Thursday, 28 February 2013

Enter Michael, the Archangel

*Present day*

Like Clarke Kent or Peter Parker, I seem to have developed a secret identity. On the surface, I'm a hard working wife and mother, but behind the scenes I'm... something... to a prison inmate. I haven't yet quite figured out what I am to Eden, or what Eden is to me, and I don't think I will know until he's released.

It's been surprisingly easy, I'm shocked at my ability to hide the evidence, to lead two lives. But I am a communicator, I like to talk things out, and the lack of talking has resulted in a plethora of thoughts invading my mind. It's difficult to focus on anything else with so many questions flying left and right, knowing that only time will reveal the answers. 

When you've been with someone so long it can be difficult to talk to others about your relationship, everyone knows you as one half of a couple, rather than as an individual. I don't want anyone to feel like they have to choose a side, I don't want to impart the responsibility of my secrets onto a mutual friend or a family member. This is my burden, and mine alone. 

Michael the Archangel swooped down from the clouds, taking me by surprise. Humorous, intelligent and easy to talk to, Michael is like a more sensitive version of Han Solo. An impartial party, completely objective because of the fact that he doesn't know Adam or Eden (in fact he hardly knows me), he has quickly become my confidante, my counsellor. We've only met in person once and already I've revealed my secret identity, and although this makes me feel incredibly vulnerable, I'm also feeling relieved. Michael's unbiased point of view and thought provoking comments are helping me find clarity. Michael need only to ask me how I am and I'll completely divulge my truths, eager to hear his wise words. But at what cost?

I can't help but fear that I'm adding another dimension to the saga that is my life. Could my act of opening up to someone who is practically a stranger, and a married man at that, be just another step in my downward spiral? What is it that makes someone turn to an online friend before turning to a real life one?

But the strangest thing of all is my imagination. Whilst I'm prepared to accept that Eden, on his fifth stint in prison, is a sweet, loving and perfectly safe man, a small part of me has toyed with the idea that Michael is possibly a deranged serial killer who hunts down vulnerable young women on the internet, taking his time to woo them with his witticisms and charm, perhaps seeking to secure an invitation to discuss my troubles over wine, at which point he'll cut me up into small pieces and dispose of my body bit by bit across the west Australian coast line...

Or perhaps he's just a nice guy...

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

He loves me, he loves me not

*Present Day*

It had been 42 hours since my last call from Eden and I was going out of my mind. I needed to know what was going on. I called the Correctional Centre to ask if by chance he had been relocated. I was advised that he was indeed still there. I felt slightly better, though a nagging voice in my head was still whispering
If he loved you he would call...

I decided that it was time I distracted myself, sitting by the phone was not working out for me. I plugged my earphones in, turned the music up as loud as it would go, and got stuck into some work. I started to feel better, I'd been thinking about nothing but Eden for days, it was a relief to finally switch off. My phone rang a couple of times, the first my mother, the second my friend, and I happily chatted away and thought nothing of it. When I hung up from the second call, I received a text informing me that I had a voicemail message.


Sure enough the voicemail was from Eden, and there was no way I could call him back. My heart sank right down into the pit of my stomach. I couldn't believe I had missed his call. I tried my hardest to focus on my work again, but I just couldn't, I was so disappointed. 

I headed into a meeting and sat there staring at the papers in front of me. I was rude, dismissive and irritable because it was the last place I wanted to be, and my colleague was the last person I wanted to be talking to. Then my phone rang.

I picked it up and ran from the room, ducking straight into an empty office and closing the door. 

"Hi!" I practically shouted at the end of the automated Correctional Services greeting. 
"Hey! How ya goin? I tried to call you earlier!" Eden sounded as excited as I was. 

He explained that the previous day they had been in lockdown, so no one was allowed out of their cells, and I couldn't hide the happiness from my voice, I was overjoyed to hear it. We talked quickly, trying to fit as much in as we could in the six minutes we had. And yet he still said none of the things I wanted to hear, and I still said none of the things I wanted to say.

I hung up the phone and skipped back to my meeting. I apologised to my colleague, took my seat and spent the next 30 minutes being very polite and productive. A six minute phone call and I was on top of the world again.

He may not have said it, but he doesn't need to.
I just know it, I've always known it, since the day I met him.
There's something magical about Eden and I.
He loves me. I know he loves me.
Doesn't he?

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Call me my love, please call me

*Present Day*

I lay on the living room floor with my eyes closed. I was so tired. A drunken night, an emotionally draining prison visit and the long drive home. My children played around me and I could feel myself drifting off to sleep. I couldn't resist the darkness, it felt like so long since I'd had any rest.

I heard my phone chime and was jostled awake. Feeling slightly annoyed, I ran my hand along the carpet, searching for it. Holding it up in front of my blurry, half asleep eyes, I was confused. It said I had a text from Eden. I rubbed my eyes and sat up, was I dreaming? He couldn't text me from jail! I opened the message and tried not to gasp in surprise, Adam was sitting in the next room and I didn't want him to ask me who it was. It was Eden's mum.

"It's Dawn. Did you see my son today?"

That was all it said. I froze. We'd only met once, many years ago. I could feel my breath catching in my throat, why on earth was she contacting me? What had Eden told her? I tried to sound as friendly as I could in my reply. I figured she might be worried about him, she might want to know how he was.

"Hi Dawn. Yes I saw him, he looked really good. Much happier than the last time I saw him."

We exchanged a few texts before she said,

"Thank you. I hear you have 3 children now?"

Oh... She remembered me, she knew who I was... The married girl who broke her sons' heart. I'm a mother of a boy myself, and I know how I would feel about me, if I were her...

