An Indoor Girl on the Outdoors
September 11, 2019
From the pages of Issue 4: Plans Change
Once upon a time…I slept with a married man. Judge me as you will.
Or don’t judge me at all, because you don’t know his arrangement with his wife, or because it takes a lot of energy that could be put towards other things, like taking action to stop the irresponsible policies of a reckless unintelligent head of state (of your choice), or because things are rarely easy enough to assess in the space of a sentence.
But do as you will. I offer neither a defense nor a shred of remorse in return.
I’ll share the story with you, though, because someone ought to know that he and I happened, and the sooner we all come to terms with how untidy our humanity is and how messy it is, it might be easier to move on. And we all could use a good dose of that kind of self-love.
He was my first boyfriend when I was 15 (he wasn’t married then, stay with me on this). We lasted at least two weeks. So, you know, obviously, we were a big deal.
No one’s clothes came off during those two weeks. I was young when I was 15, which is one of those ages that yawns wide on either side of childhood and adulthood. You can skew in either direction, and I skewed young. I still do, frankly. I’ve only just reached the point, in my 40s, that I feel like I’m old enough to get married. In another 10, I might be ready to have kids. Stay tuned, shit could get real in my 50s.
But back to infidelity.
After our tragic breakup, it was a full 25 years before I saw him again. He was a senior and he graduated shortly after our brief commitment, so he disappeared into the ether of The Rest of Our Lives and things carried on, as they do. College, jobs, 401ks, mortgages, and, for one of us, marriage and kids. You know, all the things you’re supposed to do. And then there we both were, in a bar in a city where neither of us lived, with college debt in our pockets and gray hair coming in at our temples, and we both breathed a sigh of relief that we could finally finish what we started in the early 90s.
You don’t always get that chance.
And we needed it. You’re lying to yourself if you say there aren’t certain people in the world that we naturally gravitate towards. It’s as if our magnetic fields are pulled into each other’s orbits, and then we mess with each other’s tides for the rest of eternity. There are. Without being too dramatic (though it’s probably too late for that), he and I were those people to each other.
Which may be how we ended up in the same bar in a city where neither of us lived.
I was certain the minute I saw him that we were finally going to finish things. I don’t know what he thought, but we were in the French Quarter walking on cobblestone streets flanked by 18th-century architecture and we may as well have been strolling inside of a snow globe for how Not Real it all seemed.
And I’ll tell you right now if we don’t have those moments every now and again, the ones that feel like shaken snow globes, our hearts would wither. They help us remember what it feels like to be alive (the combination of adrenaline and oxytocin should probably be classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic and regulated by some bureaucracy, for our own sanity).
It was a rather unceremonious deed. No one had the decency to set off fireworks, even in New Orleans. Things went quickly. We needed to wake up in our respective hotel rooms, in case coworkers attending the same conference and staying in the same hotel should notice anything. We couldn’t linger over the situation. And frankly, we had lingered for 25 years, so it seemed reasonable that we should hurry things along.
That’s as close to Penthouse-level details that I’ll get. Not because I have a thing about privacy (I just told you I fucked a married dude), but because they aren’t the important part.
The important part is that magic is real. Sometimes everything comes together exactly at the right time in the right place, during the right phase of the moon when they have no reason to, and it’s too perfect to be an accident. It’s magic, or maybe voodoo in this case (given the location), or the Universe with a capital U, or just something that we don’t encounter every day.
It happens because we need a little magic sometimes, something to capture in a snow globe so we can pull it out and shake it up when we need to. Because without it, we might get lost in mortgages and judgments and other things that don’t really deserve our energy, and that’s when it’s all over.
And that’s the story of Once Upon a Time When I Slept With a Married Man.