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He enjoys younger women.
It's not as if we had spoken about ending our affair at all. My eyes were open and yet I still lusted over him, to my everlasting shame. It didn't help that he still worked in the building, only 7 floors down. We'd run into each other on occasion in the elevator on the way in or sometimes in the company cafeteria. He always had that knowing smile, one that turned my knees to jelly and had my mind racing. I never returned it, never gave him any indication that I wanted him to pin me to a wall, hike up my skirt and have his way with me. I wasn't making love to my husband but I still felt I had a promise to keep, to never let another have what was his. I hated the fact that when I fantasized about sex it was always Desmond who came to mind, not Stephen. I hated my body's reaction to him whenever he was in close proximity. I hated myself for ever straying down a path that I could not shake, I even began to hate my promise.
Everything was beginning to pile up. Turmoil at home, sexual frustration at work, the rumors and lies, lumped together they were hammering at my confidence and self-esteem. I became more and more short-tempered as the days wore on. Eva was not the only one I had words with, just the only one I'd moved. The pressure, Jesus the pressure! It was only a matter of time before my excellent work began to suffer. I was dropping the ball and my subordinates were doing the same. My people were turning in reports late, giving sloppy presentations, recommending shoddy personnel for hire, and I wasn't mentally there to shore them up, give them confidence, or even give them that kick in the pants I'd always been known for. I was failing my department and the company as a whole and I knew it. I was to blame for failing in my responsibility and for the first time in my life that knowledge wasn't enough for me to fix it. Just one more thing for me to feel guilty about, another thing to add to the pile of shit my life had become. I needed an escape, a way out. I found my solace by drowning my sorrows in alcohol.
Six weeks. Six stinking weeks. In six weeks I had gone from confident business woman with a fine career and a husband who adored her to a wretch about to lose everything she'd worked so hard for. The merry-go-round of misery was moving at a breakneck pace and I had no idea how I'd ever get off. I wasn't in denial; I knew full well what I was doing to myself. I was on a path to my own destruction, building my own personal hell brick by brick. I was a coward, too afraid of what I'd already lost, too afraid to confront the problems facing me head on because I didn't want to lose anything else.
Drinking served two purposes for me, punishing me for my failures and helping me to avoid my problems. The fact that I knew it was such a bad decision, one I'd seen play out personally with my father, actually seemed to make my punishment worse and thus satisfying my need to assuage my guilt. Martyrdom by alcoholism, crazy right? I still had enough presence of mind not to drink at work or come in the next morning blasted and hung over. I never drank with the after work set, preferring to drown my sorrows alone. I saw even less of Stephen, staying out until two or three in the morning slamming fruity martinis at the bar before coming home and crashing in a drunken stupor. It was only a matter of time until I broke one of my own rules, before my so-called presence of mind slipped, I knew it even then. To numb the pain, I felt I'd hold out for as long as possible.
My day of reckoning was on me before I knew it.