When I told my husband of five years I wanted a divorce, it wasn’t because he was abusive or mean. He hadn’t cheated or lied, or done anything wrong in fact. We’d been separated for eight months but he still loved me. He’d been waiting patiently for me to come home, back to our home and our dogs. It was time to go home.
For almost three years we had known that I couldn’t conceive using my own eggs. We had discussed our options, dissected them, rebuilt them, cried and argued over them. The truth is, none of them were for us. I had too many doubts, too many fears. It didn’t feel right. But without a baby, I couldn’t look at S without wondering if he would leave me one day. Couldn’t walk into our spare room in our home and not think about the child we couldn’t have.
So, I ran away. I took a job three hours from home and S and thought I would find out who I was without children, and who I wanted to be. The only person who supported me in my quest for self-enlightenment was my husband. Because he supported me in everything. He always had. He accepted that I had to do this and he let me go.
It was the best decision I could have made. I learnt how to smile again. I found my happy place. I made new friends and I felt like I was being truer to myself than I had in years. I had risked everything and for once, the gamble was paying off, at least for me. But people did get hurt.
Eight months after I moved, I called S to tell him I wasn’t coming home. While the decision was not the result of a single event, there was a tipping point when I knew. And it had happened two nights earlier.
We knew it was a bad idea from the moment we realised it was going to happen. We said it to each other, over and over, as our hands ran over each other, our faces inches apart.
Like so many of my encounters since, I’m not really sure how it began, who initiated what. One of those times when you are in deep before you even know you’re in the water.
“This is a really bad idea,” one of us said. We both said. We hadn’t kissed yet but it was there, like a bee hovering over a flower. All it would take was one of us to lean across the small space that separated us. Our hands, our bodies were already touching but it wasn’t firm. Neither of us were committed at that point. We could still stop, come to our senses.
“This is a really bad idea.” And I broke it. I pulled away, even though I didn’t want to. I had been telling myself and my friends for weeks that this would never happen. That I didn’t want it to happen because we were best friends. We were so different and yet had so much fun together. We could spend hours laughing at the stupidest jokes.
The past month or two we’d become especially close, though not through any one event or activity. He’d returned from a holiday overseas and it made me realise how much I enjoyed his company.
Just that afternoon I had told a girlfriend over drinks that we were just friends. That I didn’t want to sleep with him, that I didn’t want a relationship with him. Besides, I was still married even though I wasn’t sure it was what I wanted anymore. Besides, my contract was coming to an end and I was supposed to be moving back home. Maybe it was my impending move that triggered it.
After drinks I had headed home to meet up with him. We didn’t so much decide on a quiet night in as that’s how it eventuated. We had a few beers, smoked some weed. I can’t even remember what we did for dinner. Maybe Thai. We binge-watched TV enjoying the balmy January night.
High and maybe a little tipsy, we were both getting nostalgic. We talked about how awesome our friendship was, how much fun we had together, how sad we both were that I was moving home. We both knew I wasn’t sure how I felt about that, how I felt about S and I. He didn’t think I would be happy going home. I agreed but I wasn’t sure what my options were.
Maybe it was the weed. Maybe it was the summer feels. I know we stopped paying attention to the TV and were facing each other on the lounge. We were talking, whimsically, about life. I had seen him in action on enough dates to know that he was a very touchy feely guy when he was in the mood. We were flirting. I knew that he didn’t have to touch me to get to the fridge, or put his hand around my waist to reach the sink. It wasn’t necessary for us to touch at all. But we were. Hands and eyes.
“This is a really bad idea.” I pulled myself away and leaned back against the kitchen bench.
One breath. Two breaths. Three.
“Ok, then. I’m going to head. Night.”
“Night bud,” I breathed out. I breathed in. This was smart. This was right. That would have been a really bad idea.
But neither of us moved.
And there we were again, touching – hands, arms, bodies close. His head was bent towards mine.
“This is a really bad idea,” our breath was coming fast. We made to move down the hallway, arms still entwined, faces so close together I could feel his breath. Then we were kissing, hard, passionately in the dark hallway.
He pushed me back against the wall, pinned my arms above my head. It was aggressive, rough, how I liked it. Holding both my wrists with one of his hands, his other reached up under my short sundress, inside my undies and rubbed me. Within seconds, his fingers were inside me and I gasped and moaned. I was wet already and it felt good.
Still kissing, he pleasured me pressed up against the wall, the sounds of the city on a Friday night carrying to us. I could feel his hard-on against me. I wanted this. He wanted this. How bad an idea could it be?
Releasing me from the wall, we manoeuvred together down the hallway, around the corner and into my bedroom. I hastily pulled my dress over my head and pulled down my undies. On the bed now, we were all hands and lips and tongues.
I was surprised to find his body was hard, muscly. It made me giggle. I knew he was fit but he still seemed like such a scrawny guy. Everything I touched was hard muscle. In my high state, I found it hilarious and couldn’t stop giggling.
I remember the rest of our fucking as one memory rather than blow by blow details. I know it was good. No, not good. It was great.
The whole experience was surprising. I had assumed sex between us would be bad, terrible even. Interestingly, he told me later he had always thought it would be good.
And then, after a mandatory cool off, quick pillow talk, during which he congratulated me on being the “best sex he’d had for a while”, he surprised me again by leaping from my bed, saying goodnight and leaving. It was so perfunctory. I wasn’t necessarily expecting him to cuddle me all night but I did find it a little abrupt. But I was tired and my buzz was wearing off so I rolled over and went to sleep.
The next day we had to talk about it. It was inevitable. It went mostly as I expected except that he told me twice, unprompted, that while it had been fun, he didn’t want a relationship with me. That he didn’t have romantic feelings for me. I thought I took it pretty well, for a girl, given the circumstances. When he said it a second time, hours later, I just felt insulted.
I didn’t regret it and he told me at the time he didn’t either. But it did make me think about my husband and what I was doing.
I’d slept with someone; someone I didn’t have romantic feelings for, but nevertheless did care about. He was my best friend. I couldn’t pretend it meant nothing. And that told me everything I needed to know about my marriage.
I rang S the next day and told him I wasn’t coming home. He told me he had been expecting it. And we were over.