Day 1 – Maybe
Monday, December 3
Fuck. I close my eyes. Turn this way, that. Open them. 5.01 a.m. Well. This is productive. I get up – give the alarm clock a resentful stare. Go downstairs. Ponder making coffee – making that first pot is a sign of surrender to the morning, an admission that I will not go back to bed.
I make the coffee. Sullenly at first, then with just the slightest tinge of happiness as the grinder whirrs the beans. I breathe in its scent. And I listen to the quiet of the house – everyone’s still sleeping upstairs. I am awake and I am alone. I let go of the ‘why did I get up so early when I didn’t have to?’ resentment and relish the feeling of being. Awake. Alone.
Eight minutes later, I’m on the couch, curled up with a cup of coffee and my laptop. Check email . . . Seven minutes later, when Alex comes down the stairs, I’m working.
‘What are you doing up so early?’ we say simultaneously. Laugh.
‘One of my idiot partners in Toronto scheduled a conference call for eight a.m.,’ Alex says, stretching. ‘Eastern. I’ve got to be in the office in forty-five minutes. You?’
‘Just couldn’t sleep,’ I say. ‘As it turns out, some idiot in Toronto is having a panic attack and desperately needs me to review this business study. For nine a.m. Eastern. So you know – the insomnia was fortunate.’
He laughs. Kisses my forehead, grabs a cup of coffee, heads back up to shower. I read, think, type. I have three – less than three, really – hours until the little people start making their way down the stairs and claiming my attention. Focused. Fast.
Alex is back down the stairs in twenty minutes. ‘Bye, love,’ he calls as he rounds past me to the front door.
‘Bye, love you,’ I call back, without a break in the typing. ‘Going to be home in time for dinner tonight?’
‘Unless some idiot in Toronto screws it up,’ he says as he slips into his coat. ‘Will text you.’
By the time I’ve made my way through most of the second pot of coffee, the kids are coming down. Cassandra, my ten-year-old, first – shocked to see me up and awake before her. And then as appreciative of the silence around us as I am. She curls up on the couch beside me, with a bowl of cereal and a book.
The peace and silence end when the boys stampede down. Henry’s seven. Eddie’s six. Together, they sound like a platoon of baboons. Even at 7.15 in the morning. Cereal. Avatar: The Last Airbender on Netflix. Annie, the four-year-old, bum-slides down the stairs at 7.45, and my day’s work is done – parenting begins as Annie starts her day by cuddling in my lap for half an hour.
You cannot be cuddled by a four-year-old and be as brutal as my clients need me to be. I hold her. Drink coffee. Check Facebook. New messages.
‘What are our plans for the day?’ Cassandra asks. ‘This is a weird school day, right?’
‘You’ve got that pioneer Christmas thing at the Farm, and then we’re watching Marie’s kids in the afternoon,’ I tell her. She whoops in delight and races upstairs to get dressed. Annie follows her. I have to holler at the boys to do likewise.
The first message is from Marie.
We still on for this afternoon? I’ll see you at the Farm, right?
Maybe. Never was a word so full of potential. I’m glad you wrote me back, I was worried there for a while.
For a decade.
My lips curl into an involuntary smile. I won’t write back. Not yet. I’ll just enjoy knowing he’s in my inbox.
‘Mom! Eddie’s wearing my favourite shirt!’
‘Mom! I have no socks!’
I climb the stairs slowly, cooling coffee cup still in hand. Mondays. Really, not that much different from Sundays.
* * *
‘And you’re of course welcome to participate if you like,’ the Laura Ingalls Wilder lookalike who checks us in at the Farm tells me. ‘Parents welcome!’ I look at her in horror. The thought of spending the morning churning butter, milking cows, making candles, splitting wood or whatever it is the pioneers did to prepare for Christmas is an experience I’m willing to forgo. Happily. If the four-year-old lets me . . . but she’s already gone, holding on to her sister’s hand. ‘We get to make candles!’ she calls out to me over her shoulder. I give her a thumbs-up. The boys have already found their friends. I beat a retreat to the cafeteria.
