The five of them were sitting around a white linen covered table in this slightly dated, elegant restaurant. Many of the other diners were older, probably due to the early hour. They were making jokes about the “early bird special” and wondering whether things had come to that. Dinner and discussion of the book they had read last month was the order of the day and they were using it to get to know one another better. Serendipitously, there was a medical theme running through their group; each person was a doctor or a medical practitioner of some type so they knew one another in a way most new friends would not. The first night they met, one of the women had walked in and, even before introductions, had immediately talked sadly about a friend who was dying of a horrible disease. The others immediately focused, sat and listened, discussed the medical facts and the difficult feelings. They all knew then that this was a special group. Their conversations would have a special flavor and they would keep confidences.
Tonight the phrase in their book, “open secret”, came up in the discussion of ways we hide our feelings from one another and the youngest of them, a physician, suddenly blurted out that her husband had had an affair several years earlier and she was still suffering deeply. An indrawn breath and then another told that she, too, had dealt with infidelity but she had resolved her feelings about it. There was a pause and Melissa deliberated. No one knew. She had kept his confidence at her peril for years and she was exhausted from hiding. If she wasn’t honest now, she would throw away an opportunity for relief of her isolation and abandon the possibility of deeper connection in this group. No one would know why, but if she hid again now, she would withdraw just a little and everyone would feel it energetically. This was a crucial moment in her healing and she decided to leap over the line. “Yes, my husband cheated on me too”, she said. All eyes turned to her; “I have never told anyone.” Then the fourth woman said, guiltily, “I had an affair for years with a married man” and one of the previous women, who was dealing with her husband’s infidelity, said, “I had an affair with a married man, too.” The moment stunned everyone and then, suddenly, they all burst out laughing, loudly, tears rolling down their faces. All eyes in the quiet restaurant focused on them but they didn’t care. Magic had just happened and the tears of laughter and women and safety and joy and sadness filled the moment with an energy none would never forget.
What happens after? Well, whatever. This was a leap of faith.