Three days later my mobile rang, it was an unknown number. When I answered it I heard an automated greeting  advising me that I was receiving a call from the Correctional Centre. I jumped for joy and ran outside. Of course it was Eden, calling just to hear my voice. He explained that it took a couple of days to have my number added to his list. I told him about the messages from his mum and he was quite angry. He had asked her not to turn his phone on, I think he was worried about what she would read in there. Suddenly, so was I. Eden had kept all of our messages. ALL OF OUR MESSAGES. If she saw the way I spoke to him... oh dear. In my defense, Eden was the only person who I'd ever spoken to like that, he managed to bring out a different side in me, and the thought of that side being exposed to his mother sent a shiver down my spine. He ended the call quickly so he could phone his brother and tell him to give his mother a message.

The following day, he called me first thing. Over night I had rehearsed all of the things I wanted to say to him but as soon as I heard his voice, I forgot every word. I was too smitten. I told him that I had posted him some socks because I was thoughtful like that. He called me again that day, before he was locked into his cell for the night. We didn't really talk about anything in particular, but it was nice anyway.

The problem now is that he's set a precedent. I haven't heard from him today and I'm going out of my mind. I can't focus on anything, I just sit here, analysing all of the possibilities. Perhaps he's been moved? He did tell me that there will be no warning, he'll be taken to the truck and shipped off to another centre. Perhaps he's in trouble? Perhaps he ran out of money? It's quite expensive to call mobiles from in there. Should I send him some money? Then the fear hits me. If I'm not careful, I could become that person... maybe he doesn't love me... maybe he just loves the way I love him... The way I would do anything for him...

I like to think that I know him, that there is no way he would use me. But there's a little voice in the back of my mind that says maybe, just maybe, 8 years and several prison visits have changed him, hardened him... Maybe I don't know him at all. And the longer I wait to hear his voice, the louder that little voice in my mind gets.

Call me my love. Please call me.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

14. Secretville Part Two

*Present day*

Part one is here

We found the table with the number two marked on it, as instructed, and sat down.

"How've you been? What you been up to? You look half asleep!" Eden laughed.
I explained that I was terribly hungover which made him green with envy. Seven days without alcohol was apparently hard work, the first thing he wanted when he was released was a beer. Nice to have goals I guess... 

Eden explained that he was in maximum security because he'd threatened a guard. I just stared at him while he spoke. Not even the security guards, bad haircut and white jumpsuit could make me think he was dangerous, he was still my sweet, loving Eden.
"I don't get it. I don't see it. Maximum security? You?"
"You'll get it one day." He looked away as he replied, seeming slightly sad.

When he explained what had happened, I understood. I knew where he was coming from, and in my short time there, I witnessed it first hand. Some of the guards were patronising, condescending, arrogant and downright rude. Not one to be intimidated by a uniform on a power trip, Eden had given a guard a piece of his mind. And for that he was dangerous. Apparently. He explained his view that security guards were usually the fat kids who were bullied in school and out to get their revenge. He was so insightful some times, as I looked around the white-walled room at the guards I could picture each of them as a tubby, unpopular teen.

I gazed into Eden's eyes while we were talking. They were so clear, I felt like he was looking right into my soul, I felt that if I didn't look away, he was going to see something that I wasn't ready to share. I was also overcome with desire. His beautiful, sober eyes may have aged over the last 8 years, but they still consumed me. How on earth can he still have this much power over me?

I was hoping that my visit would be a surprise but it turned out his brother had told him I was coming. I hadn't considered that when I messaged his brother on Facebook to ask if it was ok if I visited. Inmates were only allowed one visit each week and I didn't want to get in the way of family. Eden said that he'd checked with the office a couple of days before to make sure that I'd booked in. He also mentioned that he'd been dancing in his cell that morning. I guess he was excited to see me after all.

He mentioned that he'd received my letter and I blushed a deep, ruby red. The problem with words on paper is that sometimes you don't realise how much you're revealing until it's too late. I wished I hadn't sent it, and I told Eden this. He smiled, "Obviously you had to get something off your chest." He always had this uncanny ability to make me completely spill my guts and I hated it. I wished I could keep my cards closer to my chest.

"Did you have a date for Valentines Day?" I asked, trying to make a joke.
"Yeah, I did!" He laughed as he turned towards an inmate at a neighbouring table. "Hey Danny, I gave you a Valentines present didn't I?"
A tall, thin guy with dark hair who looked to be in his mid 20s turned towards us.
"You sure did, sweetest thing ever, little present left on my pillow with a love heart and all!" They both laughed.
"So you've got friends in here then?" I asked.
"Yeah, heaps..." Eden began to tell me about a few of the people he knew and what they were in for.

I looked back at Danny, intrigued. On the surface, he appeared to be a nice guy. He had a friend and girlfriend visiting him and a toddler who appeared to be his daughter. A friendly family man, it seemed. I had to remind myself that I was in a maximum security Correctional Centre, that he was in a white jumpsuit because he was considered dangerous. I couldn't help but wonder... on which side of judgement did I sit? Did I look at Danny, a perfect stranger, and see him as a criminal, a trouble maker, someone I didn't want to associate with? Or did I consider that perhaps he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, perhaps he got into some trouble and will get out and start fresh? Everyone deserves a second chance, right?

When he talked about life in prison it almost sounded like a holiday. He had a 3 bed cell to himself with a plasma TV. He'd had a bbq in a courtyard the previous day. He knew this place, he'd been there before. He  was told that he'd be moving to a minimum security centre a few hours away and although the distance would mean fewer visits, he was optimistic because that centre had more exercise equipment, a better bbq area and a better working program.

As our time together drew to a close I started to feel awkward. Sometimes it felt like all I've ever done is say goodbye to him. The visitors room was mostly empty by now, the vacant steel chairs and tables made the room feel cold. We stood up and walked towards the centre of the room. He wrapped his arms around me and hugged me to his chest and I held on so tight.
"You're going to have to let go..."
"I know..." I sighed.

