The Young Wife: A Short Story

Aaron crossed the college carpark and the thought suddenly occurred to him, “Jennifer wouldn’t be trying to get me into bed, would she?” But another part of his mind was indignant, “no, of course not … she is just a friend … and besides she is married”.

She was married to David, and they were both doing some graduate study. Aaron was friends with them both, and often felt that David and he had a lot in common. They were in similar fields to start with, although Aaron was a bit further along in his studies. And a bit older.

Along with another girl, a Chinese woman who was lecturing in sociology, they often ate lunch together in the college cafeteria.

One weekend David had to go away on a field trip to gather data for his thesis. Unthinkingly, Aaron had gone to Jennifer’s college room, which she shared of course with her husband David. David and Jennifer had been married only a few months earlier, so she was technically still a “bride”, and they shared a “married tutors” room. It all seemed rather sweet. The room had become a meeting place for quite a few of their friends. There was a large double bed, which was cut off from the rest of the room by a temporary curtain.

So, Jennifer and Aaron were alone in her room. It was evening.

They made their way through a bottle of red wine and then went on to another. Jennifer moved to the bed and sat cross-legged in the middle. Aaron followed and sat on the edge.

“Why don’t you take your top off?”, he suggested.

Later she complained that it had felt like an order, and that she had wondered whether to give an ironic salute. But she did take her top off.

He shook with excitement as they made love.

The following morning, they made love again, although this act was interrupted by her having to go to the toilet to cope with a sick hangover.

As the Sunday wore on, their guilt began to kick in even as their hangovers wore off. The guilt grew even greater as it became obvious that David was late back from his excursion. Neither of them exactly said it, but there was the unspoken fear that he had had a road accident, maybe even fatal, on the highway.

He eventually returned, a few hours late.

In the next few days, there were small aftershocks. David actually asked Aaron, out of the blue, what a “cuckold” was. Resisting the urge to say, “You are, mate”, Aaron coolly gave him the definition. It seemed it was a genuine inquiry, just one of those random things.

A week or so later, there was another party, with a few people present, including Aaron and Jennifer. There was also alcohol. Aaron had a bit too much to drink. Jennifer kindly offered to accompany Aaron back to his room, which was a few hundred metres away, since he actually lived in another college, most of which had been closed down.

Before long, they had collapsed together on his bed and her panties were off. Then came a knock on the door. Aaron scooped her panties off the ground and stuffed them in his desk drawer. David had gone around to Aaron’s window, since his room was on the ground floor, seen the “goings on”, and come around to the front door.

“What are you doing with my wife?”, asked David. Aaron again resisted an obvious retort.

David and Jennifer went outside to argue. Aaron heard David demand that Jennifer lift her skirt to see what she had on. Somehow, using the superhuman abilities that women have honed over the millennia, she convinced him that her skirt should stay down.

David came back into Aaron’s room and confronted him. Jennifer hung back a bit.

“So, what are we going to do about her?”, Aaron asked David (a remark which Jennifer later said showed how old-fashioned Aaron was about women).

After a bit more of this “man to man” stuff, the party, so to speak, broke up. (Aaron managed to slip Jennifer her panties.)

Friendships came to an end of course. Aaron’s main lingering feeling was regret at hurting a man with whom he felt he had a lot in common (perhaps a bit too much). Aaron started to dislike Jennifer. The Chinese woman friend drifted away with the wreckage. And Aaron was unable to help induct a friend into the Catholic Church at Easter because he felt that unconfessed adultery made him unsuitable for that role.

David probably never realised how far things had gone. Jennifer had made it clear to Aaron during their pillow talk that she had been no “blushing bride”, and even boasted that she had once slept with two brothers (individually) during the same time of her life. Aaron suspected that one of the unsuspecting brothers was David. Was David completely ignorant and innocent? Had Aaron added to a young and newly married Catholic couple’s difficulties?

Only God knew. And God doesn’t write short stories.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Au contraire, God has written many short stories: the Bible’s chokka with them. Contra Disney, lots involve many who are neither totally good or bad, and many who come to sticky ends. For instance, King David (yes, his history is longer than a short story) has a rough time of it even though he repents.


    • You are probably correct, Henry. But God does not write the modern short story form.

      And this is only fiction. Strict accuracy is not the first consideration.


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