Andrew has been married to his wife Serah for more than a decade and they have both built one of the most respectable families in their neighborhood. The happiness in their home reflects on their children even. The couple has never had any reason to question their place in each other’s lives and that became the basis of their commitment to each other because they both know it’s both of them against the universe so they stuck with each other but Andrew still feels an itch every now and then because he knows there is a part of him he has not really explored.
But all that changed when Ethan resumed at the office restaurant, from looking at him Andrew could tell he is not more than 23 or 25 at the most but his infectious smile and good physique makes it impossible to overlook him. Andrew has found himself staying extra at the canteen just staring and admiring his mannerism with everybody.
Weeks later and they have grown closer to each other, sometimes Ethan personally delivers food to Andrew’s desk on days he is too busy to go to the canteen. It makes Andrew’s day seeing Ethan by his desk, holding his food with that infectious smile of his. The look on his face whenever they meet, though Andrew can’t tell if it’s for endearment or he looks at everyone else like that but he likes it, it makes the butterflies in his belly churn.
Andrew battled a lot with himself because of Ethan, though they haven’t talked about how he feels about Ethan he is sure his presence makes him question his life and how he feels about his current life’s state. He is married to an amazing woman, has the most beautiful family any man could ever ask for and everyone around him sees his life as perfect, he thought so too but Ethan makes him question what he wants from life. Impressing people by pretending he has all he wants in life or living his authentic truth has turned out to be the most tedious part of his life. Though he likes it all there is more that is missing and he wishes he shares the life he currently shares with his wife with a loving man, one that makes him feel like Ethan every day of his life.
Serah noticed her husband has been having issues sleeping and when he does, he struggles in his sleep throughout the night. She has had to sit up for many hours just to ensure he is okay. It’s obvious something was going on with him these days but he hasn’t said anything yet, he usually speaks to her voluntarily and openly when something is bugging him. When she finally asked he looked distant and said nothing was wrong with him. But she was sure he lied because Andrew became less of himself as the days go by.
These days Andrew spends more time in the office than he does at home with his family, even his children have noticed that their father has not been in his real life for a while and has asked if he is sick. After the conversation with his kids, it dawned on Andrew that he is unconsciously destroying the beautiful home that has taken him years of effort to build.
He came home as he used to before the war in his head began, and took food from home so he wouldn’t have to see Ethan in the canteen but that didn’t help with the chaos in his mind. Anytime he catches a glimpse of Ethan from a distance his body begins to shake and he feels as though he can’t breathe.
Staying away from Ethan did Andrew no good as everybody around him saw that all is not well with him and he is tired of explaining that he is okay so he matched to the canteen to confront his “problem”, it was past lunchtime and there were only three people in the canteen at the time he got there. There was nobody at the serving station so Andrew moved towards the kitchen, he found Ethan leaning against the door engrossed in his phone. He made to touch his hand but his chest is beating so fast, he was glad when after the third failed attempt Ethan turned to face him and with what Andrew calls the most beautiful smile he has ever seen on a man said Good day to Andrew.
Andrew felt an influx of emotions instantly, his palm started to sweat, and he couldn’t form a word without stuttering. This has never happened to him before, not even when he was still wooing his wife Serah but here he is melting before a boy he is not even sure sees him the same way.
“You have not been coming in for either breakfast or lunch but I asked Mr Jude and he said you bring food from home these days….. That’s cool though” He didn’t break his smile while he spoke and the butterflies in Andrew’s stomach didn’t stop fluttering all through.
“Yeah, I got……tire….d o..f the food ar..oun..d here” he managed to say in between stammers.
“Oh, I thought you got tired of seeing my face” Ethan teased with a light-hearted laugh.
“Nooooo, I wasn’t…….didn’t get tired of seeing you, I like seeing you though I didn’t know you would notice my absence”. Andrew managed a smile despite the flutters in his stomach.
“I’m going to hang a little bit at the lounge down the road after work, would you like to tag along?”
Ethan blushed a bit at Andrew’s question “I was thinking you would never ask me out……so is this a date or just a hang out” Andrew felt a bit off guard, how is he so young and so bold and forward he thought.
“We can do both if you are up to it” He responded shyly.
“Let’s see if it’ll be a date or hang out then, see you by 5 pm by your car” and with that he disappeared into the kitchen. Andrew stood and stared at his behind for a few seconds before walking away with a bold smile that lit up his eyes.
Andrew was ecstatic all through the remainder of his day, painting imaginary scenarios from their outing but he was also worried that something might go wrong.
What if Ethan has a boyfriend, what if he doesn’t feel the same way about him, what if he isn’t even gay to start with?
Their outing went great, they struck up a conversation, turns out Ethan is crazy about Andrew. A spark ignited between them immediately, slowly turning into warm and genuine conversations as the night proceeded and when it was time to go they both dreaded it.
Andrew fought with his emotions for lying to his wife but he didn’t want to mess things up for everyone so he kept his relationship with Ethan a secret for almost a year. Being with Ethan has made him realize he wants more from life than he already has so he confided in his best friend.
Lisa listened attentively, offering her support and understanding. She encouraged Andrew to confront his feelings and consider what would truly make him happy in the long run. She reminded him that living a life without fulfilling one’s authentic self could lead to unhappiness and regret. Even though she is worried this might be a phase or a mid-life crisis she encouraged him to give it a go just to be sure what it truly means.
With Lisa’s words resonating in his mind, Andrew mustered the courage to converse honestly with Sarah. He expressed his struggles, opening up about his suppressed desires and newfound connection with Ethan. He explained how Ethan makes him feel like himself and lights up all parts of his being, something he has never felt before for anyone, not even her even though he is sure he was madly in love with her when they got married.
Sarah was shocked and hurt by the revelation, she struggled with herself for days, questioning the years they have shared and all Andrew has ever said to her but despite that, she appreciated Andrew’s honesty. Deep down, she sensed his internal turmoil and realized their marriage had not been as fulfilling for him as she had thought.
Together, Andrew and Sarah decided to seek professional help. They found a compassionate therapist who specialized in LGBTQ+ issues and couples counseling. The therapist provided a safe space for them to explore their emotions and find a way forward.
As the therapy sessions progressed, Andrew and Sarah discovered a profound love and respect for one another, transcending romantic attraction. They acknowledged that their paths were diverging but wanted to maintain a strong bond and friendship. After much soul-searching, they settled for an amicable separation and redefining their relationship in a way that honored their shared history and allowed them to pursue their individual happiness.
As time passed, Andrew found himself more drawn to Ethan’s presence. They shared common interests, similar values, and a profound emotional connection. Andrew had never experienced such a strong bond with anyone before.
Meanwhile, Andrew continued to build a deeper connection with Ethan. They explored their feelings cautiously, understanding the complexities of Andrew’s situation. Ethan, too, understood the importance of Andrew’s previous commitment and the need to navigate their new relationship with care and sensitivity.
Their love story unfolded slowly, with Andrew and Ethan taking the time to build a solid foundation of trust and understanding. They faced challenges and obstacles together, supporting each other every step of the way. Their connection deepened, and they found solace in knowing that their love was genuine and authentic.
Andrew’s journey was not without pain or sacrifice, but ultimately, it led him to a place of self-acceptance and true happiness. He learned the importance of embracing his identity, even when it meant challenging societal norms and risking the stability he had built in his straight marriage.
As time went on, Andrew, Sarah, and Ethan each found their own paths in life. They remained close friends, cherishing the bond they had formed through their shared experiences.