The moment my husband left for work every morning, I felt a sense of relief. Every morning. Our life together drifted into oblivion a long time ago. Sex became infrequent and unemotional. Our conversations were as intimate and interesting as discussing the impending arrival of our new water heater. I found myself thinking of ways to escape. And I found myself thankful Dan and I never had children. Maybe he would have been a decent father but he was a terrible husband. I was happier alone.
Or with Greg.
Those damn flowers.
Since the first, our post-workout smoothies had become a daily thing. Just smoothies. And talking. And laughing. But nearly three weeks later, I still held my secret. I hadn’t planned to keep it to myself, but when he told me he had been divorced for over a year, I didn’t want to tell him I was married. He had no strings and I didn’t want him to know about mine. I knew it was wrong. Dishonest. But I loved the smoothies. Okay, I loved the talking and the laughing. I was afraid I might lose that if he knew.
So I said nothing. And we kept our ‘relationship‘ at smoothie level.
Okay, there was occasional texting. At night. In bed. Okay, every night.
We got to know each other. We became friends. Or something. I wanted ‘or something’ and I knew he did, too. But I had to consider my husband, my marriage. I should have considered them a long time ago because if I had, I would never have had to envy Greg’s freedom — I would’ve had my own.
With each passing day, every smoothie, every text message, it only became more difficult to confess my secret. But I never had to figure out how to tell him. He opened the door himself when he asked me out to dinner… for a real date.
“Greg, I would love to…” A gross understatement. I desperately wanted to say yes.
“It sounds like there’s a ‘but’ coming…”
“There is. I…” Deep breath. “I should have told you. I’m sorry.”
“Told me what?”
“Oh God.” I stared at the smoothie on the table in front of me. I couldn’t look at him. And holding back my tears wasn’t going well either. “I’m married.”
He was silent for a little too long. I knew he was never going to speak to me again. Waves of panic flew through me like tiny blades stabbing me in the heart. But like always, I jumped to that place too quickly.
“Amy, I think I knew.”
“What?” I lifted my eyes to his.
“I knew. Not the whole time. Not when I sent the flowers. But since we’ve been talking, I don’t know, I could just tell.”
“I should have told you. I’m sorry.”
“Hey…” He laid a hand on my arm and the stabbing feelings of panic vanished. “We’ve known each other for three weeks. Well, three weeks since we finally spoke to each other.” He paused to smile. “You didn’t have to tell me anything. But I had a feeling. And I wanted to know for sure.”
“So that’s why you asked me to dinner…”
“No. I asked you to dinner because I want to take you out on a real date. But the more I thought about it — and I thought about it for a long time — I realized this might make you tell me… about the husband.”
“And I should tell you about him. Because I want you to know what that relationship is like.”
And I told him. I told him how distant Dan and I were. I told him that the hour or two I spend talking to him over a smoothie is more than Dan and I talk in days. The inattention, the lack of intimacy, my misery and desire to escape. I told Greg everything. And I cried.
“So we should have dinner.” He smiled. I knew he was trying to make me do the same.
“You have no idea how much I want to…” I tried to wipe my tears but they kept coming.
“Yes I do. Slightly less than I want to.” Again that smile.
“Greg…” I lost my words the moment his fingers reached my face. And when he wiped away my tears, I lost my breath, too.
“What happens now?”
“Amy… whatever you want.”
“Oh, I don’t think what I want can happen.”
“Damn. Because I’m pretty sure it’s the same thing I want.”
He made me smile. And blush. And I never wanted to go home again.
To be continued…