Marie’s already there, two coffee cups in hand.
‘I got your mocha for you,’ she says. ‘An advance thank you for this afternoon.’ I accept. ‘Thank God you’re here too – I was having an I’m-the-worst-mom-ever moment,’ she continues. ‘Look at all those women crowding around the gingerbread table. For Christ’s sake, don’t they do enough of that at home?’
‘Have you ever made gingerbread at home?’ I ask Marie.
‘No one likes gingerbread at my house, thank God,’ she says. ‘I’ve made chocolate chip cookies. You’ve even eaten them, bitch. Stop ragging me. Drink.’
That’s Marie-speak for ‘I need to talk’. I look at her and wait.
She makes an extravagant gesture with her hands, but before she says a word, she is interrupted. A chattering herd of women, mothers of our children’s friends and classmates, enters the cafeteria. We’re an incestuous community. They know us. We know them. Our kids go to the same alternative ‘private’ school. Too many of our husbands work together – for each other – against each other. For all its urban pretensions, this is a painfully small town. A subgroup of them meanders to our table. We exchange meaningless pleasantries.
The conversation flows down well-trodden tracks. Christmas. Field trips. Anyone doing the Christmas at Heritage Park day? No? Why not? Shopping. Someone’s got the flu. Someone else is just recovering. Someone else is getting divorced, have you heard? Another revealed affair. A sense of ennui, almost overpowering, envelops me. I’ve had this same conversation . . . last week. And the week before.
I pull out my phone. Email. Panicked client. Another emergency. Ah, not going to happen today. Maybe for tomorrow. Not acceptable. This is a real emergency. Please. Double my fee. Anything. Fine. Your inbox, tomorrow a.m. Ecstatic client. How I’m going to accomplish that, I’m not sure . . .
The women’s voices around me rise and fall. Marie and I exchange looks – ‘Later’, hers says – but she falls into the conversation enthusiastically. I haven’t the desire.
Maybe. Never was a word so full of potential.
I check Facebook. I’ll write back. Maybe.
There’s a new message. From him.
Breaking news. In town December 14/15. Would love to see you. Can we make that happen?
The air around me vibrates and it has nothing to do with the speed at which my heart is beating. My pulse is not elevated and my breathing is not changed. Yes, I’m smiling. Fuck that, of course I am. Old friend. Oldest of friends. It’s been years. Pleasurable anticipation.
I lift my eyes from the face of the phone briefly, and realise that the mood of the conversation has now changed. Its topic is no longer kids, teachers, enrichment programmes and who’s reading what or buying what for whom. It is now Nicola’s rat-fuck bastard of a husband and their gong-show of a divorce. Or is it still a separation? Nicola’s talking in a slightly hysterical voice about their current fight over the line of credit, what to do with the mortgage, and his lack of co-operation on the co-parenting plan. ‘Step one is taking the Parenting After Divorce Seminar, how hard is it to just take a weekend and do it, God knows he doesn’t take the kids every weekend!’ she wails. Colleen, her own gong-show of a divorce story almost four years old now, is leading the offers of unconditional support. Everyone else is murmuring in assent, saying, ‘What an asshat’ or ‘Rat-fuck bastard’ every once in a while.
I take a moment to be, once again, astounded that Nicola’s rat-fuck bastard of a husband managed to be, first, attractive to Nicola, and then, attractive enough to his mildly skanky intern to get pursued, seduced, played. Proof there’s someone out there for everyone.
And I turn back to the phone. And type.
—Breaking news indeed. Message me when your schedule nails down. Coffee? Wine? Jägermeister?
There. Friendly, but not eager.
My pulse has not quickened. My lips are curling into that stupid smile, but that’s what he’s always done to me. But. There’s nothing wrong with smiling.
