the others

Over breakfast the other morning I read an article in a magazine
a ‘feel-good’ story about a couple in the 60s who struck up a romance
before he went to Vietnam and she stayed home writing him letters
and when he came back they dated but his mother sabotaged them and he was scarred by war
and they split up
and then each of them married other people, for 12 and 17 years respectively
and all that time later they met again and got married and lived happily ever after
or so the story goes
and the story went for a page and only two lines was written about those other spouses
but they’re the ones whose stories I want to know,
those people who shared their homes and their beds and their lives with people
who were ‘meant to be’ with someone else.
It was that other husband, and that other wife, with whom they raised children
and paid mortgages and made meals and felt sorrow and joy
and it was that other husband, and that other wife, who dealt with their scars
the ones inflicted by war and love,
and I hate that that other husband, and that other wife, were glossed over in two lines
in a love story that was not theirs.

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