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January 2019 Prompt
by Sean Bracken
“You can’t hide your lyin’ eyes
And your smile is a thin disguise”
I know that I’m only tormenting myself, and yet I can’t stop playing the Eagles’ classic song over and over again on my classic Bush turntable. The words are torturing me. They evoke memories of Jessica’s smile. That smile that radiated from her entire face. That smile that captured my heart and mind forever. The words also remind me of the look in her eyes when I realised that she had betrayed me.
It seems like only yesterday, but in reality it was over six months ago when our plane landed in Orly airport. Our two-year-old marriage had been under strain for a few months, after our second application to become adoptive parents was refused. We had decided to take a three-week vacation in France. My best friend Billy lived in Val d’Isère and had invited us to come stay anytime we liked. The plan was to relax, enjoy some skiing and to work on our problems.
The holiday got off to a perfect start. The mountain village was picturesque, and Billy’s chalet was perfectly located, with easy access to the slopes. Billy and Jessica became instant friends and Billy went to great lengths to make us welcome. I could feel my tension disappear from the moment I arrived.
The first few days were fantastic. Hearty breakfasts were followed by fun on the slopes and high-spirited apres-ski parties. Jessica was in her element. It was her first ski holiday and she loved it. Her beautiful smile returned and I began to believe that we were back on track with our lives.
It was near the end of the first week that I started to become suspicious. Billy and Jessica had begun to find excuses to avoid the morning skiing, preferring instead to meet me for lunch and ski in the afternoon. I dismissed the idea, thinking there was no way my best friend and my wife could ever hurt me like that.
How wrong I was.
The following Monday morning, I took a chair-lift to the highest piste, situated on a glacier. The elevation combined with the ice provided for year-round skiing. As I skied away from the lift I began to take in the vista. The beauty of the mountain took my breath away. Standing above cloud level, I could see even taller peaks rising through. Bright sunlight reflected off the pristine snow and the sky was the deepest, intense blue I had ever seen.
I forced myself to turn away from the captivating sight and began to ski back down to another piste, determined to bring Jessica up to share the scene in the afternoon. Halfway down, a snowboarder lost control and collided with me as I traversed a very steep run. Luckily, I escaped with bruising down my left side and a nasty black eye. I decided to return to the chalet and soak my aches in a hot bath.
As I climbed the stairs I could hear giggles and laughter escape from behind the bedroom door. Even though I knew instantly what was happening, I was not prepared for the sight of my beautiful wife and my best friend sharing my bed. Both women tried to cover their nakedness, but it was the look in Jessica’s eyes that really shook me. All of the deceit, all of the lies, all of the treachery shone through her dark pupils. I never spoke a word to either of them. I was afraid that if I dared to speak, I would surely kill them with my bare hands. I stormed past the bed, grabbed my bag and stuffed my clothes and toiletries into it, before walking out of the room and out of their lives.
I found a small hotel on the far side of the town, changed into my favourite silk pyjamas and climbed into bed with a bottle of wine. The following morning I booked an early flight home, leaving my dreams behind. Streaks of mascara traced the course of tears down my face as I boarded the plane.
To this day I would give anything to have Jessica back. I’d sacrifice my money, my career, even my title. I used to love being Lady Sandra Byron. I used to love life. But nothing can replace my love with the lying eyes, disguised by her smile.
Check out Sean’s website and be sure to follow him! https://sean-bracken.site123.me/stories/lying-eyes
“Lyin’ Eyes” Written by DON HENLEY, GLENN FREY Copyright: ℗ 1975 Asylum Records. Marketed by Warner Strategic Marketing, a Warner Music Group Company. © 1975 Asylum Records