Excerpt from The Tumble
Phase three our relationship was stripped down to the brass tacks. We met, exchanged a cravenly hug, uttered a sketchy greeting and appeared unnatural in each other’s company. Despite all, our desire was crystal and abiding. I rented our den of inequity for the next two hours and as soon as I locked the door behind me our bodies exchanged their own interface unlocking a carnal, primal tidal wave within simultaneously encapsulating the leakage of accusations present in our minds. It was only after our bodies were sated that the gears in our cerebrum began to turn, unlocking our tongues.
“So you want to tell me what’s going on with you Imtiaz?”
I was defensive.
He was easy.
He lit us both up, passed me my cigarette and began after a long exhale.
“Cat it’s not easy to tell someone you love about someone else. You said it wouldn’t bother you but I just couldn’t fix my mouth to tell you about another girl. I couldn’t hurt you like that.”
How could I be angry at that logic? Hadn’t I used it a thousand times?
I chose silence since I couldn’t figure out a more viable response. He continued nonplussed.
“And Cat, I mean, you have your husband.” He held his fag betwixt thumb and middle finger as if he cursed the fact then toked deeply. “I wanted something for myself.”
I closed my eyes, turned to the side traveling inside of myself far away from his candor.
Looking back I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t swallow the lie and stomach the truth. Vanity. Pride. Ego. Lying next to me composed and agreeable, utterly comfortable in his nakedness, he revealed his truth while I struggled to cloak mine. When he discovered his new thing he shelved me with a quickness that made my head spin. That could have been my finest hour, an opportunity to evince some well-earned wisdom but instead I chose to make myself ridiculous in both our eyes.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t know where I stood with you. I mean you just dropped me like I meant nothing at all.” I retorted feebly, my voice small and trembling. For the first time I felt vulnerable and exposed lying next to him without my clothes. I turned on my back and caught a glimpse of his reflection from the mirror on the ceiling. He had his face turned to the right, away from me but his breath was rhythmic, steady, and calm. Revelation justified the tiger. I stared at myself. My arm covered my chest, my hair was tangled, my lipstick smeared. The truth had the opposite effect on my person, it shamed me.
I wish I could have jumped back in time. I would never have called him. I would have cherished the sweet text and went to bed. I would have accepted the lies in the same quiet way he accepted the truth. And maybe down the road if things remained uneasy between us I might have lost patience and ended it but my argument would have held merit. I only discovered what I’d always known, this party of three would increase in number. But now my tiger was privy to the ugly truth of my character, he knew I could be trifling and vicious. I had become a stale cliché and my disappointment in self was as bitter as bile.
Talking was not our strong suit. He grounded his cigarette in the nearby ashtray and reached for me. We made love. I wrapped my legs around him and ceased calculation. We allowed ourselves to be lost once more.
We ended our meeting on parlous ground, the evasive tiger brokering no assurance of a future meeting, this too becoming part of our pattern. He said he understood my behavior, my motives. I came today certain I would receive an explanation and more than a little gratitude for the way I handled matters and of course I couldn’t have been more wrong. My obtuse grasp of the situation, my unrestrained reaction led only to my folly. In parting I kissed him deeply and told him I loved him. He said he loved me more. He said.