"es," I said, smiling, "I'm free." I'm not known for lying. I tend to go in the opposite direction. I tell too much. Why did I do this? I don't know, but I felt so high. He had entered my heart and claimed my back. I could feel the place where I must've once had wings. For the first time in my life, I felt totally myself.

For one thing, I hadn't felt married in years. For a second thing, I wanted to see how Harlan would react. A test. Did he only want to prove his power over me or did he really want me. What happened next was amazing. I can only tell you that within 24 hours I was married, in another state and wondering, what now.

"Harlan, I have to go back to Moab." "Sure, Gail." "I need to pick up some cash and see if the new fat tires came in." "No problem. I'm heading north into the desert myself for a week."

And this is how duplicity begins on a grand scale. How I began to lead the double life I'd always wanted to lead. And why did Harlan look at me like he knew everything. Canny. A man you could love but never trust. It wasn't about sex-on-the-side; it was about independence, survival and his own sense of right and wrong.

Work by Christy Sheffield Sanford, Copyright © 1996.