“I still love you, Ken,”
Ken closed his eyes as he heard the statement that he didn’t want to hear. He took a deep breath, and soon he opened his eyes and looked at Julia looking at her cup of coffee.
“So?” he asked.
Julia looked at him, basically surprised with his reply. “So?” she asked him back.
“You love me. So?”
She opened her mouth slightly only to close it back. “I…”
“Is this the reason you asked me out for this cup of coffee? To tell me the things I don’t want to hear?” Ken asked, looking out of the window, before he took a deep breath and looked back at her. “Okay. So what about you still loving me?”
Julia took a deep breath. “For the last 3 years… my life…”
Ken looked at her.
She bites her lower lip before she began, “After we broke up… I… I have been with him. I got married a few months later, because I was pregnant. It is a simple wedding, wasn’t anything classy that I have always wanted. I thought marriage is going to signify the start of something new. But I was wrong. The things that I wish will remained had changed, and the things I thought will change… had remained. And it is not a good thing to begin with,” she said. “From that moment on, he constantly said that… I tie him down with a marriage because of our daughter. I became really upset. I believe he had never wanted to settle down with me. I could feel he did not love me as much anymore. And then, fighting and arguing became a part of the relationship. The endless, daily fights about the daughter, the house, financial, time… and literally every single thing in life will be embroiled into a fight. Just about any topic you can come out with, he and I will fight about it. The noise and messy household is causing me stress day and night. It is causing strain between me and him and even to the daughter,”
Ken’s eyes looked down slightly and then lifted it up again when she continued.
“Finally… I had enough. The reason I end the marriage… is because I couldn’t stand the fight that is getting ridiculous as time goes. He accused me of cheating on him,” she took a deep breath. “Likewise I felt he must have an affair with that woman in his office…” her eyes strayed right after she said that.
Ken took a deep breath and then exhaled it upon hearing that. “If you find that ending the marriage is the best thing to do, then just do it,” he said. “Won’t be fair for the young ones,”
“I know,” Julia took a deep breath. “I looked back and think… I have never appreciated what I was given back then. He did not treat me as nice as you had treated me. He did not love me as much as you do to me. I had never appreciated the comfort you had provided to me. Even though you are not rich and you are earning just okay, I never had to worry as much about finance when I was with you than I am with him. I never had to worry about a lot of things…”
“But you complained about me not spending time with you,” Ken said.
He turned away.
Julia looked at her clasped hands as she knew he didn’t want to look at her. “I am devastated about my broken marriage. I didn’t know what to do. And then I saw you in the advertisement. So… I tell myself… why not try calling you? And when you said you are still single… it… is a sign…”
When Ken heard the last phrase, a part of him feels like he had just been struck by lightning. He is stunned, shocked and immediately went speechless for a brief 3 seconds before he quickly comes back to his senses right after the 3 seconds have elapsed.
“Oh my, don’t start with that,” Ken said, with one hand covering his face.
She looked at Ken, “Really, Ken, it is a sign. I know I…”
“Julia, me being single does not mean it is a sign,”
“It’s been 3 years and you are still not married…”
“Being single for 3 years and counting does not mean it is a sign for you, Julia! Being single does not mean anything! It is just that I have not found the one to settle down with!”
“Ken… I’m getting a divorce soon… and after that, we can…”
“STOP!” Ken yelled and she stopped briefly. “Please be realistic, will you?”
“Ken, I am really, really sorry. I am really, being realistic here. I am sorry I two-timed you. I am seeking my forgiveness from you,”
“It is not important if I forgive you or not,” Ken said. “It doesn’t matter,”
“It is, Ken… it is,”
“Julia,” Ken said, looking at her, trying to stop her from continuing.
“Ken… I want to get back with you and start all over again…”
She had said it. That is the worst nightmare. She wanted to get back with him.
“Julia. No,” Ken said sternly without hesitation.
“No, I will never get back with you,”
“Ken, I really love you, we can…”
“Julia, you cheated on me,”
“I know, Ken. That is why I am sorry. I love you very much, I want to start anew with you,”
“JULIA, YOU BLOODY CHEAT ON ME,” he said harshly and his tone slightly louder to make his points thru, causing some people around to turn their heads and looked at Ken and Julia.
Julia didn’t say a word, and she looked at him.
“You cheated on me. How on earth can I take you back?”
“Ken, I promise I will not…”
“Julia, do you know what is the most important thing in a relationship?” he looked at her and said.
She looked at him sadly and at the same time wondering what he is going to say. “Love…”
“It is trust,” Ken said. “All relationships are based on trust. The trust is gone the moment you cheat on me. So tell me, how am I supposed to trust you again? To trust you that you will never go out and stray again? Do you know how bad it feels to not be able to trust someone? Especially your partner?”