He headed back to the guarded door on the left and I was escorted out to the right. My fingerprint was scanned and I was told to wait for a guard. After a few minutes a guard arrived, unlocking the door and escorting me back across the court yard. I re-entered the holding room and scanned my fingerprint for the final time. Then I stood there, confused. A guard had his back to me.
"Excuse me? Can I leave now?"
He unlocked the door and let me back into the reception area. I grabbed my things from my locker, collected my umbrella from its hiding place, and scurried back to my car, wondering how soon I could come back...

13. Secretville is a lonely place

*Present day*

This whole 'keeping secrets' thing is quite a lonely business. But there are some things that are too hard to share. Too hard because you're afraid of judgement, you're afraid that people just won't understand. Or maybe, you're afraid that they're right.

Eden was sentenced to 9 months in prison. NINE MONTHS...

He didn't speak to me on the day of his court case and it broke my heart. The instant he pulls away from me I'm like a greyhound on a rabbit, I run after him as fast as I can... I respected that he had a lot on his plate that day, but now that it was over there was no holding back.

As I drove to the Correctional Centre to visit him, my mind was racing. Not a single person knew where I was. What was I doing? He probably didn't even want to see me after the letter I'd sent him. Who does that? Who writes a heartfelt love letter about a stupid fairytale romance and then follows it up with a prison visit?

I was told to arrive half an hour early to allow for processing. I looked at the time as I parked, 9:45am, exactly half an hour before my visit. I was petrified, for several reasons. 
  1. I'd never visited a Correctional Centre before, I had no idea what to expect
  2. There was a crowd of other visitors there, rough looking people
  3. I had no idea if Eden would want to see me or not
I waited at the counter for instructions. After a few minutes I was told to head around the corner and fill out a visitors slip. On my way I discovered a bathroom and realised I needed to go, so I quickly ducked in. There were girls at the sink with their make up and hair straighteners, trying to make themselves perfect for their partners. They were obviously accustomed to jail visits, and this made me uncomfortable. I'm ashamed to say that I judged them. I'm not one of you

I picked up the visitors slip only to realise that it needed Eden's identification number as well as my own. Both of the numbers were written in my journal. My journal was in the car. I ran out to my car, it was now raining. I ripped the page out, grabbed my umbrella and walked back inside. Finally I completed the visitors slip and dropped it in the tray. After a while I heard them call out Eden's surname, but it took a few minutes to realise they were referring to me. At the counter I was asked for photo ID, then they finger printed me, took a retina scan, and finally a photo. I felt incredibly intimidated. I was trying to hide the fact that I was shaking like a leaf.

The old guy behind the counter was very accommodating, he explained how the lockers worked, telling me that I had to leave ALL of my things in there because the only thing I was allowed to carry into the visitor centre was change for the vending machine. As I put my things in the locker, I realised there was no way my umbrella would fit.

"Don't think I'll get the umbrella in there!" I joked to the girl next to me.
"Oh no, you can't leave it, it'll get stolen, I learnt that lesson the hard way!" she replied.

I looked around and saw a baby change room, so I hid my umbrella in there.

Then I had to wait again. And wait. And wait some more. I didn't understand what was going on, other people were being ushered in and yet I had to sit and wait. Finally, they called me.

I was briefly scanned, searched and questioned before being let into a holding room. Once in the holding room, I had to be identified again via fingerprint scan. It was all starting to feel like too much, I was wondering if it was worth it. But there was no turning back now.

Finally the door opened and I was led across an open courtyard to another door, about 150m away. Once inside the next door, I had to wait AGAIN. When my name was called they scanned my fingerprint AGAIN before asking if I would prefer inside or outside.
"I have no idea." I replied flatly. 

To the right was an indoor/outdoor visitor area that looked very relaxed. The inmates were dressed in green, they laughed and played with their guests. To the left was another area that looked more institutionalised. The inmates were all dressed in white jumpsuits. They were more serious, more closely monitored. To my surprise, I was told this was where I was going. 

I walked to the door, now absolutely terrified. I looked up to see Eden across the room, he was behind a door that was guarded by security, he smiled when he saw me, and I instantly felt relieved. I was safe now.  Once the security guard on my side let me through, the guard on Eden's side opened the door and he came towards me. He grabbed me in his arms and held me close.

To be continued...

Continued now, I just finished it! Here!

Sunday, 17 February 2013

12. Memories


It's funny how we remember different things. I remember the things that made me love him. He remembers the things that made it so hard. Or maybe they're just the only things he needs to talk about.

Eden and I went to the supermarket to get some things. I remember walking down an aisle, and turning to see him casually eating a Cadbury Cream Egg. He held it up to my mouth, and giggling, I took a bite. I loved that about him, his carefree attitude, his confidence, his love of chocolate. We went back to his place and he cooked us dinner. I remember sitting on the kitchen bench in my work clothes, watching him, thinking how lucky I was to have this man in my life. I wanted him to leave the food and come and kiss me, but he would only allow a quick kiss because he was so focused on cooking me a nice meal.

I remember taking a shower and shaving my legs. It was so strange to feel so comfortable making myself at home. I walked into the lounge room where Eden was lying down watching TV. I joined him on the lounge and before long the TV was nothing but background noise. I couldn't keep my hands off him. We went to bed and made the most of our night together. I always found it hard to sleep next to him, it was difficult to switch off. I'd stare at his beautiful face, the rise and fall of his chest, I'd hold him close, wishing that I never had to let him go.

I remember laying on his bed, on my stomach, looking up at Eden standing over me. A look came over his face, a slight grin...
"What?" I asked.
"You're just so beautiful." He smiled at me.

