“We’re throwing a post-Halloween party at Laura’s house. Everyone had so much fun at the reunion and wants to hang out again. You in?” Billy waited all of three seconds to reply. “Why don’t we just show up at Laura’s house one random night, like a flash mob. That would be hilarious.”
“Umm, yeah…well for single people that works. But for those of us with kids, it’s….not so great. These things have to be planned Billy. How does the first weekend in November sound?”
And so the wheels were set in motion. There was going to be a party. A soiree of sorts. And for sure, I would be seeing Billy very, very soon. Tasked with contacting everyone, I was constantly in touch with him (Guess who can make it? Oh so-and-so can’t come etc.). One day I noticed a beautiful photo show up in my newsfeed and it was his. It was a place he hiked to- a peaceful, serene, nature kind of shot. The kind that speaks to my soul as I love getting away from civilization.
We talked more and more that day, until eventually our conversation rolled into the evening. I have always been the night owl. My husband? Not so much. Looking back, I can say we had a few break through conversations, very deep, very personal. I confided in Billy about my husbands infidelity, something very few friends even knew about. I explained I initially wanted to leave him, but I was barely pregnant with Zane. I felt vulnerable after he confessed. Scared. And yet steely in my determination to not let my family be torn apart, let alone have my children affected by his indiscretions.
Billy asked how things were now. I explained things were rough. He replied, “I reckon not quite the same”. And he was right. They weren’t. It had been two years since the confession and over that time, I made a conscious decision to forgive. I said it so many times that eventually it became my reality. I let go of the anger. I honestly came to terms with what had happened and moved on. Friends that knew were enthralled we stayed together. And in fact, I think I was as well. You could say, with certainty, that we were creating a new marriage. A more honest one. Where I knew the “real” person I married, not the fantasy I had been living under all these years.
But there was also a new element to our marriage post-confession. One that got under my nerves more than anything else. I suddenly had a “yes” husband. I can’t describe it any other way than to say he had become….a wet noodle. He had no backbone whatsoever. And despite being the leader in our marriage, I too needed a soft place to rest my head. I wanted someone stronger than me. Someone to be the leader in our marriage. This wasn’t something I just wanted on a whim. I had desired this dynamic our entire marriage. But now, I craved it. Immensely. Like in the most primal of ways. It had always been lacking in our marriage, but I had somehow been able to quell those desires. But post-confession, my husband changed. And I needed and wanted that alpha-male leader dynamic more than ever.
I guess you could say a seed was planted that evening. A woman not entirely happy with her marriage is an easy target to lay claim to. This much, I know. I found myself still having this racing heart beat, ever since Billy’s first message landed in my inbox. I thought for sure it meant something. In fact, I was positive it was a sign. A sign that somehow, I had made a terrible mistake in marrying my husband. Perhaps Billy was really “the one”. How else could I explain the 24/7 racing heartbeat? This wasn’t some school girl crush kind of thing either. In fact, I had only felt this once before, which confused me down to my core.
The night of the party arrived and I was late. When I arrived and saw his car, I immediately knew he was inside. Laura later confided in me that Billy was the very first person to show up, something that struck her as odd. In hindsight, I’m certain that he wanted to see as much of me as he could that night.
I came into the party but had my hands full of food, bags etc. So it took me a while to set things up. I caught him staring at me out of the corner of his eye. But I kept busy with the things I needed to do before socializing. As it turned out, he never came up to me. I made my way around to all the guests, thanking them for coming, talking about how great the reunion was etc. But eventually, I finally greeted him, giving him a hug and a light kiss on the cheek. For talking so much everyday, I was taken aback by his lack of enthusiasm. He definitely was keeping his distance. And acting like a shy little school boy around me. I finally approached him saying, “You haven’t even come up to say hello, stranger.” Without missing a beat, Billy replied, “I was being a gentleman and waiting my turn.”
As he reached forward and gave me an obligatory side kiss on the cheek, the awkwardness only continued. If I was on one side of the party, he seemed to be on the other. If I was inside the house, he seemed to be outside. We were, in essence, doing a dance…of avoidance.
If I left to go inside the house, I would see him checking me out. He would pretend to be knee-deep in conversation, yet stealing glances to check out my ass. So I returned the favor by pretending to have the most fabulous conversations, with laughter beyond words. But deep down, I felt sick to my stomach. This party was not turning out the way I envisioned and I was actually starting to feel quite sad.
Closer to midnight, a group of people were congregating in the garage and he was in there. So I decided to join them, resting my body right next to his. He, leaning against the washer. Me, the dryer. As if on queue, everyone suddenly left the garage. And we found ourselves alone, the first time ever since reuniting after all these years. It was unbelievably quiet. He stood up and looked at me with lustful eyes. I finally broke the ice saying, “There is so much I want to say to you…” He took in a deep breathe and sighed, shifting his weight from foot to foot.
“Look Billy, I am not some young girl in high school. I know what I want…” He stepped a few feet away from me, looking at me again. I had the most incredible butterflies swirling around in my chest. That feeling you get when falling in love. Yeah that one, coupled with pent up sexual desire and excitement rolled into one. “Just kiss me” I said boldly. He replied, “I can’t. Someone could walk in.”
So I instantly turned around and made a bee line for the garage door, planning to lock it. He stopped me, while I said, “I don’t care.”
“Well I do. What if someone comes in and sees us? Do you know how awkward that is going to be for me? And besides, your husband is like 10 feet away on the other side of that door!”
Reluctantly, I turned toward him leaving the door unlocked. “Well are you attracted to me then?” And like a man taking his last breathe of air, he replied, “Am I attracted to you? Do you even know what I want to do to you right now???!!! I wish I could…”
And just like that, the door flung open. And party goers were flooding back into the garage. Our only moment alone was now fractured and we would never be alone again. We parted ways but the sideway glances…the staring from a distance…continued till the wee hours of the morning when the party finally dismantled at 5 a.m.