“Yes, Mrs. Monterio. This is noted. Okay. We'll meet tomorrow. Okay. Bye!”
I heaved a sigh after the call ended. My strides were brisk as I entered the clubhouse at South Ridge Village, an exclusive place for rich and prominent people. I only shook my head while scanning myself at their mirror wall. I looked sweaty and tired from the long walk.
‘How unlucky!' I whispered within myself and continued walking.
South Ridge's grandeur interior is already notable from the entrance of the place. There was a fountain at the center of the pavilion and a wide function hall. The designs and color of the place was just minimalist so it looks beautiful and refreshing in the eyes.
While walking, I can't help but to glance at the amazing furniture I pass by. It screamed elegance, and the marble floor looked expensive. I smiled and shook my head. South Ridge Village screamed luxury, the main reason why I always wanted to live in the place.
“Do you know? That newly moved woman near here is a mistress!”
My brows immediately raised when I heard two women gossiping in front of me. I just got seated and this is what greeted me. The two looked sophisticated and screamed elegance. The president of the village is currently having a speech for the Christmas party event in the coming Christmas eve but the both of them talked about a different topic.
“I heard that from one of my amigas. Mrs. Martinez was battered! She's beautiful and silent but she's actually going through something,” the other said. She hit the other girl and laughed together as if there was something funny.
“You know, Mrs. Ramirez, too. Her husband's been cheating on her. I saw her earlier, crying alone at the park. So pitiful!”
I cleared my throat to get their attention, and I didn't fail. Their eyes widened when they saw me, then, they smiled forcefully which didn't even reach their eyes.
‘Plastic!’ I shouted in my mind.
“It’s very rude to talk about other's lives behind their backs. Why not talk to them in private?” I emphasized with conviction.
The two of them laughed awkwardly. Their eyes were busy moving and can't even stare at my eyes for long. Why are there people who likes to get into other's life? Why are there such people that laughs at others miseries? Why couldn’t they just mind their own business? It's easier that way.
“I'm sorry, Doctor,” one of the women apologized and lowered her head. They were humiliated.
I nodded at them and went to find another vacant seat. I chose the one near the stage. I listened to the plans and suggestions of some of my fellow home owners, but after a while, I couldn't help but to glance at everyone, one by one.
Curiosity filled within me while watching them from afar. My mind's thinking if it's right, if their husbands really cheated on them?
I shook my head after.
What am I thinking? That just like me, they're also getting cheated on? That their lives were also miserable?
I felt so small after I thought about it. How low of me to think about the misfortunes of others. A woman like me is both pitiful and a laughingstock. A woman yearning for love from someone who promised forever in front of the altar with him.
I smiled bitterly at myself. I tried to calm my clenching heart. Who am I kidding? Should I still hope for my husband's love? Atlas' promise in front of the altar will stay as mere words. It didn't mean anything because I know that he doesn't even love me. It hurts so much that I became numb to everything.
I sighed in relief when the meeting ended. I quickly got up from my seat to walk my way out but the president suddenly called me. I couldn't do anything but socialize with them.
I was just silently listening to them as they chat on the elegant tea table, answering when asked and sometimes I only nod. I observed them from up close. I realized that some of the gossip and rumors had their basis. I can clearly see it, I can clearly feel it.
“I'm really sorry, Zanjo can't attend the party tomorrow. I won't, either. You know. . . where the husband is where we are,” Pepper said while chuckling, also one of the association's members.
I shook my head at the scene. Sure, we can cover up sadness with a forced smile, we can never fake the emotions screaming in our eyes.
Sadness, adversity, pain.
I'm not the only one going through something. Everyone here is, too.
“I’m sorry if I can’t be with you all for a long time. I had to go somewhere.”
I bid goodbye after, not even waiting for their response. I walked straight to my car that's parked not far. I immediately started the engine and maneuvered towards the direction where I knew I'd only get hurt.
Not too far from the village, I arrived at Dreame Café. I didn't bother to spare a glance at the customers and walked straight to the office near the counter. There, I found who I was looking for, Trina, my husband's mistress.
“What are you doing here?” she asked, eyebrows raised.
My hands balled into a fist while she scrutinized me up and down, a smirk plastered on her face. She shook her head, seemingly not believing what she's seeing.
“I want to borrow Atlas tomorrow, we're going somewhere. We have a family gathering and he needs to be there,” I replied.
Trina laughed and clapped her hands in amusement. But I know, behind that was a sarcastic tone with a hint of anger and belittlement.
“I don't know if you're numb or blind, Olive. Atlas doesn't love you but you're still forcing yourself. And now, you want to steal my time? Atlas is mine tomorrow! It's my schedule, so you go there and face the insults and shame!”
Out of all that Trina had said, the last sentence was what caught me. Schedule. We're like children playing tic-tac-toe with fate. Waiting for who gets it first.
I'm the real wife. I'm the one he married, but I'm here begging for time. I'm the one in pain. I'm a psychiatrist but I can't even cure my own pain.
How long could I take all the pain?
How long could I hold on?
How many tears could I still give?