The Other Woman
She’d supposedly asked me out to Starbucks to apologize for her behavior from the other evening, but this whole thing had turned into a shady penance of some sort. Oddly, she seemed to be slut shaming herself over our coffee. If there was an apology, I hadn’t heard it, but she was confessing to me like I was Pope Francis on Good Friday and it was all rushing out like she couldn’t control it.
I guess you could say this all started because he noticed me. He flirted with me on his very first day at work. The first few times, I thought it was a joke. I thought, “This couldn’t be happening. Nobody ever flirts with me. I’m a married woman.” But then, he did it again. . . and again. He got bolder every time and then I realized he was completely serious. He had no ring and no tan line, so I flirted back a little. Then I ignored him for a while, just to see what he would do. He got thirsty. You know, desperate for my attention.
At first, he’d do the sweetest things, like sending me roses to work and then he’d be standing there watching me when I got them just to see the reaction on my face. This man was actually chasing me and the more he did, the more attracted I was to him. . . to it, the attention. He just made me feel sexy. You know?
I didn’t know and didn’t want to. Taking a quick sip of hot coffee, I remained uncommitted and she continued.
Then he started wearing that damned ring. It just appeared one day, diamonds and all. He never explained it and I never asked because I had one of my own. And then, she popped up too, his wife. You’ve seen her right? We all have. First one day a week. Then two days. Eventually, she was there damn near every day with that adorable little boy and I thought she looked so pathetic because I knew what she was trying to do. She was just trying to keep an eye on her husband and there I was at times smiling and actually talking with her. I felt. . . I feel horrible and I know I shouldn’t be doing this, but I guess I’m what you’d call needy.”
I could almost see her confession like warm breath on a cold morning. She said it acridly and it just hung there like a hologram and I somehow felt the embarrassment that she wasn’t decent enough to comprehend.
But that was it. That’s why we were here. She was needy. It was the one accessory she’d worn back and forth to work every day with her tight pants and short dresses. It was why she’d made a mockery of her marriage and a fool of herself in front of all of her friends and coworkers by shamelessly pursuing and dangerously flaunting an extramarital affair at her workplace. It was also probably why she’d gotten in my face the other day, right after she’d basically accused me of messing around with her “other man.”
“You could always leave him alone. You know, just walk away?”
When I said it out loud, we both knew it was the only right thing for her to do, but I felt my words pinging off of her like skipping stones off salty water as she looked at me like I was stupid. She’d come to be heard. I was only supposed to hear her unapologetic non-apology, not offer suggestions.
She just rolled her eyes and continued with another layer of their story. How she was never really attracted to this other man and she wasn’t even drawn to him the way she was to her own husband, but he, her husband, for some reason, no longer seemed to want her.
He never complimented her anymore. Not her clothes. Not her hair. Not even her cooking. He didn’t notice the little things she’d done to turn him on, the haircut, her new perfume, or the tiny tattoo she’d gotten on her inner thigh. It was clearly just for her husband, but he hadn’t noticed because he didn’t crave her like he used to. In fact, she was waiting to see how long it would take for him to get her into what used to be their favorite sexual position where he’d have a perfect view of their new tattoo, but he never did and it was clear to her that their sex life was just about over. Whenever they did find the time to have sex, it was just a boring, rudimentary grind, and for her, “anticlimactic.”
She laughed sadly at her little joke.
To her, they now felt like housemates who just happened to have children together.
“And I am just too young for that.”
I guess I was supposed to agree, but I didn’t. I just sat. Waiting. I knew there was more. It was like she was speaking in tongues at the Pentecostal tent revival. She was saying so much and although it was clearly important for her to get it out, I couldn’t really comprehend it. I just listened and she continued.
At times, she thought maybe her husband was cheating on her and she’d followed him around for a couple of weeks, children in tow, crying in their car seats. It was all for nothing. The worst place he’d gone was a strip club in Decatur. He went in. He drank. He came out. He didn’t even tip a stripper. She came to the conclusion that he was just boring.
But then, this other man had shown up and he was exciting. He’d pushed her to the edge. With him, she’d done things she’d never gotten away with at home. She and her secret man had actually gone to the strip club together and they’d had sex in and on everything but a bed, all things she’d wanted to do with her own husband, but he’d, of course, refused. The best he could do was remind her that she was now a wife and mother, not some desperate young ho’ trying to get a man.
And that was why she was willing to overlook some things with her other man. Yes, like his wife and son. And although it was obvious, her side show was in great shape physically, he wasn’t really even her type. Whenever they talked, she had to sit down because she just could not bear to stand over him, looking down on his “little self.” Although it seemed to turn him on like she was his dominatrix or something, it was the one major turnoff for her, one that she’d overlooked to accept the attention he’d initially showered on her.
To her circle of friends, she’d overemphasized — no, downright lied, about — how sexy she thought he was, just to downplay his short stature and to hang onto what she knew none of them had in their own lives — a little excitement. And now, we both sat there in the moment knowing she’d somehow ended up chasing him, a man she really didn’t even want or need like she did her own husband.
I didn’t feel sorry for her and she didn’t want me to, not really. She just needed me to hear why, accept it, and to stay out of her way.
The question in my head was, “Now what?” Because to me, she sounded absolutely miserable trying to keep another woman’s unfaithful husband faithful to her.
This is a work in progress.
If you think it’s worth continuing, recommend it. Your responses and critiques are also appreciated.