Ping. Fucking Facebook. Immediate response. He’s on.
I vote Jager shots.
I don’t have to respond. I look up from the phone at the women around me. ‘So there we are, on our first family holiday in two years, we’re about to go to Disneyland, fucking Disneyland! And he’s in the bathroom, sexting with the girlfriend!’ Nicola’s voice rises. ‘Sending her pictures of his erect cock, for fuck’s sake!’
‘What a bastard,’ Colleen says and shakes her head. The voices of the others rumble in the background, a continuing Greek chorus of indignation and support.
I’m perverse. And I’ve heard this story about six times in the last month.
I text Matt back immediately.
—Nice. I have almost two weeks to work up some level of resistance to Jager. Where? Are we bringing our significant others, or living dangerously?
I vote danger.
I let the lips do as they will. Type a smiley face. Delete it. Disclose the deletion. Type:
—(I’m looking for the right emoticon)
I’m looking for the elevated heart rate emoticon.
Fuck. Matt. No.
I should stop typing. Engaging. Turn off the fucking phone. Instead:
—I can’t find the right one. Jesus. How many years has it been? I hope we won’t be disappointed.
You couldn’t disappoint me if you tried.
—I won’t try. See you on the 14th.
I very much look forward to it.
I wish this was the kind of phone you could snap shut. That’s what I want to do: I want to terminate the conversation with Matt, because where he draws me, where he’s always drawn me, I am reluctant to go. Reluctant sometimes, anyway. Reluctant for the past ten years and still reluctant now, today, in this precise moment.
I turn off the phone – not nearly as satisfying as the sound made by clicking it shut would be – and turn my attention to the continued crucifixion of Nicola’s rat-fuck bastard of a husband and his clichéd affair, conducted primarily via texts on an un-password-protected phone he’d just leave lying around the house. ‘Who does that? How does a man with a fucking Masters degree from MIT do that?’ Nicola asks, and I’m uncertain if she’s talking about the carelessness or the betrayal.
‘At least it was easy to track, and you found out about it as quickly as you did,’ Colleen counsels her. ‘My ex was screwing around on me for years.’
Marie looks at me and taps her phone. She starts texting.
Fine. He’ll be gone by now anyway. I turn the phone back on. Marie’s text is short and to the point. ‘OMFG pls tell me you this bores you as much as it does me.’ I look at her and bite my lips.
Did you find the emoticon that captures your feelings?
I don’t have to respond. But. I do.
—No. Maybe there isn’t one. I’ll have to express my emotions live.
Or we could go old school. Use adjectives. I’ll start.
‘Jane?’ It’s Nicola. ‘What do you think?’
I have no fucking clue what she’s talking about. It’s possible my pulse rate is elevated and my breathing jagged. Fuck. And my eyes glassy. Marie jumps in.
‘Don’t bother her,’ she says. ‘She’s dealing with some client emergency.’ Nicola feels slighted, but I am saved. And grateful for my bizarre work-from-home job, so esoteric and complicated that no one really understands what I do – and, in this circle of stay-at-home-moms and ladies-who-lunch at least, I’m treated with cautious respect as a result.
When they’re not thinking I neglect my children and my husband’s career, that is.
‘Clients,’ I say. ‘And with these phones, we’re always on call.’
Really? Pulse pounding.
—Not an adjective.
I have to cover my mouth with my hand. Oh, my fucking God, Matt. Really? From hopeful to hard in two adjectives? Some things never change, I think. And I type:
—Some things never change.
Like your effect on me.
—Things slow at work today, are they?
Not at all. Give me an adjective.
—Anticipating. (Is that an adjective?)
I’ll allow it.
What will you wear?
Not for long.
‘Jane?’ It’s Marie. ‘Cassandra, waving at you madly.’
