The man distanced himself from family. He broke off his long-standing relationship with Wana seven weeks earlier. Strange, but he did not miss her. The relief clear in his fresh complexion and leaner figure. The bloating dissipated, as did his pulse and panic attacks. Over the last thirty years, Wana skillfully manipulated him. To please, Budu capitulated almost every time. With each new year, he resolved to stand up to her. Wana’s influence over Bette’s husband grew nearly unabated. Budu distracted by his vast investments and escalating social status, turned blind to her schemes. Now, crushing guilt and shock at his demise aroused him from a near trance. Budu heard Bette busying herself in the kitchen, down the hallway.
Bette, his wife dutifully prepared a healthy lunch, selecting the most delectable salad items and a bounty of sweet-smelling fruit. Budu strode into the kitchen, calmer and suddenly famished. He smiled at Bette, kissed her and held her close. His heart swelled and her joy spilled over. They burst into easy laughter and sat down to their lunch. He cleared up and washed up after, surprising Bette once more at his domesticity.
Bette nearly burst into tears, as she came to terms with their current marital status. Fear gnawed at her daily, usually at night. She would roll over in bed to check if he slept still by her side. The thought of losing Budu once more brought shivers and a crushing sensation to her chest. Tears welling up, she mouthed, ‘I love you’, looking up into his grinning face. He pulled Bette close. ‘ I will never let you go ever again. I am so sorry. Know now that I will always love you and promise to protect your heart.’
They settled into a lazy afternoon nap, with the sliding door to the garden slightly ajar. Bette dreams about the future and a holiday in the sun. Budu eventually drifts off, assured of a future with the woman of his dreams!