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Continued from Disinherited:

Yry stumbled out of the apartment, gasping for air. For hours she marched through the city streets and into Central Park, trying to absorb a new reality. During the following days her mind ground on her soap opera life. Pride belched like bile. Her appetite waned and nights were a torment of twisted sheets. She purged her pain onto pages and pages of poems and laments.

Even though visits to the stables felt like dropping into a cesspool, nothing could come between her and her horse therapy. She avoided Heinrich for two months. Then, one afternoon several weeks after the wedding, he cornered her in the tack room. He pleaded with her to hear him out. The marriage was awful, he avowed. He really hadn’t married for love, but only to legitimize his residency in America. Could he see her again just to talk?

What? she wondered bitterly, Was the new bride failing to put out? Wriggling free of his clutching arms, she retorted, “Never!” and escaped the stables, blood thudding in her ears.

At home she contemplated this new twist to the mute walls of her apartment. Again, she walked to settle her nerves. Long after the sun set, arguments raged in her head. If Heinrich didn’t love his wife, what rights did the wife have, after all? If the wife was incapable of satisfying him, Yry most certainly could. Did that fact not absolve the wife’s claim to him? His predicament before the marriage had probably been the cause of his harsh treatment of her earlier. There was still hope for saving his tortured soul!

Even after her vigorous walk, she paced the floor long into the night. The following day she returned to the stables, light-headed from insufficient sleep. When she spotted Heinrich engaged in his daily routine she felt like she’d returned home. Nothing mattered really, except this poor being’s tortured soul. And so began the secret meetings. Funny how our hearts overrule our minds, how convoluted logic justifies impropriety.

Heinrich’s selfishness resumed. They carefully planned secret liaisons. He stood her up frequently. Generally, there was some semi-plausible excuse, but often he seemed to simply have forgotten. She clung to the relationship because, quite honestly, it was the only friendship she had. In sequestering herself in a torrid affair, her other tentative friendships had lapsed. Even Ellen now spent most of her time with her own fiancé or his family. The affair reinforced Yry’s childhood alienation. She masked rebukes and disappointments with aloofness and disdain. It was not easy to approach her and it was not easy for her to approach others. She was alone, lost in a mass of humanity. The battles and the suffering she endured as Heinrich’s mistress filled a void. As long as she was there to support and love her man, her life had meaning. But when he left for Europe without even telling her he had left, she had no choice but to face reality. She had known he was planning the trip and secretly she envisioned him leaving the wife behind and buying her passage to accompany him. She pondered her loneliness as she rode miserably through the park.