I drop the phone into my purse and leave the cafeteria. Behind me, Nicola is passing around her iPhone, showing screenshots of the rat-fuck bastard’s texts . . . and naked photos of the girlfriend. I choose not to think about what was involved in transferring these from his phone to hers – oh, fuck, I thought it: did he forward them during their brief ‘we must be open and honest about this if we are to save our marriage’ phase? Did she forward them to herself during the following, and still ongoing, ‘I must gather evidence if I am to skin his hide’ period? Why am I thinking about this? – and go to find out what’s up with my children.
Nothing much, as it turns out, but the candle-making isn’t as horridly uninteresting as I thought it might be, and the metal-ornamenting is actually really cool, and Henry and Eddie really want me to go with them to see the cows, so I stay with them for the rest of pioneer Christmas. And then back into our minivan. And home, with Marie and her crew of two on our heels.
‘Are you sure this is OK?’ she asks for the umpteenth time as she follows her kids into the house.
‘Jeezus, woman, if it wasn’t, I’d have said so when you asked me,’ I chastise. ‘Besides, four kids, six kids, not much difference. How much louder or messier can they be? I’m going to run them up the hill, get them to sled, and if I decide I want to kill them, I’ll make them watch Minecraft videos on YouTube. It’s all good. Go.’
‘Let me just get their lunch things into the kitchen,’ she says. She follows me into the kitchen, puts down the bag on the table.
Marie is my first, and sometimes I think only, adult female friend. Those other women – the ones from the school, the neighbourhood, the ones from Alex’s work – I socialise with. Sometimes just endure. Alex says I don’t like women very much, and perhaps he’s right. Still. Motherhood has thrust me fully into a community of women. Playgroups, playdates, playschools. Mom’s nights out. Gymnastics classes, book clubs. Goddamned pioneer Christmas field trips.
They would all be, I think, barely tolerable without Marie. And I have come to love Marie in all her facets, even her most annoying ones. One of these facets, so very, I think, feminine, and the one I enjoy the least, is that she confides in me. Constantly. She tells me of the rough patches in her marriage, the on-again-off-again online flirtation with her old flames, her secret hope – or fear – that one day this flirtation, or another, might become something else, something bigger, her immense guilt over those feelings when her marriage survives its rough patches and moves into harmony.
Because she confides – constantly, constantly, constantly – I know more about the intimacies of her marriage than I really want to. I know that when JP ‘wants to get laid’ (that’s how Marie always puts it), he turns on the charm and has even been known to unload the dishwasher. I know that, in contrast to his rather unpleasant living-room demeanour, in the bedroom he is a considerate and gentle lover – ‘the king of foreplay’. I know that he prefers to be on top – or sideways – and thinks doggie-style’s undignified. I know he gets a great deal of satisfaction from taking Marie from orgasm to orgasm. I know he doesn’t really like to give oral, his overall love of foreplay notwithstanding. In fact, he fakes it – ‘with wet fingers and slurping noises,’ Marie reports. How he thinks any woman can’t tell the difference between a finger and a tongue, I don’t know. Marie, apparently, has never called him on it. He spends a great deal of time on her boobs, and wanted her to get a boob-tightening job after she weaned their youngest to ‘get them back the way they’re supposed to be’.
I also know he prefers straight missionary vaginal sex to the best blowjob, and long stretches of abstinence followed by mara-fuck-athons to seize-the-moment quickies.
I also know, although Marie’s never put it like this, that the major problem with JP and Marie’s marriage is that JP is a wanker and treats her like shit on a daily basis.
And I also know that Marie thinks they don’t fuck enough. Whether JP’s satisfied with the situation as it is, I don’t know – I go out of my way to not talk to him, or to be in the same physical space with him. But Marie . . . oh, Marie wants to fuck more.
She tells me this all the time.
I suppose that’s the other reason – surely, the first must be that JP is a wanker and treats her like shit – behind her obsession with and pursuit of faux affairs.
About which she tells me all as well.
