For the best

by James

It really was for the best - for him, for Karen. For the kids. All of them flown the nest, of course, but still with their chirping beaks in Daddy’s wallet – oh Daddy, I simply must have the new Gucci, oh Daddy, my hard drive has once again become corrupted.

What good could a protracted divorce achieve? Acrimony, alimony, and the pouring of the family treasure into the fleece lined pockets of vulture lawyers and attorneys…and…things.

Avery paused – where had his train thought disappeared? His was the slow burn kind of intelligence, not hot on the nitty gritty of the world – that was Karen’s department. Family money, now that was his speciality, more specifically, keeping it in the family. Keeping the house too, that both of them loved. Suppose they did divorce and Karen got the house? Oh, the horror of it. Where would he keep his hand stitched Italian leather wing back chair that had been a mere snip at eighteen thousand pounds?

No. It would not happen. It would not. He took a deep breath and from his suit jacket pocket took his scrap of paper. On it he had written polyamory, Latin for many loves. Those Latins, they were clever. Give anything a name and it sounded better.

Avery shouted up the stairs. ‘Honey! I’m early. We need a little talk…’

He was halfway up the stairs when his wife appeared at the top. She spoke breathlessly. ‘Oh, darling. I didn’t expect you…I was taking a nap.’

Avery wrinkled his forehead. It was half past ten in the morning. When he had left Karen had been up and dressed but now she was gathering a dressing gown about herself.

‘Did you have a nightmare?’ Avery said. ‘Your face is flushed.’

A look came to his wife’s face. It was one he recognised, from all the times he had practised it in the mirror. And then a sudden smile broke on Karen’s face. ‘Not a nightmare, no. I was thinking about us, on our wedding night, and so…’

And so, she came down the stairs, took him by his hand and led him to the sweaty bed where she rode him to the finish line. Perhaps the phase of post coital bliss wasn’t the moment to mention Shauna and Rachel, both of whom he did love with a burning passion, but once Avery had set his mind to something…

Karen repeated the word slowly. ‘Polyamory…?’

Avery chuckled. ‘It’s not pigeon fancying. It’s Latin, for many loves.’

Karen said, ‘I know what it means.’ She slipped from the bed. She donned her robe. ‘I have to tell you, it’s a weight off my mind, and no mistake.’ She moved to the massive antique wardrobe that dominated the room. She knocked on the door. ‘Brad, you can come out now…’

A large, muscular fellow appeared, bundle of clothes clutched at groin level. He smiled sheepishly at Avery as he fled the room.

‘Brad called unexpectedly,’ Karen said. She moved to the wardrobe with the broken door and knocked. ‘Johnny, on the other hand, he was my ten o’clock.’ A skinny fellow emerged from this wardrobe. He did not meet Avery’s eye as he fled.

‘Now then, darling,’ Karen said. ‘Polyamory. It sounds such a wonderful idea…’