“Ken, I love you and that itself will show you that…”
“Julia, love itself is not a promise and on top of all, I do NOT love you anymore,” he said, “And I will never be able to love you anymore,”
“Ken…” tears formed in her eyes.
“If you didn’t cheat on me, today you are my wife. You will lead your life happily. Not sitting at this place crying and begging me to take you back. But you cheat on me and ruined your happy ending,”
She lowered her head down.
“You and I had a relationship for 3 years. It is 3 years. And you betrayed me,” Ken said.
“I have never done anything wrong towards you during the course of our relationship. I love you truly for the 3 years I was with you. But what did you do, Julia? What did you do to me? You cheated on me. You shattered my heart into pieces. You don’t appreciate what I did for you, for us. I worked so hard because I want to provide you the best of life. I want to have a future with you. But to you, it is never enough. You went and seek something that I can’t provide from some other man – which is time to spend with you. Do you think that I didn’t want to spend time with you? I wish to have more time too but I sacrifice it for US so that you will have a good future with me. It is my responsibility to provide to you. I am thinking about our future but you just can’t take it. You can’t take it that I work for us. I am building the base and strength so that I can jump faster in my career, get a raise, and earn more money for us. And I was devastated because you don’t freaking understand what and who I am doing it for,” he took a deep breath, “And with that, you seek comfort from some guy and ruined us,”
“You make me questioned my capability as a man. You’ve made me sit there pondered and wondered what have I done, what is lacking in me, and why you are willing to cheat on me with some other guys, betray over a relationship that you and I have for over 3 years. Have I done something wrong somewhere? Is it even wrong for me to think and plan about our future?”
He interrupts her. “It took me a long time to overcome this. I use all the money that I supposedly saved to get married to buy a new car and the apartment because I couldn’t picture myself staying in the same rented house where I used to spend happily with you which you have trashed in the end. The things that I have packed and brought over to this new apartment were left in the boxes unpacked because I do not want to open it and be reminded of you. And after so long, I threw them away and I can finally say I had officially moved on. I can take a deep breath and say I am proud of myself and my life. I am living happily on my own now, Julia. What do you want from me, Julia? What do you want so that you can let me go and let me lead my life?”
“Ken… it is not like this…”
“Don’t you come and story to me about your pathetic life marrying some guy you cheated on me with, having an imperfect family with him and wants to crawl yourself back into my life because you were reminded about how I am able to provide you things and life that he couldn’t and wouldn’t. Don’t come and tell me as though you are the victim of everything when I am actually the victim of your wrongdoings. I have a difficult phase in my life as well, Julia. Not only you. And my difficult phase in life was done by you. And don’t you come telling me how apologetic you are and trying to fix things right when the past is already a past and damage has already been done by your pair of hands,”
Julia looked at Ken. She lowered her head as she didn’t know what to respond.
“This is your choice. You picked your path,” he said. “What you have today is what you choose for yourself,”
“Ken… you did not give me a choice back then…”
“What kind of choice you want me to give you?”
“You got mad… and asked me to get out…”
He stared at her in disbelief. “So you are telling me that I should give you a chance to pick between me and him back then?”
She opened her mouth, and then closed it back.
Ken let out a small disbelief and slight tinge of sarcastic laugh. “What is this bullsh*t?”
“Ken, I am really sorry, I wish to…”
“Julia,” Ken said, “You f*cking… cheat on me,” he clenched his jaw.
She bites her lips as she lowered her head again, with her tears fell to her cheek. “I’m… sorry…”
“Julia, you are the one that lied to me. You are the one that messed everything up. You cheat on me and you expect me to give you the option to pick?” Ken asked. “Do you think you deserve that chance when I am the victim here and NOT you?”
“I…” she ends up pressing her lips together, knowing that she is the one at fault since beginning.
“You lied to me. You had to let my friends see you with someone else. You had to let me catch you telling me lies that you are home when I see you walk thru that door to come back home, purportedly at a time right before I come back. The moment you start running your hands on someone else; that is the day you ruined and lost your chance, Julia. I could never grant you the chance to pick. This is a case of you cheating on me. How am I supposed to still let you pick? Who do you think you are to deserve that choice? Because you think you are the only woman in the world? Or you think I wouldn’t be able to find someone else?”
“I am really sorry…”
“I had enough of you saying you are sorry. It will never change what had happened. It will never change the fact that you had hurt me deeply. A word ‘sorry’ will not give you the chance you said you deserved because you don’t deserve a chance!”
She has her head lowered.
“You could never fix it again, Julia. You can’t. Things will never be the same,”
“Even if I am given another chance…?” she looked up at him.
Ken took a deep breath. “If your husband asked you for another chance. Will you take him back?”
