Let’s imagine her life. She has two teenaged daughters. They look like her and her husband. They have her lips and his eyes. Her mother is Srilankan. Her father is American. She grew up in London. At 25 years old, she met her husband. He was handsome. They got married a few years later. She got pregnant at 35 years old with the first child. Then the second one at 37 years old. She gave up her model career for him. She followed him to his country as his career was more important for him. She was happy being home and raising the kids. They spent their vacations in Australia, in India, in England. When the kids were small, they lived a happy bohemian life. They could travel around Asia by motorbike for months. They spent Christmas and New Year’s Eve in the mountains in Switzerland, in the village where her husband was born. Ten years ago, her husband got an important contract in Spain. They decided to move to Madrid. They bought together an old flat in the Old Town and he renovated it into a loft, keeping the structure of the flat but adding a few modern details for the kitchen. There were no separation between their bedroom and the bedrooms of the kids. They lived in an open space, husband, wife and daughters. Their kids could sleep and play wherever they wanted to in the flat.
Eventually her husband started to become well-known. He got more and more contracts. His design in architecture and ideas of keeping raw concrete material in construction were appreciated. He opened two more offices in two other cities in Europe and started to travel more. At the beginning he stayed two nights in a hotel where he first opened his office. After six months, he said he was tired of travelling back and forth too much and asked her if she would mind if he rented a room in one city where the second office is. She said that she would understand if he found it more convenient.
The next two years, he moved from the room to another studio in a nice house. Same city. He practically only came home to Spain on the weekends. She did some charity works, mostly unpaid. She took care of the kids alone during weekdays. The weekends when he was home, he was invited to work events and networking parties. She followed him everywhere they were invited. She dressed up for him. She did not feel particularly happy about it but she imagined that could help him to show an image of a happy couple. People seem to fancy about how beautiful and harmonious their life was. She could not do anything about it. People always seem to think or imagine something. Would anyone imagine her in the laundry room during the week, in the kitchen, cleaning the bathroom, ironing his shirts? Would anyone imagine how it could be to sleep alone four days a week, in the master bedroom designed by him? People could imagine their lives and love life and marriage life as a successful life. No one could imagine the loneliness and the resilience that she has accepted to live through these years.
Eventually, he moved from a studio to a bigger two bedrooms apartment. He built the building and kept for himself the flat. He always came back home. He was more and more tired. Ten more years passed by. They talked during dinners on the weekends. They went to events, still. They went on vacations where he had the construction sites. Their sex life was nothing special but hygienic.
Eventually, the arrangement suited them. Their feelings were fading away or were a pale memory of what they were before. But there were the two beautiful kids and there was the celebrity that kept them together. She imagined and knew that he had mistresses or lovers elsewhere. A divorce was out of the question. It would cost them a lot emotionnally to decide for a separation, even though it might have cost them more to stay together all these years.
She imagined her husband with other women in his room then in the studio then in the big flat. What did they look like ? What were their professions? How old were they ? He chose them carefully enough. They would not bother her, or them, or her couple. They slept with him and left. He gave them nothing. He took from them nothing but their bodies. He gave her nothing either but took from her everything.
Why did she accept ? As a mother to her kids ? As a wife to her husband ? She knew there were other women. He tried to be discreet, not only to protect her, but also to preserve the marriage and the family. She never knew why he would do that ? Their marriage was not what it used ot be. There was nothing bohemian about their lives these last years. What kept them together in this loft built in concrete walls was merely the laughs of their kids. And the idea of being a family, in a traditional way, a husband, a wife, the kids, the father, the mother. What he did outside, in another country, in another flat, had nothing to do with her. Or it had everything to do with her but she preferred to ignore. All these women whose faces unknown to her. As long as she could not imagine them more than some vague associations of images and fantasies of her mind, she preferred to ignore their existence. That was how she opened the door every weekend and greeted him with a smile. A sad one. But enough to preserve a family.