Music filled the cool night air. Two lovers danced in the moonlight. They held each other close and seemed to glide in perfect unison.
“I love you Kat. I do not understand why you won’t marry me. I know you love me too.” The tall, blonde man looked directly into his lover’s soulful brown eyes.
“I do love you, Bart. I always have but marriage isn’t for me. I don’t want to pledge to be monogamous to one person for the rest of my life.” The pretty blonde saw the pain in Bart’s eyes.
“You want multiple lovers?”
“I don’t have an answer for that,” Kat whispered. She felt ashamed for her thought process. She knew Bart would be faithful once he pledged to do so. She just wasn’t sure that she could do the same.
“I don’t understand,” he admitted sadly as he pulled away from her. “You just said you loved me but how could you love me and want other men at the same time?”
“I know you don’t understand but love and lust are separate issues. Tell me, do you ever look at other women wondering what it would be like to be with them?”
“If you are asking if I notice beautiful women, the answer is yes. But that doesn’t mean I want to sleep with them. I keep my pledges and I love you enough to never break one I made to you.”
“Well maybe it’s me. I look at some men and think I’d like to bed them. I never do, of course, but the thought occurs. I can’t believe it never enters your mind. I think you are fooling yourself or lying to me.”
Bart stepped forward and put his hands on Kat’s shoulders. “Look into my eyes and see if you find deception there. If you do, then we’ll drop the subject.”
Kat shook her head. “If you don’t know you are lying to yourself then of course I’d see no deception.”
“Is your opinion of me so jaded?” Bart turned his back and moved away from the object of his affection. “Have I not illustrated my love for you?”
“It’s not that at all,” Kat moaned. “It’s me. I don’t want to make a promise that I’m not sure I can keep.”
“Then I guess we are through,” Bart muttered, his heart breaking. “I want a family; a real family including a wife and children.”
“I want that too,” Kat promise. “I just don’t want the marriage certificate to go with it.”
“Kat, you can’t start a family that way; at least not a real one. It means either one of us could walk away at any time; leaving our children without a mother or a father.”
“I’d never do that and I know you wouldn’t either,” Kat stressed. “We’d stay together because . . . ,”
“Of the children,” Bart finished. “No thank you. My parents did that and it wasn’t what was best for me or them. They ended up making my life a living hell. They fought all the time and often pulled me into their battles. Mother loved pitting me against my father and he often did the same thing. That is no way for a child to live. I won’t do that to mine. I just won’t.”
Kate swiftly moved to capture Bart in her arms. Although his back was still toward her, she laid her head on his neck. “We wouldn’t do that,” she promised.
“How would I explain that mommy’s out on a date with another man?” Bart turned to look at Kat with disapproval.
“I’d do it on the side. They would never know,” she continued.
“Do you really think children are that stupid? I knew my mother was cheating on my father. I knew the instant she started and how long it lasted which was pretty much their whole marriage. It changed me. I mean they went to church and professed to be good Christians. Then they went home and broke every commandment they felt like breaking. I won’t do that – not ever!”
Bart backed away from Kat. His face was darker than she’d ever seen it before. For the first time, Kat began to worry she’d lost him forever. Her heart raced at the thought but still she did not waver.
“Goodbye Kat,” Bart whispered. “I wish you nothing but the best.” Without another word, Bart turned and walked away.
“Bart,” Kat called out to him. “She was ready to say anything that might stop him from leaving. “Bart, I love you. I will love you forever,” She promised. Nothing swayed him. Before long he was out of sight.
It took both lovers time to deal with their split. Bart finally decided to leave town and get a fresh start. Kat didn’t learn about his departure right away. Once she did, she cried for weeks on end. Still, she dated – and bedded – multiple men, looking for the feeling she’d had with Bart. Before long she realized her mistake. Sleeping with men she found attractive didn’t make her happy. Only Bart did that so she set out to find him.
It took Kat two years to track Bart down. He’d opened his own advertising business in the adjacent state of North Carolina. Once Kat had the address, she rushed to find him. She was ready to pledge him both her love and her loyalty.
Kat dressed carefully for their reunion. She found herself nervous as she entered his building. Looking at the receptionist, she choked slightly before speaking.
“I’m here to see Bart Spencer,” she whispered.
“Do you have any appointment?” The receptionist asked politely.
“No, I don’t. I’m an old friend. I was in town and wanted to say hi,” she lied. “Is he available?”
“May I say who is calling?”
“Of course. My name is Kat Winslow.”
“Give me a moment Ms. Winslow. I’ll see if he can see you.” With that the receptionist went to a nearby desk to speak with another woman. The curvy redhead smiled and came forward to greet Bart’s guest.
“Kat, Bart has spoken of you often. I feel as if I already know you,” she gushed. “Please come. I’m sure he’ll want to see you.” With that she took Kat’s arm and began pulling her toward the main office. After a light rap on the door and a solemn, “come in”, she pushed the door open.
“Bart, look who has come to visit,” the redhead said cheerfully.
“Kat.” Bart said the name with a hint of sadness. “It’s so nice to see you,” he added as he recovered. “Come in. Take a seat. I’d love to catch up. I have some time before my next meeting.”
Nodding toward his assistant, he indicated the need to be with Kat alone. The redhead smiled and shut the door behind her.
“How have you been?” Bart took Kat’s hand gently.
“Not well,” she admitted as she took a seat next to him on the couch.
“Are you ill or something?” Bart looked genuinely concerned.
“No, it’s not that,” the blonde admitted with sadness. “It is something else.”
“Is there anything I can do to help you?” Bart’s eyes expressed sincere worry. As Kat looked down to gather her thoughts, she noticed the wedding band on his hand.
“You’re married,” she said flatly. “How long?”
“One year and two days,” Bart said with excitement. “My wife, Madeline, gave me the best anniversary present ever. We are going to have a baby.”
“Oh,” Kat mumbled before she caught herself. She steeled her resolve and looked up to smile at him. “I’m so happy for you,” she lied. “I’m engaged as well,” she went on.
“Really? You? I thought you were against marriage,” Bart returned.
“I was. Maybe it just took the right man.” Kat watched as her words threw daggers into her former lover’s heart. Sadly, the reaction she wanted did not come.
“I’m so happy for you Kat,” Bart cooed. “Marriage is a wonderful thing. I’ve never been happier. I want that for you too,” he continued.
“Me too,” Kat scrambled. “Well, I don’t want to take up anymore of your time besides my meeting starts in half an hour. I really must go.” As she turned to walk away, she noted the picture on his desk. He was smiling with love at the redhead who served as his assistant. Her heart sank.
“It was nice to see you, Kat,” Bart said honestly. “I wish you nothing but happiness,” he finished.
Kat turned and almost ran from the office. She didn’t stop moving until she was outside and two blocks away. Only then did she allow the tears that had been threatening to surface, to do so.
‘I lost my chance,’ she told herself breathlessly. ‘Bart’s the only man I’ll ever love,’ she continued with absolutely certainty. She was right too. Kat Winslow died an old maid at the tender age of 55. People claimed she died of a broken heart and it was true. Selfishness and greed ruled her life but brought her no happiness. The lack of love killed Kat Winslow.