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Forgiveness, a love story

The affair was almost accidental. Overnight assignment, adrenalin rush, beautiful assistant. Then it accelerated for a while; more adrenalin. He was eight years and two children into a promising, widely admired marriage. His wife of course found out. Filled with remorse and shame, he swore he loved only her. They sought counseling. Slowly, carefully, they rebuilt the marriage. The family, the children, the career all prospered.

Ten years passed. Over that time she only once or twice had small doubts. He worked hard to rebuild her trust; she worked hard to build the family. But a tiny seed of suspicion had planted itself somewhere in her psyche, and there it grew. Weeds of doubt and uncertainty surrounded it, nourished by remnants of anger and betrayal.

One day she said, "I don't love you any more." Unforgiveness had eaten away her being.

He said, "What we had, I want it back." She wanted it back too, but didn't believe it could be recovered. She had a hole in her heart. "I need space," she said.

They had been through hard times, but this one was harder. People who loved them, their children, their friends and families, believed they could come throught this one, too. A lot of people loved them. One of those people said, "Try this: forgive."

She went away for what seemed a very long time.She tried to mend the hole in her heart. She thought about what it might be to forgive. She read about some mothers in Northern Ireland whose sons had killed each other, but who still came to a place of forgiveness. Something like a soft, gauzy thread began to knit itself on the bottom of the hole in her heart. Eventually one day she started the journey back home.

He caught a quick breath.

"Maybe you will forgive me," she said.