Albert is living his dream life. He married the love of his life and is living in the ideal suburban home with the proverbial picket fence.
But when his perfect life begins to tear apart at the seams, Albert is tested far beyond his breaking point. Who knows how far he will go to reclaim his life?
I loved a woman once. Lauren. An olive-skinned, cheeky minx who made my heart skip three beats whenever she smiled at me.
I am an ordinary man and by no means is that an understatement. I was a little rounder around the edges back then and I lack the conventional, chiselled good looks that most women find favourable. Nonetheless, Lauren saw something good in me that allowed her to fall in love and marry me.
It was a corny proposal. After working alongside each other for two years, we dated for another eighteen months before she finally decided to move in with me. It seemed like the respectable thing to do, she had already claimed half my closet for her own clothing and her make up crowded at least two-thirds of my bathroom sink. Don't even get me started on the bath/shower products!
She was returning from an overseas trip with her parents that day and I met her at the airport with clammy hands and a brand new polo shirt that seemed to shrink around the collar with each passing minute.
I had bought her a beautiful engagement ring, a classic gold band with a solitaire diamond. It sat nestled in the folds of luxurious, red velvet, perched within a black, leather wrapped box. Surely, I had thought, the gesture would be clear – but I decided to foolproof my plan by writing an accompanying note with the box.
WILL YOU MARRY ME?
The note, with the box, sat on the shelf in our bedroom where she kept her jewellery. I chose that place because I knew she would choose to undress and shower as soon as we got home. Genius, I had reckoned – wait for her to enter the bedroom, take off her watch and earrings and POW! Proposal! It worked, needless to say. I was elated beyond words when she agreed to marry me.
A hard, cold mass began to move into the bottom of my stomach as I recalled one of the happiest moments of my life. Each time I looked back and thought it over, I found holes. Small ones that I continuously prodded open and examined. Had she really paused before giving me her answer? Yes. Did I see that flicker of despair and disappointment in her eyes when she finally managed to say yes? Yes, yes I did. And still, I chose to ignore all of it for the sake of my own happiness.
After our wedding, it had taken another six years for us to settle down and begin a family. Lauren had claimed that life was too complicated and we weren’t in a sound enough financial position to have children. I had applied for a new job with less money after we married so we wouldn’t have to live and work together. A smart decision, I had told myself.
When she unexpectedly fell pregnant – her trepidation was equal to my joy. Fatherhood had finally sought me out. Marley Rose was born 8.20 pounds and healthy. We were ecstatic, completely in love with this precious life that we had been gifted with. If only I could have captured that feeling, the first moment I set my eyes on my daughter. If I could have bottled it and held on to it for the next five years we might have had a chance at some long-term happiness. But it was not meant to be…