I accept Marie’s confidences as a sign of our friendship; sometimes I even enjoy them, because she tells a good story. She does not look to me for advice or any kind of commentary. She just wants someone to listen to her.
I can do that.
And I can tell, right now, that she needs to tell me something.
‘Tell me,’ I say. ‘What is it?’
‘I’m not going Christmas shopping,’ she says, after casting her eyes right and left to make sure the children are out of earshot. ‘I’m going for lunch, and I don’t know, maybe more, with, you know. Zoltan.’
Zoltan. Probably not his real name, but who’s being particular? Marie’s latest attempt at an affair. This one’s a stranger, someone she met online for the explicit purpose of having a hook-up. These days, I think of each of her flirtations as her latest attempt to sabotage the marriage she wants to end. But maybe not. Next week, maybe staying married, whatever the cost, may be the most important thing.
I arrange my face to look – supportive. I listen as Marie lambasts JP. Segues into lambasting the self-righteousness of ‘those women’ – Nicola, Colleen, the Greek chorus. ‘Do they not have feelings? Hormones? Desires? Are they all in denial? They’re all our age! Where the fuck are their hormones?’
She looks at me expectantly. Expecting what? Acquiescence, confirmation, confession?
—Some things never change.
Like your effect on me.
I could. I could tell her. But I am a bad friend. I do not betray her confidences, never. But I never reciprocate either.
It’s not a conscious choice, exactly. It’s just . . . not me. I don’t tell. Plus, what do I have to reciprocate with? Sure, Alex annoys me from time to time. He has no sense of time, and will text me at 8.15 p.m. to tell me he should be home before 7 p.m. His relationship with his mother is co-dependent, and his relationship with his father and stepmothers is fucked up. I’ve given up trying to get him to put his shoes on the boot mat, and his idea of helping clean the house is to suggest the cleaners come in more often. But. He’s a great dad. And he’s been known to load the dishwasher. Well, supervise the kids as they load the dishwasher. More importantly: he gets hard the second he sees me naked. Now. And always. When I had a belly swollen with six-months’-worth of baby in it. When it was flabby and stretchy six months after the fourth baby.
Yeah, he gets cranky. Annoying. Distant. So do I. But at our worst, I do not wish to leave our marriage – nor do I secretly hope, as Marie sometimes does, that he leaves, so that I would be . . . what? Free but blameless. I’m . . . what am I? Perhaps less deluded? Alex and I, we are what we are, and it’s usually good, and it has downs, but it’s all about the long play. It’s about forever: not fairy-tale forever, just . . . nuclear-family forever.
A child of parents who will celebrate their forty-third wedding anniversary next year, I buy into that.
Marie calls us a fairy-tale marriage every once in a while, and pauses, and waits for me to say something. And I shrug. Five pregnancies, fourth births. Eleven, almost twelve years of solid monogamy. Of days too full of children and quotidian obligations to have much space for even audacious thought crime, much less real crime.
This thought intrudes: the last time I saw Matt, I had just found out I was pregnant with Cassandra.
And I did what I had to do, what had to be done.
This thought comes, too: a little more time and space for thought crime these days. My work ensures I get taken out to lunch and dinner by powerful and occasionally attractive men. Occasionally, after, I commit thought crime with them while fucking Alex.
Why would I tell Marie that? To what end?
And – my fingers find the phone in my purse – she does not know anything about this part of me. This past part of me.
—See you . . . on the 14th.
I very much look forward to it.
‘What if he thinks I’m a skank?’ Marie asks me. ‘He knows I’m married. With children. And there I am . . . Do you think I’m a skank?’ She turns to me suddenly, sharply. I take a step back, creating space between us again.
‘Jesus, Marie, what do you think I am?’ I ask. ‘Your friend. Who’s looking after your kids so you can do whatever you need to do this afternoon. You don’t need to justify anything to me.’
