Pon stepped out of the bright blue taxi, her pink skirt rising up and showing more than enough of her fair skinned thigh to catch the attention of the table full of office men sitting just outside the front doors of the Star Coffee Shop.

“Well we planned it, but now we’ve been fighting.”

“Are we?” she hummed.

“Aren’t we? Yes. I don’t want to be in a bungalow on the beach together if we are going to ruin it by fighting. It’s a lot of money to spend for a better ring for us to box in.”

She shrugged her shoulders. “I thought the trip would get us away from the arguing. Help us forget our troubles and move on… It’s a perfect chance for us to relax a little bit.”

He wanted to snap at her that it was easy for her to forget, she’d been the one fooling around with someone else and she was the one now starving for forgiveness and complete denial. He did, with every fiber of his being, want to give her amnesty, in fact if he could erase the images of her entangled in the sweaty, urgent arms of some young lover after a night of drinking whiskey and dancing on the beach, he certainly would pay any amount to lobotomize this vision. But, it had happened and no matter how many times he promised her that he would forgive and forget it over time – especially as it was a singular occurrence – he knew it was a cancer that would lay dormant beneath the skin of their relationship until someday it would once again surface. Deceit is never benign.

He had learned from his own mistakes that they are never truly forgotten. Two wives had already departed his life when he had committed similar crimes and just like Pon, begged for forgiveness and anticipated complete salvation – the kind promised by youth leaders in Sunday school – only to find that any and seemingly all disagreements which occurred after said forgiveness reintroduced a new fervor for opening those old wounds.

When he cheated on his first wife Nancy it had been with her cousin’s best friend on a rafting trip which Nancy had been too busy to attend. He was in his middle twenties then and flirted with this college co-ed vivaciously as they paddled along the predominantly calm waters of the Colorado River. The group slept in tents along the river, the sound of rushing water an ever-present noise in their camp. She had slipped into his one-man tent late the first evening well after everyone else had gone to sleep. The second night, probably because of the beers she’d quaffed, she was recklessly early and Nancy’s uncle Ed watched her slither in through the flap in his tent and then he crawled close enough to listen to their lovemaking through the canvas. The following weekend Uncle Ed dropped by uninvited, taking Nancy into the kitchen so they could talk in private and revealing the tawdry story to her between can after can of beer.

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