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Fidelity, Part 2

A teashop in Taipei, Taiwan. May 2010. 
There was no night life where I lived, so disappointed Melissa stayed in the barren guest room and surfed the internet all night every night. One morning she excitedly told me that she'd found her high-school sweetheart online, and that she'd arranged a meet up with him as soon as she returned to Taiwan.

"What? Why?" I asked.

"He's a realtor. I'm looking to buy a new house in Taiwan and thought he could help," Melissa said.

"I didn't know you're looking to buy a new house in Taiwan," I said, tempting to ask if she'd like to buy my house instead.

"Well, I've been thinking about it for a while now. After talking with my friend last night, I decided to start looking seriously," Melissa said. She told me that her marriage had already been in jeopardy for years. She was looking to buy a new house in Taiwan so that she could prepare for separating from her husband. It was all part of her plan that gradually lead to a divorce.

After she returned to Taiwan, Melissa called to tell me about her frequent meetings with her realtor friend (let's call him Jon).

Jon was married, and his wife was expecting their first child at the time. When Melissa asked to meet with him, it was always in the name of business. Soon, they started to meet at night, not for business purposes. Melissa drank to forget about her sorrows, and she'd get drunk. "You know, I should've stuck with Jon long ago," she said. "He's so thoughtful, so gentle, so romantic..."


"One night we had dinner at a very fancy restaurant. I accidentally had too much wine and became so dizzy I couldn't go to the restroom on my own, so Jon helped me."


That day I wrote a lengthy email to Melissa and suggested to her that she should discontinue seeing Jon. I knew she'd be extremely offended. I knew she'd accuse me of being self-righteous. But I couldn't watch and do nothing while her bad choices and inappropriate relationship with Jon lead to two broken families, potentially.

She told me not to worry. "It's not what you think it is, okay?" Melissa assured me.

Get together with Fu-Jen Catholic University classmates. Taiwan, 2010
A few months later, Melissa told me she'd divorced her husband and was moving to Shanghai instead. "I'm starting my own company there. Would you like to be my designer?"

Next thing I remember, Melissa and I were planning to attend world trade shows in Virginia, Chicago, and Atlanta together. Because of the intensive traveling schedule in the middle of the school year, I told Melissa I could only attend one of the three shows.

"I can't be gone for too long," I told Melissa. "I need to help my kids with school work and practices."

"A woman with incredible talents like you shouldn't be tied down to lowly household chores like that. Why don't you hire help to take care of your kids so you can have time developing your talents and skills?" Melissa said. "And make lots of money."

But that was her opinion.

On the day when we were supposed to meet in Atlanta, I arrived at the hotel on time but didn't see Melissa. I waited in the lobby for about half an hour, then I saw Melissa walk past the glass door into the lobby. I was excited to see her. But then I spotted something unusual. The man who trailed behind her looked too well-dressed to be a porter pulling her luggage.

As I walked up to greet Melissa, I was shocked to death to find that this man traveling across the globe with Melissa to all the world trade shows was Jon! To make this trip, he'd lied to his pregnant wife about his business trip partner. I was dumbfounded! I didn't know what to say! I felt sick. I felt judgmental. But mostly, I felt disgusted.

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Allison is a mother to three boys.  She's currently working on her memoir.  You can find her at: Allison Merrill

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