I needed it more and did it as often as I could.
Sobbed as the desolate loneliness engulfed me, hating the world and just about everything in it.
I must have stood there for an hour or more, half wondering, and in all honesty half hoping that Maddy would turn up and make it all better. But that wouldn't have been possible would it, and sure enough she didn't come back. It wasn't till I thought of my little Beth that I began to galvanise myself, realising that I'd have to be brave for her. She was all I had as far as I was concerned and it gave me the will to carry on. I made myself a cup of tea, the solution to all evils, and sat there reflecting on how my life was about to change.
Would I take Maddy back? God, what a question. All my senses told me NO!, but my heart spoke otherwise, almost in a different language, and one that I could hardly understand. The only thing that I could be sure of was that I had to be strong for Beth's sake. I would fight to the ends of the earth to keep her with me, whatever Maddy tried. I found myself thinking that I'd even take Maddy back for Beth's sake, but who was I kidding. I wanted my Maddy back for my own sake whatever she'd done, but I knew it'd never be the same. It wouldn't work and it wasn't going to happen, and I started to well up again as I thought about the disruption that was about to happen to the poor little sweet girl who was sleeping soundly upstairs, unaware of the turmoil around her.
Damn you Maddy, why did you have to do this to the people who love you?
I awoke the following morning with something stroking my face.
"Wake up Daddy," I heard through my fuddled brain. "Why didn't you go to bed last night?"
"Morning sweetheart," I greeted her sleepily. "I just fell asleep on the sofa and forgot to go to bed."
"Silly Daddy," Beth giggled at me. "Mummy will think you're silly when I tell her."
"I think Mummy already thinks I'm a fool," I replied sighing deeply as the situation settled down heavily again upon my overloaded shoulders. "Daddy's taken a day off work to look after you again. Where do you want to go?"
"Can we go to the zoo please Daddy," My little one cried out joyfully, clapping her hands together.
"But we went there yesterday honey bunch," I pointed out to her.
"But I want to go again Daddy," she giggled back at me. "I want to see the big elephants, and the funny monkeys, and .... And ..... And, what do they call those big ones with the long funny neck Daddy?"
"Giraffes, sweetheart," I answered her. "But you saw them all yesterday. How about we go to Old Warden and see the old aeroplanes?"
"Do they have Lions and Tigers and things there?"
"No Beth they don't," I explained to her, quite fancying a trip to the old aeroplane museum that I hadn't been to for years, if only to take my mind off things. "But they do have lots of other interesting things."
"Do they have a McDonalds there Daddy?"
I explained that they probably didn't, but that we could find one on the way home, and that about settled it. Yes ----- Half an hour later we were on our way back to the zoo!
It was a good day, and for several hours I was more or less able to forget my woes and revel in the enjoyment of my daughter. Perhaps she would be a vet when she grew up. It was OK right till we left Mc Donalds, full of triple something or other burgers and foamy milkshakes that the cloud began to descend yet again. How the heck could I mess this all up? How could I break up our marriage and ruin little Beth's life. Maybe Maddy and I could get over her transgression and in a few years the problems with Tom would all be a distant memory.
By the time we got home little Beth was ready for sleep, so we cuddled up on the sofa again and for the second night in a row, I ended up carrying her sleeping form upstairs.