Creeping quietly into the dark bedroom so as not to wake his slumbering wife, a squeaky floorboard betrayed the man’s entrance. The sudden noise woke the woman, who sat up straight in bed and snapped, ‘So you finally decided to come home! Where have you been all night? You’ve been with HER, haven’t you? I can tell by your satisfied smile.’
The man cast his eyes down at the floor and hung his head in shame. ‘I’m sorry love, I know I said I wouldn’t do it anymore, but I just can’t help myself. She needs me.’
‘But we agreed you wouldn’t see her, and yet here you are sneaking away and spending the night with her again! What does she have that I don’t?’
‘Are you sure you want to hear this?’ he asked.
She nodded and replied, ‘Yes, I want you to tell me about her.’
‘She’s beautiful; a real princess. She’s very high maintenance, but cultured and sophisticated. She’s the life of the party – everyone wants to be with her and a part of who she is. People want to feel her warmth and bask in the glow of her radiance. Depending on her mood, she can be funny or sad, bright or dark – you never quite know what you’re going to get.’
‘Actually, you can stop right there. I don’t want to hear any more from you right now. Just seeing your face when you talk about her is too much. I need to see her. You can sleep on the couch tonight. Then tomorrow, we’ll go together so I can meet this other woman of yours.’
The man’s throat constricted as he swallowed nervously, then he simply nodded, turned and walked from the bedroom.
The next day was long for them both. Time dragged until the arranged evening meeting time finally arrived. With nerves stretched taut as piano wire, the man led his wife into the old building.
As they walked down the richly carpeted steps between the rows of plush seats, the secret mistress was revealed from behind the curtain.
‘Oh, what a beautiful stage,’ said the woman, as she stopped and gazed around the old Princess Theatre. ‘You didn’t really do her justice when you said she was merely beautiful. She’s regal.’
‘I know,’ replied her husband. ‘I’m sorry I’ve been spending so much time here, but the volunteer group has been working on a big restoration of the backstage area. I can show you if you’d like to see it.’
The woman nodded and they walked together, hand in hand down the aisle of the historic old theatre.