Yan came out from Jade’s beauty salon, standing under the bright sunlight, her eyes slightly opened towards the sun; she turned her eyes to the windows of the shops along the street. In them she saw the reflections of her own appearance: straight shoulder-length hair that fell lightly over a sky-blue vest and a matching jacket, dark blue Coach trousers that accentuated her slender legs, a pair of blue and white two-tone shoes, and a canvas purse to perfect the look. Not too bad for a 40-year-old woman, Yan thought proudly. She turned her head and suddenly saw a young girl probably in her early twenties, walking down the street dressed in a crop top, exposing her slim belly and waist, and a pair of ripped denim shorts. “Hi!” The young girl beams as they made eye contact. Yan watched her go, her moment of pride ripped from her grasp. Forty is yet too old to dress so casually like that, she grumbled to herself. She thought of the fat on her waist that she had been unable to rid herself of since giving birth and winced. Jarred by her sudden mood swing, Yan sullenly continued walking down the street.
While Yan walked, a burst of curry filled the air and she found herself outside of a Thai restaurant which was one of her husband’s and her favorite places. They both love yellow curry chicken there but Yan could not remember when was the last time they had a meal outside of their house together. She took out her cell phone to dial his phone number. He seemed astonished and asked her what she was calling for. Yan thought why shouldn’t I call? But said: "I am passing by the Thai restaurant we like. Would you like to come and have lunch with me?" He answered with a tone of "are you out of your mind?" but actually said: "I'm very busy and will have a meeting at one o’clock.” Without an apology he hung up the line quickly. Yan felt foolish for calling. She had no mood for food or shopping anymore, so she turned toward home.
That night, Yan did not know why she told what had happened during the day and her own inner feelings to the man with the baseball cap on line. He responded quickly and said that he was happy to see her finally open up to him. He had already guessed that Yan was a married woman as every night she was online on a fixed hour. He was also a married person. His wife is a nurse on the night shift. They live in a life of two different shifts. He added that they have a 6 year old son. He said he started browsing the Internet because of his feelings of loneliness and boredom. He did not expect to encounter Yan. He thought it would only be a brief encounter with nothing serious coming from it. Like Yan, he also tried to recapture the feeling of love with his wife, but his wife’s eyes are only for their son and her work; there seems to be no space left for him anywhere in her life. He can fully understand Yan's feeling of helplessness and neglect. Finally, he told Yan, everyone will grow older, but if a person is aging gracefully, surrounded by love and being loved, then getting old is not a sad thing but something to enjoy. He asked Yan to call him Doug.
Since Yan and Doug knew each other’s married status, they began to have a sense of trust. They were now two people talking about their respective views on marriage and family life.
One day Doug e-mailed one of his photos to Yan. With brownish hair, tall and slim body, his sunny, innocent smile seemed to be saying to Yan: "Look! I am just like this! "
Yan did not send back a photo of herself because she did not feel she was ready. The future seems to be blurred. Although she and Doug gradually acknowledged that they had a mutual attraction and a trusting relationship, in her heart she knew that she was a married woman who couldn’t leave her two kids behind for her own needs. Every time she thought of her own lust and desire, she knew psychologically and morally that she could not act on her feelings. Moreover, she worried that she and Doug were in an unreal dream, afraid to wake up and realize everything was lost. When her husband offered to take the two children and her on a hike, she preferred to be alone, finding an excuse saying that she had to prepare dinner. The result was that her husband and sons went hiking, and she found herself alone, letting her mind wander boundlessly.
Yan’s heart was conflicted. She enjoyed the poetic dream of love and loved its illusion, Yan’s mood swings were mercurial, with wild ups and downs each day. She became more and more quiet as well as impetuous.
One day Doug emailed her “I dream of having a soul-mate to share my thoughts and hopes, I dream of someone that I could walk with and talk to about everyday things. I dream of someone that I could hold hands with. I dream of having someone to love me as much as I love her. I am dreaming of having someone that I could love and care about… Are you that person, my soul-mate?”
Yan felt that he was speaking her thoughts as well as his own. Her mind flashed these words repeatedly:” Are you my soul-mate?” It was like a wind blowing over the lake’s surface, each wave bringing another one forward. Yan felt incredibly vulnerable.
原文链接：出轨的中年女人 (原创小说 四）（章节分段略有不同）