I always wished I could have seen myself through his eyes. No one had ever spoken to me like he did. No one had ever loved me like he did. Sure, Adam loved me. But Eden, he adored me. And the feeling was mutual. 

When I think of these times, these everyday occurrences, I remember how I felt back then. I remember me, I remember him, I remember US. And I pine for it...

Saturday, 16 February 2013

11. Another Goodbye

*Present day*

Lately I've been feeling like a paranoid stalker. In my tiny little egocentric mind, I felt like Eden was my unicorn and I was chasing after him, wondering why I just couldn't catch him. 

We caught up last week, I went to see him at his place. He was different. He didn't sit next to me. He wasn't hungover. He was on edge... It took me about 10 minutes to realise that it wasn't me at all, the poor guy was just so overloaded with stress and drama that he was struggling to remain composed. 

He had some things he needed to do so I offered him a lift. Once we were in the car, he relaxed. This was how it used to be, just the 2 of us driving around. We laughed, we reminisced, then I dropped him off, he kissed me on the cheek, and I went to work.

I woke at around 7am the following morning. There were 2 text messages on my phone from Eden asking me to go and see him, the first at 3am and the second at 6am. I was worried about him, it was the eve of his court date and maybe he wasn't handling it as well as he made out. But I had to go to work.

At 1130am he called me, he sounded... defeated. I dropped everything, I grabbed my things and went to his place. He walked out, shoulders slumped, with red-rimmed eyes and tear stained cheeks. I hugged him and took him to my car. We drove around, picking up some of his papers and clothes, before going to grab some lunch. Sitting in my car with him, everything came flooding back, for both of us... We talked about how we used to drive around all the time, how we used to just laugh and have so much fun together, we always enjoyed each others company.

And then he said something. Something that shocked me.
Something that I wish I could hear over and over again...

"You and I would have been married pretty quickly I reckon, if you weren't already..."

Married. I often wondered if what we had was one sided. I wondered if I was only appealing to him because I was unavailable. But he wanted to marry me. We only knew each other for 5 months.

We talked about love VS lust. Eden was the type of guy who spent a lot of time thinking about things. He'd been thinking about us and wondering if maybe I never really loved him, maybe I just lusted after him. But our relationship was always more emotional than physical, the physical side was just a bonus. We loved being together, we opened up to each other, we were inseparable. Thick as thieves.

"Do you remember that night when we were laying in bed and Adam called you and he said he was at the beach?" Eden asked.

I knew exactly what he was talking about. I'd forgotten about that phone call. The second time Adam threatened to take his own life. I'd wiped it from my memory, but as soon as Eden mentioned it, it came flooding back. It was around 3am, Adam called and told me he was by the water and wanted to jump in. I talked him into going home.

Eden was a good man, and the phone call really shocked him to his core. He felt terrible. He didn't want to be responsible for someone feeling that way. The fact that he'd been thinking about it now made the puzzle pieces start to come together. Coming back like this, right before his court date, bringing back not only the good memories but the bad ones, I was really messing with his head. He didn't want to go through all of that again.

I pulled up at the bus stop. I told him I was afraid that I wasn't going to see him again.
"I can't do this right now. I can't commit to anything. I've got so much to sort out. When you need me, I've got your back, but right now... I just can't..." Eden had trouble finding the words.

I took his hand and looked him in the eye. I always struggle to make eye contact with him because there is so much feeling tied to it.
"I'm not asking for anything from you. I don't expect anything. No promises, no commitments. You've got shit to sort out, so do I. I just need you to know that..."
Eden cut me off before I could finish.
"I know. Don't say it. I know."

We kissed. He got out and walked away.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

10. Goodbye

February 2005

I remember the moment that something finally snapped in me.
When I finally decided to give a shit about my marriage. 

We were sitting on the spare bad and talking about how we would separate, splitting up all of our things. Then it hit me, like a tonne of bricks. Adam had given up on us, he'd given up on me. Prior to this day, he'd been hanging on, and on, and on... so maybe what I always wanted was to feel wanted? Once he'd let go, I started to panic. Divorce? Already? 

I decided to see a counsellor, and this made Eden furious. 
"If you need someone else to sit there and tell you who you should be with then just forget about it. It's not about anyone else, it's about you. WHAT DO YOU WANT?"

I talked to the counsellor about Eden. I don't know if my memory has faded over time, but I think the conversation went along the lines of... I knew Adam was safe. I knew he was good husband material. Eden wasn't safe, and choosing him might lead me down the path of a life that I didn't want for myself, a path my mother took and it really didn't work out well for her.

After several sessions, Adam started coming with me. We talked about us and the problems we had. We talked about Eden. And somehow, some way, we decided to stay together. The counsellor said that there was only one way to make it work, I had to cut Eden off, completely. I wasn't sure if I could.

I wrote Eden a letter. I'd always communicated better in writing. I drove to his place and sat him down. He knew straight away; he burst into tears. I tried to explain but he was too angry, he asked me to leave without even reading my letter. I went home and collapsed on my bed, Adam came in to see me and I told him it was done, and that I needed to be alone. I cried harder than I've ever cried before. And then my phone rang. It was Eden, he'd read my letter, he wanted me to come back.

I raced out the door back to his place. He was still so upset. He said he was touched by the letter, that although he might not have agreed, he certainly understood. He told me he might go to his mums for a while. We said goodbye.

I kept his number for a while, I couldn't let go. But finally in a counselling session, the counsellor and Adam put me on the spot, I had to delete it. Soon after I changed my own number, and that was that. I had lost my garden of Eden. I had lost a part of myself.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

9. The pain and the sorrow

January 2005

I've been a bad, bad girl. I've been careless with a delicate man,
and it's a sad, sad world, when a girl will break a boy just because she can...