‘I’d just feel better if you and Alex didn’t have this fairy-tale marriage,’ Marie says. There she goes again. ‘The prince and the princess. And I know JP’s more than ten years older than Alex. But Alex still looks so good, and young, and in shape – and the two of you together. You’re so . . . perfect.’
I love her and I do not want her to feel judged.
I could tell her.
‘I don’t want you to judge me,’ Marie says. ‘And I know you never say anything. But how can you not judge me when you’re so fucking happily married and faithful and . . .’
I could do this. I could. I could open the Facebook app on my phone, and go into messages. Hand the phone to Marie.
She would read. She would say, ‘Oh, my God,’ and I would I hear a thunk – me, falling off the pedestal.
‘Never think I’m judging you,’ I would say as she read.
‘Who is this?’ she would ask.
And this is where it ends. Where I know I won’t tell. I can’t tell. Because . . . because I don’t. Mine. Only mine to know and bear and carry.
So. I don’t show, I don’t share. Instead:
‘I never judge you,’ I say. ‘He won’t think you’re a skank. OK, well, he might. But he wants you to be a skank. Right? That’s what this whole thing is about.’
It’s almost the right thing to say. Marie smiles.
‘’K,’ she says. ‘’K. It will be OK. I’ll be fine. I look good, right?’ I nod. ‘See you in three or so hours.’
‘Be safe.’ I send her on her way. To her lunch. Or a parking-lot fuck.
I hope she’s packed a condom.
I spend a joyous but exhausting day with the kids. I don’t text. I don’t think about Matt. Really. I think about work – the bizarre financial case study I promised to review for a client for tomorrow morning, which clearly I’m not doing as I sled with the kids. Oh, fuck. What time will Alex be home? As Marie comes back – hair and makeup intact and overall mood light and neither angst-ridden nor post-coitally joyous, making me infer she only lunched and transgressed not much (we can’t talk with the kids around) – he texts to say he won’t be back until 8, maybe later – ‘fucking clients,’ he writes, the excuse for everything, always – and that won’t get him home in time to do bedtime . . . and, since I’ve been up since 5 a.m., I’ll be useless post-bedtime.
Marie’s kids and mine are starting to fight, tired of each other, so despite her half-hearted offer, I decline to send my brood home with her. Maybe I can sell them to my mom in the evening so I can work? I only need an hour, maybe two . . .
And that is why, a few hours later, I’m sitting in my parents’ kitchen eating liver and onions (ugh, how can they not know I hate liver and onions after all these years?), listening to four children vie for their grandparents’ attention . . . while the grandparents fight.
I have an odd sense of dissonance: I’m there but not there, and I hear my parents in freaky stereo. ‘They would have been better,’ my mother says of the mashed potatoes, ‘but your father insisted on using the new potato masher.’ ‘Insisted?’ my father asks. Voice low. But tired, tense. ‘I took what was in the drawer. I didn’t realise we had a right potato masher and a wrong potato masher.’ Stupid, stupid exchange. And not the first one I’ve heard like this – they are like this all the time now. Sometimes it’s funny. Often it’s sad. And always, after we leave, Alex and I promise ourselves that if we ever get like this, I’ll shoot him and then turn the gun on myself.
‘Put the pie in the oven to warm it up, Jerry,’ my mother says. Commands. ‘Gran bought you guys pie!’ she squeals at the kids, and they squeal back. ‘Where’s the pie?’ my father asks. ‘Where it always is!’ my mother screams and rolls her eyes. No, really. She screams. I stare at her in shock. Appalled. My father doesn’t even blink an eye. ‘Which is?’ he says with an excessive show of patience. My stomach turns and I suddenly very badly need to leave the room.
‘I’m going to go work,’ I say. ‘I don’t want any pie anyway. Be good for Gran and Gramps,’ I tell the progeny, handing out kisses. I look at Gran and Gramps. ‘Be good in front of the kids,’ I say. It could be taken as a joke. Or a warning. But it’s taken as neither; it’s not heard. The pie’s coming.
