I Slept With Another Man
I slept with another man because I got tired of being your mistress. Because I’m beginning to believe that you have some genetic imprint that makes your brain and your loins hardwired for infidelity. That no matter who you’re with, you just won’t stop looking. You have her, and you have me: your covert affair. And still that void, that void that urges you to suck at yet another woman’s breasts. I am not a stopgap, I am not a cure, no woman is. Always that void, that void.
I slept with another man because I knew I couldn’t fill those holes in your soul, more tattered than your favorite undershirt. I mended the holes, every stitch done with meticulous care, with pride and quiet patience. My hands would glide over the newly-sewn holes, and I would hold up and show you a mirror of your restored soul, beaming. You’d take it back and wear it out, and I’d watch my stitches disintegrate.
I slept with another man. I met him on Craigslist, like you. Single, 5’10″, ran a family business, his hobbies included working out and it showed. He liked to go on roadtrips. Like you, he asked me to run with him one of these days. He grew up in the same city as you, in the same district even. When these traits showed up, I knew I’d just be grasping at lingering traces of your shadow. I suspected that your hologram was hiding underneath those hundred-forty pounds of flesh sitting across the table at Friday’s. His eyes weren’t dead, but they weren’t yours, so they might as well have been.
At 3 p.m. he took me to a cheap motel with bad fluorescent lighting and cramped walls, and a mirror on the ceiling. I wished I were at your apartment. I wondered what you were doing right at the very moment I sat on the bed covered in coarse linen. Were you meeting with a client? Were you bored, randomly clicking away at the graphics on your computer? Were you updating your Facebook status? Had you had lunch? Were you thinking of me? He kissed me and started taking off his clothes.
I wore matching underwear in your favorite color, red. I wore the very same dress I wore the last time I saw you. So every time I’d see that dress hanging in my closet, I’d remember that I had been ravaged in it by two different men. Not just you. Now you aren’t so special. And though I bought that dress with you in mind, I didn’t want to give you that privilege of being so precious that I’d save an article of clothing just for you. I slept with another man. I let him fuck me so I could have my revenge.
He took his time to undress me, he kissed my lips and I took in his warm breath. I tugged at his hair while he was on top of me to make sure that he was real, to remind myself that it wasn’t you. He kissed the curves of my torso, my belly-button, and I faked a giggle to convince him that I enjoyed it as much as he did. I closed my eyes as he hungrily placed his lips on my neck, and the tip of his tongue squirmed back and forth, up and down seeking my pleasure. I clasped his shoulders and felt familiarity because they were shaped like yours, his body melted into my grooves like yours. He went down on me but not quite as well as you do. I couldn’t stop comparing. In between grunts and moans I pinched his skin and closed my eyes, and I’d see a memory of the last time you kissed me. I wished so hard it was you instead. In my mind I could see your face drawing closer, so I’d kiss him deeper and draw his breath as if sucking out the life out of him would make you magically appear.
He pulled my hair and pinned me to the bed and he fucked me, and it was then that I missed you the most. Oh god, I missed you. He felt familiar because I was looking for you in him. I thought that maybe if I feigned my passion with utter conviction, my passion would become real. I feigned and feigned, but I was only the more convinced that it wasn’t you I was sharing myself with. Being in the arms of someone else made your absence more real, more concrete. His passion wasn’t fake. He kissed and kissed, and within hours of meeting each other he knew I would become his favorite person. He wanted me. You no longer do.
I always thought that when I fucked you, we never made love. But mirroring this random fuck with the way I moved my body against yours, I now know that I give myself entirely to you. I gave him my body, I gave you my soul. But ours was always one-sided. I made love to you, you never reciprocated. I slept with another man. These thoughts were running through my head as I faked my moans until he came. I made him sweat. He lay on his back and I embraced him, my head resting on his chest, my legs coiled around his lower body, like I would with you, back in your bed, in your apartment. And I knew that I could do the same thing over and over again with another man and still never find you. I hated myself. I hated you for not being there. My eyes couldn’t contain the anger, and I started crying. Quietly. I didn’t want him to see, because he had nothing to do with my tears. So I told him I wanted to go to sleep and I turned my back against him, and I cried in that goddamn cheap motel. He embraced me still, and he didn’t know I was crying. I hated you more.
I slept with another man. We had cheesecake and coffee after. I saw the signs that he wanted to keep me. He started making plans. He wanted to go out of town. He asked me if I liked the beach, and I said yes. He wanted to watch a movie. He asked me to go to his place one weekend so I could sleep over. I told him I’d make him breakfast. It was a half-lie and an empty half-promise. He kissed me again. He walked me to my car when the night was over, and begged for two more minutes before he said goodbye. I was going to take home his scent on my hair, my clothes, my skin. I slept with another man. He was ready to give me everything you never could. But I didn’t want him to. He could be everything I ever wanted. But I still wanted you.
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Try something today. Count how many times someone brings up some sort of mental illness in normal conversation. Add that number up and tell me it doesn’t strike you as kind of weird how many normal people walk around with the belief that there is something wrong with them.
She assumed it was jewelry. Every year he gets her a charm for her gold chain or a pair of dangly earrings.
Fall if you will, but rise you must.
You may lose what would have been the joy of the experience had you not been so focused on some fabricated idea or unrealistic expectation you had of how it was going to turn out.