I told Adam that I loved Eden. 

I was so confused. I loved Adam, that's why I married him, so how could I love Eden so much? You're only supposed to love one person aren't you? I felt that I HAD to tell him, he needed to know that I was going through this. I know how self-centered that sounds, and in hindsight I really doubt that honesty was the best policy. 

I went out for a while - to let Adam absorb what I had said. When I came home, the house was dark and quiet. I walked through the house looking for Adam... I found him sitting in an arm chair with a knife to his wrist. He was shaking, he was crying. 

"What the fuck are you doing?" I cried.
"I can't put it down!" He sobbed.

I took the knife and threw it across the room, catching his head in my arms and holding him to my chest. He was mumbling that he didn't know how to live without me, that he didn't want to know how. I was shattered, how could I have done this to him, how could I have made him feel this way? 

But then I was angry. This was what I couldn't stand, he didn't WANT me, he NEEDED me, and I didn't want that sort of responsibility. I wanted him to be his own person. I wanted him to know who he was. I felt like I had married a child, we weren't equal partners in this at all.

Once he calmed down I needed to talk to someone, and that someone was Eden. I was quite shaken up and Eden was the only person I could tell about this; our friends and family couldn't know. At first he felt dreadful, suggesting that maybe we should try and keep some distance. But then he joined me in anger, how selfish was Adam to pull a stunt like that? There we were, 2 people having an affair, accusing the innocent husband of being selfish.

The 3 of us spent several days absolutely miserable. I'm ashamed to admit what happened next. I told Adam I needed to clear my head, to think about what I wanted. It was true. I told him I would stay in a hotel. This time, I thought it best to lie, so I told Adam I just needed some space and that I was alone.

I did stay in a hotel. But I wasn't alone. And it was Eden's birthday.

We spent the weekend together. We went swimming, we had dinner, we gambled. Some of his friends and cousins came to have drinks with us. In the morning, Eden said he had to do something and asked if he could borrow my car. I agreed and stayed in bed, finally getting some alone time. And then I lost it. I cried into my pillow, wondering what on earth I was doing. Adam messaged me to ask how I was and if I was alone. This time I didn't lie. I was alone and I was a mess.

When I went home I kept up the "I was alone" story. There was just one problem. The receipt in the glove box clearly stated that there were 2 adults occupying the hotel room.

A couple of weeks later it was Valentine's Day. In an effort to keep me, Adam took me to dinner. At dinner, all I could think about was Eden. So when he asked me, this time I couldn't lie. I loved Eden. I wanted Eden. And I'd been sleeping with him. He asked for all of the sordid details, and I answered every question. Worst day of my life, I can only imagine how bad it was for him.

Adam wanted to hurt me. He wanted revenge. And he knew just how to get it. He called both of my parents, separately, to let them know that their slut of a daughter was sleeping with another man. In those words. And he spat those vicious words at me until we finally agreed it was time that we separated.

Heaven help me for the way I am
Save me from these evil deeds before I get them done

I know tomorrow brings the consequence at hand
But I keep livin' this day like the next will never come...

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

8. Lost in the Garden of Eden

*Present day*

I wonder if Adam knows, if he recognises the signs. My phone is glued to my hand, I won't let it out of my sight. I can't look at him. I can't touch him. I'm barely even talking to him. I justify it all in my head with the knowledge that I'm not being intimate with them both at the same time. I'm not talking about physical intimacy, I'm talking about emotional intimacy. I've completely shut Adam out, just so I can let Eden in again.

And now I can't eat, I can't sleep, I can't think... I can't do anything but dream about Eden. He's taken over me again. I sit staring at my phone, willing it to light up. Maybe if I watch it long enough it will happen... The longer it takes, the more I obsess. Please flash. Please vibrate. Please just do SOMETHING to put my mind at ease.

I don't know how I got here, but I've been here before. It's a place of the highest of highs, accompanied by the lowest of lows. I've always known it was here, I didn't need directions. I've spent years intentionally avoiding it, but secretly hoping that I'd accidentally end up here again. Just to feel that high. Just to know that it was real.

Now I'm knee deep in it... deeper even. I prayed it wouldn't be the same. With all of my being I wanted it to feel different, to look different, to smell different. But... it's the same. Oh my god it's the same and it just blows my mind. How is that possible?

He makes me want to forget everything I know. Nothing else matters but being there, in my garden of Eden, experiencing him, soaking him up... When I'm there, it's like nothing else exists.

And now... well now I don't know how to get out again. It was so hard last time, it took work, HARD work. Surely if it's that hard then I'm not supposed to leave? 

I know why I left last time. I know why I chose Adam. On paper, it's a no brainer. Adam is from a good family. He doesn't get into trouble, he doesn't do drugs, he's good looking, he pushes all of the right buttons in bed, he's safe. That's the kind of man you want to make a family with, right?

But Eden, Eden gets me. He makes me laugh. He never NEEDED me, he just WANTED me. He's told me what he thinks of me more times in the months we've spent together than Adam has in over a decade. That might sound vain, but to me, it means everything.

If you could take the best qualities of each of them and combine them into one man, my god you'd have perfection.

I wish I had all of the answers. I wish there was an easy way out, a navigation system that would offer simple directions in an annoying voice and I'd be where I am supposed to be in no time at all. If only...

Sunday, 10 February 2013

7. The Turning Point: Part Two

January 2005

"I need a break. I need to get away. I'm going to stay with (insert random friend's name) for a couple of days. Her family have a place down south."

I barely even looked at Adam as I packed my bag. He stood there, helpless, miserable, not knowing what to say or do. I'm sure he didn't believe me, but he didn't question me, he just let me walk out.

