This week on the Carousel of Bloggery Goodness which is the one and only Indie Ink Writing Challenge, I ask Amy to write something about a single kiss, and the inexorable Sunshine tells me "Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't".
"You're nuts," she told me. "N-V-T-S, nuts!," she said, using the old joke from the Mel Brooks movie. Her brown hair, intensely curly, framed her face in attractive ringlets. She looked hurt at what I had just said. "You can't do that," she said firmly, her mouth open slightly. She recrossed her legs, one leg moving smoothly over the other. Her body was amazing for someone with 3 kids. My eyes lost focus in the brown and white print of her dress.
"You're letting David come back? After what he did? You're joking, right? He cheated. He cheated, and then you took him back, and he cheated AGAIN. You know a leopard can't change his spots! Once a cheater, always a cheater!" Her voice was getting impatient, kind of lecture-y. When I saw her with her kids, she could sound like that now and then. I supposed it was a byproduct of constant corrections: "Don't touch that! That's not yours! Where are you going? What are you doing? We don't do that!"
"How can you do this to yourself? How can you do this to me? Don't you remember that first night, the way I stayed up with you until 3AM, listening to you cry? How I was almost late to drop the kids off the next morning?" She wasn't wrong. I had caught them, the curvy blond intern and David, kissing frantically in his car right outside our condo, then barricaded the door with a bookshelf and called her, breathless with hot, angry tears. Like a friend, she talked me down off the ledge, at the expense of her own functioning the next morning. Interesting, a part of my mind noted, how it became something happening to her, instead of something happening to me.
"He doesn't love you, hun. He never loved you. People who love you don't cheat. They don't mock you, or belittle you, or make fun of you when you twist an ankle. People who love you put your interests in front of their own. They make it all about you." She didn't really understand. Her, with all her years with clueless Clarence, didn't know what it was like. Yes, David sinned. He cheated on me with the 19 year old intern from the office, 40 year old women from bars, the woman who sold sneakers at Foot Locker. I took him back because he was someone to complain about Sarah Palin to, someone to make dinner for, someone to watch movies with. He gave my life drama, gave me something to complain about at work, kept me from obsessing about myself and my loneliness. If I hated him, I wasn't hating myself.
David wasn't enamored like Clarence was, in love with the idea that someone that gorgeous would spend time with him. David knew I was disposable- I was cute enough, but no cuter than 10 other girls who would come along as soon as he dropped me. I wasn't tall and gorgeous and secure and firm like she was, rooted into place with the man and the situation and the minivan, driving to soccer and ballet and Scouts. I was just another woman, to be used up and disposed of when I was no longer useful. I didn't know what to say, so I didn't say anything, looking down at the salad on my plate. I had no appetite. I hardly ate, which made me feel constantly dizzy and a little unhinged. I knew if I was ever going to have a body like hers, I had to either have children or add some fat to my diet. The prospect of either was nauseating.
"Honey, you can't do this. You can't let him hurt you again," she said, her voice now pleading, like she wanted me to finish my broccoli. Her cheeseburger was already gone, and she sipped gently at a Diet Coke. She didn't understand, with her devoted husband, cherubic kids, and perfect, organized life, how it felt when you were this close to the borderline. Taking him back was awful, but not taking him back was worse.