this painful. He hasn’t thought it will be like this.

He opened the window and from there, he saw Melanie’s orchids. He noticed that she didn’t buy a new pot for them. She just fixed the old one. And so, that’s what he’ll do. He will start fixing the broken pieces of their lives.

“Melanie, I will find you. No matter what the cost is. I will bring you back to this house. And once I did, I’ll never let you go again. I will not let a thing like this happen to us again. I promise.”

Yes, it was the darkest day in his life. But in that darkness, a flash of hope sparked.


[I've written this short story more than 10 years ago. I got the inspiration to write this because one of my office mates asked for my help in finding a short story for his son's project. Since we cannot find an appropriate short story, I told her that I will just create one for her in less than 12 hours.]

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