I picked Eden up and we drove through the night. It was a long, quiet drive. We were both still tired from our big night at the cemetery. We stopped at a service station and as I was standing there he walked up behind me and wrapped his arms around me... A sense of peace washed over me. I was enveloped in comfort. I felt like this was exactly where I was supposed to be. 

Sometime after midnight we pulled up at a gorgeous beach house. The large, wooden veranda was painted blue and yellow and it had a beautiful ocean view. It was picture perfect. His room was on the outside of the house, with it's own external door. Eden had never seen me naked before, up until this point we hadn't even been in an enclosed space together. We quickly changed and fell onto the bed, exhausted. 

Not even the lack of sleep and energy was enough to dampen the chemistry between us. We'd never been in a bed together before... It started with some snuggling, that led to kissing, and before long I pulled him on top of me.

"I could really have sex with you right now." He whispered.
With that I pulled his shorts off.

The next day I met his family. His mum, his little brother, his nan... Down there, I wasn't Adam's wife. Down there, I was Eden's girlfriend, and I loved it. We took a walk along the water and saw stingrays swimming beneath the jetty. We went shopping, we held hands, we hugged and we kissed, just like a normal couple. We'd never been like this before, and it felt amazing. 

I loved seeing him like this, he and his family had an honest and loving relationship, and they were nothing but nice to the random girl he turned up with out of the blue. But we had to go home; I had a new job to start. When I dropped him back at his place, we both knew we'd changed forever. There was no denying it now, we were truly, madly, deeply in love.

6. We Didn't Do IT

*Present Day*

The morning after our reunion, I heard from Eden first thing. The text simply said
Referring to our conversation about being friends without benefits. Deep down I was scared. I saw the path we were heading down. But the fear was clouded by the excitement. The thrill. The lust.

We were back and forth all day. It got more and more risque with each text. I guess he was right, old habits were hard to break, and we had no idea how to be anything but hot for each other. We mostly talked about things we wouldn't do, turning it into a joke. We wouldn't have sex in cars because I didn't want to have to sell another one, and because we were old now, and it would just be trashy. It was just a bit of harmless fun, right?

I was under a bit of stress at work, and if there was one thing Eden was good at, it was making me forget my troubles. So when I heard from him again the following morning, without even thinking I replied
Can I see you today?

I worked for a few hours until I just couldn't focus any more. Then I drove to Eden's. He was waiting out the front for me. A quick kiss on the cheek and we were on our way upstairs. He was incredibly hungover, and when we entered his apartment he collapsed on the lounge, laid back, leaving me a small space at the end to sit. I sat down and he slid his leg under mine, so my knees were now hanging over his horizontal shin.

It's funny how you can feel so comfortable being so close to someone you haven't seen for so long. We sat like that for an hour, just talking. We talked about us, again... this is what I always loved about him, we could just talk, he wore his heart on his sleeve. He continually referred to the day I left him and broke his heart, and I asked him

"Why didn't you fight for me?"
To which he calmly responded
"Because you're married, Eve."

I had to turn my head away from him. The statement hit me hard and cold and knocked me into reality. I felt like I was about to burst into tears. There were a few moments of silence, but we simply started talking again. Then I realised that my hand was on his thigh. It was so comfortable there, it felt right. It felt good. I apologised, but I couldn't stop. I was tracing one of his tattoos with my fingertips. It was like it was magnetic.

He knew I was holding back and asked what was on my mind. I told him I needed to bite my tongue. We did this verbal dance for about half an hour before he grabbed me and pulled me into his arms. At first it wasn't sexual at all, at first it was just a big, warm hug. His head was buried in my hair, and mine in his neck. As we held on tight, he whispered in my ear
"Wow, this has taken me back 8 years..."

I softly pressed my lips to his neck. He gently slid his hand up the back of my thigh, until he reached my underwear. We paused. What are we doing? What are we doing? 
What are we doing?

He let go and laid back on the lounge. I watched him, and remembered how he used to do this. He used to give just enough to make me want him, and then sit back and let me do the rest. And I fell for it. I climbed on top of him and wrapped my arms around him, continuing the hug. We held each other close and I buried my face into his neck again, as his hands slowly made their way back to my underwear. I kissed his neck and sat up, straddling him.

"I hate you Eden."
"No you don't."
"Yes, I DO!"

With that I leaned forward and grabbed his face, kissing him while he caressed my arse.

"We will not have sex today!"
I declared as my mouth opened around his.
"Nope." He replied as his tongue found mine.

We stopped. I sighed.

"What are we doing? I hate you. We're not having sex."
And then we kissed again, while he pressed my hips into his.

"It feels just the same. Do you think it feels so good because it's naughty or just because it's good?" I asked him.
He laughed, then he responded, "It's not so easy to take that next step any more though..."
I fell back to his chest, he squeezed my arse as my lips found his again.

"I'm expecting a delivery, I have to check the letterbox." He said.
"I have to go to work." I jumped up and walked over to my bag.
Eden walked up behind me and slid his hands around my waist, pressing himself into me. I spun around and let him push me up against the table as I grabbed his face and kissed him hard and fast.

We stopped again and walked out the door, heading for the lift.
"In the elevator?" He joked as we stepped in.
"For sure!" I said, grabbing him again.

As we approached the exit to the apartment block he turned to kiss me goodbye.
"I can't kiss you outside." He said.
We shared our last kiss and stepped out into the sunlight.

I quickly darted ahead, afraid that if I didn't get in my car then I wouldn't leave at all. He laughed at me, I love it when he laughs at me,
"Oh yeah, can't get out of here quick enough now hey?" he joked.

Who am I? 
What am I doing?
He always turns me into this person, I just don't know how.

As I stepped into my car I called out,
"Hey! We did it! We didn't DO IT! Yay!"
We laughed. And then I drove off.

