I Cheated On You
Tonight, a man and a woman are holding a rendezvous in one of the hotels in the city.
If you happen to intrude on them, maybe get your hands on their room keys, happen to open the door noiselessly, if you’re careful to step into the room on tiptoe, careful not to make a sound or tip the tray of empty plates with specks of leftovers and used glasses (one with lipstick smudges on the rim) on that table next to the door, if you’re really quiet and discrete, you’ll see both man and woman atop a ruffled bed. The man will be on top of the woman.
Streaks of sweat will decorate the man’s face and naked back – he will be showing you his back. He will be in motion, thrusting into the woman who will be moaning beneath him. You will witness two bodies merging, feeding each other pleasure.
The man kisses the woman’s neck. Her cheeks. Hungrily, her lips. She is receptive to him. Her legs give him no obstruction. Her manicured hands stroke his back – you’ll see the ring on her finger. You’ll see that she receives him entirely; his manhood, his kisses, and his famished thrusts.
The man gets the urge to get there before her, but he waits for her, a good man. He gives both of them a spontaneous grand finale, dismounts her, rains kisses on her face; forehead, cheeks, lips. She turns to him and buries her head in his shoulder. He stares at the ceiling as he strokes her back absentmindedly. They stay this way for a while. She gets up and heads to the bathroom.
This scene is replayed for most of the weekend. They leave their room every morning to walk around the vast hotel grounds, eat breakfast by the poolside, read under the tree, swim, workout at the gym, get a massage at the spa, eat lunch at the restaurant in the bush, intimate dinner with live entertainment from a band, drinks by the bar. All the days culminate with the same scene; they intertwined in bed, where they convert the perfectly made bed into one sheet-y mess.
They check out of the hotel on Sunday morning. Arm in arm, they report at the front desk and the woman requests for the two-day bill. She goes through their expenses from Friday to today, retrieves her credit card from her purse and hands it over to the cashier at the reception desk. He strokes her arm as they wait for the swiping, the receipting, the checkout.
He had a great time, the man says while engulfing her in an embrace from behind. The cashier steals glances but manages to keep her eyes on her machine long enough to check them out and hand her the copy of the receipt. They both thank her for the wonderful service and walk out of the hotel.
At the parking lot, he walks her to her car, opens the door for her and leans in for a kiss. She holds the back of his head to receive the kiss. Even after their lips unlock, she hangs onto his head, caressing his sideburns.
She doesn’t drive off yet. He takes a step away from the car and waits. She looks at him from the driver’s seat. They stare at each other. Her hands are on the steering wheel, his hands are on his hips.
She eventually revs the car and steers it to the exit. He keeps standing for a while, finally recovers and goes to find his car.
Car in motion, she turns on the radio. Christina Perri’s A Thousand Years plays. Her car glides through non-existent traffic to get her home in under half an hour.
She enters her house. The silence is too loud. She hopes that in nine months, this house will stop being so damn quiet. It is the help’s day off. Nobody is here save for a man sitting in the living room watching a basketball game on ESPN. A man she calls her husband. She says hello to him.
“I missed you,” he shouts from the couch.
She throws her bag on the table by the door, goes and sits next to him. Her eyes are on the screen. She plays with the ring on her finger.
He looks at her.
She looks at the screen.
“I made coffee,” he offers, holding up his cup.
“I cheated on you.” Her eyes remain on the screen.
“Was he good?”
“Is the coffee good?”
“As a matter of fact, it is.”
“I’ll test in two weeks.”
“Do you think– ?”
“We’ll just have to wait and see.”
She reaches for his hand. She understands.
This man and this woman stood side by side before a priest three years ago and said: “I do”. They promised each other love, commitment, fidelity and blah blah. They swore to make each other happy, stick together through thick and thin. In that moment while making these promises, they perceived each other to be unflawed – what with the wedding hype, the nice suits, the beautiful gowns, the glorious music, the makeup and all.
The woman never expected to have to seek happiness from other unexpected quarters. But she is not naive. No. She knows that perfection is an illusion. She knows we don’t always get what we want. And if we do, it’s not always from the people we expect to get it from.
This man sitting next to her on the couch married her. The man she spent the weekend with at the hotel had potentially given her offspring. The woman knows that she could never get everything she needs from one man. Deep down, the man knows that too.
And thus, they live happily. For now.