Julia looked at Ken. She keeps quiet for a while. “It will never happen,”
“If he did?”
She smiled lightly. “Maybe not,”
“After all that I’ve been thru… all the pain he inflicted to me… I don’t think I can take it anymore,”
“So what are the odds for me to take you back when you did exactly the same thing to me like how he did to you?”
She looked at Ken, “Ken, no, I won’t,”
“Like I have said, a relationship is based on trust. If I were to take you back, how can I trust you again, Julia?” Ken asked. “HOW?”
“You can trust me, really… I promised to…”
“Then can you trust that your husband goes to work just for work and not for the affair you just claimed he had?”
She looked at him while biting her lips, and then she lowered her head again.
“Julia, I can never trust you anymore no matter how you convince me. Imagine when I am not with you, I will be thinking if you are with someone else, if you will lie to me, or have another potential to cheat on me again. You know that kind of feeling? It is a very miserable feeling. It is torturous. I will stress myself up for no apparent reason and on a woman that does not worth my love and my time at all. This is the same for you. You will be thinking that he is cheating on you in his office and you will worry day and night. And sooner or later this is going to generate problem. I do not want to submit myself to another mental and emotional torture like what you have put me through, Julia,”
“A part of me lost hope to love because of you, Julia,”
“We can start over again, I will give you back the hope…” she reached for his hand.
“Julia,” he retracts his hand before her hand reached him. “It will never happen. I cannot build a relationship with trust issues. The relationship will be based on mental and emotional agony and unexplainable daily drama and trauma. I do not want a relationship like this. No matter how, I will never be able to trust you even as a friend, not to mention as a partner. I do not want to let the history to repeat itself. I do not want to look into past and try fixing it knowing the problem is not me. I knew what I have done. It wasn’t my fault all of these happened. You chose to cheat on me. You chose your path. Right now you suffer because this is all your fault. I was affected with your actions. But I recovered. I moved on. And I don’t love you anymore to begin with,”
She bites her lips as tears remained flowing down her cheek.
“You can say I am mean and harsh but every single word I have just stated is the truth. It is what you did to me. You have been mean to me. You ruined the relationship that I put all my effort in. I cannot stay and be with a woman who had cheated on me. After all the things you have done to me in the past, I will never be able to open up my mind and my heart to let you come back to me and risked letting you do the same thing to me again. There is a statement; once a cheater, always a cheater. You might go out and cheat on me again, and thinking that if you come back to me, I will take you again. No. Why should I open myself up for these?”
“You saw me in the advertisement. You knew my life is going to change. You knew I can do better than I ever had. You asked about my job because you want to know if I am able to support for you, and you encouraged me to take up modeling because you knew I can earn more and having more flexible time and therefore to spend more time with you. You asked me if I am married so that you can find your way back into my life. This meeting is a lie. It is not about catching up with me. It is to know if my life is better and if you can get back with me. Asking me to meet up in this coffee house is just you trying to remind me of our times. And you know what? It won’t work, Julia,” he said. “This place has been renovated and beautified. It is not the same as back then anymore. Just like me. I have changed and probably a better and stronger person today, but I am not the same as back then anymore. And as for the coffee, no matter how good and nice this coffee is, I can find a better coffee somewhere. There will be better tasted coffee than this and I don’t need to come back here to taste it and to remind me of you and be nostalgic about it. Things have changed and they will never be the same again. This place will never look like how it has been 3 years ago again,”
She looked down to her cup of coffee.
“And just so you know. I am not open-minded enough to accept your daughter with the man you cheated me on. I will not be able to see her in the eyes and treat her the same way I will love and treat my daughter. I will not. And it will not be fair for her. Because I can tell you, when I see her, I will be reminded of you cheated on me. Likewise when I see you, I will remember and imagine you sleeping with some other man while you are still in a relationship with me,” he closed his eyes and he opened it very soon after. “So do your daughter a favour. Go back and make peace with your husband. You married him, regardless whether you had actually picked him or not. Solve things out between both of you. He is after all her father. By any means separation is really needed, then go and find another man who can love you for who you are, and love your daughter the way she deserves it. So take this as a favour for your daughter. But the man will not be me,”
“I am sorry for all the things I put you through…”
“It has been a really painful recovery but I survived it. I’ve moved on. It is your turn now, Julia,” Ken said. “Move on from me, Julia, and find a better person,”
She wiped her tears. “I really wish it is you…”
He smiled faintly and shook. “I even wanted to forget the relationship I had with you. It hurt me so much and it is so bitter, but it is not possible. It had been tattooed in my life. I could only mark it as past. But it had shaped me to who I am today. I learned my things in this journey for both relationship and recovery. And I will give my best in the next relationship. But it will not be with you,” he took a deep breath. “The only thing you want me to thank you, is to thank you for the 3 years of relationship. Thank you for opening my eyes and let me know I did not marry you for that will be the biggest regret of my life; I can’t imagine how I would feel and do if you cheat on me after marriage. Thank you for making me a better person. Thank you for letting me know that it wasn’t my fault you choose to cheat on me,”
She bites her lips as more tears fall.