Friday, 8 February 2013

5. The Turning Point: Part One

December 2004

It was New Years' Eve, that's when it changed. Adam and I had an argument because someone told him that I had been at Joseph's house with Eden. In actual fact, it was a legitimate drug deal and not a romantic indiscretion (that was my justification anyway). Joseph was Eden's mate, I had bought a stash of acid and since it wasn't easy to come by, I sold some to them.

That's how it was back then. Acid, speed, ecstasy, MDMA, pot... and we'd all get on it. Adam wasn't so into the drug scene but many of our friends were. I would never say that any of us had a problem, we just wanted to have a good time.

Adam and I were at a New Years Eve party with friends when Joseph and Eden called me... from memory I think they wanted more acid. My best friend Clare and I loved taking a drive when we were high. In hindsight it was incredibly stupid, but it was our thing. We were a little bored at the party, so we were more than happy to do a drug run. We picked up Joseph and Eden and drove around. The four of us were high, and we took delight in egging the car and house of someone we used to call a friend. We visited a mosque and dared each other to go in. Then Clare and I decided it was time to head back to the party so we dropped them off.

Adam was drinking, and when Clare and I returned, he was really angry. It didn't help when my phone rang again, and I almost rolled on the ground laughing when Joseph yelled at me through the phone "YOU NEED TO COME BACK! I NEED SOME LIP BALM!" (In reference to my obsession with it).

Adam went off at me, calling me a junkie and all sorts of things before going home. I can't blame him. Here we were with our friends, one of which had seen me hanging out with a bunch of guys, only to then have me leave the party to meet the same guys, only to then have them call me again. He let all of his anger build up until it exploded.

But, you see... I was high. So when he left the party, Clare and I decided we would too. We went back and picked up Joseph and Eden and went for a drive. And what do four high people do when driving around in the wee hours of the morning? We went to a cemetery, walked around, read some tombstones, we explored. I didn't even kiss Eden that night, we were just hanging out like friends.

I finally went home at around 8am. Adam was furious, how dare I go out all night. I was furious, how dare he expect me to stay home all night just because he doesn't like to party. I felt judged. He knew who I was when he married me, he shouldn't be trying to change me now. I tried to get some sleep before work that afternoon.

Later that day at work, Eden came to visit me. I sat and had a break and we talked. I told him about the fight with Adam, how I was over it, how I didn't want to go home... I suggested we find somewhere to go, I had a couple of days off, we could get away.

Turns out he knew just the place...

To be continued

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

4. Here we go again...

*Present day*

You took something from me when you walked through those doors all those years ago, and I'm not sure I'll ever get it back.

Me: "Can I come and see you?"
Eden: "Sure, when? I'm busy tomorrow."
Me: "Tonight?"
Eden: "When and where?"
Me: "Bout 8. I have no idea where though."
Eden: "Umm..."
Me: "Don't you trust me enough to have me at your place?"
Eden: "Haha, do you trust yourself?"
Me: "Mostly!"
Eden: "See you then."

I was a bundle of nerves as I drove to Eden's. It had been 8 years since we parted company, 6 since we bumped into each other on an escalator with a very brief and awkward exchange. I wasn't thinking about the consequences. I wasn't thinking about Adam. I was only thinking about Eden, and how hard it had been to be apart from him all of this time. And how uncanny it was to find out that he only lived 10 minutes away.

I was hoping that I would turn up and discover that I was looking at the past through rose coloured glasses. I was hoping that my decision to walk away would be reaffirmed, that I would know I had done the right thing.

I called him as I pulled up outside. When I heard his voice, my own voice trembled. I felt weak. He came out of the apartment block to greet me and walk me to his unit. He was bigger than he used to be and he had more tattoos, he was still SO handsome. As we walked he told me I looked great, and I giggled like a school girl.

We sat on the couch, I stared at him, and he asked me a question but I could only laugh.
"What are you laughing at?" He asked, amused.
"I don't know, this is weird, I'm nervous!" I covered my face with my hands and we both laughed. I remembered how we always used to laugh together, how much I loved it.

We caught up on the past 8 years, our kids, his numerous stints in prison. He told me about the time he was shot at, showed me the scars from the time he was stabbed. He told me that he was going back to court in just over a week to face an assault charge, that it was likely he would get locked up again. I never understood it, I never saw it, I only knew a loving man with a heart of gold.

Several times while we were talking, his hand fell to my thigh. Each time I froze, and he would quickly withdraw it and apologise, claiming that old habits were hard to break.

I wanted to see his new tattoos, there were so many. There was one on his face, I leaned towards him, gently touching his chin to turn his head. I quickly pulled back,
"I'm not trying to put it on you, I promise!" I laughed. As I moved closer again to have a look, he quickly turned his lips toward mine and then pulled away laughing. I don't know whether I was relieved or disappointed.

We talked about how I broke his heart, how I wrote him a letter and left him in tears. I told him that it wasn't easy for me either, that I cried for days. He asked if I regretted it, if I would change things, and I said no. It was just bad timing, really. If only I had of met him first. We joked about how silly he was for asking for a married girls number. How stupid we both were for not considering how it would end.

After a few hours I knew I had to leave. I had work in the morning, and a husband and family at home. If I was too late Adam would know I wasn't just stopping in to catch up with a girlfriend.

He walked me to my car.

"Come back sometime. Let's have lunch. You'll come visit if I get locked up won't you?" He spat out rather quickly, as if he was afraid he wouldn't get it out. I agreed, we hugged, and I drove away thinking maybe we could be friends.

When I got home he sent me a text...
I really enjoyed your company. You are so tempting, you look amazing.

Oh, shit.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

3. That First Kiss

December 2004

Juliet, the dice was loaded from the start, and I bet, and you exploded into my heart...