I exit stage right, camp out in one of the spare bedrooms, pull out the laptop.
Start typing. I turn on Facebook as I work. Cause that’s how the professionals do it, right? Having your Twitter feed and Facebook and LinkedIn on in the background increases your work efficiency. Well-proven fact. Not.
Confession: I use social media almost exclusively as a procrastination tool.
I have no ulterior motive.
I am not hoping to see a message from Matt.
No, really. And so I am not the least bit disappointed that there isn’t one.
I work. God, who crunched these numbers? Either an idiot or a liar. I identify all the red flags. I get into it. There is a sick kind of satisfaction to it; bringing order to chaos. I work. I am . . . tranquil.
Answer the question.
Waiting. I want you to dress for the occasion. The occasion being our reunion, after what, 10 years?
Almost eleven. But who’s counting? And how many years since we met? I think . . . twenty. Oh, my fucking God, twenty. When did that happen? The first time we met, I was . . . I think I was eighteen. Jesus-fucking-Christ. Grunge ruled. I wore distinctly unsexy jean overalls. I type.
—Overalls have a certain nostalgic value.
Oh, yes. Nostalgic.
Get nostalgic with me, lover. I remember the lingerie store changing room in Bankers Hall.
And you reading me erotica over the phone when I was up North. With John’s permission.
Two memories from hundreds.
—I remember stairwells. Too many stairwells.
—The recording booth at the studio.
—The roof of your apartment building . . .
The dark room.
Halloween party. The lawn. Do you remember?
—Oh yes. That might be my favourite . . .
—We had no shame.
What’s your adjective right now?
—You’ve been using one consistently.
The correct answer is lustful. Also acceptable: dirty (the good kind).
I pause. Shudder. I feel . . . yes, I feel. And I type:
—god i miss you
—I really didn’t think I did.
And I you. Tell me what you want. Be blunt.
—your tongue in my ear, on my neck
Curse these tight jeans.
I miss your mind. And your mouth.
And the serious tone of voice you take when you talk dirty.
Hungrier and harder than ever.
God. I want to fuck your mind.
Savage your vocabulary.
—I would prefer to be ravaged.
Or ruled? With a firm hand.
Tell me you’re going to make yourself come. Tonight.
—I think I just did.
With a full report upon completion.
—Well that you might need to wait for.
No time like the present.
—making you wait and anticipate has always been my MO
Making you submit has always been mine. (Or attempt therein)
—// almost //
Determined. Now what are you going to wear for me?
—I do have these fuck-me heels that will be perfect.
—So long as I don’t have to walk anywhere in them.
—some things just have to be seen
Put them on.
—they’re hard to type in
—That’s how hot they are
You won’t be on your feet for long.
—Nice. We’ll be arrested for indecent exposure.
Fuck-me heels. Good start.
This has been . . . electrifying. Illuminating. Awoken thoughts I’m glad to be reminded of. I think I’m going to go . . . take care of myself right now.
Still at the office.
—close the door first
Tell me where do you want this cum?
—running down to my belly button
Where do I aim?
—at black lace of the bra I’ll be wearing with the fuck-me shoes.
—go. See you in 12 days.
I count the hours.
I finish the analysis in a stupor. And before hitting send, take it to my dad. Ask him to read it to make sure there are no odd adjectives or metaphors in the copy.
He doesn’t ask why. Points to ‘orgasmic’, ‘sublime’ and a completely extraneous ‘pounding’. I delete them. Send the file to the client. Take the kids home, put them to bed.
When Alex finally gets home, close to midnight, I’m still awake and give him the most adventurous night in bed he’s had in months. Possibly years.
‘Jesus,’ he says when it’s over. ‘What happened to you?’
‘Hormones,’ I say. ‘I think . . . yes, hormones.’
And we sleep.