Ken took out his wallet, ready to pay for the coffee.
Julia sniffed. “You already loved someone,”
Ken’s eyes strayed and at the same time stopped browsing for cash notes in his wallet upon hearing that.
About a second later, he resumed looking for TWD$100 notes. “Why do you say so?” he said without looking at Julia.
“You said a part of you lost hope in love… but you seem to have… found it… back,”
“It will come back after recovery period,” he looked at her after he took out two TWD$100 notes from his wallet.
“It is Rainie, right,” Julia turned and looked inside the shop, to where Rainie is purportedly sitting.
She returned her gaze back to Ken and that is when she noticed his facial expression had changed slightly, upon mentioning of the word ‘Rainie’.
“She is just a friend,” he said, placing the notes on the table.
“Don’t deny it, Ken, I can see it in your eyes when she came in just now,”
“You mean I can’t be surprised when I saw a familiar face coming in into the coffee house?”
Julia smiled faintly. “That wasn’t the ‘surprise’ face. It is different,”
“It doesn’t matter. I think this meeting is done,” Ken said standing up.
“Ken,” she called, stopping Ken. “Can I pay for this instead? Let me do something for you… though I am not sure if we will still be friend after this…”
He looked at her. “Friends? I don’t know. I don’t even know if I can take you as a friend,”
“Well… since you had already said it… then let me pay… I owe you… a lot,”
“Didn’t that mean if I let you pay, I become the person that owes you over a cup of coffee?” Ken asked. “I didn’t want to owe you anything anymore,”
“Just let me reimburse…”
“What makes you think that you can reimburse all that you have done to me with only a cup of coffee? And even though I am not working, it doesn’t mean I can’t pay for a cup of coffee. What kind of man will I be if I don’t pay?”
“I know I can’t compensate everything. But let me do it, please? At least… I’ll feel better,”
Ken’s eyes traveled to the two TWD$100 notes on the table. He retrieves one note, with one note remaining on the table, “Then you shall pay the remaining. I do not owe you anything,”
“But didn’t that mean you are paying almost half of my coffee as well?” Julia looked at Ken.
Ken looked at her. “Since you said you already owe me a lot, owing additional couple of dollars won’t make any difference. Besides, I didn’t owe you anything in life therefore I do not want to owe you even a cup of coffee,” he took a step off.
He stood there. “What,” he said flatly without even turning his head to look at her.
“I just want to know one thing,”
He turned and looked at her, waiting for her question.
“Are you still mad at me…?”
He took a deep breath. “I would be lying if I say I am not or that I don’t harbor ill feelings towards you due to what you have done to me. But I can honestly tell you, it has been three years and I already felt numb. The feelings will linger around and will not go away,”
“I understand,” and then she looked at him, “So… I assume you will not forgive me…”
His gaze looked away as he asked himself that same question at the time. “I don’t know. It is already past. I will not look back and ask myself that. So I don’t think the answer is important,” he said, and then he looked at her again. “The future is what I am looking forward to,”
She nodded. “Okay, I got it,”
Ken straightened his head and is about to take another step.
“Ken,” Julia called.
“What again?” he stopped.
“If you like Rainie, you should go for it,” Julia said.
His eyes brightened up by slight upon hearing that.
Julia continued. “I have never seen you like this, and… I can see from her face that she likes you too,”
Ken gently lifted up his head, turned slightly to face the purported area that Rainie is sitting inside the coffee house.
“Now I know how painful it feels when the person you love no longer loves you and loves someone else,”
Ken turned to look at her. “You know what is more painful?”
She looked at him.
He straightened his head, “The person you love wholeheartedly and thought is the one, betrays your love,”
After hearing those words, Julia lowered her head again as she burst into tears.
“Julia,” he briefly turned to look at her, before he straightened his face to look at the door of the coffee house, “Don’t call me again,” he walked out from the coffee house.
Rainie lifted her eyes as she looked at Ken dashes out from the coffee house.
Winnie turned and looked at door flapping.
“Ken left?” Winnie asked, after noticing the empty seat in front of Julia.
“Yes,” Rainie said. “I wonder what happened,”
“I guess you can ask him at home,” Winnie said.
Rainie looked over to Julia sipping her coffee. And Julia lifted up her head and call for bill.
Soon, Julia also leaves the coffee house.