In the beginning it was justifiable. In my mind anyway. Eden might have had my number, he might have made my heart race, but we were just hanging out. I couldn't keep away from him. Before work, during work, after work, I just wanted to be around him. I didn't understand how I could meet someone and feel so incredibly tied to them. It happened so quickly.

Adam knew we were hanging out, and he knew we had exchanged numbers, but I constantly reassured him. We were friends, there was nothing more to it than that. It didn't help that Adam and I worked different shifts, and he was mostly working nights.

One day I was hanging out at the bakery before work. When I left, I went to kiss Eden on the cheek to say goodbye, as I always did. I'm not sure what went wrong... But we missed. This was the first time any real, tangible lines were crossed. Our kiss on the cheek was a kiss on the lips. A quick one, but on the lips no less. As I hurried across the road I knew I was in trouble, I enjoyed it way too much.

Eden and I decided we should talk about 'us'. We were obviously more than friends, we were obviously fooling ourselves. I can't tell you how the conversation went, I can't recall it. All I can remember is sitting in my car outside his place, and whispering...

"I'm not sure what I'll regret more, if I do kiss you... Or if I don't..."

And then we kissed. I couldn't help myself, I was so drawn to him. I won't lie, it was the best first kiss of my life. Charged with so much passion and intensity. My first kiss with Adam had been a drunken, sloppy one. But this, this was smooth and it was hot and it was so hard to stop.

I left him there and went home. I felt on top of the world. I couldn't believe that I felt like this. I had never doubted my love for Adam. Adam was a good man, and he always gave me butterflies in my stomach. But Eden ignited a fire in my heart. A fire that burned deep and bright and so incredibly hot. And from that night on, every time I saw him, I HAD to kiss him. I had to.

I love you like the stars above, I'll love you till I die... There's a place for us...

Monday, 4 February 2013

2. Hot and Cold

*Present Day*

Like a moth to the flame, burned by the fire. My love is blind, can't you see my desire?

Dear Eden,

I wish I didn't have to delete the messages. I continuously delete everything, from my phone, my computer; I can't leave a trail. No one can know. The thought of the pain it would inflict if this was discovered is just... unbearable. Yet clearly not unbearable enough to make me stop.

You've gone cold. And I have no messages to remind me of when you were hot, to reassure me that it wasn't all in my head. That I didn't imagine it. Did I imagine it? Did I imagine that you told me that after all of this time I was still amazing, still beautiful, still infectious?

I don't know how we got here again. I tell myself that it was an innocent gesture, a simple hello, but deep down I know that I'm lying. I wanted to feel like that again. No one ever made me feel the way you did. The way you look at me. The way you laugh at me. The way you make me feel like I am absolutely perfect the way I am, like I'm the only girl in the world.

I don't know what triggered it. I've longed to see you again for the past 8 years, and fought with every fibre of my being to resist it. I guess something finally wore me down, though what that was, I'm not sure I'll ever know. When you responded to my attempt at reaching out with awe and elation, I felt like all of my Christmases had come at once. And now you've switched off, and I feel like my world has fallen apart. Two weeks. That was all it took this time for the walls to come crashing down and for me to plummet into darkness. And you wonder why I say it would never last between us. As I said, that much passion can't be good.

Since you won't tell me what's changed, I can only hypothesize. When we met last week you told me I was dangerous... You told me, while your arms were wrapped tight around me, your hand up the back of my dress and your face buried in my hair, that it still felt the same, just like it did back then. So I wonder, do you still feel it, just like I do? Is that why you've gone cold? Because you remember how much it hurt when we ended it before? Are you afraid of feeling like that again?

Then the paranoia sets in. Have you gone cold because you think I've changed? Because you don't feel it? Did I do something wrong?

The rational side of me knows that the most logical explanation is that you know we're playing with fire. But you, you are just addictive. You are my cocaine. And the highest of high, while I'm living it, makes the resulting low feel so worth it.

I've waited this long Eden, I can keep waiting.


Sunday, 3 February 2013

1. The Prologue

November 2004

"That's Eden." the Manager informed me. 
"He's been barred for a while for getting into a scuffle, we've decided to let him back in. Keep an eye on him." 

In my early 20's I worked as a waitress. I kind of fell into this job, a friend worked there and they needed someone to serve customers and clean tables. What started as a few shifts turned into a couple of years. The place had a real community feel to it. The staff, the customers, it was one big dysfunctional family and I fit right into it.

One quiet afternoon, a man strolled confidently through the doors as if they were his own. I'd not seen him before, I would definitely remember him. He was gorgeous; I couldn't help but stare. He was tall, tanned, dark blonde hair, a nicely toned body and 2 black eyes. His name was Eden.

Later I asked one of the other waitresses about him. Turned out he'd recently been released from prison, though no one could really tell me what he was in for. He visited frequently and we got to talking, he was always flirtatious but yet disinterested enough to have me desperate for more. He was funny with a quick wit, and he laughed at my jokes... I was hooked.

The first time we touched is clear as day in my mind. I walked out to clean some tables and he got up and came past me, his arm brushing up against mine. It was electric, the skin on my arm tingled, the hair stood up and I felt short of breath. It was incredible.

He worked as a baker a few shops up and we saw each other almost every day. I was excited to go to work, I would anxiously wait for him to come in for his lunch. If I didn't see him, I would walk up past the bakery, pretending I had errands to run. And before long, he asked for my number.

He asked for my number. This gorgeous man wanted MY number. I couldn't believe it. He was sexy, he was funny, and he was interested in little old me. I wrote it on a napkin and dropped it in front of him as I went out to clean tables.

My cheeks were on fire, my heart was pumping.
There was just one problem. I was married.